Calabria is a region in southern Italy that offers the perfect combination of pristine beaches, breathtaking mountains, and mouth-watering food. Despite being one of the least touristy areas of Italy, Calabria is a hidden gem that boasts stunning landscapes, picturesque towns, and unique cultural traditions. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing vacation or an adventure-filled getaway, Calabria has something for everyone.
One of the main reasons to visit Calabria is its coastline, which stretches for more than 500 miles along the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. Calabria’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in Italy, with crystal clear waters, soft sand, and dramatic cliffs. Tropea, a small town perched on a cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, is one of Calabria’s most famous beach destinations. The town’s white-sand beaches and turquoise waters are a paradise for sunbathers and swimmers alike. If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, head to Capo Vaticano, a nature reserve with hidden coves and inlets that are perfect for snorkeling and diving. Scilla, a small fishing village on the Ionian Sea, is another must-visit destination, with its colorful houses, narrow streets, and small pebble beaches.
But Calabria is not just about its beaches. The region’s rugged mountains offer an entirely different kind of beauty. The Aspromonte National Park, located in the southern part of Calabria, is a vast wilderness area that covers more than 300 square miles. The park’s peaks, valleys, and forests are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including wolves, eagles, and wildcats. The park also boasts several hiking trails that range from easy walks to challenging climbs. One of the most popular trails is the Sentiero Italia, which runs for more than 1,200 miles across Italy and passes through the Aspromonte National Park. If you’re a nature lover, a visit to Calabria’s mountains is a must.
Another reason to visit Calabria is its food. Calabrian cuisine is known for its simplicity and use of fresh, local ingredients. The region’s most famous dish is nduja, a spicy spread made from pork meat and chili peppers. Nduja is often served on bread or mixed with pasta for a fiery, flavorful meal. Calabria is also famous for its seafood, with dishes like swordfish rolls, octopus stew, and fried anchovies being popular choices. If you’re a fan of sweets, be sure to try the region’s famous gelato alla nocciola, a creamy hazelnut-flavored ice cream that will leave you wanting more.
Calabria is also rich in history and culture. The region has a long and complex history, with influences from the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Normans. Many towns and cities in Calabria have historical sites and monuments that are worth a visit. Reggio Calabria, the largest city in the region, is home to the National Archaeological Museum, which houses some of the finest examples of ancient Greek art in Italy. The medieval town of Gerace, located in the mountains of Aspromonte, is another must-see destination, with its narrow alleys, stone houses, and Byzantine-style churches.
If you’re planning a trip to Calabria, the best time to visit is from late spring to early autumn, when the weather is mild and the beaches are at their best. The region is well-connected to other parts of Italy and Europe, with several airports and train stations. The best way to explore Calabria is by car, as many of the region’s best sites are located in remote areas that are not