[Italy] The Beaches of Calabria
I know that I wrote a lot about the villages we visited during the trip in Calabria, but wait until you hear about the beaches. Because if it’s something that Calabria really has in abundance, it’s beaches. Sand, pebbles, stone beaches. Public, large and crowded ones, but also remote, small and quiet ones. All with crystal clear and fresh waters, a perfect set up to make you relax and have a peaceful experience.
We checked out a few of these beaches during our one week trip and here is a list of the places we visited, based on the region they are located in. And HERE is a very good map of the Calabrian region, including the beaches.
The Orange Coast (Costa Degli Aranci)
The Orange Coast is located on the Easter Coast of the Italian “toe”, south from Catanzaro, facing the Ionian Sea.
While the geographical extremes of this vast coastline are characterized by low sandy and pebbled beaches, especially at the mouths of the rivers, the central part of the Orange Coast (La Costa degli Aranci) is constituted by the presence of white granite rocky cliffs that slope gently down the sea.
Copanello Beach was the place where we had our first bathe of the season. We found an empty beach one Sunday afternoon, with just a few locals enjoying the sun or playing beach games with their kids. Very close to Squillace Lido, where we also spent the first night, Copanello Beach is said to be the “Gem of the Costa degli Aranci”.
It’s a large white sand beach, with lots of restaurants and bars around. Summer months tend to be very crowded, at least that’s what the locals said. I would also guess that during summer months, they do have umbrellas and sun beds all over the place for renting, but when we were there we didn’t find any. Copanello, the village right next to the beach is full of resorts and hotels, so plenty to chose from for a vacation.
The beach is easy reachable by car and there are parking spots available right next to it.
To Caminia Beach we only went for taking a couple of photos in the morning, heading to some other destinations on our way. You can reach this beach by car and park right next to it, however the road to get to it is very narrow and with lots of curves.
The beach is a sandy one, but it does have rocks here and there. It’s a medium – small beach, with no sun beds and umbrellas. There is a restaurant right on the beach, but when we got there it seemed to be closed.
Very close to Caminia is the Pietragrande Beach. We only saw this beach from up above one cliff, but it looked just perfect.
From here start a 4 Km large sandy beach and from what I’ve read around, the area around is full of resorts and hotels, being one of the main touristic beaches of the Orange Coast.
It’s also reachable by car and I would guess that normally it does have umbrellas and sun beds to rent during July and August.
The Jasmine Riviera (Riviera dei Gelsomini)
The coast to the south of Calabria is the Jasmine Coast (or Jasmine Riviera) name that identifies the coastal area of the province of Reggio Calabria on the Ionian Sea. It stretches for 90 km with low and sandy beaches, often enclosed between high cliffs overlooking the sea, where perfectly equipped beach resorts were built. The Riviera is named after the cultivation of the jasmine plant, a beautiful delicate and robust vine, spread throughout the province of Reggio Calabria and typical of this area. Famous tourist resorts are Riace Marina, Roccella Ionica and Marina di Gioiosa Ionica.The Jasmine Riviera has received more than once the prestigious Legambiente blue flags for its waters, one of the cleanest and clearest of Calabria.
Gioiosa Jonica Beach
We stopped on this beach just before going to our last destination for the day, Gerace. We found a large beach, with small pebbles, almost with no one around. Perfect for relaxing a bit, having a swim and enjoying the silence around us.
The beach is in Marina di Gioiosa Jonica, a known destination for tourists. You have lots of resorts and hotels to chose from, as well as restaurants and bars across the beach.
Due to the its small pebbles, the waters from this beach are is very clear and clean.
The Violet Coast (Costa Viola)
The “Little Paradise” (Piccolo Paradiso) is how the stretch of coast from Palmi to Bagnara is defined. Since ancient times it has been baptized with the name “Violet Coast”, because of the color that water reflects at particular times of the day. The sea is open, deeper and without shelters. The clear waters, full of numerous finds, guard the secular history of the ancient civilizations that stopped and settled in Calabria.
The beach we found in Scilla was one of our favorite. Set in perfect surroundings, with a nice village full of traditions and history, but also great food and an active night life.
The beach in Scilla is a pebbles one and with incredibly blue waters that invite you to dive in at any time. You will find sun beds and umbrellas here, but also public areas where you can sit without renting anything.
The beach is right in the middle of Scilla and easy to reach by foot if you spend the night here. It’s also easy reachable by car and you find parking places nearby and it’s also walking distance from the train station.
You will find restaurants and bars across the beach.
The Coast of the Gods (Costa degli Dei)
The Coast of the Gods or Costa Bella is the name with which the southern Tyrrhenian coast was baptized, falling entirely within the province of Vibo Valentia. It is the part of the coast, morphologically varied, delimiting the so-called Horn of Calabria, a stretch approximately 55 km long. Long white beaches succeed jagged rocks with small coves reachable only on foot or by boat.
Being named the Maldives of Italy, this is the area with the most beautiful beaches of Calabria, by far. We left this part of the trip for the last days, to leave home with some of the best memories of the trip. All the time spent on these beaches we were truly mesmerized by what was showing up in front of our eyes.
The first beach we set foot on in the Vibo Valentia sub-region of Calabria was Grotticelle Beach, South of Capo Vaticano. The amazingly beautiful blue waters welcomed us. It was one of the most crowded beaches we had seen so far during the trip, but still nothing too disturbing.
The beach has sun beds and umbrellas and a beach bar and restaurant where you can get cold drinks and food.
It’s reachable by car and there is a parking place right next to the beach. Capo Vaticano is a very nice belvedere point with a great view over the sea and the beaches below, small isolated rocky beaches, with beautiful waters, but not easy to reach.
Perfect blue waters! We just couldn’t help staying out of the water for the whole time we spent on this beach. A rather big beach, with an area of sun beds and umbrellas, but also a public area, we spent a whole day on this beach, although initially we had other plans.
The beach is reachable by car and there’s a parking place very close. There’s also a beach restaurant and they seem to have some small cottages for accommodation right on the beach.
Spending three nights in Tropea, we also checked out the beaches here. They have two main beaches, both quite big. One has sun beds and umbrellas and the other one is left open for the wide public.
Being next to a big rock, you get natural shade in the afternoon. These two beaches were the most crowded from what we had seen during the trip, but still they looked lovey and the water was just perfect.
Michelino Beach is one of the more remote beaches of the area. You have to leave your car in a parking up and go down on a cliff to get to the beach. The path to the beach is paved so it’s not a difficult trip, anyone can get there.
Still, being a beach where you can’t get by car and not having any restaurant or sun beds, this place is less visited than the other beaches of Vibo Valentia.
For us it was perfect, we spend half a day here and relaxed being almost alone. The beach is so wild, you feel you are naufragiat on an deserted island in the Pacific.
Il Paradiso del Sub Beach
This place is actually made out of 2 small beaches – Spiaggia il Leone and Spiaggia Marinella del Zambrone.
To get here you have to park your car next to the train station in Zambrone and the cross the train lines (although it says it’s not permitted). you then see a whole in the fence and a small path you will have to follow until you get down to the beach.
The path to the beach is not a difficult one and in less than 10 minutes you have arrived. It’s an area where mostly locals tend to go, but lots of tourists looking for remote beaches also show up.
Gizzeria Beach is right next to the Lamezia Terme Airport and we stopped there on our way back home to have a one last bathe in the sea for the trip. Nothing too fancy, it’s a 2 Km long and 100 m wide strip of small marbles free beach were the locals like to bathe and fish, but with the same crystal clear waters to make you feel so fresh early in the morning.
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