From North to South, passing through the center and the islands, our Italy is one peninsula to be discovered and appreciated.
Views and landscapes, sea and mountains, a warm welcome, food and wine, art, culture and much more: these are just some of the aspects that make each Italian region unique and special.
The toe of the boot is occupied by a region rich in history and culture, with wonderful tourist resorts, places with spectacular natural beauty, an enviable culinary tradition: Calabria.
If you are planning a holiday in this region, read carefully this ranking with the 15 unmissable Calabrian attractions!
- Sila Natural Park
- Tropea and Pizzo Calabro
- Stilo and the Cattolica
- Head of the Vatican, Ricardi
- Archaeological Park of Scolacium, Roccelletta di Borgia and Soverato
- Reggio Calabria
- Dino Island and Arcomagno Beach
- Pollino National Park
- Le Castella and the Red Beaches, Isola di Capo Rizzuto
- Ski slopes in Gambarie
- Scilla and Chianalea
- User questions and comments
1 - Sila Natural Park
Located between the provinces of Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone, the Sila Natural Park represents the mountainous area of Calabria, great for discovering a hidden part of this region that extends for 73.695 hectares and that has been declared a World Heritage Site.
It will be difficult to visit the whole Sila in one or at least a few days, so here are some truly unmissable places in the park. The ski lovers in winter they will certainly love the localities of Camigliatello and Lorica, while the Lake of the Passante is the ideal place for a peaceful picnic. The villages Palumbo, Racise and Buturo offer suggestive walks in the woods in contact with local fauna and flora and, finally, the amusement park among the trees Orme nel Parco, for adults and children, in the Tirivolo area.
Last, but not least, if you visit the Sila you can't not taste the exquisite and rich gastronomy of Sila based on local products such as wild boar meat, mushrooms, potatoes and provola!
2 - Tropea and Pizzo Calabro
Tropea and Pizzo Calabro, both renowned seaside resorts, are located a few kilometers from each other along the Tyrrhenian coast, ideal to visit together in a single day.
Usually we start from Pizzo Calabro, to start the day with one good breakfast with the truffle of Pizzo in one of the many ice cream parlors located in the main square, with a panoramic view of the sea and the Aeolian Islands (which can be visited with a day tour from Tropea) in the distance. To visit in Pizzo the historic center with its cobbled streets and the two main attractions, the Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Murat Castle.
The day continues in Tropea and who has never seen an image of the beautiful sea view and the sanctuary? The village offers this fantastic view e a historic center that is a tangle of alleys. The unmissable attraction is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola, located in a characteristic position on a small promontory, to be reached via a steep staircase.
3 - Stilo and the Cattolica
Stilo is a small village in the province of Reggio Calabria, located on a hill and surrounded by greenery, a few kilometers from the Ionian coast on which it offers a beautiful view. A true jewel of Byzantine art, interesting both from an architectural and cultural point of view. It is in fact the birthplace of the philosopher Tommaso Campanella, whose house can be visited and a park has been dedicated to it with the name of one of his works, "The City of the Sun". The historic center instead retains its medieval features such as the horseshoe shape, the walls, the remains of the castle and many churches.
The real attraction, however, is the Cattolica di Stilo, a small church that overlooks the town, built by a settlement of monks during the th century which still preserves Byzantine mosaics and frescoes inside. The church of San Nicola da Tolentino, the church of San Francesco with the frescoes by the painter Francesco Cozza, the convent of the church of San Domenico, the baroque church of San Giovanni Theresti and finally the fourteenth-century cathedral.
4 - Capo Vaticano, Ricardi
On the Tyrrhenian coast it is located one of the most famous promontories of Calabria, known by the name of Capo Vaticano. It extends from the Gulf of Santa Eufemia to that of Gioia Tauro with a fantastic overhang on the sea. which gives life to one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Along the stretch there are small sandy bays made of fine white sand, often reachable only by sea or through steep paths. The color of the water is lively and intense in every point and changes from turquoise green to deep blue.
Behind, among the rocks, Mediterranean plants sprout that enrich the landscape and finally, but not least, the very rich fish fauna and flora to be discovered through one of the most popular activities in the area, diving.
5 - Amantea
Amantea is among the main tourist centers of the Tyrrhenian coast, defined as the city of two souls: the "old" one with a medieval imprint and the "new" one, modern and full of life. It develops in height and from the top offers a splendid view of the sea and the lower part of the town.
In the old area, at the top of the hill, the ruins of an ancient medieval castle between the surrounding walls and with a watchtower. Another site of interest is the monastery of San Bernardino da Siena, an excellent example of a Romanesque church, which has now become a national monument.
