The Ionian coast of Calabria stretches from the Ionian part of the province of Reggio Calabria to the last coastal municipality of the Alto Ionio cosentino, Roseto Capo Spulico. From south to north, the coastal landscape changes profoundly, alternating between rivieras with names evocative of local characteristics.
Leaving the coastal area of Bovesìa, the coast of the Greeks of Calabria, with the main town of Bova Marina and the "Caretta Caretta Turtle Rescue Centre" in Brancaleone Calabro, we come to the Riviera dei Gelsomini, which includes all of the Lower and Middle Ionian Sea around Reggio Calabria, as far as the blue sea of Locri, overlooked by the Archaeological Park of Locri Epizefiri. The name recalls the history of the Calabrian jasmine gatherers, the gatherers of the fragrant creeper that abounds in this area, together with the Bergamot of Reggio Calabria DOP. This is one of the most unspoilt and wildest coastal areas in Italy, with almost all of its 90 km offering the rare charm of a free beach, with a low, sandy coastline and typical Mediterranean dune flora. The perfect destination for those who dream of a simple, authentic holiday, in close contact with the sea, which here counts no fewer than 6 Green Flags (family beaches): Bianco, Bova Marina, Bovalino, Locri, Roccella Jonica and Siderno (the latter also Blue Flag).
Leaving behind the Archaeological Park of Ancient Kaulon (Monasterace, RC) with the remains of its marvellous temple overlooking the sea, the Middle Ionian Sea around Reggio Calabria gives way to that of Catanzaro, heading north, with the Riviera degli Angeli and the Costa degli Aranci. The former, under the banner of "Slow Living", includes a number of authentic host villages, revitalised by foreigners and "returning tourists", such as the village of Badolato. The beach at Santa Caterina dello Ionio has a Green Flag. The Orange Coast includes the Green Flags of Squillace and Soverato, the latter of which also has a Blue Flag, as does Sellia Marina. If Soverato, "The Pearl of the Ionian Sea", combines nightlife and equipped beaches with the marine protection of the "Bay of the Hippocampus", Squillace offers another marvel of antiquity just a few metres from the beach, the Scolacium Archaeological Park. Beaches not to be missed include Caminia, Pietragrande and Copanello (Stalettì).
Along the Costa dei Saraceni, in the Upper Ionian Sea around Crotone, fishermen's villages tell the ancient and troubled story of pirate raids. One of the most evocative coastal areas in Calabria, the Crotone coast stretches between the Protected Marine Area of Isola di Capo Rizzuto (Green Flag) and the Crucoli Torretta beach. A short stretch of fine, reddish-coloured sand, overlooked by the fine Cirò DOC vineyards between Torre Melissa and Cirò Marina, both of which have been awarded Blue and Green Flags. There are two ancient sites by the sea not to be missed: the medieval site of Le Castella (Isola Capo Rizzuto) and the Archaeological Park of Capo Colonna (Crotone).
Lastly, the Costa degli Achei recounts the beauty of the upper Ionian coast of Cosenza, stretching from the historic village of Cariati, a Green Flag holder like the Pietrapaola beach (Mirto Crosia), to Roseto Capo Spulico, a Blue Flag holder along with Trebisacce and Villapiana. Along this stretch of coast is the flourishing Sibari Plain, from which the prized Sibari Rice and PGI Clementines come. An area of ancient settlements, as demonstrated by the evidence of the Archaeological Park of Sibari, near which are the so-called Lakes of Sibari, among the most beautiful and well-equipped seaside resorts in Calabria. Continuing along the coast, we stop at the fine beach of Amendolara, for a dip in its uncontaminated seabed, and conclude with a visit to the Frederician Castle of Roseto, overlooking the sea, opposite the famous Scoglio Incudine.