Uncover the best things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. Read our itinerary, get inspired and live an unforgettable experience with out tips. 

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A journey to the tip of the Italian boot in a city worth reconsidering for its history, traditions, art, and beauty. Live an authentic Mediterranian experience far from the most trodden tourist paths.

Here are the best things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. According to Visit Italy.

The best things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local

Things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local

For centuries, travellers have been hoodwinked by Morgan le Fay from her castle in the depths of the Strait of Messina. They've reported seeing magical visions, like a remarkably close Sicily or ships floating in the air. 

You might still experience something similar when visiting Reggio Calabria. 

You've already taken a refreshing dip in the waters of Tropea and explored the most enchanting spots in beautiful Calabria. Now, it's time to dive into the largest city in the region.

It has a millennia-old history forged by legends and magic.

Heroes and deities like Aeolus, Jocastus, and Hercules have shaped the place's origin myths and identity.

Its coastline is home to some of Italy's most desired resorts; the artistic scene extends far beyond the famed Riace Bronzes, and the local cuisine, among the most interesting in Italy, will play a central role in your travel experience. 

In this 7-point itinerary, we have included the best things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local: the must-see places, the dishes to taste, and the experiences to try.

7. Things to do in Reggio Calabria Like a Local: Strolling Along the Waterfront

Things to do in Reggio Calabria Like a Local: Strolling Along the Waterfront

Our journey through Reggio Calabria like a local begins looking at the waterfront.

As the train tracks give way to precious Art Nouveau villas, the long boulevards lined with towering exotic plants and the sea view stretching to the Sicilian coast start to reveal the charm of this underrated destination.

Walking along the Falcomatà and Matteotti waterfronts, Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, and Viale Genoese Zerbi—collectively known by the locals simply as 'Via Marina'—feels like taking a stroll through the city's history and culture.

Sculptures, contemporary artworks, piazze, monuments, and archaeological sites: each detail tells a small part of Reggio Calabria's story, from the Greek and Roman eras to the present day.

This enchanting setting is the heart of Reggio Calabria's nightlife in spring and summer, bustling with beach bars, pubs, and cafés along the promenade. It is one of the city's most popular spots at any hour of the day.

However, only in the morning can you witness a true magic trick that conjures up flying ships and floating buildings from thin air. The spectacle is known as 'Fata Morgana effect', a unique optical phenomenon that occurs only under specific climatic and light conditions. 

The result is breathtaking: distant objects appear startlingly close. On certain days, Messina seems almost within arm's reach.

Cross the Strait and explore Messina

6. Visiting a museum

Things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. Visiting a museum

After being enchanted by Morgan’s charm, it’s time to delve into the history of Reggio Calabria and its museums.

The most renowned and intriguing is the National Archaeological Museum.

Famous for the Riace Bronzes—the Greek statues discovered in the 1970s in the waters off Riace Marina—it offers a particular glance into life in ancient Magna Graecia. Don’t miss it: it’s a journey spanning thousands of years, showcasing precious artefacts narrating the rich history of this land.

Next on our cultural mini-tour is the Civic Art Gallery, housed in the Cilea Municipal Theater. Among the works displayed, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, two painted wooden panels by Antonello da Messina and a sculptural group of Laocoön attributed to Pietro Bernini stand out.

For a completely different experience, head to the Bergamot Museum, a cultural centre dedicated entirely to the city’s iconic citrus fruit. Visitors can join a guided tour and purchase a selection of bergamot-based products.

Get your tickets for National Archaeological Museum and admire the Riace Bronzes

5. Joining a Local Festival

The most cherished event for the people of Reggio Calabria is the Feast of Madonna della Consolazione, traditionally celebrated on the second Saturday of September.

The festivities span four consecutive days and are a joyous occasion of great community participation.

Sacred and secular rites, religious and culinary traditions, devotees in procession, and music in the streets—these days bring tremendous excitement and attract not only faithful from the entire region and nearby Sicily but also curious visitors eager to experience the energetic atmosphere of the city firsthand.

The procession of the Vara from the Basilica dell’Eremo to the Duomo represents the climax of the sacred celebrations. A colossal, shoulder-borne structure, five meters high and weighing 1,200 kilograms, is used to transport the 16th-century painting of la Madonna della Consolazione.

Collateral events consist in a colourful array of stalls, performances, concerts, and spicy street food.

The must-try specialty: a sandwich with sausage, onions, and peppers. The unmissable event: the midnight fireworks display over the sea.

