Exploring Tropea in Southern Italy

When most people think about a trip to Italy, they picture the canals of Venice, the Duomo in Florence, the ruins in Rome or the breathtaking cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. But those who dare to venture even further south are in for an amazing treat if they are wise enough to add the charming little town of Tropea to their list!

Located in Italy’s Calabria region, in the province of Vibo Valentina, the seaside town of Tropea is located on a reef in the gulf of St. Euphemia and offers dramatic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Claiming its rightful place on the coastline known as the Coast of the Gods, the Beautiful Coast (or Costa Bella), the town is famous for its glistening white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, which attracts many tourists during the summer months.

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Tropea beach

After you’ve had your fill of the sun, grab yourself a refreshing lemon granita and climb the stairs to explore the town’s charming historic center, which sits majestically above the coastline overlooking the sea below. Stroll along the Corso Vittorio Emmanuale, the town’s main street, lined with several small shops and cafes. Enjoy an afternoon cafe and people watch for a bit. At the end of the road, it looks like there is a dead end, but keep going and peer over the railings for stunning views of the sea below.

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Views from Tropea’s historic center

If your legs are up for another set of stairs, go explore Santa Maria dell’Isola, a monastery at the top of the rocky little island you can see from the town above. The only way up is a set of winding stairs built into the stone, so be prepared to climb. The monastery’s architecture is large and impressive and the building is surrounded by beautiful gardens and even more stunning views.

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Stop in a local shop to sample some of the region’s specialties.

Tropea is also famous for its cipolla rossa, a red onion with a mild, sweet flavour. In fact, these onions are so famous that cipolla di Tropea (or Tropea’s onion) has become synonymous throughout Italy for all red onions. Local delicatessens use it to prepare red onion marmalade or a spicy tapenade made with hot peppers and nduja, the local spicy salami. Both are fabulous spread on freshly baked bread. If you’re feeling especially daring, stop in at Gelati Tonino, a gelateria located right on Corso Vittorio Emmanuale, for a red onion gelato. It sounds strange, but it’s surprisingly delicious – and a great way to end your visit to this charming seaside town.

Did you know? The onion even has its own festival which takes place every year in August.

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This blog post is a part of #weekendwanderlust:

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44 Comments

  1. Wow what an amazing town!! 😍 I visited Cinque Terre in the summer and was absolutely breath taking, would love to go back and do southern Italy, especially Tropea! 😊

    https://alesiasaffordableadventures.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thanks Alesia. I hope you make it there. It was even more stunning in person than the photos – and much less crowded than Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We definitely want to do a road trip here. To drive through Calabria and Apulia and eventually make it across to Sicily. Was in our plans since 10 years ago! But alas it did not come to pass…we want to go and your post makes us hungry for it again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Yeah! I hope you make it there. Tropea and Calabria was so beautiful. And still relatively untouched by the hoards of tourists! Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely will try to do this!

        Like

  3. This looks so amazing. The blue water is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      It was truly magical!

      Like

  4. I would like to visit this place someday maybe in August so I witness the onions festival.

    http://makychurchill.blogspot.ca/2016/11/here-is-what-baby-could-be-saying.html#more

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One day… If I ever do travel to Italy, this would be the kind of charming town I’d love to go to. It’s lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      The less visited spots are always my favourites too!

      Like

  6. Awesome post, with pictures speaking louder than words. Keep posting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  7. I love this post, you definitely have some beautiful photos! I’ve never made it south of Rome when travelling through Italy, which is such a shame. I’ve never heard of Tropea, but you might have convinced me that it’s time to make my way back and head south. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thank you! It’s definitely worth a visit. I promise you will not be disappointed!

      Like

  8. Adventuring The Great Wide Somewhere

    Oooh, this looks gorgeous! I’d never heard of Tropea, which I’m sure translates to fewer international tourists to clog up the streets. I’d love to spend the day exploring and looking out over that beautiful water! Also, I love your blog name! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thank you so much! I think I loved Tropea so much for the sole reason that it was not overflowing with tourists. I love finding those lesser known hidden gems!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It looks SO beautiful. I’ve spent a lot of time in Northern/Central Italy and must get to Tropea one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Yes! Do it! You’ll love it!

      Like

  10. Aisha

    Such a beautiful destination! I could get used to that blue sky and ocean! I also loved that little fun fact about the onions, I’m so curious I’d travel all that way just to take in the festival!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Haha, yes, I was surprised as well. It’s funny how important that onion is to the region! But they are so good!

      Like

  11. fulltimecanada

    Wow – stunning looking spot. Great pics 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  12. ilive4travel

    It looks like a beautiful area, I have never been south of Naples. Hopefully one day I will get there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      I hope you get there too. It’s breathtaking and mostly untouched by tourism.

      Like

  13. I have seen a lot of Italy, but only the Northern half. I would love to see more of this area, so beautiful and that gelato sounds awesome!
    xx nicole
    http://www.nicoleparise.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      It was definitely interesting! 😊

      Like

  14. Wow! Stunning photos of a gorgeous town. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Italy yet, but it’s definitely on my “wish list”. I will have to check out this lovely town, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      You’ll love it! It’s breathtaking!

      Like

  15. Wow, sounds beautiful! I haven’t seen nearly as much as I want to of Italy! Only been to the Northern Italian Lakes area before and desperately want to travel around more of the country! Lovely post thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Thank you Tilly! Id actually like to see more of the Northern lakes region as well. It looks stunning up there too!

      Like

      1. It is…I can recommend Malcesine on Lake Garda, and the best gelato is in Sirmione! Limone and Riva are worth a visit too! Definitely stay in Malcesine though if you go! Its stunning!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve traveled from Milan to Siena (fodder for a dozen blogs), but not this far south. So happy to add another Italian destination to my ongoing list. It looks lovely!

    Like

  17. I should have read about this when I was in Italy. Anyway, never too late! Would love to go back there in the future, with my family. Italy is ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Agreed. There is so much to see of Italy. I could make 20 trips there and still not see it all!

      Like

  18. Love your post and stunning photos. Travelling to Italy has always been on my wish list and luckily I friend invited me to attend her wedding in Assisi last Summer. I’ve now added Tropea to my list because of it’s stunning beaches which seem less crowded. Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow this place looks amazing. Love your photos! Definitely adding it to my ever-growing list of places to visit in Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ok, first of all, the water looks just as you describe — crystal clear. I can see why it’s called the Beautiful Coast. I wish I had known of Tropea when I went to Italy 10 years ago, but I guess this is reason to go back, right? I really want to try the onion spread on freshly baked bread. That sounds absolutely mouthwatering. I think I’m brave enough to try this onion gelato, too. 🙂 #WeekendWanderlust

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ruth

    This place is gorgeous! I haven’t been attracted to Italy for a long time. If if return, it would be to a less known province like Calabria. Seems like there are lots to discover there. #WeekendWanderlust

    Liked by 2 people

  22. schwartzmeyerllc

    Reblogged this on L'arte Di Vivere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Wow, thank you so much!

      Like

      1. schwartzmeyerllc

        You have a really nice blog

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Now this is a place in Italy i have yet to visit…. going to go get my camper ready!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This has definitely gone onto my list of destinations to visit

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Congratulations, beautiful article with wonderful photos, for those in Calabria I recommend to visit also the city of Praia a Mare, another wonderful place…

    Liked by 1 person

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