There’s no doubt about it, Calabria is Italy's best-kept secret!

This is where rugged mountains meet pristine coastlines, and ancient history intertwines with vibrant culture. Nestled in the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula - or the ‘toe of the boot’ - Calabria offers a diverse tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. Explore picturesque villages perched atop cliffs, where time seems to stand still, and immerse yourself in the region's rich history through ancient ruins and archaeological sites dating back to Magna Graecia.

Indulge your senses in the tantalising flavours of Calabrian cuisine, where locally sourced ingredients and centuries-old recipes create culinary masterpieces. From the sun-drenched beaches with turquoise waters of the Costa dei Gelsomini - or Jasmine Coast - to verdant national parks teeming with wildlife in the central hills, Calabria beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its natural beauty and diverse landscapes.

Browse our beautiful collection of luxury villas in Calabria to find the perfect bolthole in this underrated Italian province. You won’t forget a Calabrian getaway in a hurry!

Why visit?

  • Calabria's rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and ancient villages offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

  • Ancient ruins, medieval castles, Byzantine churches and stunning treasures tell the story of Calabria's fascinating past.

  • Immerse yourself in Calabria's vibrant traditions, from lively festivals to age-old crafts, and discover a genuine sense of community and hospitality that welcomes visitors with open arms.


Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked luxury villas in Calabria have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas in Calabria that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you are looking for tips on local restaurants, advice on which key attractions to visit or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Where to Stay

Calabria Travel Guide

When to visit Calabria

The best time to visit Calabria is during the late spring (May and June) and early autumn (September and October) when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are fewer. This allows for enjoyable exploration of the region's picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and beautiful beaches without the summer heat and crowds.

In May, the Feast of Saint Francis of Paola is celebrated in Paola, featuring religious processions and festivities. In August, the Tarantella Power Festival in Caulonia celebrates traditional music and dance, offering a vibrant cultural experience. The Red Onion Festival in Tropea, held in September, highlights the region's culinary traditions with tastings and cooking demonstrations.

Food and Drink in Calabria

Calabria boasts a culinary tradition as rich and vibrant as its landscapes. Known for its fresh, locally sourced ingredients and bold flavours, Calabrian cuisine is a delight for food enthusiasts. The region's cuisine is heavily influenced by its Mediterranean climate, with an abundance of seafood, citrus fruits, and aromatic herbs.

Signature dishes include 'nduja, a spicy spreadable sausage, and swordfish rolls, showcasing the region's love for bold flavours. Eggplant parmigiana, stuffed peppers, and handmade pasta dishes like fileja and malloreddus are also staples of Calabrian cuisine. These thick twists of pasta are typically made without eggs in Calabria. Locally grown produce, such as Tropea onions and bergamot oranges, add depth and complexity to dishes.

To complement these culinary delights, be sure to indulge in regional wines like Ciro and Greco di Bianco. From rustic trattorias to seaside taverns, Calabria offers a gastronomic journey that tantalises the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Things to do in Calabria

This region of Italy bursts with magnificent things to see and do. Marvel at the Byzantine frescoes in the Cattolica di Stilo, journey back in time at the ancient Greek site of Locri Epizephyrii and take a scenic drive along the winding roads of the Aspromonte mountains.

Make sure to sample authentic Calabrian pastries like pitta 'mpigliata (a delicious fruit and nut pastry) and susumelle (spiced biscuits), embark on a boat tour to explore the dramatic sea caves of Scilla and Chianalea, learn the art of traditional Calabrian pottery in Seminara, trek to the cascading waterfalls of Bivongi, and unwind in the tranquil ambience of the Calabrian countryside, surrounded by olive groves and citrus orchards.

For nature enthusiasts, you’ll be spoilt for choice with hiking trails and cascading waterfalls like the Maesano Falls, as well as panoramic vistas. A visit to Calabria means that cultural treasures and natural beauty await at every turn. It really is a criminally underrated region of Italy.

Why it's perfect for a getaway

Great for babies: Tranquil beaches, mild climate, family-friendly restaurants, and gentle sea breezes create a relaxing environment for little ones.

Great for kids: Exciting outdoor activities, interactive museums, and delicious gelato make for memorable family adventures.

Great for teens: Thrilling water sports, lively beach activities, and historical sites offer excitement and exploration for teenagers.

Great for couples: Romantic sunsets, secluded beaches, intimate trattorias, and charming villages create an idyllic backdrop for couples to reconnect and unwind.

Great for large groups: Spacious villas, vibrant nightlife, group-friendly activities like boat tours and cooking classes, and ample opportunities for socialising ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Top tip

Embrace the slow pace: Calabria's charm lies in its relaxed atmosphere and laid-back lifestyle. Take your time to savour each moment, whether it's enjoying a leisurely meal at a local trattoria, strolling through quaint villages, or lounging on the beach. Allow yourself to immerse fully in the region's culture and embrace the unhurried pace of life.

What Oliver Loves

Calabria's hidden archaeological treasures, like the ancient ruins of Magna Graecia, reveal a storied past steeped in Greek and Roman history. Delve into centuries-old civilisations and unearth the secrets of this captivating region, where every stone tells a tale of bygone eras.

