Why you should go, and what to do once you're there.
Cinque Terre is great, but have you seen Tropea? I still remember when I set eyes on the beautiful coastline while planning our Italian vacation. Tropea is located in the southern region of Calabria, Italy. It's town center is charming and reminiscent of Sorrento. You'll find yourself wanting to explore each cobblestone street, open air market, and of course, gelato shop.
Because Tropea is a little bit off the beaten path, you won't find many tourists there. During the summer months Italians themselves like to vacation here, so the beaches are very family friendly. We started our trip earlier in the month in Milan and flew into Lamezia Terme airport. If you're traveling from any other point in Italy, this will be the easiest way to start your journey to the region of Calabria. From SUF you have a few options...
You can hire a driver to take you directly to the town, and your accommodations if needed, for about 80 Euro. This is by far the most convenient and stress free if you're not looking to drive or take a train yourself. I've used this option before when I had an early flight back to Milan. Many of the airbnb hosts will offer to set this up for you with a local taxi if you choose to rent from them. The drive will take about an hour.
There is also the option of taking the train. There is a regular commuter train just a short walk away at the railway station in Lamezia Terme that takes roughly 50 minutes to get to the Tropea station. The station is located a bit off the beaten track, to the center you have a short walk that is rather steep. The cost of the train ticket is 4.20 euros / person each way.
From the airport, the train station to Tropea can be reached by bus line 90, which runs every half hour. The cost of the bus ticket is 2 Euro / person each way.
Where to Stay
There are also several great hotels that have a sea view. One in particular that had amazing reviews and a great terrace was Tropis.
What To Do
The Aeolian Islands are an easy trip from Tropea. The smoldering island of Stromboli is visible from everywhere in Tropea, and the town is the ideal starting point for a day trip boat tour. You can reach Stromboli in an hour, and the Stromboli by Night tour is one of the most popular, when the volcano’s ever-bubbling lava is most vibrant against the night sky.
You should plan to spend many days resting on the beaches in between snorkeling dips in the crystal clear water. Southern Italy has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Tropea’s main beach lies beneath the Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery, sitting high above a dramatic promontory at the edge of the turquoise waters. The beach has classic Calabrian white sands, filled with small granite pebbles. It’s a well-equipped beach, with umbrellas and loungers to hire.. It’s a short but steep walk into Tropea’s town center for gelato or a quick bite to eat. Alice was delicious. I'd definitely recommend it for a romantic dinner out.
Tropea is known for it's candy sweet onions and lemons, and they are lining each and every street! Since it's such a small town, food is much less expensive than Rome or Milan, and more authentic. We opted to by a unit of meat and cheese at one of the tiny markets, along with some fresh bread, fruit, and onion spread. It was the perfect lunch to pack with us for the beach each day, and totaling 11 Euro for both of us, it was a steal!
I also have to give a shoutout to the best thing to ever touch my lips, chocolato fondente gelato. (see below) the richest, darkest, and most delicious flavor in my opinion. You really should try it. Most of the gelaterias also have a sweet onion flavor if you're feeling daring! 😅
You can also sign up to take an authentic Calabrian cooking class during your stay. Most will take place in a small farmhouse outside of Tropea, and you'll learn tasty dishes to make for friends and family back home. 🍝
Are you planning on visiting Tropea soon? Comment with other things you'd like to hear about this southern Italian gem!
Until the next adventure,