Calabria’s Crystal Blue Waters & Divine Coastline Show Off Italy’s Vast Beauty

Calabria, in southwest Italy, occupies the "toe" of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula. It's a sun-baked region filled with old-fashioned villages and dramatic coastline.

By: Francesca Montillo

Summer is winding down and if the calendar wasn’t enough to remind me, the crisp morning air while walking my puppy is a certain reminder that fall is around the corner. Perhaps you’re like me and this summer was a strange one for you too. I adore my summers in Italy, especially the visits to the beach, but this year wasn’t meant to be. I tell myself that there’s always next year, and if absence makes the heart grow fonder, than next year’s visit will be that much sweeter.

One destination to consider for your next Italian trip is definitely my native region of Calabria! Beach lovers will be happy to know that hundreds and hundreds of azure coastlines surrounds Calabria all yours for the enjoyment.

These are a few of my favorite beach destinations in Calabria to consider for next summer:

Riviera dei Cedri: The Riviera dei Cedri offers panoramic views, extraordinary beauty, enchanting beaches and also the incredible beauty of green mountains. The boardwalks are perhaps the most beautiful of all of Calabria, perhaps all of Italy. While the sea offers ample opportunity to relax, there’s lots to do in nature such as trekking, mountain climbing and lots of biking opportunities.

The Pollino National Park is a delight for anyone wishing to step away from the sea for a mountain experience. With ample towers and castles to be explored, the Riviera dei Cedri offers one ample opportunity to not only have a relaxing experience but an educational one as well, should one wish to learn the history. As a bonus, one can actually smell the citron growing in this area.

Costa degli Dei: They don’t call it the Coast of the Gods for nothing. The water is pristine, fully see-through, the sand is pure and the grottos are breathtaking, many of which can only be reached by boat. The town square of Tropea offers lots of craft shops and opportunities to purchase locally made knick-knacks, supporting the local economy.  The Aeolian Islands are an easy reach from Tropea, and you can certainly see Stromboli in the vicinity.

The Costa degli Dei is picturesque, authentic, an ancient place with only hints of modern life, or attempts at modern life anyways. While beaches are stunning, all the towns on this coast are worthy of exploring and a visitor should consider doing more than just sunbathing. Although the main scope of most visitors is to do just that, the tight alleys, many of which are pedestrian only, offer visitors a real view of everyday life, which I think sometimes is lost when visiting Amalfi or the Riviera.

Costa Viola: This is the smallest of the coasts and one could easily visit the entire coast in one day and get a taste of this area. Of the three, this is the least explored or visited area, making it tranquil and calm, and an ideal destination for families and young children. It begs to be discovered.

The Costa Viola is enchanting, with marvelous natural finds throughout. Tourism certainly hasn’t made its way here yet. The hues of the water at sunset offer a reflection on the water that is incomparable, making the ocean appear violet in color, hence the name. No two sunsets are the same here. Like the other areas mentioned, one can easily view the mountains from the coast. Stand on the cliffs and you’ll have a great view of the Strait of Messina.

A beautiful view of Chianalea di Scilla, Costa Viola. (nata_rass, iStock)

Share your favorite recipe, and we may feature it on our website.

Join the conversation, and share recipes, travel tips and stories.