Tropea – A little town of stunning surprises

Destination – Tropea, Calabria, Italy

Date – September 2014

How did we get there?  – Like our post on Calabria we flew to Palermo on Easyjet arriving early in the morning. We then took the train from Palermo to Messina where we boarded the ferry from Sicily to the mainland and then grabbed a train at Villa San Giovanni up to Ricardi which was the closest station to where we were staying. A full days travelling but worth it as we wanted to finish our holiday in Palermo.

How much did it cost ? – We pre-booked most of the train journey and it only cost about £50 and we booked that through Trenitalia

Where did we stay? – We stayed at the Villagio Albergo da Ciccio sul Mare which was a typical Italian hotel on the coast. There was a convenient and regular bus service from Capo Vaticano to Tropea which was only a couple of Euro’s return and was around 30 – 45 mins. A word of caution though – the last bus is around 8pm so plan for a taxi if you’re staying in Tropea for longer in the evening.

Tip of the trip – Pack you’re swimsuit & a towel as you’re definitely going to want to take a dip in that beautiful turquoise water

Tropea is a small town on the east coast of Calabria, in southern Italy. It’s known for its clifftop historic center, beaches and prized red onions. Built on a former Byzantine cemetery, the 12th-century cathedral has marble sarcophagi and a painting of the Madonna of Romania, the town’s protector. Nearby is a viewpoint over the hills. The centuries-old Santa Maria dell’Isola Church is on a rock overlooking the sea. Here are a few things not to miss that made our trip to Tropea really special.

The Beaches

The beaches are really remarkable. With turquoise clear waters and smooth clean sand and the dramatic cliff tops behind make this a very unique place indeed to dip your toe in the water. There is both private and public areas. In the public areas you can just throw your towel down on the sand and plant your umbrella and away you go. The private areas are where you can hire a subbed, umbrella and have access to WC and changing facilities. Both have access to the clear blue waters and there are a selection of cafe’s where you can get a drink and snacks. Take a dip !

The Onions

Cipola Rosso are the famous Red Onions of Tropea. The town holds them in such high regard and they are recognised the world over. Delicious, crunch and red but very much sweeter than the traditional red onions that most of us know. You will find these onions hanging from every grocery street vendor, in the many markets and there will be some onion addition to most dishes in cafe’s and restaurants from pizza to the meats and cheese platters and salads. If you visit Tropea you really need to try and I promise you’ll enjoy.

The Sunsets

Tropea sits on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea and across the water you can just about make out the conical shape of Stromboli, the still active volcano in the Aeolian Islands. When the sun begins to set the orange hues are cast over the water tinged with violet making it an incredible sight. Some keen photographers actually manage to catch the ball of the sun sitting atop the volcano providing a unique picture indeed. Sadly I never managed that particular picture but did stand in awe of the magical colours as the sun set on the horizon.

Centro Storico

Every Italian town boasts a Centro Storico, a historical heart that tells its story through the walls, the narrow streets, the winding lanes and the churches and other historical places of interest and Tropea is no different. You could easily spend hours wandering the enchanting maze of cobblestone, streets lined with grand 17th- and 18th-century palaces, and other beautiful buildings. Tropea’s historical centre is picture perfect.

The Cafe’s and Restaurants

You won’t be spoiled for choice in Tropea for somewhere to eat or stop off for an aperitivo. Tropea has an abundance of Cafes and Restaurants throughout the town, some with spectacular views out to the sea and some nestled deep in the historical centre surrounded by ancient walls. Seafood is a speciality and you have an abundance of choice when it comes to the fruits of the sea. Also remember the Tropea onions and you will also have to try the Nduja which is a spicy sausage made not far from Tropea and also features in many dishes. This coupled with the traditional pizza, pasta, gelato and all the wonderful meats and cheeses Italy has to offer you’ll be well fed when you visit Tropea.

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