With Karen’s Travel LLC
May 31 – June 10, 2024
A wonderful new small-group tour of Calabria at an easy pace! This limited walking itinerary is for travelers who always wanted to visit Calabria but were afraid of the hills, as well as for those who don’t mind hills but want to have a great time visiting castles and villages, enjoying spectacular vistas, and dining on exquisite local cuisine paired with excellent Calabrian wines. Join Karen Haid, award-winning author of Calabria: The Other Italy, on this exclusive, in-depth tour!
Castles and Wines of Calabria Tour Itinerary
11-day land tour
Day 1 – Arrival Lamezia Terme – Strait of Messina
Transfer from the international airport or train station in Lamezia Terme to our costal accommodation, an 18th-century castle transformed into a luxury hotel, where we will toast our welcome to Calabria with a local spumante and a breathtaking panorama of the Strait of Messina. Recuperate from your journey with a walk in the garden or a dip in the pool before our first dinner and overnight.
Day 2 – Reggio Calabria and Scilla
Our exploration of ancient wonders begins at Reggio’s National Archeological Museum, home to the famous Riace Bronzes, 2,500-year-old statues unique in the world. The city’s waterfront is considered one of the loveliest in Italy – stroll at your own pace along the sea or the elegant pedestrian-only shopping street. We’ll also enjoy the view from Reggio’s Aragon castle before continuing on to Scilla, a picturesque village named for the sea monster of Homer’s Odyssey. Today, Ruffo castle sits atop the legendary promontory, domicile of said creature and destroyer of ships traversing the Straits. Lunch in local restaurant, dinner and overnight.
Day 3 – Gallicianò and Palizzi Marina
Today’s excursion takes us to Gallicianò in the Aspromonte Mountains, where the inhabitants still speak the ancient Greek language of their ancestors. We will visit the village and enjoy a hearty, rustic lunch of local products. In the afternoon, we continue to the southernmost point of the Italian peninsula for a wine tasting at a winery dedicated to indigenous grapes – ancient roots with a modern vision. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – Fiumefreddo Bruzio
We check out and drive north along the Tyrrhenian Sea, Calabria’s dramatic western coastline. Along the way, we visit Fiumefreddo Bruzio, one of the Borghi più belli d’Italia (Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages), for a typical lunch and tour of the historic center, highlighted by romantic castle ruins and unexpected contemporary art. We continue our scenic drive, turning inland to our tranquil accommodations, a castle-hotel in the heart of the Calabrian countryside. Check-in, dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Pollino Foothills and San Marco Argentano
A relaxing day on the estate, we will explore the 16th-century castle and its 21st-century agricultural enterprise, both out on the farm and dining in the castle restaurant, savoring a cuisine “a chilometro zero,” literally, farm-to-table. In the afternoon, we will visit the well-preserved Norman tower in nearby San Marco Argentano. Lunch, dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – San Nicola Arcella and Santa Maria del Cedro
A morning drive through the Pollino Mountains brings us to the northwest coast of Calabria where we will have the opportunity to circumnavigate Dino Island on a boat ride that features azure water, grottos, a majestic natural arch known as Arco Magno, and a coastal tower named for the American writer Francis Marion Crawford. Our lunch will feature both local fish and the citron, as we’re spending the day on Calabria’s Citron Riviera! We will also visit the Citron Museum in Santa Maria del Cedro to learn all about this special citrus fruit. Return for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Sybaris, Roseto Capo Spulico and Corigliano Calabro
We check out and depart for Calabria’s east coast, starting off with a museum dedicated to ancient Sybaris, the Greek city-state renowned for the self-indulgent behavior of its inhabitants, giving rise to the word “sybaritic.” For lunch, we continue to the northeast border with Basilicata, where we will visit the monumental castle of Roseto Capo Spulico, stomping ground for the Knights of the Templars. On the way down the Ionian coast to our beachfront accommodations in the Province of Crotone, we will tour the ducal castle in Corigliano Calabro. Dinner and overnight.
Day 8 – Crotone and Cirò
With history and legends dating back to ancient times, the excellent wine from the Cirò area received DOC status in 1969. Today, we will explore modern Crotone, a city that has been enjoying good area wine dating back from before the time of Pythagoras, their most famous citizen. We will visit a nearby Cirò winery and discover the merits of Calabria’s best-known wine-growing zone. Dinner and overnight.
Day 9 – Le Castella
We will enjoy a relaxing morning at our beachside hotel and then head to Le Castella where we will dine with a spectacular view of an imposing fortress surrounded by the waters of the Ionian Sea. We will visit this Aragon Castle in the afternoon. Return to hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 10 – Strongoli
A celebratory lunch at a Michelin-star restaurant with wine pairings from the family’s organic winery will cap off our extensive exploration of Calabria. We will tour the farm and then enjoy the fresh garden produce and quality olive oil in a culinary experience curated in every detail. We will say arrivederci with a final architectural landmark, the 16th-century Melissa Tower, one of many, constructed all along the coastlines to avert and to protect the valuable land and its people. Return to beach hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 11 – Departure, transfer to Lamezia Terme Airport
Castles and Wines of Calabria – Easy Walking Tour basics:
$4,400 per person double occupancy, $440 single supplement
Comprehensive Small Group-Tour accompanied by Karen Haid, author of Calabria: The Other Italy, together with an expert Local Guide
Maximum 15 participants
6 nights in select castle properties, 4 nights in 4* beach hotel
All meals (30), Calabrian wine/water included with lunch and dinner, 3 wine tastings
All excursions and tours, surface transportation and airport transfers as outlined on the itinerary
To sign up for the Castles and Wines of Calabria Tour or for more information, please use the Contact Page – looking forward to hearing from you and welcoming you to Calabria!
Interested in other tours with Karen’s Travel LLC? See the itineraries for the Calabria Cultural Tour and the Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour on the Calabria Tour page. And don’t forget Calabria’s northern neighbor with the Basilicata Cultural Tour!