Calabria. Tropea and Capo Vaticano – turquoise pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea

Did you know that Ryanair started to offer cheap flights to Lamezia Terme in Calabria? March 30th from Krakow and from July 2nd from Warsaw. Thanks to it the farthest corner of mainland Italy, is now easily accessible. In less than an hour commuter by train for less than 5 euros you get to Tropea, a beautiful town suspended on a high cliff. The city beach is considered one of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Italy. It’s the perfect place to spend a few days and enjoy the beauty of the area. In the evenings in the town, in good weather, on the main terrace you can watch the sunset over the volcano Stromboli. The steep cliffs falling into the turquoise sea, the tiny cove tempting with its beauty and the high season with sun and warm water lasts until October. Sounds tempting? Come and see!

Tropea was my big Italian dream. I still remember the moment. It was the year 2000 or the beginning of 2001 when in the magazine Viva I saw an article about Calabria, undiscovered pearl of Italy, with photos Tropea on the spread. It was close-up photo from the observation terrace to on the rock with the church of Santa Maria dell’Isola and a part of the beach next to it. It was like a lightning shocks. Then I decided that sooner or later I’ll also swim in exactly the same place. Article I kept to this day. My dream on Tropea come true in July 2010, after almost ten years of rocking in the clouds, I finally came to Calabria to spend some time, not just ride along coast to Sicily. From that staying here you’ll see some photos, but most did in September 2014 during the second stay.

How to get to Tropea from Lamezia Terme airport?

You get on a regular commuter train at the railway station in Lamezia Terme and go about 50 minutes to the station of Tropea. Tropea Train Station is located a bit off the beaten track, to the center you have a piece of walk. The cost of the train ticket is 4.20 euros / person one way.

How to travel between Lamezia Terme airport and its train station?

If you do not scare walikng a little more than two kilometers, I recommend just the short walk. The following map showed the route. If you prefer to drive there in front of airport terminal is a bus stop. City bus line 90 runs every 30 minutes, the cost of the ticket is 1.30 euros if you buy it at a kiosk, 2 euros if in the bus.

I posted here the bus schedule, simply click on the image and will appear in a large format.

pierwsza papierowa książka


Tropea – important places in sightseeing?


“The citizens of Calabria bent over a glass of sweet wine Greco di Bianco like to tell the old legend. One of them says when God was creating Italia, generously scattered here and there a few precious stones. Sensual ruby fell to the north, near present-day Venice, Padua and Verona, amber fell to Rome and became its symbol of his power, dark agate fell to Naples. Meanwhile, on the tip of the Italian boot the hand of the Creator dropped turquoise. it’s the color of sky and sea surrounding Calabria, as well as the color of the eyes of beautiful ladies of this region.” Marzena Mróz/p>

To feel the atmosphere of Tropea, you have to spend in town, at least one whole day. Based on my own experience I recommend you divide it into several stages.


The narrow streets of Tropea and panoramic terraces3

The morning is the best time to walk through the streets of Tropea peering into climate alleys. in this part of a day there aren’t many tourists, and the sun shines longer enough that the views from the panoramic points are breathtaking. Exactly points. There’re a couple and you can find them easily. The first is the main terrace overlooking on the sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola and the beach located on the left side of church. There in the evening you can watch the sunset. There is another terrace, which is not to be missed. At the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Getting to it and looking down you will see the beach while glancing to the left you will see the most popular view adorning all the booklets advertising holidays in Calabria. The same, that many years ago knocked me to my knees. Strolling the narrow streets also incline attention to the beautiful twelfth-century Norman cathedral.


tropea, calabria



tropea, calabria


tropea, calabria

tropea, calabria

tropea, calabria

tropea, calabria

Sanctuary Santa Maria dell’Isola

The church on the rock is not only beautiful and extremely characteristic element of the landscape. This small inconspicuous temple has had a very interesting history. It’s not known exactly when was built, the first mention of it appear as early as the year 1066. Initially, it was the seat of the Order of Benedictine hermits. Until 1783, the sanctuary was situated on the island, which after the earthquake took on the form known to us today. Unusual fact is that the church belongs to the Diocese of Monte Cassino. The front door made of bronze commissioned by the abbot of Montecassino Desiderio, who later became Pope Vittorio III. The church is modest, but impressive. Particularly impressed me a small garden, where guests can enjoy stunning views of the Tropea.

tropea, calabria


Santa Maria dell’Isola in 1905 ©

tropea, calabria
tropea, calabria
tropea, calabria




Sunbath and swim near the rock

Beach located on the right side of the rock with the church of Santa Maria dell’Isola is my favorite place in Tropea. In 2007, the famous Sunday Times tribute it as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Water really is in such color, and almost white sand interspersed in some places with a bit of gravel tempted to spread a towel and laze. What’s important, on the beach, depending on the time of a day you will also find some shade! Maybe some of you it’s amusing, but I assure you that in the face of heat pouring from the sky sometimes Calabrian shadow turns out to be beneficial.