Best Beaches in Calabria

The Calabrian coastline is dotted with numerous pristine beaches waiting to be discovered. From the secluded coves of Grotticelle Beach to the vibrant shores of Caminia Beach, each offers its own unique charm. Scalea Beach entices with its dramatic cliffs and azure waters perfect for snorkelling, while Soverato Beach beckons with its lively atmosphere and array of beachfront cafes. For a serene escape, head to Capo Rizzuto Beach, where tranquil bays and shallow waters create an idyllic setting for families. Whether seeking adventure or relaxation, Calabria's diverse beaches promise unforgettable experiences amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

With its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and golden sand, Tropea Beach is a postcard-perfect destination. It's renowned for its picturesque setting beneath the historic town of Tropea, offering excellent swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Just a little way down the coast from Tropea, Capo Vaticano Beach mesmerises visitors with its pristine white sands, rugged coastline, and panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It's an ideal spot for relaxation and snorkelling amidst vibrant marine life.

Nestled along the Costa Viola, Scilla Beach captivates with its charming fishing village ambience, turquoise waters, and backdrop of ancient castles. Visitors can unwind on its pebbled shores, explore nearby caves, or dine on freshly caught seafood at waterfront restaurants.

Towns and Villages in Calabria

Discover the hidden gems of Calabria in Crotone, where ancient ruins and sandy beaches coexist harmoniously along the Ionian coast. Explore the archaeological wonders, including the Temple of Hera Lacinia, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of its historic centre. Amantea beckons with its stunning mountain-to-sea backdrop, inviting visitors to wander its charming streets, bask on its sun-kissed beaches, and indulge in the flavours of authentic Calabrian cuisine.

Oliver's Hidden Gem

Pentedattilo, a hidden gem in Calabria, is an ancient ghost town nestled in the Aspromonte Mountains. Its unique architecture, with buildings perched on hand-shaped rock formations, offers a glimpse into centuries-old history and provides breathtaking vistas.

Serving as the region's largest city, Reggio Calabria boasts a wealth of historical and cultural attractions. Explore the acclaimed National Archaeological Museum, stroll along the Lungomare promenade with views of Sicily, and visit the iconic Riace Bronzes housed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Nestled along the Calabrian coast, Pizzo exudes old-world charm with its cobblestone streets, pastel-coloured buildings, and lively piazzas. Visit the imposing Castello Murat, indulge in creamy tartufo gelato, and soak up the Mediterranean ambience along its scenic waterfront.

Steeped in history and culture, Cosenza enchants visitors with its ancient landmarks, vibrant markets, and bustling city life. Explore the historic Old Town, discover Byzantine treasures at the Museo dei Brettii e degli Enotri, and experience the lively atmosphere of Piazza XV Marzo.

Calabria Travel: Getting There and Around

Lamezia Terme Airport (SUF) and Reggio Calabria Airport (REG) are the largest and busiest airports in the region. Several airlines offer flights from the UK to Calabria, with most flights departing from London airports - Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), and Stansted (STN). Airlines that commonly operate routes to Calabria include British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, and TUI Airways and flights typically take 2-3 hours.

By Car:

Calabria is well-suited for exploring by car, offering scenic routes along the coast and through picturesque villages. Some of the main highways include the A2 (Autostrada del Mediterraneo) and the SS106 along the coast. However, be prepared for narrow, winding roads in some areas, especially in mountainous regions. Additionally, parking can be a challenge in urban areas, so it's advisable to park in designated areas or use paid parking lots.

By Public Transport

Public transportation options in Calabria include buses and trains. The regional train network connects major cities and towns, while buses provide access to more remote areas. Trenitalia operates most train services, and you can check schedules and purchase tickets online or at the station.
Buses are operated by various companies, and schedules can vary, so it's a good idea to check in advance. Keep in mind that public transport may not be as frequent or reliable in some rural areas.

By Boat

Given its coastal location, travelling by boat can be a scenic way to explore Calabria. Ferries operate between Calabria and nearby islands like Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, providing convenient access to these destinations. Additionally, boat tours are available along the coast, allowing you to admire Calabria's rugged coastline and crystal-clear waters from the sea.

By Bike

Calabria offers beautiful landscapes for cycling enthusiasts, with routes ranging from coastal paths to mountain trails. While road cycling is popular, mountain biking is also an option, particularly in the Aspromonte National Park. Some areas may have steep inclines, so be prepared for a challenging ride. Additionally, consider renting a bike if you don't have your own, and ensure you have appropriate safety gear.

By Foot:

Walking is a great way to explore Calabria's charming towns and natural beauty. Many cities and towns have pedestrian-friendly areas, perfect for leisurely strolls. Additionally, there are hiking trails in national parks like Aspromonte and Pollino, offering opportunities to explore Calabria's diverse landscapes on foot. Make sure to wear comfortable footwear and carry water and snacks, especially on longer hikes.

Top Tips

  • While popular tourist destinations in Calabria such as Tropea and Pizzo offer stunning beaches and historic charm, don't hesitate to venture off the beaten path to discover lesser-known gems.
  • Explore quaint villages tucked away in the mountains, such as Gerace or Stilo, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and enjoy breathtaking views. Additionally, consider visiting hidden beaches along the coastline that are less crowded and offer a more tranquil experience.