The new area, on the other hand, does mainly develops between the main square and the course, a long life in which modern buildings and historic Baroque buildings alternate, made lively by a succession of bars, restaurants and ice cream parlors. In this regard, anyone who visits Amantea absolutely must taste the local artisan ice cream! Finally, Amantea is perfect to spend several days there as its port offers the possibility of visiting the Aeolian Islands in one day.
6 - Archaeological Park of Scolacium, Roccelletta di Borgia and Soverato
The Archaeological Park of Scolacium is located in the municipality of Borgia, near Catanzaro Lido, and is the most important of the whole Ionian coast, as it represents the first city founded by the Greeks. In ancient times it was called Skylletion, then it became the Roman Scolacium. Today they remain, as a testimony, important archaeological finds immersed in a verdant setting of olive trees and other Mediterranean plants, where ancient structures such as houses, temples, theaters and statues alternate but also finds of all kinds (amphorae, coins, ceramics, jewels).
At the entrance to the park there is the Roccelletta di Borgia, one basilica dedicated to Santa Maria della Roccella which mixes the Romanesque, Byzantine and Arabic styles. 20 minutes away, to engage the whole day, we also point out Soverato, main tourist center of the Ionian coast where to spend time between beaches, markets, rides, a walk along the seafront and an aperitif in the seaside resorts.
7 - Reggio Calabria
Reggio Calabria is a city of immense charm with its mix of history and worldliness and the scenic beauty given by the view on the Sicilian coasts. Undisputed attraction are the two statues of the Riace Bronzes to be admired in National archeologic museum together with numerous other finds related to the ancient history of the entire Reggio area.
Another pride of Reggio Calabria is theextended stretch of beach surrounded by the Lungomare Falcomatà, also known as the most beautiful kilometer in Italy, a title assigned to it by the succession of palm trees, statues and palaces including the statue of winged victory, the colorful sculptures of Rabarama, Villa Zerbi, Palazzo Zani and the Arena dello Stretto where the statue of the fighting goddess Athena. Another unmissable symbol and attraction of Reggio Calabria is the Aragonese Castle built already in the year 536.
8 - Gerace
Gerace is a small village perched on a cliff that enjoys a wonderful location, which makes it free on all sides giving it a 360 ° panoramic view, with the Ionian coast in front and the Aspromonte park behind. To enjoy this fantastic view you absolutely have to go and walk around the former convent!
But Gerace is not a simple town, but a medieval village among the most beautiful in Calabria and in the ranking of the most beautiful in Italy. Its historic center is in fact developed between the surrounding walls and is accessed through "doors". Stroll through its narrow streets takes you back in time with narrow and cobbled alleys, ancient shops and inns, and a succession of churches, from the main cathedral to smaller churches. In this regard, we mention its title of Country of 100 Churches!
9 - Dino Island and Arcomagno Beach
In the north of the Calabrian Tyrrhenian coast, a succession of cliffs leads from Praia a Mare to San Nicola Arcella, creating a rather jagged and quite spectacular stretch of coastline, on which a series of corners of paradise alternate between rocky and other sandy beaches. In front of Praia a Mare emerges the small and natural island of Dino, covered with lush nature, characterized by underwater caves and surrounded by crystal clear waters. It can also be reached by swimming without any difficulty, but many group boat excursions depart daily to take visitors snorkeling.
Not far away, in the municipality of San Nicola Arcella, between imposing cliffs overlooking the sea, the tiny but enchanting beach of Arcomagno opens up. A small strip of sand bathed by crystal clear waters with a Caribbean color, reachable via a steep and panoramic path between the cliffs. Its peculiarity is being dominated by a natural arch created among the rocks that lets a beam of light pass through, illuminating it and creating a real spectacle for the eyes! Our advice is to visit it before noon in order to fully enjoy the sun.
10 - Pollino National Park
Although the Sila is the best known mountainous area in Calabria, we cannot fail to mention the Pollino National Park, among other things the largest in Italy, since 2015 inserted among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is located between Basilicata and Calabria and touches the provinces of Cosenza, Potenza and Matera, with 192.565 total hectares, of which 103.915 in the Calabrian territory.
His name is due to the homonymous mountain massif that occupies it, but the park is made up of many spectacular natural beauties such as the Lao River Valley Reserve (Papasidero), the Raganello Gorge (San Lorenzo Bellizzi) and the Argentino River Valley (Orsomarso). It goes without saying, therefore, that inside the opportunities for visits and sports are numerous! In summer, for example, you can take long hiking trails, on foot, trekking or mountain biking. Rafting along the various waterways is also very popular. In winter, however, when the whole environment is tinged with white, it attracts lovers of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the snow.
11 - Crotone
Crotone is one of the five Calabrian capitals, a city of ancient origins that still preserves important sites throughout the provincial territory. Founded by the Greek colonists, it later became a renowned center of Magna Graecia, and was later chosen by the philosopher Pythagoras as his residence, contributing to cultural growth with his school of thought.
