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10 reasons to visit the seaside of the Costa degli Dei in winter

It is no coincidence that the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods) in Calabria is also called Costa Bella (Beautiful Coast).

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The coastline from Nicotera to Pizzo Calabro is truly enchanting, with its magnificent white beaches alternating with sheer cliffs overlooking the crystal clear sea, which is even more atmospheric in winter, when the silence is broken only by the sound of the wind and the rhythm of the waves.

Here are 10 reasons to visit the Costa degli Dei in winter.

A sanctuary surrounded by the sea in Tropea

Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropea

Tropea is home to the sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola, on a headland surrounded by water. Even the approach is spectacular: a flight of steps from the sea up to the church with a magnificent panoramic garden.

Also to be found around Tropea are the so-called Sentieri dei Monaci (Monks' Paths) along which hermit caves can be seen.

A leap into history in Vibo Valentia

Norman-Swabian Castle in Vibo Valentia

Vibo Valentia preserves intact the mediaeval structure commissioned by Emperor Frederick II, but its history is much older: 8000 years! Relive this at the archaeological museum, housed in the Norman-Swabian Castle that dominates the city and lies on the site of the ancient Greek acropolis.

Beaches, coves and caves: Capo Vaticano and the surrounding area

Sea of the Coast of the Gods

The most beautiful stretch of coastline is in the municipality of Ricadi: 12 kilometres of beaches, coves, caves and bays that are stunning even in winter, with a stormy sea and changing colours. While the list is long, the ones not to be missed are the bay of Riaci and the beaches of Formicoli, Grotticelle, Santa Domenica and Scalea. Capo Vaticano, of course, and 'a Ficara, Praia i Focu and Ziti.

If the sea is calm, you can enjoy a boat trip to explore the caves along the coast. If you love diving, don't miss a dip in Capo Vaticano, which is considered one of the most spectacular sites in Italy for scuba divers.

Relaxation and hiking in Joppolo and Nicotera

View of the coast in Calabria

Santa Maria beach, Baia dei Corsari, Coccorinello and Coccorino are the most beautiful spots on this stretch of coastline. A path leads from Joppolo to Monte Poro; it is called the Mare-Monti (Sea-Mountains) path because it starts from the sea and ends in a pine forest 700 metres above sea level. It is 5 kilometres long and is suitable for everyone. At the end of the route you will be rewarded with a magnificent view.

A magical winter sunset

Aeolian Islands at sunset

While in summer the muggy weather often makes the sunset seem muted, on clear winter evenings it is spectacular. Climb to the top of Monte Poro to admire the sun as it sinks into the sea and lights up the horizon with a thousand shades of pink and orange, over which the Aeolian Islands stand out in the distance.

Another magical sunset can be admired from the Belvedere Grande in Vibo Valentia: the view encompasses the entire coastline from Capo Palinuro to Messina in a single sweep.

Among the alleyways of Pizzo Calabro

Gulf of Sant'Eufemia in Calabria

The village of Pizzo is built perched above the sea, with small houses leaning against each other and alleyways leading into small light-flooded squares. It is a very romantic place for a winter stroll. It is also famous for its truffle, a hazelnut ice cream with a dark chocolate centre. Sample it in one of the historic ice-cream parlours on the main square; the truffles can be enjoyed all year round.

A small church carved into the rock

Small church of Piedigrotta in Pizzo Calabro

Just one kilometre from Pizzo is the small church of Piedigrotta, carved into the tuff and linked to a legend dating back to 1600, when sailors on a storm-battered sailing ship vowed to the Madonna of Piedigrotta to dedicate a church to her if they could find salvation ashore. They landed on this spot and dug the chapel into the rock. At the turn of the 19th century it was extended and embellished, and today it is a true jewel to be admired.

The little beaches of Parghelia

Michelino beach in Parghelia

Seen from above, the twin beaches of Michelino in Parghelia are nestled among the rocks and vegetation, creating a heart that plunges into the turquoise sea. From the small rocky headland in the centre, a path leads to a striking viewpoint at the top of the cliff.

Zambrone and Briatico, Paradise for Water Sports

Windsurfing in Italy

Zambrone is the place to be if you enjoy water sports even in winter. This area of the Costa degli Dei is ideal for canoeing along the coast or windsurfing and kitesurfing. But it is also a very romantic place to enjoy a sunset on its beautiful velvety beaches, from Costa dei Monaci to Briatico.

An open-air film set

Waves crashing on the rocks

The beauty of the Costa degli Dei has not gone unnoticed by filmmakers either, who have chosen it as the setting for several TV dramas and numerous films. Gente di Mare is set in Tropea, Pizzo Calabro, Scilla, Capo Vaticano and the beaches of Briatico and Zambrone. Tutta colpa della Fata Morgana was also filmed in the alleys and squares that open onto the sea in Pizzo Calabro. Tropea was chosen by Marvel Studios for some scenes of the film The Marvels.

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