If you think Campania is all museums, churches, and archaeological areas, you'll miss out on its great natural attractions. This region offers manifold opportunities to combine culture with outdoor activities and superb natural sights. The itinerary below is designed for a week, but you can shorten or lengthen it at your leisure to accommodate your other plans. Driving a car allows the greatest freedom.
Days 1 & 2: Vico Equense & the Sorrento Peninsula
Start with one of the lesser-known resorts on the Sorrento peninsula, Vico Equense, where you can spend the night and have your first encounter with the sea at Marina di Equa -- the best beach in town -- which is dominated by a powerful 17th-century tower. (If you don't have a car, take the Sorrento-bound bus from Capodichino Airport to Vico Equense.)
Reserve the afternoon for a beautiful hike through the peninsula, taking the moderately challenging footpath from Sorrento toward Punta Sant'Elia; this scenic point overlooks the islets of Li Galli in the Bay of Salerno, which have made Positano famous.
On Day 2, continue on to the tip of the peninsula and the beach of Punta del Capo. Beloved by the locals, it is located near the ruins of a Roman villa. Nearby, a small pool of water enclosed by rocks is known as the Bath of Queen Giovanna.
In the afternoon, hire a boat from Marina del Cantone to reach the Bay of Ieranto and its marine preserve. You will be rewarded with magical surroundings -- when the light is just right toward the end of the day, the boats appear to float in midair. Overnight in Marina del Cantone.
Day 3: The Amalfi Coast
Get an early start for your ride along the historic Amalfi Drive. Stop for a swim (or have a rowboat take you) into the Grotta dello Smeraldo, in the village of Conca dei Marini. Continue with a hike from Furore down the ancient footpath to Marina di Furore, a deep fiord with a tiny beach at its base. You can then hike the famous Sentiero degli Dei or the Via degli Incanti, and finish your day visiting the natural preserve of Capo d'Orso. From here, walk to the 11th-century monastery and have dinner at the lighthouse. Overnight in Salerno.
Day 4: Capri
Take an early morning ferry or hydrofoil to Capri, where you'll spend the night. Use the day to explore the island, taking the chairlift up to the top of Monte Solaro and descending the famous Scala Fenicia into town. End your day with a swim at the Bagni di Tiberio, near the ruins of one of Emperor Tiberius's notorious pleasure palaces.
Days 5 & 6: The Cilento & Paestum
Hop on a ferry early in the morning and rejoin your car in Salerno. Head for the National Park of the Cilento, starting with the beautiful coast where you can enjoy a variety of watersports, including diving and water-skiing. The best beach is Baia della Calanca, in Marina di Camerota. Don't forget the interior, though. Schedule a visit to the Grottoes of Castelcivita or Grottoes of Pertosa for fantastic spelunking (nothing demanding athleticism or ropes), as well as a hike on Monte Cervati, the highest peak of the Cilento massif; another excellent hike is Monte Alburno.
Make sure you reserve the afternoon of Day 6 for Paestum, to visit its temples, walk its walls, and swim from one of the best beaches in Italy.
Day 7: Mount Vesuvius & Ancient Roman Villas
For your last day, head toward Naples's Mount Vesuvius area. Start your visit with Oplontis and Boscoreale -- two excellent sites for exploring ancient Roman ruins -- and then take your leave of the region with a hike to the crater of Naples's volcano. What could be more appropriate than ending your trip with a blast?
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.