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Mild in winter, with hot summers, many travel writers have referred to Calabria as the Caribbean of Europe. This is a bit of a leap, but Calabria certainly has similarly stunning, pristine beaches, rustic charms, a friendly atmosphere and some uniquely spectacular countryside. Calabria also has some impressive Greek and Byzantine ruins and charming hilltop towns and fishing villages. Also unlike the Caribbean, Calabria is relatively quiet and inexpensive when it comes to visitors, so you’ll probably be surprised how reasonably priced the best places to stay in Calabria are.
You might also be surprised at the range of choices with it comes to the best places to stay in Calabria. It’s not that our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Calabria is long, more that it’s varied, from agrturismos to five star ‘art hotel’ resorts.
Despite its comparison to the Caribbean, the relatively underdeveloped tourist infrastructure here probably has a lot to do with recent earthquakes, the region’s Mafia connections and its history of poverty. This is a very traditional, uncensored place with fairly unkempt, work-a-day cities, but its Tyrrhenian coastline is beyond picturesque, with a number of very lovely little ports and towns, some photo-perfect islands and idyllic, white-sandy beaches. And there are some seriously impressive museums stuffed with local finds, including ancient Greek and Byzantine artefacts and some serious hauls from ancient shipwrecks.
Calabria’s interior is largely under the umbrella of three relatively unexplored national parks. So this is a great option if you want to visit somewhere a bit edgy and uncensored for visitors, but you don’t want to leave Europe.
The summer months will be busier however, so if you want to book into one of the best places to stay in Calabria, get organised and plan ahead.
For a rustic vibe
- The Agriturismo Contrada Guido near Catanzaro is a charming hotel set amongst acres of farmland. There are 13 stylish rooms filled with upcycled antiques, and nice original details. Plus there’s a pool, a private beach and excellent Mediterranean restaurant, an orchard of citrus and olive trees and a chapel.
- At the other end of the scale you’ll find Praia Art Resort, a five star beach resort with luxurious, modern amenities, yet still many traditional features. The Art Hotel also has a private beach and a pool with spectacular views.
Best Hotels in Calabria
Agriturismo Contrada Guido 13 rooms from $103Catanzaro, Calabria
A charming hotel set in acres of farmland. Rooms are stylish and simple, filled with renovated furniture and exposed beams. Chapel, outdoor pool, private beach and gardens filled with citrus and olive trees. Excellent Mediterranean cuisine. An ideal choice for families or groups.Families - Plenty for families to enjoy from the private beach, playground, local markets, gardens and adventure park nearbyGroups - Entire property can be rented and facilities enjoyed: outdoor pool, gardens and private beachGreat walks - Valli Cupe, a natural sight filled with gorges, waterfalls and ravines is nearbySights nearby - Sellia Marina and Catanzaro, Museo Archelogico, Museo Marca
Praia Art Resort 13 rooms from $377Le Castella, Calabria
A five star beach resort on Calabria's Ionian coast, where fresh modern style meets rustic Italian tradition. Exposed beams and four poster beds complemented by luxury bathrooms and modern amenities. All backing onto a private beach to create an idyllic setting for a break in Southern Italy.Sights nearby - Historic towns, a marine reserve, national park and the 'greatest canyons of Europe' are all close byViews - Spectacular views along the coastlineSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Tablet, Sawdays