The evening passeggiata and the sunset over the Aeolian Islands

tropea, calabria
Evening is wonderful, although in high season, unfortunately, streets are terribly crowded. You surely have to watch the sunset visible from the main observation terrace. As I previously wrote, in good weather you can see the volcano Stromboli, the Island, one of the archipelago of Eolie closest to the coast of Calabria. But good pictures requires really good hardware.

tropea, calabria


tropea, calabria

Late evening and dinner in the open air

tropea, calabria
Tropea’s streets are teeming with life late into the evening, and numerous pubs tempt by tables set on the street. Is there anything I can recommend? Unfortunately not! In 2010, passionately ate in excellent pizzeria La Villetta, whose picture I posted somewhere above. Today this place is a restaurant in the affirmative, that has been operating since 1851. Hmmm … I wasn’t in the new version of La Viletty, but I remember very well that the pizzeria had tables set in the inner courtyard and the atmosphere of the place was the fantastic.

Here’s another place I know. I dreamed to eat at Ristorante Pizzeria Al Canno, mainly due to the location of the tables on the terrace overlooking directly on the Santa Maria dell’Isola. It happened, we went there in September 2014 and received the best table. Food wasn’t cheap, coperto was 2 euro per person and the food was heavily average. Pizza as for southern Italy was average, but cozze were likely  in my opinion cause of abdominal pain that all night tired Arthur. I do not recommend.

tropea, calabria

tropea, calabria

I urge you to watch the beautiful video depicting Tropea, also with a bird view, narrator says in English. The church of Santa Maria dell’Isola here is not yet renovated.

Tropea – proven accommodation

My first stay in Tropea and on Capo Vaticano was not very good in terms of accomodation, and then I had a good hotel near Grotticelle beach. During the second stay I was determined to sleep in the town itself. Looking for something cheap I just discovered an open, small B & B Accomodation Libertino, via degli Orti 17. It’s a great location, but outside of centro storico, but just next to. The clean, cozy, large bathroom, incredibly nice, young Italian not only didn’t mind to the tourist with the dog, it was quite delighted and the first thing he did was bring our Gucia water, though we didn’t ask for it at all.

Officially, the parking lot for guests is not available, but unofficially, Francesco has shown us which one of the neighbors’ location can be occupied without fear of a scene. The only minus may be the breakfast, which consists espresso and cornetto, served at a nearby bar. The picture below shows that we are drinking cappuccino because we paid extra 😉 However, I highly recommend it. From the opinion of the guests I would say that you can use the communal kitchen, but make sure.

Tours from Tropea

A day trip to the Aeolian Islands

While staing even a few days in Tropea necessarily you’ve to go to the Aeolian Islands. Well, the best way to discover the beautiful Eolie is spending on them the whole holiday, but the one day trip will allow you to feel the atmosphere of the Islands and will certainly encourage to return for longer. In season, every morning from the port of Tropea and the beach Grotticelle Capo Vaticano sail cruise boats. Tour programs are different and typically include three Islands. It’s not possible to sail all seven in a single trip, boats from Tropea don’t sail also on Alicudi and Filicudi, because there are simply too far away. An interesting option is the afternoon excursion to Stromboli at night. More about day trip to Eolie you can found in my other post, the links below (unfortunately only in Polish, I translate it successively : )

Jednodniowa wycieczka na Wyspy Liparyjskie. Część I – Vulcano i Lipari

Jednodniowa wycieczka na Wyspy Liparyjskie. Część II – Panarea i Stromboli

Capo Vaticano and famous beach Grotticelle


© Paolo

Capo Vaticano is located 10 km south of Tropea is a real treat for lovers of photography and beautiful beaches. The largest of them, the famous Grotticelle in the high season, unfortunately, is pledged of hotel sunbeds. When I was here in July 2010, sunbeds were at the descent and the left of it, but sufficed to go a bit of to the right to find a beach in a more natural surrounding. Does it still the same? cann’t answer that. I do know how you can have the beach to yourself. Just rent a pedalo and sail to the right towards Tropea. Between the rocks you can find several tiny beaches accessible only from the sea. How to get there?


