May 12, 2023 1:15 PM
Sport and nature
For 2023, Calabria's Blue Flags rise to 19.
With its 800 km of coastline overlooking two seas, the Ionian and Tyrrhenian, Calabria enchants with its variety of coastline and seabed protected by a mountainous, lush hinterland that provides coolness after a day of diving.
As is well known, the Blue Flag is an award given annually by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to European coastal resorts that meet a number of quality parameters related to bathing and services (cleanliness of beaches and marinas).
The Calabrian Blue Flags of 2023
Already at 17, Calabria reaches 19 Blue Flags 2023 with the new entries of Catanzaro Lido (CZ) and Rocca Imperiale (CS). A wide choice for families and individual water sports enthusiasts, who between sailing, snorkelling and diving in Calabria can enjoy the sea in all its forms.
Below is a complete itinerary to discover Calabria's Blue Flag beaches, divided by province.
Itinerary among Calabria's Blue Flag beaches
Cosenza Blue Flags
Starting from Praia a Mare, the Tyrrhenian coast of Cosenza known as the Regional Marine Park "Riviera dei Cedri" offers breathtaking views, to be discovered by boat among caves and seabeds. The unmissable gems along this stretch of coastline? The only two islands in Calabria, Isola Dino (Praia a Mare) and Isola di Cirella (Diamante).
The naturalistic value of the area also depends on the presence of very important species of marine flora and fauna, some of which are at risk of disappearing in the rest of the national territory (Juniperus phoenicea, Anthyllis barba jovis and the rare Pteris vittata).
In particular, Isola di Dino, the calcareous islet rich in caves, walls and cliffs, has endemic plant species such as Primula palinuri and Chamaerops humilis (dwarf palm) growing wild, a unicum in Italy.
Not to be missed along the Riviera dei Cedri are the Blue Flag beaches of San Nicola Arcella and Santa Maria del Cedro.
The first, known as Spiaggetta dell'Arcomagno, is a miniature amphitheatre, set in a cave and characterised by freshwater currents; the second, is located in one of the production centres of the renowned Cedar of Calabria PDO, to which a museum and a festival are also dedicated.
Moving to the opposite coast, the stretch of Alto Ionio Cosentino known as Costa degli Achei, we encounter the Blue Flag resorts of Roseto Capo Spulico, Trebisacce, Villapiana Lido and the new entry: Rocca Imperiale.
Rocca Imperiale, already loved by tourists for its crystal-clear sea, between Calabria and Apulia, and the charming "rock" shaped historic centre, set at the foot of the Swabian Castle with the Mother Church and the important Franciscan Monastery, is also known for the production of a prized citrus fruit: the Lemons of Rocca Imperiale PGI.
The beach at Roseto is famous for the presence of an important Frederician castle overlooking the sea, the Castello della Pietra (or Roseto Capo Spulico), at the foot of which rises the characteristic Scoglio Incudine (Anvil Rock), named after its unmistakable shape.
Trebisacce and Villapiana Lido are two contiguous, unspoilt beaches. Both consist of a long, wide sandy shore, mixed with gravel, bordered by palm trees.
Catanzaro Blue Flags
To the province's two Blue Flags, Sellia Marina and Soverato, Catanzaro will add its own in 2023, with the awarding of the prestigious banner also to its marina: Catanzaro Lido.
Three locations with crystal clear sea along the Ionian coast that includes the Gulf of Squillace.
Catanzaro Lido, a marina in the regional capital, offers an extensive and well-maintained seafront promenade, flanked by a clean, well-equipped beach with a marina and a range of clubs and services that enliven the city's nightlife in every season.
Sellia Marina boasts a fine sandy beach surrounded by the mountainous scenery of the Sila Piccola, lapped by a transparent sea.
Soverato, with its long, sandy beach, stretches into the bay of the same name, also known as Hippocampus Bay due to the presence of the characteristic "seahorse", an indication of the cleanliness of the seabed and symbol of the town.
Crotone Blue Flags
Not only a Blue Flag but also one of the largest Marine Protected Areas in Europe, the beach of Isola di Capo Rizzuto is one of the "picture-postcard" locations of the Calabrian coastline, known for its striking, unique, above-water fortress known as Le Castella.
The seabed of this stretch of the Ionian coast of Crotone, known as the Costa dei Saraceni, is also famous for the presence of submerged wrecks, archaeological remains (we are just a stone's throw from the Archaeological Park of Capocolonna), and flora and fauna of extraordinary beauty, which can also be seen on a tour aboard special transparent-bottom ships.
Heading up the coast towards the renowned Cirò and Melissa DOC wine production areas, we stop at the respective seaside resorts of Cirò Marina and Melissa.
Both Blue Flags, they are distinguished by the Punta Alice Beach (Cirò Marina), embellished by the remains of the ancient Sanctuary of Apollo Aleo, and the Aragonese Tower that gives the Marina of Torre Melissa its name.
Vibo Valentia Blue Flags
Among the Blue Flags of the Tyrrhenian Vibonese coast, aka Costa degli Dei, the town of Tropea stands out.
Famous throughout the world for its sweet Cipolla Rossa di Tropea Calabria PGI and for being listed among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, Tropea boasts a series of fine, secluded beaches, as well as the famous Marina dell'Isola beach, below the rock sanctuary of the same name.
All around, a series of caves and cavities to be explored on a boat trip offer breathtaking views and unprecedented vantage points on the skyline of the old town perched above the sea.
Blue Flags Reggio Calabria
Our journey among Calabria's Blue Flags ends along the Costa dei Gelsomini, in the Lower Ionian Sea of Reggio Calabria, between the towns of Roccella Jonica, Caulonia and Siderno.
These three seaside destinations share a long coastline of fine sand and deep, crystal-clear waters.
The Roccella Jonica beach is framed by the imposing Carafa Castle in the background, flanked by a beautiful promenade.
The beaches of Caulonia Marina (also awarded the Green Flag) and Siderno are a reference point for families with children, ideal for cleanliness, safety and services.