The city today it divides into old and new and the two areas join in Piazza Pitagora. From here starts a labyrinth of narrow alleys including the Duomo, better known as the Basilica-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the National Archaeological Museum to discover the history of the Crotone area, the Pythagoras Gardens to relax in the midst of greenery , and finally the Castle of Charles V, the medieval fortress symbol of the city. Not to be missed a stroll along the lively promenade with its wide choice of places to have fun all night long.
12 - The Castella and the Red Beaches, Capo Rizzuto Island
Le Castella is a famous tourist spot in the province of Crotone, known for its Aragonese fortress erected in the middle of the sea, on a platform accessible via a narrow path. The castle has ancient origins and was built for defensive purposes. It was in fact used as a shelter for soldiers committed to protecting the territory from attacks by sea. Today inside you can admire photographs, armor and tools of the past, while from the top of the narrow control tower you can enjoy a beautiful view of the coast.
After the visit of the castle, it awaits you a long walk on the colorful and characteristic corso surrounded by restaurants, ice cream shops, souvenir shops and shops selling local products. We recommend visiting Le Castella between the late afternoon and the evening. Not far from there, to also engage the daytime hours in case you go in summer, we recommend the Red Beaches, an expanse of golden sand embellished with red rocks, blue waters and Mediterranean vegetation. Here, excursions on a glass-bottomed boat are very popular to admire the underwater fauna of the Capo Rizzuto Marine Reserve.
13 - Pentedattilo
E' a small village nestled in the Aspromonte mountains, fraction of Melito Porto Salvo in the province of Reggio Calabria. Pentedattilo extends at the foot of a rock and its name means five fingers, referring to particular shape of this rock that resembles a hand.
The village has very ancient Greek-Roman origins and its other characteristic is that of being, since 1971, a ghost town. Pentedattilo has in fact been declared uninhabitable, consequently abandoned by the population which has moved slightly further downstream forming a new small center from which the old can be admired. However, in recent years, thanks to the contribution and work of various bodies and associations, small local craft businesses are reviving that revive the village. So in Pentedattilo the main attraction to visit is the town itself!
14 - Ski slopes in Gambarie
If you think that Calabria is only heat, sea and sun, you've probably never heard of places like Gambarie! In the province of Reggio Calabria, it is located a true ski paradise that turns white every winter and offers beautiful scenery and landscapes.
Gambarie is located in the heart of the Aspromonte National Park, at 1.400 meters high, and is the largest Calabrian mountain tourist resort, with 4 ski lifts and 11 km of slopes. The ideal place for those who love skiing or snowboarding in winter and want to discover new locations rather than the most famous of Northern Italy. The real attraction of Gambarie, however, is its 360 ° panoramic view of the Strait of Messina, Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands.
15 - Scilla and Chianalea
Scilla is a village in the province of Reggio Calabria, among the most beautiful Calabrian seaside resorts. Arriving, its view of the sea will welcome you and from there you can walk through the characteristic alleys of the town to reach the beautiful beach. At the bottom you can enjoy blue and clear water like few others dominated on the right side by an imposing cliff overlooking the sea which on its top houses the Ruffo Castle.
A walkway runs along the cliff leading to Chianalea, the historic center of Scilla, counted among the most beautiful villages in Italy. Chianalea is a long cobbled street, surrounded by ancient and local houses to have an aperitif or stop for dinner, to be walked in peace and quiet while enjoying the views from the alleys overlooking the sea.
Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep
To get to Calabria there are two reference airports: Lamezia Terme and Reggio Calabria. Both overlook the Tyrrhenian coast, but Lamezia Airport is close to the area where the region "thins", therefore strategic to reach the Ionian coast. Flights from € 49,00 -
Is essential rent a car as soon as you land, Calabria is a region to visit on the road. If you choose the Tyrrhenian Coast itinerary, base yourself in Reggio Calabria, Tropea and Amantea. Accommodations from € 50,00 per night.
If you prefer to visit the Ionian Coast, base yourself in Catanzaro Lido to visit the central part of the coast, then Soverato for the southern area, finally Crotone for the north area. Accommodations from € 55,00 per night.
Alternatively you can plan a mixed itinerary between the sea and villages, visiting the best of both coasts. In this case, land in Lamezia Terme and stop in Pizzo, Tropea, Capo Vaticano, Scilla / Chianalea and Reggio Calabria, Pentedattilo, Gerace, Roccella Ionica, Stilo, Soverato, Parco di Scolacium; staying in cities such as Tropea, Reggio, Roccella Ionica, Catanzaro. Accommodations from € 59,00 per night.