The Coast of the Gods is a magnificent stretch of coastline situated in the Vibo Valentia province of Calabria. Extending from Pizzo in the north to Nicotera in the south, this 55 km area is blessed with beautiful beaches, golden sands, rocky coves and the most crystal clear waters in all of Italy. The seaside and clifftop town of Tropea, where you can book fantastic boat trips, is without doubt the best place to explore the Coast of the Gods.
Tropea is the ‘Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea’ and the ‘Jewel of Calabria’. Domestic tourists have been flocking here for years but foreigners still haven’t cottoned on. This makes visiting Tropea a relaxing experience in comparison to other tourism hotspots. Travelers can wander around the narrow lanes and piazzas, sunbathe and swim on the beaches, and take in glorious sunsets from the cliff’s edge without being swarmed by crowds.
They can also book boat trips in Tropea with a wonderful local company called Costa degli Dei Tours. These guys offer excursions between Zambrone and Capo Vaticano. On board their Blue Ocean motor ship guests are taken to hidden gems along the Costa degli Dei, with plenty of historical tales and folk stories being shared along the way. The Blue Ocean vessel is equipped with 62 seats spread out over the lower and upper decks.
The boat has sunbathing and shaded areas, loungers, decks for diving, a small kitchen for the preparation of bruschetta, a refreshment bar, two toilets (men and women), a sound system and an expert crew to guide you. Whether you are seeking a private tour with your family or friends, want to organize a unique business meeting, or wish to celebrate a wedding or birthday – Costa degli Dei Tours has a trip or two that you will love.
Best Boat Trips in Tropea
Tropea – Capo Vaticano: 3-Hour Boat Trip
This three hour boat trip begins from the port in Tropea and heads to Capo Vaticano. Three lovely bays will be visited, where you will be able to dive from the Blue Ocean boat and swim with colorful fish. The waters along the Coast of the Gods are nothing short of spectacular and make for incredible photo-ops. For those who don’t wish to go swimming, you could relax in the sun in the comfort of a lounger and read a book to pass the time.
Natural beauty isn’t the only thing that will take your breath away on this tour. You will also be dazzled by the legends that surround the Costa degli Dei and sample delicious bruschetta paired with Calabrian wine. The first landmark on the itinerary is passing by Grotta dello Scheletro (Skeleton Cave) just south of Tropea. This grotto gets its name from the reflection of the sun, on the sand and cave, that creates skeletal shapes.
The first stop takes place at Riaci Bay. Guests will get close to the famous Riaci Rock that tells a WWI story where torpedoes were shot onto the rocks and inadvertently created fascinating formations. Next up is Formicoli to pass more rocks and to discover the old Roman ruins of a port called Forum Erculis. After that you cruise by Praia di Fuoco and circumnavigate three beaches, as well as spotting the Manineo Rock and Love Cave.
The second stop is Grotticelle Bay with cool caves, white sand and turquoise waters to be enjoyed. Following a swim, the team at Costa degli Dei Tours will offer an aperitif. The third and final stop of the trip is Tropea Beach. This iconic destination is best seen and photographed from the sea, so for many this section is the highlight of the tour. To cap it all off, you will be swimming in front of Grotta del Palombaro and the Rotonda Beach.
Tropea – Capo Vaticano: Sunset Cruise
A two and a half hour experience that allows you to soak in the nature of the Coast of the Gods during golden hour. On clear days, you will be able to see as far as the Aeolian Islands and the Strait of Messina from the Blue Ocean vessel. The sunset cruise starts at 6pm from the port in Tropea and follows the same itinerary as above – Grotto dello Scheletro, Riaci Bay, Formicoli, Forum Erculis, Praia di Fuoco, Grotticelle Bay, Tropea Beach, etc.
Tips for Visiting Tropea
Since Tropea is located in southern Italy, on the ‘toe’ of the boot, the weather is significantly warmer than in the north. Summers last for much longer than say Lake Como. With this in mind, you can easily visit in May or October and enjoy temperatures above 20°C. This also brings the additional benefit of fewer tourists – whether it be Italians or Europeans. The only date to avoid is August 15th when the public holiday of Ferragosto is celebrated.
Getting to Tropea isn’t a problem but will depend on your plans. This town is a natural stop on a larger tour of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. By flying into Rome, you can slowly make your way down until you reach the Coast of the Gods. Hiring a car or relying on public transport is possible for this route. The nearest airport to Tropea is Lamezia Terme (one hour away). You could fly, however you would miss out on seeing a lot of amazing places.
Another option is to land in Catania Airport in Sicily and visit Calabria after a comprehensive Sicilian trip. Catania has more international flights to capitals like Paris, Prague, etc. So that might be a better choice. In regards to accommodation in Tropea, the two alternatives are in the old town or at a beach resort outside the town. If you like to be within walking distance to all the action, it’s recommended to find a hotel or B&B in Tropea’s old town.
The final thing to know is that many people don’t speak English in Tropea because it’s not used to tourists like Florence or Venice. Some locals might have grasped a few phrases but most won’t be able to speak much. This isn’t an issue though as the residents here are very friendly, and you can get by on hand gestures and translation apps. Note: the crew at Costa degli Dei Tours are fluent in English, so you will have no worries there!