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The best and most beautiful beaches and bays from Tropea to Capo Vaticano

a group of people sitting at a dockHire a small boat? Or join the tour of the coast of the gods?

Navigating the waters of the coast of the gods in the summertime is not at all easy. The reason for this is not only the varied morphology of the coastline or the weather variables, but also the heavy traffic of boats of various sizes or tonnage, and it is easy to find numerous adventurers swimming beyond the permitted limits or diving without any signal.

Before giving you advice, I prefer to ask you some questions:

Do you have a boat licence or are you confident with small boats?
Do you know the regulations or laws regarding safety or distances to be maintained or not to be exceeded from the coast?
Before venturing out on such an experience, I advise you to inform yourself and memorise the rules to be followed, so as not to endanger your life or the lives of others.

After my advice, of course, the easiest thing is to rely on someone who knows how to do this job and has much experience in navigation and locations.

Anyway, here is the best of the coast of the gods, an evocative itinerary, among unspoilt bays and coves, in most cases, only reachable by sea.

Starting from Tropea ‘The Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea’, its history is thousands of years old, suffice it to say that many archaeological finds dating back to the Neolithic era show that this charming town was founded 500 years before Rome.

Here is a list of the best beaches to visit, in order as we find them on our route to Capo Vaticano:

SPIAGGIA DEL CANNONE (CANNON BEACH) is the first one encountered on leaving the port, attached to the San Leonardo rock, the smallest in Tropea and the least crowded. In 1938, Spanish cannons were found, now you can see in Largo Galluppi, called Piazza Cannone.
MARI PICCIULU from the Calabrian dialect small sea, is the beach located between the San Leonardo rock and Santa Maria dell’Isola or Isola Bella. It is divided into three tiny but very famous beaches: Rotonda Beach, Roccette Beach and Linguata Beach.
SANTA MARIA DELL’ISOLA OR ISOLA BELLA is the most famous image of Tropea. It is the islet that houses the Madonna dell’Isola, a cathedral from the Norman era. It is called Isola because in times not too long ago the rock with the monastery above it was surrounded by the sea and well detached from the mainland. Worth noting from the sea is the Grotta del Palombaro, in our dialect the palombi are pigeons, that give their name to this cavity, which nest inside it sheltered from the weather.
MARI RANDI from the Calabrian dialect Big Sea, this is the longest beach in Tropea, just think that it takes 35 minutes to walk from one point to the other. It too is subdivided into other beaches, Marina del Convento because of the convent of the Friars Minor, the rocks of the Missagi (message) and the Duck, again the beach of the Sena and Passu I Cavaleri (Horseman’s pass).
SPIAGGIA O SAPUNI, so called because of the large rocks that resemble pieces of soap.
SPIAGGIA DELL’OCCHIALE (EYE BEACH), is named because of the two huge holes in the ridge that from a distance resemble glasses.
GROTTA DELLO SCHELETRO OR WHITE CAVE so called because all you have to do is dive into it and your body, even if tanned, turns white or looks like a skeleton.
SCOGLI DEI GABBATURCHI is the geographical boundary between the town of Tropea and the hamlet of Santa Domenica di Ricadi. They are rocks on the surface of the water, which were once located much further from the coast and were used to deceive the huge Turkish boats that approached the Calabrian coasts to deface them, hence the name from the Calabrian ‘Gabbu’ translated deception, deceive Turks.a wooden boat in a body of water. Capo Vaticano in barca

RIACI BAY is not to be confused with the town of Riace on the Ionian Sea, famous for the discovery of the two bronze statues that are symbols of Calabria. Worthy of note in this bay is the Riaci rock, famous because seen from afar it looks like the outline of a ship, where in the First World War it was bombed by an Anglo-American submarine, together with another ship that today lies on a seabed thirty metres deep, a mile off Riaci Bay, called U Vapuri. A sign of these explosions is the two cavities within this rock.
FORMICOLI are rocks that are at the surface of the water 100 metres away from the shore. It was thought that this name was given by fishermen, as these rocks seen from afar look like a bunch of ants, but it was discovered to be the first landing place of Hercules on the Coast of the Gods. Formicoli is a now submerged Roman port, home to divers, with a 150 metre-long arm, it was the most important port in the Tyrrhenian Sea, as it preceded the Strait of Messina, its real name is Forum Erculis.
TORRE RUFFA is a long beach, named after an ancient watchtower, which together with Torre Marrana and Torre Balì, dominate this beautiful landscape.

SCOGLIO DI VADARO is a rock 3 metres above sea level and 30 metres below sea level. This rock is home to many divers as it is a refuge for enormous fish, and given the ease of diving it is the ideal location for a ‘baptism of the sea’ or first dive.
PRAIA DI FOCU is the three small beaches, surrounded by numerous rocks and ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world. They can only be reached by sea, and anchoring in the roadstead is not permitted as the sea bed is shallow. Their name derives from the heat emanating from the granite rock, which retains the heat of the sun in summer.
GROTTICELLE is the most famous bay of Capo Vaticano, below the lighthouse (military area) and facing south. This bay has a white sandy bottom, which makes the colour of the sea turquoise, and is often nicknamed ‘the Calabrian Caribbean’ or ‘the natural pools’. Moreover, this beautiful bay is depicted on the label of the bottle of Amaro del Capo, the famous Calabrian herbal liqueur.

These 14 places are among the best-known places on the Coast of the Gods, the story you have just read is only a small part of what you need to know when you sail these seas.

If you want to learn more, take advantage of a boat trip from Tropea to Capo Vaticano, book your excursion and get ready to experience unforgettable moments.

See you soon on board the Blue Ocean

Luigi Barillari