Our guest expert in all things Calabrian, Cherrye Moore, has returned to share an insider’s frugal tips for visiting the toe of the Italian boot without breaking the bank.
While it’s no secret that it costs un bel penny to visit the bel paese, many places in southern Italy remain a bargain and provide a safe, relaxing alternative for solo travelers in Italy. Calabria on a budget is just perfect for a frugal weekend getaway.
I’m head over heels for my adopted home region of Calabria and take any chance I can to share the secrets of this (almost) undiscovered area with my fellow wanderlusters.
If you have a free weekend and an extra $250, here’s what you can do in central Calabria, discounting what you would spend to get there, whether from another country or within Italy:
1. Arrival – If you’re in one of Italy’s larger hubs, then you can find a flight for less than $150. I typically fly Blu-Express if I’m heading to/from Rome, but good deals can also be found on easyJet and AirOne.
2. Transportation – It’s possible to get around southern Italy on public transportation. You will be able to use local bus transport for about $1.25 each way and trains from the capital city of Catanzaro to Pizzo, Tropea, Locri (to name a few) cost between $6.00-$7.00 each way.
If you have an extra $100.00 or so, then consider renting a car in Calabria but know that most cars in Italy are manual transmission, so if you need an automatic then reserve early.
Once you arrive at Lamezia Terme International Airport in central Calabria, you can pick up your rental car and head to your B&B.
3. Where to Stay – As a B&B owner, I’m undeniably biased towards family owned B&Bs and small hotels, but in southern Italy, they are the better, less expensive option than big hotels. For example, our B&B is between $45.00-50.00 a night for a single room and includes breakfast, free WiFi and private parking.
4. Dining – One of the major reasons people choose to visit Calabria is for the food. Yes, it’s exquisitely delicious, fresh and flavorful, but it’s also affordable. Plan on spending $15.00 or so for pizza, beer, water … even a bit of limoncello. You can spend $5.00 or so for Italian fast food or up to $25.00 for dinner with an appetizer, pasta and wine.
5. Entertainment – Once you’re here, you’ll find that most of Calabria’s most enticing attractions are free. The beaches are the #1 draw to the region and free beaches can be found everywhere. Even archaeological sites, such as Scolacium and Capo Colonna are free to enter, and castles, such as Le Castella cost less than $2.00 (when there is someone there to take the fee!)