Visit This Historic Town In Southern Italy For A Beautiful Beach Vacation

When planning a trip to Italy, it can be easy to hit up the most famous hot spots: Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan are usually a traveler's first port of call. If you're looking for an Italian beach getaway, Instagram influencers love to advise their followers to flock to Positano on the Amalfi coast. But if you're jonesing for an Italian beach getaway that TikTokers are calling one of the most underrated beaches in the country, then you have to set your sights on Tropea.

Tropea sits right on the Tyrrhenian Sea, near the toe of Italy's iconic "boot" in the Calabria region. One Tripadvisor user actually called its beach the "jewel of the Calabrian coast." The town, which dates back thousands of years to the ancient Greek times, actually sits on a ridge that is 200 feet above the beach. So when you're on the beach, you can enjoy the crystal clear cyan waters and the little fishies nibbling on your toes, but when you climb up the steep steps to the town, you have unparalleled views of the water, and — we cannot stress this enough — the sunset.

Here's why you shouldn't skip Tropea during your next Italian beach vacation.  

Tropea has a year-round sunny climate

Tropea has been capturing the fancy of civilizations for so many centuries that the Greek God Hercules is said to have founded the town. We can see why Hercules might want to use the beachside town as his R&R refuge because there are lots of public beaches as well as private beaches to relax on during your stay — and the waters are consistently clear, blue, and warm. While the summer months might see the beaches packed, Tropea is blessed with decent beach weather well into October. The town has year-round sunny days and a consistent temperature, which can range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months to 85 degrees in the summer, making the surf still warm and pleasurable when most people back home are buying pumpkins and knitting sweaters.

The main public beach sits right under the steep ridge of the Centro Storico (Historical Center). Make sure you climb the stone steps up to the town to watch the gorgeous colors of the sunset over the Tyrrhenian Sea. As many Instagrammers have discovered, you will be treated to pink, mauve, violet, magenta, salmon, and periwinkle blues as the sun falls below the water's horizon. It is truly an awe-inspiring sight to behold. It also makes for a budget-friendly town — when swimming in the surf and then sunset-spotting, you haven't spent a single euro!

Ancient sanctuaries and cathedrals abound

The Benedictine church Santa Maria dell'Isola is a 6th-century monastery that juts up from the water on a sizeable mount, casting a shadow on the public beach and making every sunrise and sunset photo all the more interesting. You can walk up to the monastery by climbing approximately 300 steps that were built around 1810. If you love all things ancient, don't forget to check out the Norman cathedral inside the historical city center that dates back to the 4th century and who's shining beacon is a painting of the Madonna of Romania, who is said to have protected the town for 2,000 years. If you're around on September 9th, the Madonna of Romania painting is paraded through the streets in a holy procession.

For food lovers, Italy is always full of mouth-watering dishes; but in Tropea, they have eye-watering dishes. You read that right: Tropea is famous for its red onions. Tropea's red onions are known as "Calabria's red gold" and local seller Francesco Calabro tells CNN: "My cardiologist says the best way to avoid heart problems is by eating red onions, alongside chili pepper and drinking wine, to help blood circulation. It's been our natural antibiotic for centuries." Local restaurant owner Michele Pugliese says they're full of antioxidants and have a sweet flavor, meaning locals enjoy eating them raw!