Getaway to Calabria
Getaway to Calabria: The opportunities for getting away from the daily grind and reinventing yourself in the lap of other cultures and climes have never been greater, with cheap flights on offer wherever you look. Calabria in Italy is one destination that can be recommended for its unrivaled national parks and fine seaside resorts, and of course for its delicious regional cuisine. Take a break of even a few days here and you’ll return ready for anything life can throw at you.
Some of the best seaside resorts in Italy can be found here on the shores of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas in the ‘boot’ of the country. The Tyrrhenian coast was in fact the first area to be developed during the 70s tourism boom, with a stretch of towns from Praia a Mare to Tropea nicknamed ‘the Capri of Calabria’ and used as an excellent base for tourists to explore the whole region.
The Ionian coast has been the center for development since the 1990s, and there are many attractive marinas in the area just south of Catanzaro, perched on the highlands. During the summer months, the liveliest nightclubs in the region are to be found around the Gulf of Squillace, and accommodation includes something for every taste, from five-star hotels to self-catering bungalows and family-run guesthouses.
For travellers looking for the quieter and more traditional aspects of Calabria, they’ll need to head away from the coastal strip and get into the hinterland. Here, the region’s ancient, sleepy towns are to be found packed precariously on steep slopes. They often rise above the crumbling remains of old castles and are surrounded by vineyards. This is the real Calabria, and should not be missed by concentrating exclusively on the big resorts.
The most attractive cities in the region are Cosenza, Crotone, and parts of Catanzaro, and although earthquakes have frequently caused damage down the centuries they have much to offer in cultural attractions and excellent restaurants and cafes.
There are three national parks in Calabria, so anyone tiring of the conveniences offered in the resorts or overdosing on the traditional heritage can sit back and enjoy some of the most stunning natural beauty to be found anywhere. Pollino in the north, Aspromonte in the south, and Sila in the middle together constitute a luscious green belt that stretches from the unspoiled beaches of the Ionian Coast to the cliffs of the Tyrrhenian. There are numerous great walks and trails to be found here, and English-speaking guides are available as well. There are 56 towns in the Pollini National Park where travellers can stay overnight before continuing with their walking or trekking, and some of the best restaurants can be found in Castrovillari and Civita.
You can cross Calabria from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian coasts in just a few minutes from the Isthmus of Cantanzaro and there is a multitude of landscapes to enjoy. Whether it’s visiting a Byzantine church, resting under pine and birch in the cool mountains, or wandering the narrow streets of old towns, Calabria has it all.