A picturesque medieval town spills down rocky cliffs to spectacular bays and beaches at this seaside resort in southern Italy’s Calabria region.
Tropea is an attractive coastal town where a historic center sits perched on a hilltop and alluring beaches stretch along the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods). The town sits in the Vibo Valentia province of Calabria, an unspoiled and lesser-traveled region of southern Italy. Spend days in Tropea relaxing on pristine sand and swimming in the perfect-blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Explore a labyrinth of atmospheric lanes lined with pastel-colored mansions.
Tropea’s beaches lie either side of a dramatic promontory called Isola di Tropea. You’ll find private clubs with rentable sunbeds and umbrellas in addition to public areas, where you can set down your towel. The transparent water entices visitors to enjoy an invigorating swim on hot days. Take a moment to gaze up at the town center, which clings precariously to the framing cliffs.
When the tide is out, paddle out around Isola di Tropea to glimpse inside natural caves. Climb to the top of the promontory and visit Santa Maria dell’Isola, a castle-like 7th-century monastery.
Walk up the steep staircase to the historic center, characterized by a maze of cobblestone streets and pretty squares. While wandering, admire elegant courtyards and spot the remnants of ancient ramparts. See a collection of religious art at the Diocesan Museum of Tropea and visit the richly decorated Norman Cathedral. Piazza Ercole buzzes with the activity of cafés, ice cream parlors and trattorias.
Be sure to join the passeggiata (evening stroll) on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Here, centuries-old mansions double-up as bars, restaurants and fashion outlets. The street finishes at a lookout platform, which affords views of the coastline and the volcanic Stromboli Island. Boat trips depart for the island from Tropea Port.
Tropea benefits from a Mediterranean climate of warm summers and mild winters. June to August is the hottest and busiest period. May and September present milder temperatures.
Reach Tropea by flying to Lamezia Terme and then take a train or rent a car from there. Other captivating towns of the Calabria region, including Pizzo, Reggio Calabria and Scilla, are just a short train ride away.