Calabria, in southwest Italy, occupies the “toe” of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula. It’s a sun-baked region of rugged mountains, old-fashioned villages and dramatic coastline, with many popular beaches.
The region’s smaller towns and villages and rural areas have a lot of historic charm. The great cities of Magna Graecia have all but vanished: fighting and conquest, followed by malaria and earthquakes saw to their destruction. Among the region’s remaining curiosities are Greek-speaking villages, and an Albanian community dating back five hundred years.
It’s the seaside that attracts most of Calabria’s summer visitors nowadays: the region has 780km of coast, facing onto two seas, the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian.
Temperatures in the summer are very hot, although the mountains get covered with snow in winter months.
The region can difficult to navigate through the mountains and because of this we highly recommend car rental to explore this region and really make the most of it.

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This stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea is called the Costa degli Dei, the ‘Coast of the Gods’, and it is admired by some as one of Italy’s finest summer holiday destinations. The coastline curves outwards, boasting dramatic cliffs, beaches, and a string of little towns. Although it is not particularly well-known to English- speaking travellers, Tropea is popular with Italians and with other sun-seeking Europeans. Tropea has that lovely timeless, faded feel that is a characteristic of sleepy southern Italian seaside towns. The town centre is a maze of pretty lanes and palazzi – some of which are crumbling away – and little hidden squares where you’ll usually find restaurant tables. It is Tropea’s position high on the cliffs which makes the town so appealing, although that does come with an obvious drawback, to walk from the town centre to the sea involves flights of steps or a zig-zag road. There are beaches on either side of the town.

Pizzo has two main attractions: the Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, a bizarre cave-chapel on the shore, and the wonderful tartufo di Pizzo, a chocolate truffle ice cream. The town boasts a historic castle and a pleasant town centre. The centre of Pizzo is a picturesque jumble of narrow lanes, historic but bustling with everyday Calabrian life. Downhill in the shadow of the castle is Pizzo’s small harbour, with a pleasant seaside promenade. There is a small stretch of beach here, and more beaches can be found on the other side of town, a short drive away.