Summer in Calabria: two destinations to discover between sea and mountains

Itinerary from the Ionian Sea to the Serre Vibonesi

© Regione Calabria

Sport and nature

Do you dream of the Caribbean sea of Calabria? Come and discover the wonders of the Ionian coast of Catanzaro set in the Gulf of Squillace.

Then, climb up the mountainside and in a matter of kilometres you will find yourself in the green lung of the Serre Regional Nature Reserve.

An unforgettable holiday, combining sea and mountains in an identifiable union. A unique way to experience summer in Calabria, amidst water and mountain sports, typical fish and undergrowth dishes, hospitality and ancient crafts.

Caminia e Pietragrande

A stone's throw from the more famous Soverato, with its Bay of the Hippocampus and its Blue Flag banner, lie two coves of reserved charm that are exciting to visit far from the mass of tourists.

The municipalities of Stalettì and Montauro guard two marine pearls that leave one breathless for the alternation of cliffs, ravines, fine beaches and crystal-clear seabed, populated by flora and fauna that can be seen while snorkelling.

The first is Caminia Beach, at the foot of the promontory of Copanello di Stalettì, a seaside resort in the municipality of the same name, which rises in a panoramic position over the gulf.  

Caminia is a corner of paradise that alternates between a long stretch of free beach and a few equipped establishments. The calm sea, protected by the cliffs, quickly becomes deep and laps against a fine white beach that betrays rocky seabeds, perfect for day and night dives.

Regione Calabria

A stone's throw from Caminia, the promontory of Copanello reveals its hidden wonders, to be discovered with a boat trip or directly by swimming.

First, the so-called Vasche di Cassiodoro, named after the senatorial saint who founded his Vivarium Monastery in this gulf in Byzantine times. The ancient tubs in which fish were bred are now fantastic artificial pools of warm water, where one can take a regenerating bath in solitude.

Just beyond Caminia Beach is the Grotto of St Gregory and the Church of Panaja, which can be reached on foot and by swimming along the cliffs. According to legend, this sea cavity held the remains of St Gregory the Wonderworker, while the remains of the small Byzantine church are now difficult to identify among the rocks.

Continuing along the Costa degli Aranci, we encounter the renowned Pietragrande Beach, Montauro Municipality. The name is self-explanatory, in the presence of the majestic rock that characterises this stretch of beach, perfect for diving enthusiasts from great heights (in this case, 13 metres).

One of the most iconic places in Ionian Calabria, the Pietragrande cliff and its beach are a destination for young tourists and those who love to explore the area's varied seabed.

Stella Tangari

Serre Regional Nature Reserve

From the sea to the mountains in Calabria is an instant!

Just take the Trasversale delle Serre, on the Ionian side, to reach the enchanting mountain town of Serra San Bruno, in the province of Vibo Valentia, and its solemn forests at an altitude of around 800 m, part of the Serre Regional Nature Reserve.

Here, amidst centuries-old conifers, stands the ancient Carthusian Monastery of Santo Stefano, built in the year 1000 by Saint Bruno of Cologne, the founder of the Carthusian Order in France, shortly after settling in the hermitage (now a sanctuary) of Santa Maria del Bosco at the behest of Count Roger the Norman.

These sacred places, where one can still breathe deep spirituality and healthy air, are criss-crossed by paths equipped for trekking and hiking in the forests of the Serre Vibonesi, such as the beautiful Frassati Path, which retraces the saint's life in stages.

Certosa Serra San Bruno
Regione Calabria

A stroll through the historical centre of Serra San Bruno is an opportunity to appreciate the many works of art of the Serrese Baroque and the local craftsmen, a veritable "school" of craftsmen renowned in Calabria, Sicily and Campania.

Skilled stonemasons, local granite workers, blacksmiths and carpenters have helped to embellish the historic centre with monuments, such as the Bonsignuri Fountain and the War Memorial, with its extraordinary gate, as well as numerous churches. Above all, the central Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Mother Church and the two churches dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption (in the Terravecchia and Spinetto districts).

How to end the visit? With a taste of the prized Porcino delle Serre, perhaps paired with a sea-mountain pasta dish, to seal the perfect union between sea and mountain.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 15, 2024 4:12 PM