Capo Vaticano: Home to some of Italy's most breathtaking beaches

View of the beaches of Capo Vaticano, Italy

Far away from the crowds so commonly associated with much of Italy's exquisite coastline, Capo Vaticano is a world apart.

Located just south of the town of Tropea, at the bottom of Calabria, few tourists are found in these parts.

This coastal location has some of the best beaches in Italy, right up there with the best of the best that Sardinia has to offer.

Let's explore this undiscovered Calabrian jewel!

Beaches, views and serenity in Southern Italy

Capo Vaticano isn’t the typical Italian destination, with a quaint little town with lots to see and do.

This is a wilder part of Italy, where the attractions are all natural.

And for a change, it’s actually quite refreshing.

As you probably know, Italy can get really busy in the summer months with the influx of tourists, and there’s something about heading into the undiscovered parts of this country that makes you fall in love with Italy all over again.

Beaches, coastal walks, along with lots of sun and seanery ;) is what you can expect here.

Since Capo Vaticano isn’t very far from Tropea, the best way to get here is by train. The nearest train station can be found in Ricadi, just a little inland from the coastal area.

Road with prickly pear cacti and other vegetation growing on either sideWalking to the beach
Train station building in Capo Vaticano, Southern ItalyRicadi train station

From Ricadi, a pleasant hike of about 2 km/1.2 miles through the sleepy farming community will take you to a high point overlooking the beach Spiaggia del Tono.

If you see a large resort-style building below, you’re in the right place.

A short walk further and you’ll be at the beach...

View of a large sprawling resort in Capo Vaticano from above

This is quite a vast and fairly quiet beach for Italian standards.

But you haven't seen anything yet!

Heading towards the end of the beach, past the resort and the camping village, you’ll reach a point where you can’t go any further, not on foot at least…

Sandy beach in Capo Vaticano, ItalyWe won't be heading in this direction
Sandy beach in Capo Vaticano, ItalyLooking towards the end of the beach

Getting to the secret beaches

This is where we change modes of transport, from walking to pedaling. 

And no, I’m not referring to a bicycle but rather a pedalo boat!

The people working at the campsite at the end of the beach have a few available and will be happy to rent one to you for a couple of hours or even the whole day.

The sea here is really calm so there’s nothing to worry about.

To reach the secret beaches you just need to go around the little rocky peninsula. It’s a really short trip, and with two people pedaling (the boats can take up to ~4 people) you’ll be zooming through the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Enjoy the views of the coast on the way too. There are some small inlets with beautiful transparent water.

I didn’t get any photos of these though, for fear of dropping my phone in the water. :)

Pedalo boat on a beach in Capo Vaticano, ItalyYour pedalo might come with a slide included!

And soon enough you’ll arrive at the beach without a name. Yes, a couple of these beaches are that pristine and unknown that they haven’t even got names.

When you get there, you’ll know what I mean. These kinds of unspoilt natural places are really special and too few and far between in Europe unfortunately.

So take in the immense beauty of it all.

Pedalo moored high enough up the beach?

Now it’s time to have a dip (if you haven’t had the chance already) or just lay there on the warm sand. 

And of course you can use the pedalo to explore the other secret coves and beaches just next door. It’s all up to you!

That’s the joy of Capo Vaticano’s beaches.

Serene, peaceful, natural and incredibly beautiful.

What more can one ask for?

View of a beautiful beach from above in Capo Vaticano, ItalySerene, peaceful, natural and incredibly beautiful - the beaches of Capo Vaticano
View of a beautiful beach in Capo Vaticano from aboveThe first beach you'll reach by pedalo

There is another way of reaching a couple of these beaches from a path down the hillside, but it’s quite hair-raising and way too steep for my liking, not to mention a pedalo expedition is a lot more fun!

And then again, it’s only possible to get from one beach to another by boat.

Reaching the viewpoint

View of Stromboli Volcano from Capo Vaticano, ItalyStromboli volcano

To get to the viewpoint above the beaches (pictured above), just head back the way you came, up to the hill overlooking Spiaggia del Tono.

It can be quite steep heading back, and in combination with the Italian sun, a little grueling at times. But the views you’re about to see are totally worth it! 

From the hill overlooking Spiaggia del Tono, it’s a pleasant walk, which should take a little over 20 minutes before reaching the “Belvedere”.

Looking towards the horizon, you may be able to spot Stromboli volcano in the distance on a clear day.

Take my “itinerary” as inspiration, an idea of what you can discover here.

Don’t limit yourself to any particular beach or cove.

Explore to your heart’s content!

Buon viaggio!

View of a beach from above in Capo Vaticano, Italy

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