A tough hike: Parco Nazionale dell'Aspromonte – Calabria – Italy
Last May we stayed a week in Calabria - South Italy. We rented an apartment just outside Tropea near the coast were we could swim, dive and visit some ancient villages but we also like to hike and searched online for a good trail.
Unfortunately the mountains and forests in Southern Italy aren't mapped the way they are in Belgium, Germany or Switzerland and the availability of marked hiking trails is limited. We decided to make a calculated gamble and drove to Gambarie, a small village in Aspromonte National Park and knocked on the door of the local tourist office.
Aspromonte National Park is a huge nation park in the Apennine Mountains with the kind of rough landscape we don't know in Belgium with it's high population density. It's the kind of place where you don't want to get lost because you can hike from sunrise to sunset without seeing a living soul or a building and without cellphone reception.
The local tourist office was a disappointment. The employees were helpful but none could speak any English and we left with a few flyers of trails. Luckily I downloaded an offline map of the region in maps.me on my smartphone and I found one of the trails of the flyers around Montalto on the map.
Montalto (1956m) is the highest peak of the area and we had to drive in that direction to start our hike. We underestimated the infrastructure. Our Peugeot 208 rental car definitely wasn't made for the steep gravel paths in the forest and we almost decided to turn back but eventually made it. We left our car behind, marked it's location with the gps and started hiking toward the peak of Montalto where our hiking trail passes.
Lunch with a view with in the background our goal, a monastery located in the middle of the forest. We didn't made it because we underestimated the 1300 m altitude difference and the rough terrain.
Although we didn't made our goal I enjoyed our hike. We didn't meet a soul, enjoyed the breathtaking views and I felt so little in this endless forest.
I would advice anyone living or traveling in the region to go to Aspromonte National Park for a day and enjoy the scenery. Just come prepared with food, water, a map of the region and preferably a 4x4 car :-)