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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46 thoughts on “Exploring Tropea in Southern Italy

    1. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

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