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Italy: Highlights of Calabria


Embark on a journey south in Calabria, from the striking Amalfi coastline to Sicily’s Catania, visiting the best spots along the way. From the pristine waters and the stalwart fortifications of Tropea, all the way to the smoke gently floating from the volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands – Calabria is a hidden gem for those who stray off Italy’s beaten path. With plenty of opportunity to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun seaside, you’ll also get to raise your heart rate with a hike through Pollino National Park and a fishing experience with the locals on a traditional boat. Explore the active volcanoes scattered across the Aeolian Islands and wander the historic and charming streets of Taormina, Catania and Tropea. A mixture of culture, nature, history and cuisine (this is Italy, after all), this trip has everything and more!

9 days, from

$2,718

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMSK
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Italy
Accommodation: Hotel (6 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)
Transportation: Train , Public bus , Private vehicle , Ferry
Included Meals:

  • 8 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Get up close and personal with the active volcanoes scattered across the Aeolian Islands and perhaps take a dip in one of the sulphur springs.

  • Wander the back streets and search crumbling Greek and Roman ruins in the charming seaside town of Taormina.

  • Explore the clifftop fortification of Tropea then kick back and soak up the Aeolian sun by the beach.

  • From the mountains to the seaside, get active and hike through, Italy’s hidden gem, the strikingly beautiful Pollino National Park then enjoy enjoy a local fishing experience aboard a traditional felucca boat.

  • See the best of Calabria in just 10 days, from seaside villages to soaring mountains, energetic cities to active volcanoes and everything in between.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Amalfi

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy, where you'll first be greeted by the Amalfi peninsula's rocky coasts, azure seas and whitewashed villages. Our adventure officially kicks off with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm this evening where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive early, perhaps stroll from one side of Amalfi town to the other and pay a visit to the Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea and the Chiostro del Paradiso, or laze around the beaches at your leisure.

Day 2: Civita

This morning you'll travel to Civita by boat, train and private vehicle. It's a tad complex logistically, but well worth the effort to see this gorgeous village built into the rocky hillside. Civita was founded by Albanian refugees in the Middle Ages and the Civitesi are recognised as an ethnic minority by the Italian Government. Their language, arberesh, is a mixture of Italian and Albanian and is only spoken here and in some parts of Sicily. Take a walk around this fascinating village on arrival then perhaps choose to visit a local winery and cheese producer, or just walk in the scenic hills instead.

Day 3: Pollino National Park / Civita

After breakfast today, you’ll hike into the beautiful Pollino National Park that surrounds Civita. With sheer cliffs, narrow canyons and a diverse range of wildlife including the peregrine falcon, eagle owl and the recently reintroduced Egyptian vulture, this area is a wildlife lover's paradise. If you'd like to opt out of the hike, you can kick back on the terrace of your guesthouse and enjoy the scenery and hospitality of the locals. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure.

Day 4: Tropea

After breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer from Civita to Paola, before taking the train onwards to Tropea. Tropea has a striking sense of timelessness, created by the streets full of faded buildings and the iconic fortifications that line the city’s cliffs. Explore the town as you head out on an orientation walk. You may want to visit the local Norman cathedral, the Duomo, which holds an icon of the town’s celebrated protectress, the Madonna of Romania. There’s also the Museo Diocesano, a tiny museum hiding in the Palazzo Vescovile next to the Duomo, which is full of religious art and wooden statues. If you’d prefer some time by the water, feel free to head to the beach and marvel at the looming structures on the cliffs nearby.

Day 5: Tropea

Enjoy a free day in the Mediterranean paradise of Tropea. Perhaps, reserve a spot on the beach, soak up some sun and cool off in the clear blue water, or maybe you'd prefer to sample Tropea's specialty: cipolla di Tropea. These are Italy's, and perhaps the world's, favourite onion thanks to their unique sweetness. Rumour has it you can even find a red onion ice cream in town, so why not give one a try as you kick back by the water.

Day 6: Aeolian Islands / Tropea

If the weather is fine, take an included boat trip to the Aeolian Islands of Vulcano, Lipari and Stromboli. These islands, affectionately referred to as ‘pearls of the Mediterranean’, attract all manner of adventurers and thrill seekers to their shores due to their natural beauty and volcanic activity. The trip will start with a boat ride to the aptly named Vulcano, where you’ll have a chance to dip in either the crystal waters or the famous sulphur springs as they sit in the foreground of an active volcano. Then, land on the isle of Lipari where you’ll have free time to visit the museum, have lunch, go shopping or stroll through the streets. Following Lipari, you’ll pass the isle of Panarea and travel to Stromboli to learn about the famous Sciara del Fuoco (street of fire) before spending free time on the island’s black sandy beaches. Afterwards, return to Tropea where you’ll spend the night.

Day 7: Reggio Calabria

Depart from Tropea by train as you travel onward to Reggio Calabria, the gateway to Sicily. The city’s placement in a major earthquake zone has caused much destruction over the years, meaning only few historical sites remain in comparison to the rest of Italy. However, this has resulted in a charming mix of architecture - balanced between the surviving old buildings and the modern structures. Embark on an orientation walk, before visiting the widely renowned National Archaeological Museum of Reggio. This building is arguably the most important tourism destination that the region has to offer, featuring an excellent collection of exhibits from Greek influenced sites across Calabria, including the Bronzi di Riace, two large bronze statues found on the sea floor in the 70's. Later in the evening perhaps hunt down some of the city's spectacular restaurants for grilled swordfish or pasta with cauliflower and broccoli (both are dishes typical to the area) and a glass of local wine, or wander past the city’s panoramic waterfront.

Day 8: Catania

Bid farewell to Reggio Calabria and travel by ferry to Messina in Sicily, where you’ll enjoy a felucca ride, a typical boat of the Strait of Messina for sword fishing. You'll experience the thrill of a fishing trip with the locals and learn about the traditions and natural wonders of the Strait of Messina. After your felucca experience, you’ll board a bus to the atmospheric city of Catania. The city has a unique energy to it, an interesting blend of young and old. On one hand, there’s a gritty, attractive bar culture that fuels an exuberant nightlife, full of flavour and laughter. On the other hand, the very core of the city boasts one of the fabled “Late Baroque” towns – the UNESCO World Heritage site, Val di Noto. You’ll get the opportunity to explore both sides of this curious city by walking through its grand piazzas and wide roads. The evening is yours to enjoy, so perhaps get a gelato or a granita to cool off at the end of a busy day of exploration.

Day 9: Taormina / Catania

Take a day trip to the charming city of Taormina. Start things off with an orientation walk, where you’ll notice the Greek influence in the architecture. Walk through the back streets, gardens, and perhaps visit the world-famous Greek theatre and the cathedral. The whole afternoon will be at your leisure, so there's plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Have a drink in the Mediterranean sun or dig into some traditional Sicilian pasta before heading back to Catania for your final evening. Perhaps, head out with your newfound travel companions for one final pasta dinner together and toast to the Calabrian adventures you shared.

Day 10: Catania

Your Calabrian journey come to an end after breakfast today. If you’d like to stay on in Catania we can arrange additional accommodation on request (subject to availability).