Top 10 Calabria Beaches to Visit in Italy

August 13, 2014

Calabria, often referred to as the Caribbean of Europe, boasts a warm climate and hundreds of miles of spectacular sun-drenched coastline that wrap around seaside villages and swooping cliffs, which make its pristine beaches world-famous, and rightly so!

A favourite summer vacation destination, Calabria offers an endless selection of beautiful beaches for sun worshippers - most equipped with lidos, watersports, cafes, restaurants and hotels - as well as lovely towns to explore on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. If you’re considering a vacation to Calabria, then here, in no particular order, are the Top 10 Calabrian beaches to keep in mind.

Located between the slopes of the Aspromonte mountain and the Tyrrhenian Sea is Scilla, a picturesque fishing village immortalized in Greek mythology and featured in Homer’s Odyssey. The beach front is arguably the most popular attraction with its warm violet waters and sandy beaches overlooked by the 11th century Ruffo Castle. The castle sits atop a steep cliff where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Sicilian Coast and the Aeolian Islands. During the summer months, Scilla’s restaurants, cafes, hotels and beaches are abuzz with tourists feasting on fresh seafood and enjoying the pristine waters. For diving enthusiasts there’s also a diving school located in town.    

The ”Tyrrhenian pearl” as Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio once referred to it, Diamante is a spectacular jewel on the Riviera Dei Cedri on the Tyrrhenian coast. It boasts crystal clear waters, long white beaches, and sloping cliffs with olive groves. Spend the afternoon at a seaside café marveling at the sun-drenched landscape or relax on one of the beach loungers. Culture seekers should take a stroll through the enchanting historical center to see the town’s famed colorful murals, while outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy thrilling sports like windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving and water skiing.

On the Tyrrhenian coast lie the pebbled shores of Praia a Mare. Its main attraction, Dino Island, is a World Heritage site famous for its six magnificent sea caves that shoot underwater lights that magically illuminate the iridescent blue waters. Scuba diving, paragliding and trekking the nearby Pollino National Park are great ways to appreciate this incredible beauty. Praia’s black volcanic sand beaches are fully equipped with lidos, though you can still find open access to the beach at no cost. If you’re courageous, try cliff jumping off the Arcomagno Arch. This natural bridge is located over a hidden crystal bay. Simply spectacular!

The most famous of the Calabrian beaches is Tropea, home to one of Italy’s most spectacular white sand beaches, turquoise-blue water, and a stunning coastline to be rivaled by Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. Perfectly situated between Gioia Tauro Gulf and Sant’Eufemia Gulf, Tropea is swathed by warm Mediterranean breezes on a 40-kilometer coastline the Ancient Greeks named “Coast of the Gods.” What an incredible experience it is to see the dramatic cliffs rise up against the sunlit sea of blue below, and if you’re fortunate, on a clear day you can see the volcanic Aeolian island of Stromboli.

Moving further along the Coast of the Gods are the spectacular white sandy beaches and breathtaking vistas of Capo Vaticano. This crystal clear ocean of blue, in every imaginable hue, sits on the Tyrrhenian coast across the Aeolian Islands and Stromboli. It is considered one of the Mediterranean's most gorgeous beaches and boasts incomparable natural beauty with its massive rock formations, small bays and secluded beaches. Several bays can only be reached by sea and many remain totally isolated. Rich in flora, fauna and fish, its iridescent waters are perfect for scuba diving.  

Scilla, Reggio Calabria
Palmi signals the beginning of the Costa Viola (Violet Coast) named after the purple hues of its warm, inviting waters. Its location and beauty has led writers and poets to call it the ”Terrace on the Strait of Messina”. Marinella beach is literally carved in the beautiful shores of Palmi at the foot of the famous Sant’Elia’s mountain bordered by palms, orange gardens and olive trees. This beautiful cove of rocky beach is surrounded by evocative cliffs and nearby camping sites, hotels and restaurants enjoyed by locals. This is a beach how Mother Nature intended it to be; warm, inviting, full of fish and secluded from hordes of tourists.    

If you want to experience beach life like a local then a visit to the less-touristy town of Caminia is in order. Located on the Ionian coast near Catanzaro, Caminia is a little curve of fairly undeveloped beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs, pebbled sand and warm water. It’s the ideal location for relaxing and taking things at a slower pace. What it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for with its panoramic views, unspoiled beaches and pristine waters. If you crave action you can always visit the famed beach town of Soverato nearby.  Things pick up during summer holidays, but until then, pack a picnic and enjoy this peaceful pocket of paradise.

Situated along the Coast of the Gods is Pizzo Calabro, simply referred to as Pizzo. Its extensive beachfront is packed with vacationers who lounge on its gorgeous sandy beaches surrounded by spectacular cliffs.  One of the region’s most visited attractions is tucked below the road just outside Pizzo - Chiesetta di Piedigrotta – a cave-chapel carved centuries ago near the beach by a group of sailors in gratitude for surviving a storm. The famed Tartufo di Pizzo; a chocolate and hazelnut ice cream (gelato) ball containing chocolate fudge sauce can be enjoyed at any one of the local cafes, bars or restaurants.

The marine protected waters of Capo Rizzuto are one of the most fascinating areas of the Mediterranean Sea and are home to a myriad of marine life that you can explore with a number of itineraries both on and under the sea. Scuba diving or snorkeling offer you the chance to see unique sea beds, beautiful sea fauna and if you’re lucky barracudas and dolphins. If you prefer to admire the red sand beaches, cliffs and bays of Capo Rizzuto at sea, you can do so aboard a sail boat. This natural oasis remains relatively unbeknownst to foreigners, though an influx in coastal resorts means that’s about to change.

Located on a stretch of coast called Riviera dei Cedri, surrounded by clear blue waters and rugged mountains, lays Scalea. Panoramic views over the Tyrrhenian Sea make it a popular summer destination. Its unspoiled beaches range from soft, gray to rocky sand overlooked by the old medieval town of Scalea above the hilltop. The beach is fully-equipped with bathing areas, watersports, hotels, restaurants and cafes. Adventure seekers will appreciate its close proximity to the Pollino National Park which means you can go hiking, camping, mountain biking and swimming all in one day. 

Note: All of Calabria’s beaches offer public access at no cost, though most are also equipped with lidos that provide beach loungers, umbrellas, etc., for a fee.  
Click on the link to download a copy of the new issue of Panoram Italia Magazine featuring an entire Dossier on Calabria curated by yours truly!   

You Might Also Like