Cilento Coast near Castelebate: The village of San Marco is quite small, but very pleasant with several bars and gellaterias plus a couple of small supermarkets – but be aware that these close from around 1pm to around 4pm.
If you stroll up the Via Carlo de Angelis (to the right of the cobbled road that runs parallel) you will come to a small supermarket with a place called Palmisciano at the right – they have a wonderful selection of bread, cold meats and cheeses and wines – you can ask them to make up a simple panino and then go next door to the supermarket to buy tomatoes on the vine to add to the mix.
There is a bar on the main road called Torretta which serves an incredible range of pastries and other snacks – a large slice of pizza (enough for two modest appetites) for an incredible 1.5 euro!
Getting around: A local bus service (orange busses) runs between San Marco and several local villages and towns, including Santa Maria and Castellabate. They also go to Ogliastro, but we didn’t go there, although it looked a nice place when we passed on our way to Elia Velia. The bus stop is outside the hotel and tickets may be bought on-board so long as you have the exact fare (1.2 euro per person one way June 2014).
A longer-distance bus service (blue busses) runs between San Marco and run north up the Cilento coast to Agropoli (about 40 mins) and Salerno (about 2 hrs). Tickets may be bought from the bar adjacent to the bus stop on the main road near the roundabout (1.6 euro per person one way – June 2014) Remember to ask for “andata” and “ritorno” otherwise you will need to find another bar to purchase your return ticket.
Santa Maria is a larger town just north of San Marco. It may be reached by local bus (see above) or by walking along the beach (the road has no pavements and would be very risky). Walking via the beach takes about 40 minutes, but be aware that a) the sand is very coarse, b) it gets too hot to walk on comfortably (think Dudley Moore in 10) unless you paddle, and c) the beaches are littered with rubbish – not the pleasant experience you might wish for all-in-all.
Agropoli is a pleasant town with a wide promenade and old town (with castle on top) that are worth wandering around: The bus stops on via Risorgimento which leads to the promenade which changes name to via San Marco (you can get off at the far end of the promenade and walk back to town). There is a small tourist information booth slightly hidden away beyond the south end of Piazza Vittorio Veneto on Viale Europa – the woman we spoke to had excellent English, but the booth closes at lunch time. The return bus stop is nearby, on Via Piava, outside an architecturally unusual shop selling bridal ware (opposite Benetton).
Local walks: We found a useful tourist office at Castellebate – including a quality booklet on local walks entitled:
Comunita Montana “Alento Monet Stella” Monte Stella – the mountain over the sea: Walks and rambles in ancient Cilento
In our opinion, the walking times suggested may only be achieved by Mo Farah and some of the ‘paths’ are more suitable if your name is Chris Bonington (I might be slightly exaggerating…)
We did attempt the walk from San Marco up to Monte Licosa, then down to Punta Licosa (where there is a lighthouse) and back to San Marco. This was a shorter walk marked as part of a longer circular walk from San Marco to Ogliastro – the total time given for that being 5hrs 30 mins and a distance of 18.5km. After 3 hrs on our short walk we plodded back into San Marco having covered about a quarter of the overall distance. Take plenty of water, a good sense of direction and a sense of humour when trying to follow the instructions!
Boat trips: There are several individuals who hang around the harbour next to sign boards suggesting they offer boat trips. None of the individuals seemed that interested in finding customers, but we understood that they charge 60 euro for 1hr 30min ride and usually expect a minimum of 4 people to amortise the cost.
There appeared to be pedalos for hire at Santa Maria, but no idea of the cost.
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