Spend a colourful day in Calabria between the sea and the mountains. I recommend the old town of Nicotera just 36 km from Tropea and 200 metres above sea level. Nicotera is made up of two parts; the modern seaside resort of Nicotera with its white sandy beach and turquoise sea and its stunning medieval town. I will tell you later on in the post as to why it was a colourful day, but first of all, I would like to tell you about my day to Nicotera.
We took the route from Rosarno to Nicotera. Once you reach Nicotera from Rosarno, there are two roads. This can be a little confusing for anyone who has to go to Tropea from Rosarno. The road on the left-hand side takes you down to the seaside town of Nicotera and to reach Tropea or the old town of Nicotera, you have to take the road on the right.
This road will take you up to Nicotera and for those going to Tropea, you may think that it will take you up to the top of the town but half-way there, you will see the sign for Tropea so do not worry, it will take you in the right direction.
For those who want to visit the town, you need to follow the road right up to the top of the village. It is not very high, only 200 metres above sea level which means that wherever you go in the town of Nicotera, you will always see the sea.
What to see in colourful Nicotera
The road leading up to the town is quite spectacular as it takes you up into the hills where you pass olive trees and citrus fruits. This town is full of colour including a very colourful street. We decided to park at the top of the town. It is better to explore on foot. We wandered along all its characteristic streets.
We really wanted to visit the beautiful cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta close to the Ruffo castle, but unfortunately, there was a ceremony on and we could not go in. However, we managed to see the imposing Ruffo castle from the outside. The small square Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi is very pretty with its bell tower and a few cafes. There are also a few museums in Nicotera you can visit such as the Archaeological museum and the Sacred Art museum.
The spectacular view point
There is an arch from the small square leading to the belvedere, which is a wonderful view point overlooking Gioia Tauro and the Aeolian islands. Actually, the excursion to the Aeolian islands in Sicily goes from here and Tropea. You can read more here about this day out and other excursions here.
There are more cafes near the belvedere where you you can relax and enjoy the views. Not so far from this place, you can reach the small public gardens. There are also some steps taking you down to the most beautiful church San Francesco di Paola.
It has beautiful gardens surrounding it with a spectacular view of that magnificent sea. The main street has plenty of small shops and takes you to that wonderful colourful street I would like to share with you. The name of this street is Vico degli ombrelli, which translates into the street of umbrellas.
The colourful street in Nicotera
In fact, there are plenty of colourful umbrellas hanging from high above in lots of different colours from the bottom of the street all the way to the end of it. I felt like I was in some magical land as I started walking up the colourful steps singing the song “I’m singing in the rain”. Nicotera is full of surprises. You will find plenty of small B&Bs in this town as well as lots of cafes, bars and restaurants.
It is full of character. We sat in the small square (Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi) and had a plate of Ravioli with spinach and ricotta in a tomato sauce with a sprinkling of pistachio nuts. It was huge and the best pasta dish I had had in a long time. The cost was only 7 euro. It looked like an ice cream bar but served snacks as well as this delicious pasta. They have plenty of entertainment here during the summer months.
The seaside town of Nicotera
After more exploring, we headed down to the seaside resort. A pretty town with more shops and restaurants and the most beautiful sandy beach. It went on for miles and miles.
Sadly, it was coming to the end of summer but we still decided to swim for one more time before the end of October. Actually, I remember swimming in Calabria in November so we might still be lucky with the weather.
You will really spend a colourful day in Nicotera not only for its magical umbrella street but also because the houses are painted in different colours set in the green hills overlooking the blue turquoise sea. The views are incredibly breathtaking from this town. You can get around Calabria with my useful travel resources here.