In Basilicata the park's main centre is Rotonda (elevation 626m), which houses the official park office, Ente Parco Nazionale del Pollino. They can recommend local guides, accommodation and nearby stores to buy good hiking maps. Ask them about good day walks starting near the office's car park.
Adjacent to the park office is the excellent L'Ecomuseo del Pollino, offering a brilliant overview of the park's cultural, geological and natural heritage. Based in Rotonda, English-speaking guide Guiseppe Cosenza offers hiking, birdwatching and walking tours to see the park's ancient pino loricato trees. Water sports including canyoning and river tubing can be booked with Info Pollino near Rotonda.
Interesting villages to explore include the unique Albanian villages of San Paolo Albanese and San Costantino Albanese. These isolated and unspoilt communities fiercely maintain their mountain culture and the Greek liturgy is retained in the main churches. For local handicrafts, visit the town of Terranova di Pollino for wooden crafts, Latronico for alabaster, and Sant'Arcangelo for wrought iron. The chalet-style Picchio Nero in Terranova di Pollino, with its Austrian-style wooden balconies and recommended restaurant, is a popular hotel for hikers.
Civita was founded by Albanian refugees in 1746. Other towns worth visiting are Castrovillari, with its well-preserved 15th-century Aragonese castle, and Morano Calabro (look up the beautiful MC Escher woodcut of this town). Naturalists should also check out the wildlife museum Centro Il Nibbio in Morano, which explains the Pollino ecosystem.
White-water rafting down the spectacular Lao river is popular in the Calabrian Pollino. Centro Lao Action Raft in Scalea can arrange rafting trips as well as canyoning, trekking and mountain-biking. Ferula Viaggi in Matera runs mountain-bike excursions and treks into the Pollino.