Explore Calabria, its clifftop towns and villages perched on Italy’s beautiful Thyrrenian and Ionian coastlines. Begin this self-guided tour of Calabria in the picture perfect town of Tropea.
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Day 1: Arrive at Lamezia Terme airport and transfer to your hotel in Capo Vaticano.
Day 2: Spend the morning exploring the jewels Calabria’s Tyrrhenian Coast, with a visit to the towns of Tropea and Capo Vaticano. Tropea is a sight to behold, perched high above the clear turquoise water, on top of a steep cliff face. It’s the point where the mountains meet the sea, joined by pristine white stretches of sand. Down by the coast is Santa Maria dell’Isola, a beautiful church set atop another dramatic rock formation that pushes out into the sea. The church has a long history, having first been mentioned by the Roman author Pliny the Elder in the first century AD. Over the years earthquakes have taken their toll on the structure, so today you’ll see it in its modern resorted form. Take the winding staircase to the top and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views back towards the old town, where you’ll see the buildings clinging on to the cliff face. Turn around and on a clear day you’ll see Sicily’s volcanic Aeolian Islands emerging from the sea. Wander into the old town, and you’ll appreciate its slow way of life, small shops and restaurants serving fresh fish. Visit the Cathedral, which was built in Norman times, however today after multiple rebuilds it is predominantly Baroque in style. Learn about its fascinating past and admire the artworks inside, the famous of ‘Our Lady of Romania’ the patron saint of Tropea by Lippo Benivieni. Head to Capo Vaticano a town set out on a promontory of white granite. The town has some of the most stunning beaches and coves to be explored.
Day 3: Today you’ll visit another impressive costal clifftop town, Pizzo Calabro. The pastel painted buildings are perched precariously on the cliffs edge. Explore the narrow winding streets of the centro storico dotted with picturesque piazzas. Visit the church of Piedigrotta which is built into the tufa stone, set above the sea. Next, you’ll head south towards the toe of Italy’s boot to Reggio Calabria. Visit the Aragonese Castle, the historical building that symbolizes the city. where Joachim Murat was shot. While you’re here you must try the towns famous tartufo ice cream – a delicious meld of chocolate and hazelnut coated in coco powder. Head back to your hotel in Capo Vaticano.
Day 4: Today you’ll have the option to take an excursion to the volcanic archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. Take to the sea for a mini cruise where you’ll be guided through incredible natural scenery of caves, cliffs, coves and bays. Exploring the islands is an unforgettable experience. Set off to see Stromboli, the mythical fire breather dominated by the nine-hundred-metre-high volcano, one of the four active volcanos in Italy. The island has two villages San Vincenzo and a small fishing village of Ginostra. Settle into island life as you relax on the black volcanic sand beaches and take dip in the clear blue waters that surround it. The cruise will continue on to Liapri, the largest island in the archipelago. Pastel coloured houses nestle on the water’s edge of the lively port town. Explore the bustling narrow streets of the old town lined with charming shops, cafes and fashion boutiques. The town is set amidst a rugged Mediterranean landscape in which there is a lot of nature to be seen. Next stop is the island of sulphur, Vulcano. As you approach, you’ll see the imposing cliffs and wild panorama of the natural landscape. Step ashore and the first thing you’ll notice are the sulphurous aromas and smoking craters. The island is famous for its therapeutic mud baths and hot springs, take this opportunity immerse and relax in this natural setting.
Day 5: Another impressive coastal town precariously built upon a rocky outcrop is Scilla on the Costa Viola. As you approach the town, you’ll stop of in the picture-perfect fishing village of Chinalea, with its authentic Calabrian feel. Watch the colourful boats bob along the coast as fishermen bring in their catch. You can’t miss the strategically placed Castello Ruffo high up on the rocks. Visit the historical structure that that dates back to the 5th century BC and has stood for centuries as a safe sanctuary and protective stronghold. After you’ll head to the region’s largest city, Reggio Calabria. While you’re here you’ll visit the the Archeological museum, home to the Riace Bronzes, the life size statues of Greek warriors that were cast around 460–450 BC as well as other fascinating artefacts from the region. The town has a beautiful waterfront promenade that you will have time to stroll along before visiting the Roman Baths, Greek walls and the Cathedral.
