Manchester Airport is offering flights to ‘Italy’s best kept secret’ this spring.

Direct flights to Reggio Calabria in southwest Italy will become available, making the north west airport the first in the UK with a direct link to the city, it says.

Flights will be available on Wednesdays and Sundays with Ryanair from Sunday, April 28 and for a one-way flight, prices start at £14.99 per person (prices may change).

Manchester Airport says travel writers have dubbed the Italian location as the country’s ‘best kept secret’.

The Bolton News: Calabria has plenty to offer including day trips to quaint towns like ScillaCalabria has plenty to offer including day trips to quaint towns like Scilla (Image: Getty)

On the map, Calabria is the ‘toe’ of Italy’s ‘boot’ and the city of Reggio Calabria faces the island of Sicily across Strait of Messina.

The city is one of Italy’s most affordable parts and has long been a popular destination for Italian tourists with international visitors only just discovering the hidden gem.

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy white sand beaches, spectacular scenery, culture, architecture and Italian food, this could be the perfect holiday spot for you.

Manchester Airport’s Reggio Calabria highlights

Manchester Airport has shared some highlights for those who’d like to visit Reggio Calabria.

It recommends spending time on its beaches with Tropea, less than two hours away by train, being a good spot for a day trip.

You can also enjoy the region’s quaint towns and villages including the small town of Scilla which is 14 miles from Reggio Calabria.

It offers rustic Italian architecture and a well-preserved medieval fortress perched atop a hill overlooking a picturesque beach.

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Another favourite near Reggio Calabria is Bova, a maze-like village with heaps of Italian charm, the airport says.

Reggio Calabria is one of the oldest cities in Italy, thought to have first been settled over 3,000 years ago – older even than Rome. Visitors can learn about the history at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria.

If you’re into history, you can also check out the town of Vibo Valentia which has been inhabited since the 7th Century B.C. when it was founded as an Ancient Greek colony. Look out for a mix of architecture from throughout the ages, including a surviving 350m section of the city wall from its very earliest years.

Calabria is a mountainous region that boasts three national parks with the nearest to Reggio Calabria being Aspromonte National Park - a rugged landscape with forests and waterfalls, perfect for a hike. 

Slightly further afield in the Pollino National Park, the village of Orsomarso is known for the striking rock formations which tower over it and the caves dotted around its perimeter.

Manchester Airport adds that wherever you explore in the region, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy food at local family-run restaurants.

The region was settled by the Greeks, Arabs and Spanish at various points in its history and all have left their mark on its cuisine, which has more of a kick to it than you might find elsewhere in Italy.

Perhaps the most famous Calabrian innovation is Nduja, a spicy salami, but it has a reputation for great cheese, wine and seafood as well.

You can find out more and book your visit via the Manchester Airport website.

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Jade Kirwan, Head of Communications at Ryanair, said: “Ryanair is delighted to officially launch our new Manchester - Reggio route for Summer ’24, with the first flight taking off from Manchester Airport on Sunday 28th April.

“Reggio is just one of three new Ryanair routes at Manchester Airport this Summer, adding to our new Dubrovnik and Tangier services which commenced earlier this month and have been performing phenomenally well.

“This summer Ryanair will operate over 80 routes to/from Manchester Airport, offering our customers in the North even more choice and regular frequencies at the lowest fares. These exciting Ryanair summer ’24 routes are available to book now at

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Stephen Turner, Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airport, said: “We are proud to connect people in the North with an outstanding range of destinations, with over 200 routes served by more than 50 airlines.

“Ryanair’s new service to Reggio Calabria is an exciting one because it’s a brand-new destination for us. It isn’t currently served by any other UK airport, either, so it gives our passengers even more choice.

“Visitors travelling to Calabria this summer will love the blend of culture, cuisine and spectacular beaches that it provides, so we’re confident that this new route will be popular with our passengers.”