Anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE Tropea. It’s one of those places that I hold dear to my heart because of the wonderful memories that were made going there as a child. Tropea is an ancient coastal town located in the province of Vibo Valentia in Calabria – the region of southwestern Italy. Tropea has so much to offer, from the magnificent beach with crystal clear water to the quaint shops and restaurants located in the old town. It’s the perfect place to visit on a nice summer day.
Tropea sits along the coastal region of Vibo Valentia on the Tyrrhenian side of Calabria. The coast was named Costa degli Dei – Coast of the Gods, and spans approximately 55 miles along the coastal region of Vibo Valentia. This region is known for its turquoise crystalline water, making it the perfect place for anyone who loves the beach or enjoys snorkeling.
Tropea’s stunning shoreline makes it a picturesque beach town. The center of the town is located up on a cliff along the coast, which is the perfect recipe for breathtaking views. From the piazze at the edge of the cliff you can see down below the beaches and the church, Santa Maria dell’Isola, which separates them. You can go up the steps to visit the church and take in the view but note that there is a small fee to get in.
The beaches in Tropea are gorgeous. It also has sand and not pebbles, which makes it a better feel on the bottom of your feet. The beach does tend to get a little crowded due to the fact that there isn’t a lot of space, so my suggestion is to get to the beach early to occupy a nice spot near the water. The other option is to rent an umbrella or chairs at the private beaches if you don’t like to feel over-crowded.
If you love the beach and want to experience Tropea by sea then I would suggest looking into snorkeling excursions. I did a boat tour from the port of Tropea that went south of the Coast of the Gods to another spectacular beach called Capo Vaticano. The boat made several stops at coves where the water is crystal clear and we were able to jump in for a swim. If you love the sea then this is the perfect activity for you. If you like to snorkel, there are a lot of fish, star fish, and other sea critters! Towards the end of the excursion we were given aperitivo which consisted of homemade wine, along with Calabrian treats such as bread with ndujia (a spicy spread made of hot peppers and pork meat) along with other small snacks. I found the excursion through Viator and was very satisfied with the overall experience.
Tropea is known for its red onions. You can even smell them as you get closer to the farm areas. They are sweet unlike your typical onion, making it the perfect addition to your tomato salad. If you’re ever in Tropea make sure to order a dish with onions in it. Trust me you won’t regret it! The red onion is so popular in Tropea that they make an onion flavored gelato! Sounds strange, but if you go to Gelateria Tonino in Tropea you can taste il gelato alla cipolla rossa along with other unique flavors such as tuna, olives, and more. They also have traditional flavors for those of you who aren’t as adventurous. Besides its red onions, Calabria is well known for its spicy red peppers. People from Calabria love eating spicy foods and will incorporate red pepper in almost everything. As you walk through Tropea you will find many shops that sell red peppers and local products made from these homegrown ingredients.
If you are traveling to Tropea by car, parking can be a little difficult and I would try to park in the outskirts. The main streets are very chaotic and are full with people walking so I would try to avoid driving there. If you don’t feel comfortable driving or you don’t have a car you can also take the train and it will drop you off right in town. In terms of parking, some of the parking spots are free while some require payment. If there is a blue line painted on the road then that means that you have to pay for parking at a pay station near by.
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