Day 6: Head into the forested mountainous hinterland of Calabria until you reach Zungri. This agricultural village set high above sea level, on the northern slope of the plateau of Poro. The village is home to Archaeological site of Sbariati, a well-preserved rock settlement of caves carved into the mountainside that were inhabited by Basillian monks who arrived there in the 12th century. Learn about this ancient social model and way of life. Later you’ll visit a small family farm that produces fresh local produce including onions, nudja (typical Calabrian salami), wine, cheese and vegetables. You’ll have the chance to taste this traditional Calabrian produce and the opportunity to take some home with you. Before heading back you’ll visit the Church of Our Lady of the Snow.
Day 7: This morning make your way to Lamezia Terme. Head into the old town, explore the Veterans Church, and learn about its fascinating history. According to folk traditions, the church dates back to 1200 and was built on the ruins of an ancient Basilican Monastry. According to the ancient legend, the Madonna delle Grazie appeared to the daughter of the King and Roman Emperor Frederick II in the very spot that the church now stands. Stroll along the Corso Numistrano, the street is lined with beautiful palazzi. The town is full of fascinating buildings steeped in history such as the Norman castle and the beautiful Duomo di Nicastro, built in the Byzantine era. In the afternoon, continue to the small village of Tiriolo located 690m above sea level with views over the Ionian sea to one side and and the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Aeolian Islands on the other. The historic centre was built around the castle at the beginning of 16th century. Tirolo is also known as the city of two seas as form its centre you can see the entire panorama.
Day 8: After breakfast, depart to the airport for your flight home.
- Saturday between 04 Apr - 07 Nov 20
- 7 nights 4* accommodation on a half board basis
- Airport transfers
- Excursions: Tropea & capo Vaticano (half-day), Pizzo (half day), Zungri & tasting of typical products (half day), Nicastro & Tiriolo (full day)
- Tasting of local products
- English speaking guide
- Airport transfers
- The optional excursion to the Aeolian Islands (full day) is not included in the price
- Entrance tickets to museums/archaeological sites
- Extras, drinks and personal expenses
Parghelia - Hotel Cannamele Resort
The hotel is located about four kilometres outside of Tropea and just one kilometre from the centre of Parghelia, providing a prime position for exploring the area. Enjoy the great facilities that include a heated outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by as sun deck and comfortable loungers, as well as a wellness area offering steam baths and various treatments (payable locally). The café bar is a great spot for for a refreshing drink after days spent visiting the beautiful region that surrounds the hotel. Each morning a buffet breakfast is served on the panoramic terrace overlooking the sea. Guest rooms are simply furnished and provide a fresh and bright space to rest after seeing the sights.
Capo Vaticano - Villaggio Baia d'Ercole
Set in the heart of Capo Vaticano and about 15 kilometres from the centre of Tropea, this hotel is in an excellent location for seeing the nearby sights. Surrounded by lush gardens and Mediterranean vegetation. Facilities include an elegant restaurant that overlooks the long beach, a central bar, two swimming pools close to the sea, a tennis court and a beach and sun terrace equipped with sun loungers. The rooms are decorated in fresh light tones and provide a comfortable space to relax.
Capo Vaticano - Costa Degli Dei Resort
Set on the beautiful sandy promontory of Capo Vaticano the Costa Degli Dei Resort is immeres in beautiful natural surroundings. The hotels private white sandy beach has been awarded a 'blue flag' status and can be reached by shuttle bus from the hotel. If you prefer, can swim in the hotels swimming pool. The pool area is equipped with loungers and a bar service providing a great place to relax. The hotels restaurant serves up Mediterranean flavours. The hotels bedrooms echo the colours and tones of the near by fishing villages. They are decorated with cool tile floors and wooden furnishings.