Nature, beauty, peace and beautiful views! That is what you will find in this fantastic park called Pollino National Park. Surrounded by an almost untouched nature, it is a must see destination for those who want to spend as much time as possible renewing their energies. So, let’s do it! Here at Traveling to Calabria you make the trip of your dreams!!! Are you staying in Calabria? Looking for a hotel? Click here and discover best accommodation options in Calabria!
A little more about the Pollino National Park
The Pollino National Park covers the regions of Basilicata and Calabria and is the largest protected area in Italy with 192,000 hectares as well as being one of the most important from a naturalistic point of view. The Pollino National Park is a vast territory and is one of the most desired destinations, where you can immerse yourself in nature, beautiful landscapes, mountains, river systems, remarkable valleys and unique biodiversity. Read also How to find Calabrian Relatives?
The characteristic that makes Pollino National Park special is the fast transition from the coast to the mountains, a clear feature of this biodiversity throughout the protected area. Considered one of the most beautiful, it is characterized by the Apennines Calabro Lucano, its name is derived from the peak of the Pollino, which the Achaeans called ‘Apollo’s hill’, by its grandeur, as if it almost seemed to touch the sky. Read also What to see in Calabria using public transportation in four days?
Why visit the Pollino National Park?
Certainly because visiting the park you will have the opportunity to discover the wonders hidden in the upper parts of the Dolcedorme and the Cozzo del Pellegrino, lose yourself looking at the horizons of waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea. Each valley has its distinctly distinctive environmental, landscape and human features, which allow you to interweave rivers, rocky outcrops and high snow-capped peaks even during springtime, intersecting along the way with spectacular hills and cultivated lands. The territory of the Park is dotted with fifty-six towns, of which only a small minority is the size of a small town.
The rest are just small towns, real stone villages perched in the mountains, where houses are close together, characterized by small shops; the square becomes a meeting point, the churches, and many chapels, that are witness to the deep religiosity of the inhabitants. These typical villages are inhabited by farmers, shepherds, artisans and ethnic minorities, such as Albanians who zealously guard their traditions, language and customs.
The Beauties of the Park
Forests of oaks, beech, maple, juniper, chestnut trees and aroeiras, river systems and channels like those of Sinni and Lao, gorges, caves and valleys that cover the three great mountain ranges, that are the hill of Pollino, with the plains of Pollino and the mountains of Orsomarso. Exactly on the Plains of Pollino we find the symbol of the park: the Bosnian pine, elegant and imposing tree considered a glacial relic that takes the name by the texture of the bark of a reminiscence of the Roman armatures (the plates of the armor). Among all these places are sources of clean and pure water that go down to the valley to fill the many gorges that are rich in the park; are worth visiting the Raganello gorges, the Lao River, the Frido River, the fishing sector and the Argentino River, just to name a few. During the journey through the valley, over the millennia, the waters filled the Great Plains that carry debris, remodeled mountain peaks, dug vast plains and created canyons.
The Park is recommended for those who enjoy trekking and hiking, for those who love direct contact with the most untouched and wild nature, for those who enjoy mountaineering and rafting, for the extreme canoeing enthusiastic and for anyone willing to discover a solitary land with a silence broken only by the wind that strikes the leaves of the trees, to taste forgotten tastes and sensations. Read about Best cooking schools in Calabria!
The Gole Alte
Nature, sport and culture come together in this extraordinary green area that is a chest that goes beyond environmental beauties; there are also museums where you can breathe the air of ancient memories, history and traditions of the rural culture and Arbëreshë communities. The Gole Alte part is among the most fascinating routes of the course and, in addition to skiing, you can practice different sports in the territory of the park, especially hiking and trekking, but also mountain climbing and rafting, especially in the Lao River, during the winter.
In this area the fauna is varied and includes extinct species in other mountainous areas, such as the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the red parrot, the Eurasian eagle-owl, the wild boar, the salamander, the otter, native deer of Orsomarso and the famous wolf of the Apennines.
A little bit of history and archeology…
This place also deserves to be visited by its important historical and archaeological sites where the area is rich in caves and some of which carry the signs of the ‘Prehistory’ passage. Another peculiarity of the territory, and therefore new experiences for the visitors, are the typical products of Pollino, made with authentic processes according to the old traditions, just remember the pepper of Senise, the red eggplant of the Rotonda, the honey jelly, salami and prime beef products and choice for dairy products, made from the milk of sheep and goats raised in the wild.
Visiting the Pollino National Park is a unique experience that you will not forget. You will experience the pleasure of embracing natural beauty, where you will discover the ancient culture of the local people, educated and discreet, and taste the best flavors.
How to get there?
1) How to get there? BY PLANE
For those who come from far and likes to travel by plane the nearest airports are Naples, Bari and Lamezia Terme Airport . In any case we recommend renting a car to enjoy better the park and facilitate the trip through the various villages that are worth visiting, as it has an interior rich in natural charms of incomparable beauty.
2) How to get there? BY TRAIN
If you prefer to travel by train the main railway centers in Calabria are: the railway stations of Scalea, Roggiano Scalo-San Marco Argentano, Paola, Trebisacce and Sibari, while in Basilicata have only Policoro and Maratea.
3) How to get there? BY CAR
Arriving by car the access roads to the park are different, depending on the place you are coming from. The A3 highway is the main route for those coming from the North or South. Once off the freeway, you can take a series of roads, depending on the area of the park you want to visit.
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IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
Remember that to drive in Italy it is MANDATORY to have the International Driving License, the famous IDP (International Driving Permit). The certificate is not issued in Italian, but it is accepted in English! The IDP lasts 180 days (it depends where you live) and is issued by the Traffic Department of your country (if you have the European Driver License, you don’t need to worry about it!).
- Check with your country’s Traffic Department which documents are required and the rates for issuing the IDP. If you chose to travel by car, be sure to read our Post “Driving in Italy“. It is very important to avoid winning fines for lack of information.
The Pollino National Park is one of the largest in Europe. Untouched nature is the best business card for Italian and foreign tourists visiting this vast territory rich in flora and fauna that enriches the mind and body, giving feelings of freedom and inner peace.
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