Those in search of golden shores and lazy beach days, with the option of sightseeing, would be wise to consider Parghelia, one of Calabria's premier beach destinations. Packed with all the charm you'd expect from the region, Parghelia has an appealing rustic allure with hillside towns, pretty churches and tempting trattorias vying for your attention. Parghelia is also ideally positioned to explore the delights of Calabria, so hire a car and enjoy southern Italy at its best.
Parghelia has a fabulous beach and it's here most visitors spend their days. It's accessed via steps down the cliff, and offers fine sands and some rocks, and is the perfect spot for diving or snorkelling. On a clear day, visitors can enjoy views of Stromboli, a small volcanic island off the north coast of Sicily. Don't just stick to Parghelia, either, as there is much more to sample nearby. Hop in your hire car and enjoy a leisurely 20-minute drive to Zambrone, in north Tropea, which boasts a beautiful white-sand beach backed by hills.
Around the town
The laid-back town of Parghelia has a handful of trattorias and cafes with a few shops dotted here and there. The impressive Santuario della Madonna di Portosalvo is an impressive church to visit, with it's domed tower and Gothic-style altar.
Those wishing to indulge in a spot of retail therapy won't have to look far. There is a weekly market every Friday in the city centre where you can buy fresh local produce, souvenirs and local arts and crafts. If you fancy venturing further afield, Reggio Calabria, one of the region's main cities, can be reached in around 90 minutes. There you'll find shop-lined streets lined with boutiques and clothes shops. The older town offers more traditional wares such as pottery and local wooden handicrafts.
Sample the seafood
Fish lovers will be spoilt for choice in Parghelia. With its prime coastal location, you'll be able to sample the freshest catch of the day, expertly cooked. The town is packed with restaurants offering delicious Italian cuisine with a Calabrian twist. Linguine with mussels, squid and prawns in garlic and tomato sauce is a local speciality. Other traditional favourites include pickled vegetables and 'nduja, a hot, spicy spreadable salami.
Visit neighbouring Tropea
Hiring a car is the best way to get the most of your Italian adventure and from Parghelia you can easily visit the neighbouring towns. Tropea is a 15-minute drive away and worth including in your schedule. Aside from a charming old town and more fabulous beaches, history buffs may wish to visit the beautiful clifftop Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell 'Isola. Built originally in the 6th century and renovated after an earthquake in 1905, it's one of the region's most famous landmarks.
Parco di Villa Vittoria
Exploring beyond Parghelia will reveal a host of attractions and the Parco di Villa Vittoria, which is under a two-hour drive, is well worth a look. This delightful botanical garden is a great place to spend a leisurely few hours. The manicured lawns, array of plants and flowers and numerous water features make this a delightful place. You may also spot some wildlife, including deer and peacocks.
Watch the sunset
During the evenings Parghelia offers a relaxed ambience for evening dining and drinking. There are a couple of low-key bars with outside terraces where you can sip a glass of local wine and watch the sunset. If you want to try a traditional Calabrese drink ask for a glass of Vecchio Amaro del Capo, a bittersweet herb-based liqueur.