For this week’s Tempting Tuesday beach series, we’re traveling to Calabria’s beautiful Tropea with Cherrye Moore from My Bella Vita. Here on the Amalfi Coast, we also know all about August heat and crowded beaches. But that’s just another part of the summer season here. Either you stay home in August, or just be brave and grab your towel, find your own little square of pebbly beach and enjoy the sun. Crowds or no crowds, sometimes you’ve just got to hit the beach!
If there is anything hotter than Calabrian beaches, it is Calabrian beaches in August. Oh yes, August is beach time for Calabrians, their families and the thousands of Italian and international tourists who pour into the region each year. Last month I told you all about my favorite little beach, Giovino, where you can rent an umbrella and lounge chairs and enjoy a somewhat quiet, laid-back Calabrian beach … almost tourist-free.
Still, there is something to be said about touristy beaches. Yes, they may be overcrowded and overpriced and there might be too many souvenir shops and “Tourist Menu” trattorie, but oftentimes, especially in Calabria, those places are popular for a reason.
Tropea, for example, is one of the biggest names in Calabrian beach towns and is one of—if not the—most popular beach in the region. The historical center of Tropea dangles on the edge of a cliff, with its winding stone streets and narrow alleys, and offers unsuspecting visitors surprise views of the Mediterranean from various viewpoints in the village.
The symbolic Santa Maria dell’Isola is one of the most photographed churches in Tropea and is an icon for the village, showcasing the town’s history, architecture and blue-green seas in one shot.
Below the village, the main beaches are lined with sun-worshipers—especially in months like August—and are filled with wooden bars that sell Panini, drinks and gelato, so beachgoers don’t have to give up their beach area, or their parking space, to go out for lunch.
If you are staying in historical Tropea, there are several sets of stairs that lead pedestrians from the old town to the beaches where they can choose a spot on one of the public beaches or rent canoes, pedal boats or jet skis.
Even if you can’t get to Tropea in the height of high season, consider visiting in one of the other spring or summer months. Just last October, I took a road trip with some American friends and found those same wide, clean beaches, as warm and welcoming as ever … without the rush, hustle and bustle of the August crowds.
Cherrye Moore is a Calabria tour consultant and freelance writer living in southern Italy. She writes about travel for MNUI Travel Insurance and about living and traveling in Calabria on her own site, My Bella Vita.