Top 5: Beaches in Calabria

by Brandon Schultz

May 18, 2019

Calabria, Italy © Tomas Marek |

Top 5 / Europe

Calabria may be the last authentic region of Italy undisturbed by hordes of international tourists, but northern Italians have long adored this southern destination for its dramatic cliff-side beaches, flocking to its ancient shores for centuries of idyllic summer holidays. The region is rife with medieval mountaintop villages overlooking sparkling beaches, each a fantasy postcard setting, and here are five of the most enchanting.



By far the most famous beach in Calabria, Tropea’s crystal clear waters surround behemoth rock formations (great for climbing and adventurous leaps into the sea) before reaching the warm sand below a towering cliff. Here, the colorful village of Tropea ambles right up to the cliff’s edge, creating stunning views from above and below.



For ultimate historical romance, the tranquil beach of Pizzo sits just below a 15th-century castle fortress with sweeping views. While in town, don’t miss a chance to sample the original tartufo from the shop where it was invented (it’s two flavors of ice cream frozen inside a ball of chocolate, sometimes with an additional surprise in the core).



This 1,000-year-old village of winding alleys around precariously stacked houses covering Mt. Saint Nicholas may be the most beautiful in Calabria, and its beaches below are nothing to scoff at either. On your way down the mountain to the sunny shores, you’ll also pass a gorgeous, 17th-century Franciscan monastery worth a stop.



Divine at every elevation, Amantea dates to the seventh century and still retains Byzantine castle ruins at its peak. Winding your way down, you’ll find a village with a 15th-century church and some of today’s best gelato (with sea views to match). Below, a mile of coastline boasts bustling beaches, restaurants and modern shops in stark contrast to the history above.



Set upon a 1,600-foot hill of 60-million-year-old fossils, much of the village is carved directly into its surrounding rock, creating quite the backdrop for the beaches below. Gerace is also home to vineyards originally planted by Ancient Greeks and well known for its quality wine production today.



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