Praia a Mare is an undiscovered pearl in the Calabria region of Italy, the perfect place for travellers looking for a place off the beaten track. This village of 5000 people stands in front of Dino island, surrounded by the stunning Policastro gulf.
Italy's Trenitalia rail network serves Praja a Mare with trains running approximately every two hours. The station can be easily missed, as it is a hub for two other nearby villages as well: look for Praja, not Praja a Mare, when preparing to alight the train.
It is possible to land small watercraft on the beaches adjacent to the promenade 1-2 km south of the village center. Avoid berthing boats in the area just south of Dino island, especially in the summer--that area is reserved for swimmers.
The crystal colour of the water surrounding the Dino Island is worth the trip this little pearl of Mediterranean Sea. The island, 3 km long, offers three marine caves to explore: the Waterfalls cave, the Lion Cave and the more popular Blu Grotto, the largest cave, where the water appears lit up from bottom. The coastline runs for 6 km, assuming several different looks, from sandy beaches to black rocks.
If you are visiting Praja is a must to see the Cave Sanctuary, where is kept the sacred statue of the Maria the virgin, protector of town.
In Praja there's really no time to get bored! You can just relax on the beach, cuddled by the breeze while lying back on a deckchair, or you can make your time simply extreme!
- Paragliding. From a 600-metre hill down to the sea.
- White Water Rafting on the Lao river in spectacular Pollino National Park.
- Cliff Jumping The highlight for travellers who enjoy having butterflies in their stomachs is cliff jumping off Arcomagno Rock, a 22-metre (67-foot) natural bridge over a hidden crystal bay. For less brave divers, lower jumps can be found on the Dino Island coast.
- Scuba diving. You don't need to be a professional diver to enjoy the coral gardens or the ancient relics lying not far from Dino Island.
- Trekking Not many places offer the diversity of mountains meeting the sea. Praja does, leading the beauty of Pollino national parks to the clearness of the Tirrenian Sea.
- Pizz Stop on the Main Street sells succulent and authentic Italian pizza by the slice for a reasonable price.
- Cold Passions is a few doors up. It has long been said that long before are had been colonised, cold passions was a lone gelateria in the same space it stands today and its gelato was so exceptional the town of Praia was built around it.
- OndaRoad Beach Hostel, ☏ . Family run hostel a few metres from the beach. Helpful staff, delicious food (fish caught that day, fresh salad picked from the garden, home-made wine). €19 in a mixed dorm, €25 (per person) for an en suite double room. Free breakfast, home made lunch, and pick up from the train station.