4. Savoring Everything Edible

Things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. Savoring Everything Edible

Calabria's culinary heritage is a time-honoured tradition, generous and rich, drawing heavily from humble origins and sharing much in common—dishes, flavour notes, ingredients—with its neighbour, Sicily.

Expect a cuisine that embraces change and isn't afraid to break free from tradition. Visionary chefs and top-notch organic production have made Calabrian cuisine one of the country's finest, both in terms of quality and innovation.

Be prepared to eat well and abundantly while in Reggio Calabria. Brace yourself for a good deal of fried delights and start building your tolerance for spicy food before you even set foot in the region.

Arancini, calzoni, and pitte tempt irresistibly from the windows of friggitorie and bakeries. Give in to the temptation, but don't forget that a genuine appreciation of local flavours requires a proper sit-down meal.

Dive into the street food, but save some room for the main courses.

You must sample some primi piatti, like struncatura, a long pasta made from milling leftovers, prepared with olives, anchovies, breadcrumbs, and chilli.

Traditional pasta shapes, like maccheroni al ferretto, typically come with hearty, flavorful sauces made with pork, wild boar, or goat.

In Mammola, a small village in Reggio Calabria province, the drying codfish tradition spans centuries. Stocco is a symbol of local cuisine, an indispensable ingredient in many recipes from appetizers to sauces. Taste it at the Stocco Festival in Mammola, held annually in August.

A curiosity to sip: gazzosa al caffè, a fresh soft drink very popular in town.

3. Taking a Stroll Through Contemporary Art

Let’s circle back to point one and the Falcomatà waterfront with its tropical seaside garden.

As you stroll, shift your gaze from the breathtaking scenery around you: a series of artworks make the walk along Via Marina even more irresistible.

Trans-lettera, Labirintite, and Co-stell-azione are the three large anthropomorphic sculptures by artist Rabarama placed in the area near Villa Zerbi. 

Continue further to see the installation Opera by Edoardo Tresoldi, an architectural project featuring 46 mesh columns spread over 2,500 square meters.

For a close-up look at some of the 20th century’s maestri, note down this address: Via Emilio Cuzzocrea, 48. It’s not one of the main tourist streets in the historic centre, but it’s well worth a visit for its Palazzo della Cultura Pasquino Crupi. The museum boasts a collection of around a hundred paintings featuring signatures such as De Chirico, Dalí, Ligabue, Fontana, and many others.   

The journey through contemporary art in Reggio Calabria leads to MuSaBa in Mammola, a park, museum, and workshop born from the vision of Nik Spatari and Hiske Maas. Ancient, modern, and futuristic elements blend into an incredible, psychedelic, and emotional experience within a 10th-century monastic complex. 

2. A Seaside Excursion

Things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. A Seaside Excursion

Exploring the coastline is definitely among the best things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. Where should you go?

Punta Pellaro is a favourite for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts. This spot is not only visually stunning, with the Calabrian mountains on one side and Mount Etna on the other, but it's also perfect for water sports, thanks to a special combination of constant wind and a lack of rocks.

The city beach is one of the locals' top places: it feels like home and is excellent for cooling off during burning summer days without going far.

Anyway, if you prefer to venture further, take a tour around Costa Viola. You'll discover peaceful, affordable, and less tourist spots where the sea is a major attraction, but certainly not the only one.

Explore Scilla and its myths; Palmi, home to an ancient practice recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage; Bagnara Calabra, known for its delicious IGP torroneSeminara, the city of ceramics. You just have to set the navigator and go. 

For more details, have a look at our in-depth guide on the best beaches in Calabria.

1. Visiting a Ghost Village

Things to do in Reggio Calabria like a local. Visiting a Ghost Village

Nestled in the palm of a giant rocky hand, the small village of Pentedattilo is one of the most picturesque and magical sights in Calabria Grecanica, the part of the region where the influence of Greek colonists is still palpable in the language and traditions.

The village, just a few kilometres from Reggio Calabria, stands among the stone spires of Monte Calvario, framed by an enchanting natural landscape beloved by hikers, travellers, and photographers.

If you're not daunted by physical activity, take the route from Melito Porto Salvo. The hike takes about two hours and leads to a beautiful panoramic terrace with extraordinary views: take advantage for some Instagram-worthy shots.

Once a desolate village devastated by natural disasters, Pentedattilo has gradually come back to life in recent years thanks to a series of targeted interventions, from safety measures to new small traditional shops.

Tourist activities and cultural initiatives, including a film festival and a prominent event for ethnic and folk music, make this ghost town seem pretty much alive!

Live a nature experience in Calabria

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