Historically one of Italy’s poorest regions, Calabria – the toe of Italy – is a startlingly dramatic place, peppered with stunning hilltop towns that seem to grow right out of the rugged, craggy mountaintips. Remote, ancient, it offers a traditional, magical glimpse of Italy that few visitors get to see.
Formerly the site of rich and powerful Greek settlements, Calabria today is scattered with impressive ruins, and even shelters the odd Greek-speaking village and Albanian communities dating back over 500 years. But historically fascinating as the regions is, its great ancient cities such as Magna Graecia have all but disappeared, vanquished by centuries of fighting and conquest, malaria and earthquakes. Today, it is the region’s nearly 500-mile coastline that attracts most visitors, with wonderful, wide beaches and secluded coves lapped by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas.
Inland, Calabria offers superb scenery for walkers and explorers, particularly around La Sila, a breathtakingly dramatic, high-level plain with lakes, snow-cappped summits and ancient woodland. Here you'll be able to admire the giganti della Sila, trees which are over 500 years old, six feet across and 130 feet tall, or ride the unforgettably panoramic narrow-gauge railway between Cosenza and San Giovanni in Fiore.
A remote land, Calabria is full of unexpected beauty, and wherever you stay here, a drive down the south coast to Capo Colonna is a must. Here, formerly the site of a temple to Hera known throughout the ancient land, a single column sitting at the very edge of the Ionian Sea stands as a devastatingly haunting, wildly romantic metaphor for the entire region.
Cosenza, the largest town in Calabria, with a magnificent 12th century Norman hilltop castle and cathedral, and a beautiful, cobbled Old Town centered round picturesque Piazza XV Marzo; the serene cloisters of San Domenic chapel in Cosenza, and the 13th century San Francesco d’Assisi church; Camigliatello, a classic alpine village, and best base for exploring La Sila, especially the 130ft high, 500-year old pines in Bosco di Fallistro; the village of Taverna, where the church of San Domenico houses seven paintings by Calabria's most famous artist, Mattia Preti; the dramatic, superbly scenic narrow-gauge railway between Cosenza and San Giovanni in Fiore; the hilltown of Caccuri, built around a restored castle; the museum at Reggio Calabria, housing a superb collection of Greek and Roman sculptures and artefacts; the seaside resort of Tropea, famous for its delicious red onions, and a 20-mile beach stretches all the way from Pizzo up to Capo Vaticano; the beaches of Scilla; the passeggiatta at Amantea, a lovely seaside town with lively nightlife; Pizzo, whose intimate central piazza, hemmed in by ancient houses, is a superb spot to sit and enjoy the local delicacy of black truffle ice cream.
We include a hire-car with all our holidays in Calabria. Unusually for Italy, Calabria’s public transport links are not that extensive, and if you do want to reach its remote interior and explore its quiet coastal villages then a hire-car is essential. Drive inland from Paolo on the coast to the old Calabrian town of Cosenza through vineyards and orchards, forests of oak and chestnut and enjoy the panorama as far at the volcanic Aeolian island of Stromboli.
By air: Calabria has two airports, one at Reggio Calabria(called Svincolo) and the other at Lamezia Terme. Ryanair operate flights from the UK to Lamezia Terme. Alternatively, you can fly to Naples with daily flights with British Airways from London Gatwick, or charter airlines from UK regional airports. Easyjet also flies from Stansted to Naples. Ask us for a fare quote at the time of booking if you are interested in this route. You may collect and return the hire-car from and to different locations at no additional cost, ideal for a two-centre holiday.
We are open Mon-Fri 9-17.30 Sat 9.30-16.00.
Let us know a convenient time to call you back to discuss your holiday.
E-mail us with an outline of your holiday requirements.
Ask our experts on-line advice on your holidays
Jade Mountain Club at Anse Chastanet is an exclusive and private retreat that ha
Le Mas Candille in Mougins is a luxurious five star hotel combining a beautiful
The five star Anassa in Polis is of world-class standards, and continues to be o
The Pine Cliffs Hotel and Resort, near Albufeira in the Algarve is an immensely
Finca Cortesin is an elegant hotel with plenty of special touches to guarantee a
Il Pellicano in Tuscany is one of our personal all-time favourites. Elegant and
Amirandes is conveniently situated a short distance from the airport and occupie
Find out more about Italy
CapitalRome AirportThere is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps National holidays in Italy Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days: 1 January 6 January (Epiphany) Easter Monday 25 April (Liberation Day) 1 May (Labour Day) 15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 1 November (All Saints) 8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Christmas Day Boxing Day There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.
Rail holidays and train journeys, tailor-made.
Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups
Visit our selection of tailor-made family holidays to selected hotels and resorts around the world.
Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy
Rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing, good for the body and the soul; spa and well-being worldwide
Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.
Luxury tours for individuals around the world
Wine tasting, cookery & gastronomic
The Sani Resort in Greece has just announced the opening of the Ozone Teens House.
Between the 21st and the 25th June 2017, Barbados is hosting the 12th World Flower Show, entitled ‘Flowers in Paradise.’
New gardens and villas added to our Italian Garden Tour Holidays.
Exciting developments to our Swiss programme have lead to many more personalised rail holiday options.
The performance and dates for the 2017 Verona Opera Festival have been released, and we have begun taking bookings.
Georgie gives us the low-down on her experience of Catalonia, and her most insightful recommendations.
The Viceroy Resort in St Lucia has been voted the Best Long Haul Hotel in the World at the 2016 Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards in Las Vegas this September.
At the 2016 Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards, Round Hill Hotel and Villas has been voted the Caribbean’s Leading Villa Resort for the 8th consecutive year, as well as Jamaica’s Leading Hotel.