© Fabrizio Megale


© Villagio Rocca di Vadaro


© Villagio Rocca di Vadaro


Grotticelle beach (to the right of descent) just before sunset

And now what you love the most, and I love to give it. Panoramic point! : ) To do such picture, showing Capo Vaticano, you must go to the place indicated on the map below by the red dot.

My advice: Before my first trip here I wondered whether to choose accommodation in Tropea or Capo Vaticano. The second option appealed troubleless car parking, which cann’t be saidin the town. I bet on Capo and it wasn’t good decision. If someone set up mainly for sunbathing, why not, but I love the evening stroll through the streets and eat in pubs with nice atmosphere. So when I returned to Tropea again, I slept there.

The town of Scilla

The village of Scilla, with Castello Ruffo, Calabria

 Scilla and its beauty beach © The Guardian

Beautiful Scilla tempted me for years and every time, when I finally have to visit it, something gets in the way. Maybe you’ll have better luck, because really worth it. Old buildings typical for small towns in southern Italy descends in terraces down to the large, sandy beach on one side sealable rock with its medieval castle at the top. Scilla is the last town before Calabria “spin” sharply down. At a glance you can see from here Sicily. From Tropea to Scilla you can travel by train with a change in Rosarno. Ticket price is 4.60 euro / person one-way, trip takes about an hour and twenty minutes.

Reggio di Calabria


© saxuisse

Reggio is undervalued and worth a look. Art lovers will be delighted with the most valuable specimen of the local Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia, which are the Riace bronzes, dated two sculptures depicting naked warriors and from V in. BC discovered in 1972 by a man diving approx. 300 meters from the coast of Calabria, near Riace. The second attraction of Reggio is great boardwalk,  from which at a glance you can see east coast of Sicily, and if you are here in the first half of the year, somewhere in the end of May, you have a chance to see the panorama as in the photo above, with a snow cap at the top of Etna. Reggio from Tropea you’ll reach by train in less than two hours, as in the case of Scilla change should be in Rosarno. The cost of the ticket is 6.40 euros / person one way. It’s the same route that takes you to Scilla, so I suggest you a day trip from Reggio, and Scilla ending what it can observe beautiful sunsets.



© Pierfrancesco Perelli

Cosenza is an interesting proposition for lovers of old buildings and narrow streets. Centro storico is one big tangle of alleys and tenements of often fanciful shapes of drying the laundry by hanging between the windows. According to Google you cann’t get to Cosenza by train, but I know that there’s a connection. Coming from Tropea you’ve to change in Lamezia Terme or in Rosarno, because there are two versions of connections. The trip takes about 2 hours, the price of the ticket is 8.80 euros / person one way.


Pizzo Calabro

Ah, Pizzo! It wasn’t anything fancy, but still nice to remember a short stay in it. First of all, nice views, because the terraces located old buildings falls directly into the turquoise sea. Secondly the castle, Castello Murat at the end of the fifteenth century, it really is charming, because its dimensions are far different from commonly known, the great castles. Was imprisoned in here the famous general Joachim Murat, one of the greatest military commanders of Napoleon army, who was shot in the castle courtyard on October 13th, 1815. Pizzo you’ll reach the same train which goes to Lamezia. I cann’t explain why in Google journey is longer than to Lamezia, in any case, less than 55 minutes.


What else to see in Calabria?

Calabria is a wonderful region with its long more than 400 km. Tropea is located on its southern edge. If you travel by car or on arrival you rent four wheels and you decide to tour the region, I recommend especially two fantastic places on its northern outskirts. Beach Arcomagno has been described by me almost four years ago and it is very popular among readers visiting Calabria. Also Ragenello Gorge is a great idea, especially to escape from the crowds and relax surrounded by nature. There even in August Sunday, I met only a few people.

Gorge Raganello

Gole del Raganello – nieznana Kalabria

The unusual beach Arcomagno

Arcomagno – niezwykła plaża w północnej Kalabrii

Aerial photo shown in the beginning of the article is widely available in Google, the author is not to determine.

If you have any questions, please, ask them in the comments below this post, I’ll try to answer each and something advise. I’ll be very happy to read about your experiences, during travel to Calabria, share your information, I’m sure you will help those just planning to go 😉

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