Calabria Rail Map & Transportation Guide

Taking the trains and buses in Calabria

Why take the train in Calabria on your vacation trip? Perhaps driving isn't your thing. But look at our map below; the FS state railroads in this region cover a surprising amount of territory you'll want to explore. Then there are small, independent railroads that link to the smaller places, even steam engines that run to moutain villages on weekends. All you need is a sense of adventure and perhaps a book to read as you rumble through one of Italy's most interesting regions. We recommend Karen Haid's book on the the culture and natural resources of Calabria--Calabria: The Other Italy.

Rail Map of Calabria

Calabria is known for its beaches, and the spine of mountains in Calabria is difficult for trains to crawl over, so the train lines are concentrated around the perimeter of the region along the sea, all 500 miles of it, as you see on the rail map below.

It's easy in Italy to find a station, and buy tickets for the next destination out. It's how we used to do it in the "olden days" of train travel in Europe and Calabria retains some of that slow travel appeal.

calabria rail map

Let's take a look at some options on getting into Calabria first.

Let's say you're in Basilicata, perhaps in Matera, everyone's favorite cave city. You'd take a bus to the coastal town of Metaponto, where you could look at the Greek ruins and take a dip at the sea if you wanted to stop a while. The train from Metaponto to Sibari in Calabria takes you along the Ionion coast. The trip time to Sibari is less than an hour. You can also get to Calabria from Bernalda, a favorite hub for us in Basilicata.

You could also fly into Reggio Calabria and see the city and take off to little beach town Scilla to the north east. It's one of the Borghi più belli d’Italia, the most beautiful villages in Italy. The train takes a mere 32 minutes. Then, if you want to see some tourists slurping up the beauty of the coast, you'll head on to Tropea, known for its onions and the sheer beauty of the place. The journey takes an hour and seventeen minutes, and it quite cheap on the train, cheaper than driving a car, which gets you in 13 minutes faster.

Then you can go the other way into Gerace, a medieval town on a hill. Calabrian expert Karen Haid notes:

The Cathedral is a Romanesque Norman Cathedral, and in the basement of the church there was a Byzantine structure that can you still see and there are ruins of a Norman Castle up there too. It’s also one of the places that still has traditional ceramics there – it used to be a big ceramic center. There still are some people spinning the wheel and creating wonderful things to buy and take home. It’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon.

But I want to go somewhere not on the map!

The beauty of hand-drawn maps is that they remove all the clutter to allow you to focus on the major tasks at hand. If you have a small place in mind, the button will give you a list of all the stations in Calabria.

The Train of the Sila, steam up a mountain on Sunday

There's even a way to get up in the mountains in the Sila National Park, which you'll see marked on the map in northern Calabria. The Sila is where pundits say your lungs will be breathing in the purest air in Europe. 

It's best in the summer, when you can picnic, or perhaps in the fall to see the colors. The official site is in Italian, but you can reserve tickets on it (a must, at least a day in advance).

Tours of Calabria to Extend Your Train Journey

Perhaps you'd like to take a tour by boat, or explore the wine in the countryside outside the beautiful Tropea. The independent tours of Viator offer many options to round out your exploration of Calabria. 

And of course once you're in southern Calabria you're very close to the top region of Italy represented on Wandering Italy, Sicily. Imagine, the train is loaded onto a ferry in Villa San Giovanni and off you go on another adventure.

You don't see that much any more.

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