Are you planning a trip to Calabria soon? You’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do and see in one of Italy’s most beautiful coastal regions.
Located in the southwestern ‘toe’ of Italy’s infamous boot-shaped peninsula, Calabria’s landscape is made up of over 800 km (500 miles) of breathtaking beaches, rugged mountains, and perfectly-preserved medieval villages.
Read our guide to find out the very best places to visit while you’re in Calabria, ensuring you make the most of your trip!
Meander Through the Medieval Town of Fiumefreddo Bruzio
Located on the west coast of the province of Cosenza, one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, Fiumefreddo Bruzio, still has all the characteristics you’d expect from a fortified medieval town.
Be transported back in time as you stroll through picturesque piazzas overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea, picnic beneath the ruins of the ancient Castello della Valle, and marvel at the perfectly preserved medieval houses that line these charmingly cobbled streets.
For a foodie experience like no other, have a look at our Food and Wine of Calabria Tour, which includes Fiumefreddo Bruzio as its first stop.
Top Up Your Tan Beneath the Bold Cliffs of Tropea Beach
With crystal-clear waters, cavernous cliffs and a quaint historical center, a trip to Tropea Beach is a must-do for any visitor to Calabria.
Mad about medieval architecture? Explore the iconic Duomo and the Chiesa del Gesù and Saint Francis of Assisi churches, before finishing off with a sumptuous meal in one of the area’s long-run family restaurants.
Then, at the end of the day, unwind with an ice-cold Italian beer on the beach. It’s the perfect Calabrian day!
Discover La Sila Piccola (Little Sila), and the Town of Taverna
In the very center of Calabria, you’ll find La Sila Piccola – one of three areas that make up Europe’s largest plateau, the La Sila Mountains.
Breathe in the freshest air in Europe as you explore the wondrous woodland, magnificent mountain ranges and glittering lakes that call La Sila Piccola home, then take a stroll into the charming town of Taverna – once home to the legendary Italian Baroque artist, Mattia Preti.
Learn more about the town’s fascinating history, devour local delicacies, and enjoy a multi-course lunch in the mountains on our 10-day Best of Calabria and Malta Tour.
Picnic in Parco Nazionale della Sila (Sila National Park)
The greenest of Calabria’s three national parks, La Sila National Park lies in the very heart of Calabria and sprawls across an impressive 74,000 hectares.
Highlights of this luscious landscape include three sparkling lakes and an array of mountains, such as the 1,928m-high Mount Botte Donato and the 1,764m-high Mount Gariglione.
The park’s diverse ecosystem makes it the perfect home for a wide range of flora and fauna, and you might even get the chance to spot the park’s national symbol in its natural habitat: the wolf.
Stroll the Cobblestoned Streets of Chianalea di Scilla
Chinalea di Scilla is a small fishing village famed for its traditional houses, which are set along the town’s beautiful bay. Almost submerged in the sea, the village is fondly nicknamed ‘Southern Venice’ thanks to its resemblance to the Italian city.
Soak up the sun as you meander along the historical Calabrian cobblestoned streets before heading to explore the Ruffo Castle perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Strait of Messina.
Neatly nestled inside the castle, you’ll find the luminous Lighthouse of Scilla, along with spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Aeolian Islands.
Admire the Amazing Artifacts at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria
One of the most prestigious archaeological museums in Italy, The Museo Archeologico Nazionale Reggio Calabria is packed full of jewelry, ceramics, coins, weapons and tools dating all the way back to the 5th century BCE.
The museum houses the famous Bronzi di Riace (Bronzi di Riace), two full-size Greek bronze statues of warriors, created around 460–450 BC. These famous statues unquestionably constitute one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century – it’s not to be missed!
Open from 9am to 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday, tickets for the museum cost just €8 (or €6 on Wednesdays) – making it perfect for a family day out!
Visit the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola
Bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea in the town of Tropea, this Byzantine-style monastery dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.
Just a 20-minute walk from Tropea train station or 400m from the town square (Piazza Cannone), getting to the church is relatively easy thanks to stone steps that lead all the way to the top of the rocky cliff it rests on.
Take photos of one of the most picture-perfect panoramas in Italy, before heading back down to relax with a tipple or two on the pure white sandy beach surrounding this iconic landmark.
Take a Guided Tour of the Grottos of Dino Island
Just off the coast of Calabria, Dino Island is the perfect place to visit to see the power of nature in action.
Spanning 50 hectares and with limestone cliffs over 260-feet high, natural erosion over the years has created an abundance of stunning seashore grottos.
To get a close-up view of the grottos, book a guided tour on one of the nearby beaches.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the naturally formed rocks resembling a sleeping lion and praying monk that give the Lion and Monk Grottos their names.
Learn All About the Legend of Chiesetta di Piedigrotta (Piedigrotta Church)
Legend has it that this enchanting church was initially carved into the tuff cliff to protect an image of the Madonna, rescued by three shipwrecked sailors at the end of the 17th century.
Originally a modest fisherman’s chapel, this enigmatic church is now home to a collection of intricately-carved biblical statues and is the second most-visited monument in Calabria after the Riace Bronzes.
Admire the Ancient City of Scolacium
On the eastern coast of Calabria’s narrowest point, in the middle of a centuries-old olive grove, lies the ancient Greek seaside city of Scolacium.
Be transported back in time as you wander around this ancient archeological site, before admiring the many artifacts that have been discovered beneath its grounds at the Scolacium Archeological Museum.
Enjoy an al-fresco lunch in the Scolacium Archeological Park, before stopping to see the remains of a Byzantine basilica from a bygone era, Santa Maria della Roccella.
Start Planning Your Calabrian Adventure Today!
If you’re ready to be captivated by all that Calabria has to offer, why not have a look at our expert-led Calabria tours? Whether you dream of tasting the true Calabria, experiencing the best of Calabria and Malta, or retracing your ancestor’s footsteps, we can ensure you have a unique experience that you’ll treasure forever.
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