On this week long road trip you’ll explore Calabria's art, history, culture, beautiful coastline and mountainous scenery. Discover this lesser known region at your own pace, from the beaches of Capo Vaticano to the hilltop villages of the Pollino National park.
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Day 1: Arrive at Lamezia Terme Airport and make your way along the impressive Tyrrenhian coast to the coastal town of Diamante. Settle in to the hotel and head for dinner.
Lameziia Terme – Diamante (approx. 120km/ 1 hour 45)
Day 2: The town of Diamante is known as ‘the city of murals’. Spend your morning strolling through cobbled lanes, lined with stone buildings, decorated with over 150 murals. Nanni Razzetti is the artist who began “Operazione murales” in 1981, transforming the town into an open-air art gallery. In the afternoon, head south to Paola the birthplace of Saint Francis, the patron saint of Calabria. The town has attracted pilgrims for centuries to see the sanctuary that he and his followers carved out the stone. Visit the beautiful Basilica before heading back to your hotel in Diamante.
Diamante – Paola (approx. 45km / 45 minutes) – Diamante (approx. 45km / 45 minutes) Total: approx. 90km / 1 hour 30)
Day 3: Today, drive inland to explore the towns and villages of Pollino National park. Morano Calabro with its red roofed stone buildings and Norman Castle and then on to the Aragonese Castle of Castrovillari. In the afternoon drive to Altomonte, a traditional town with winding streets that lead to the Gothic church of Santa Maria della Consolazione. As you head further towards Calabria’s Ionian coast, stop off at the hill top town of Civita, which dates back to the middle ages. Walk across the ‘devils bridge’ that crosses the Raganello Gorge, one of Italy’s deepest gorges. In the evening, those opting for the half board option can enjoy a typical Calabrian meal at a restaurant in the historical centre of Civita.
Diamante - Morano Calabro (approx. 75km / 1 hour 15) – Castrovillari (approx. 120km/ 1 hour 40) – Altomonte (approx. 35km / 35 minutes) – Civita (approx. 40km / 30 minutes) Total: approx. 270km / 3 hours
Day 4: Head to the small town of Scilla, immersed in the beautiful scenery of the Costa Viola, set beside the Strait of Messina. Visit the old town, Ruffo Castle, St Roccos Church and the traditional fishing village of Chinalea. Stoll through the narrow streets lined by charming houses and watch as the anglers mend their nets and go about their daily work. Drive further along the coast to Reggio Calabria, the elegant city with its beautiful liberty style buildings. Explore the Roman Baths, Greek walls, Cathedral and the Museo Nazionale with its extensive collection of artefacts and relics from the surrounding region. Just in front of the museum is the seafront promenade defined by the Italian Poet Gabriele D’Annunzio as “The most beautiful kilometre in Italy”. After a long day of exploring head to your Hotel in Scilla to relax for the evening.
Civita – Scilla (approx. 240km / 2 hours 30) - Reggio Calabria (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) – Scilla (20km / 25 minutes) Total: approx. 280km / 3 hours 20
Day 5: Drive east through rolling hills and forested landscape of beech trees, silver birch and chestnuts along the mountain road to Gerace, the gateway to Aspromonte National Park. The ancient town carved into the clifftop and is known as ‘the town of the hundred churches.’ Head to the old town ‘borgo antico’ and you’ll find a warren of ancient stone buildings with pretty piazzas and the Byzantine-Norman Cathedral. On the Ionian coast, you’ll find the ancient town of Locri Epizephyrii, which was once home to a thriving Greek colony. Visit the National Archaeological Museum and explore the archeological site to learn about the Greek civilization that once occupied Calabria. Drive back through the National Park to your hotel in the Tropea area.
Scilla – Gerace (approx. 95 km / 1 hour 15) – Locri (approx. 15 km – 20 minutes) – Tropea Area (90km /1 hour 40) Total: approx. 200km / 3 hours 15)
Day 6: Tropea’s old town is perched on the clifftop above the pristine white beach and clear blue sea. Take your time wandering the narrow cobblestone streets in the historical centre admiring the 18th and 19th century palaces and the striking Norman Cathedral. If you’re feeling energetic make your way up the winding staircase of about three hundred steps built into the rock face that lead you up to the beautiful 6th century Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria dell’Isola, with incredible views across to Sicily’s Aeolian Islands. After head to the fishing village Pizzo Calabro and visit the Church of Piedigrotta, which is excavated into the limestone cliffs right above the sea. Before you leave, head to the Piazza Republica to try the towns famous tartufo di Pizzo – the delicious coco covered ice cream made up of layers of hazelnut and chocolate. Start making your way back to your hotel in the Tropea area with a stop at Capo Vaticano, with its beautiful beaches and coves with rocky out crops of grey-white granite.
Tropea - Pizzo Calabro (approx. 30km/45 minutes) - Capo Vaticano (approx. 40km / 60 minutes) – Tropea Area (12km / 20 minutes) Total: approx. 82km / 2 hours 5)
Day 7: To this day farming plays a significant role in Calabrian life. Today you’ll head out to visit a farm in Lamezia Terme. For the past two hundred years, the five hundred hectares of land here have been worked to produce olives, grapes and citrus fruits. The land is also home to six hundred cattle. Explore the farm estate and learn about this rural way of life. After, enjoy a tasting of the wine and olive oil produced at the farm. In the afternoon, visit the beautiful beaches of Tropea. Take some time to relax and soak up the Calabrian sun.
Tropea – Lamezia Terme (approx. 65km / 1 hour 15) – Tropea (approx. 65km / 1 hour 15) Total: approx. 130km 2 hours 30
Day 8: On your final day enjoy a hearty breakfast before making your way to Lamezia Terme airport for your flight home.
Tropea Area – Lamezia Terme Airport (approx. 60km / 1 hour 5)
- Flexible daily arrivals
- Car hire with unlimited mileage
- 7 nights’ accommodation on a half board basis (optional B&B reduction)
- Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries
- Wine & olive oil tasting
- Any extras, lunches, drinks and personal expenses
- Parking costs (where applicable)
- Entrance to museums and archaeological sites
Please note that these are example hotels which are subject to change:
Diamante Area - Hotel Cristina ★★★
Civita Area - Bed & Breakfast La Magara
Scilla Area - Bed & Breakfast Locandiera
Parghelia Area - Hotel Cannamele Resort ★★★★