Visit This Underrated Italian Destination For Stunning Crowd Free Beaches

One of the biggest mistakes travelers can miss out on when visiting Italy is skipping a proper beach day, especially for those who visit in the summer. While many might only associate Italy with historical sites and big cities like Milan and Rome, Italy has some of Europe's best beaches that frequently get overlooked for nearby Spain and Greece. With almost 5,000 miles of coastline, Italy has plenty of beaches to choose from, but the further south you travel, the better the beaches get.

With many beaches to choose from as you head further south toward Calabria and Sicily, there's one that truly stands out for its impeccable views and crowd-free atmosphere. Capo Vaticano in the Calabrian region offers visitors dramatic views of large white granite rocks paired against aqua blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you're looking for an alternative Italian destination to the crowd-ridden major cities, a visit to Capo Vaticano is in order.

What to do in Capo Vaticano

There are two things that are a must when visiting Capo Vaticano. The first one is getting out to a beach. Spiaggia di Grotticelle is the most popular beach in Capo Vaticano, as it's well known for its scenic surroundings of the cape. Capo, which translates from Italian to English to "cape," represents the large white granite rocks that form the cape overlooking Capo Vaticano. The beach is also known to have powdery, white sands. 

Another must-do when visiting Capo Vaticano is to get out on the water, whether that's on a boat or by snorkeling and/or diving. Taking a boat tour is one of the most popular activities for both visitors and locals to partake in. This is also a great way to see some other nearby beach towns and to get up close and personal with Capo Vaticano's exceptionally blue waters.

Deciding where to stay can feel challenging with so many great resorts in town. One of the best in the area is Capovaticano Resort Thalasso and Spa, best known for their relaxing wellness amenities while overlooking the sea. Borgo Donna Confora is a great option for budget accommodation without sacrificing quality.

Calabrian cuisine is nearly enough of a reason to visit Capo Vaticano. Calabria is best known for its usage of Calabrian chilis, but you must also try 'nduja (a spicy, spreadable salami), caciocavallo silano (a typical cheese found in Calabrian), and the wide variety of seafood Calabrian seaside towns offer.

Beach towns nearby worth a visit

Capo Vaticano is easily worth a visit on its own, but since you're in the area, you might as well hit up another nearby town. One of the best options close to Capo Vaticano is Tropea, a small beach town only two stops away on the train (a total of about eight minutes). The best way to get there, if you don't have a car, is to use a Eurail pass so you can be flexible with your schedule. Tropea provides similarly stunning beaches like Capo Vaticano, but it is strangely known for its red onions. Yes, the cipolla rossa di Tropea, or the red onions of Tropea, can be found all over town, whether they're hanging along storefronts, on menus, or even jarred in jams and sauces. Locals swear the onions are so sweet that you can bite into them raw like an apple.

If you have a car, head on the ultimate scenic drive down toward Messina. The city is the gateway to Sicily, and connects to mainland Italy with the Strait of Messina. Messina not only offers beautiful beaches, but historical ruins, as well.