Gallura region covers the north-east area of Sardinia. It is one of the most famous parts of the island thanks to the Emerald Coast, the archipelago La Maddalena and the delicious local wine Vermentino di Gallura. In more, in Olbia there is the most important Sardinian airport for regular, charter and private flights. Olbia faces the Gulf with view on Tavolara island and famous for the production of the local mussels. The Emerald Coast is one of the most prestigious summer destinations in the whole Mediterranean area and often it is compared to Costa Azzurra or Monaco. The centers like Porto Cervo or Porto Rotondo are the musts for the VIP cliens arriving usually by private jets or by luxury yachts. Gallura is well-known for the huge marvelous granite rocks of various shapes formed exclusively by wind and rain. In the north of the region there is the Natural park of he Archipelago of La Maddalena often called the Mediterranean Carribean for the crystal clear color of water and snow white sandy beaches. It’s really worth a trip! Gallura region is rich in the archaeological sites dating back to the Nuragic era: nuraghe La Prisgiona and Albucciu, the giants’ tombs Su Monte de S’Aba and Coddu Vecchju, the sacred well Sa Testa; but also ancient baths and aqueduct from the more recent period. In the hinterland large forests of cork oak grow, a very important tree for the local economy. From the port in Sante Teresa Gallura it is easy to reach Corsica by ferry.
Nurra is the name of the north-west part of the island and includes also the island of Asinara. Asinara is an unhabited island. In the past some shepherds used to live there, then there was a prison for some years, nowadyas it is a natural reserve. During the summer it is possible to reach the island by boat (departure from Stintino or Porto Torres). There are small white donkeys living on the island and a well equipped specialized hospital for turtles, too. In the valleys and the plains the soil is very fertile so a plenty of fruit and vegetables grow there. Along the roads it is easy to find the kiosks selling fresh products or sometimes it is enough to enter the open gates leading to the private gardens and plantations and you can buy what you wish. Olive trees, lemon and orange trees apple treesgrow everywhere. At Platamona (with a view over Asinara island) and around Alghero and Fertilia there are immense wine-yards. Visit the wine-yards Sella&Mosca and its wine shop - one of the biggest ones in Sardinia - and learn a bit about Sardinian wine production. The north-west coast makes part of the natural reserve Capo Caccia - hunting promontory. In fact, at the beginning of the 20th century this area was well-known for pigeon hunting. Between Capo Caccia and Alghero there are several beaches like Lazaretto, Le Bombarde, Maria Pia, Cala della Dragunara, Pischina Salida and some others. In Porto Torres you can find some sights from the Roman period. The best places for shopping are Sassari (university city), Alghero (with very nice historical center from the Catalan period) or Porto Torres (one of the biggest ports in Sardinia).
Herd of sheep
Herd of sheep
Barbagia is the name of the large mountainous area that covers the central part of Sardinia with Gennargentu, the western part of Ogliastra region and the hills Supramonte close to Oliena and Orgosolo. The whole area is 1300 square kilometers large. Barbagia is an ideal destination for the nature lovers and hikers, for the trekking lovers and all those people that prefer to relax far from the crowded sea shore. The cliffs of Gennargentu are covered by cork oaks, Mediterranean macchia (thick bush vegetation of jasmine, holdy, juniper, yew trees), almond trees and forests that are the home enviroment for deers, wild pigs, falcons and other wild animals. The nature has many different aspects: limestone cliffs above Oliena, valley along the Cedrino river, pastures close to Seui and Ollolai. The local shepherds have lived and worked in the mountains for many centuries. Since the shepherds’ life is very difficult, many young people leave their native areas and move away to look for jobs on the coast or even in the mainland of Italy. Driving across the countryside it is common to see the herds of sheep. Since the central part of the island and the mountains was is almost unpenetrable, the local people have maintained their traditions for long time - nobody of the Sardinia conquerors was interested in occupying the area that had almost nothing to offer. The name Barbagia derives from the word barbaric, not civilized - in this way the conquerors saw the local people. The carnival masks typical for this area are the result of the simple, but strong traditions - wooden black or dark color masks are still worn during the carnival and special occasions in Sardinia. Visit the Mediterranean masks museum in Mamoiada to learn about this particular aspect of the Sardinian history. Barbagia is also a region with a high concentration of the bandits. In the 80’s a lot of rich and famous people were kidnapped and hidden in the mountains until their families paid ransom money. The Barbagia region is famous for the production of the red wine cannonau, bread carasau and almond cookies.
Arbatax is a small port situated on the east coast of Sardinia in the bay called Bellavista. After Lanusei and Tortolì it is the third biggest town in Ogliastra region. The name of the town comes from the Arab language and means the fourteenth tower - according the tower built by the Spanish for protecting the area. The countryside around Arbatax is very nice. The cliffs in Arbatax have nice red color with some black with long dikes. On sunny days, especially in the spring, they make a strong contrast with sea water and green trees and bushes. In more there are many white sand beaches and transparent water with view on the high mountains towards the hinterland. In Ogliastra there are many small villages where the people maintain various traditions - this region is a bit far from the main touristic destinations. The most interesting attraction in the area are definitely a group of the red rocks. Across them it is possible to reach a tiny beach beneath the cliffs.On the hill about 3 km further in the bay called San Gemiliano there is another tower. Only 30 minutes long walk will lead you from the tower to the lighthouse with a breathtaking view over the sea and sea shore. Not far from there you find the beaches Porto Frailis andOrri. In the near standing lagoon you can find and buy the mussels. The port of Arbatax is connected to the mainland of Italy by ferries during the summer.
Costa Rei is located about 50 km from Cagliari. Except the very nice seashore the area is famous for a group of lakes that are the refuge for some rare species of birds. since it is a natural reserve, no new houses can be built. There is a long beach suitable for relax. The area has all the facilities: groceries, bakeries. If you feel like practicing sport, choose among diving, windsurf or rent a motor boat and explore the coast. Driving around make sure that you find a couple of hours to visit originally fishermen village Villasimius with an old fortress – many objects from the Phoenician and Roman period have been found inside. The nature lovers should not miss the valley along the Flumendosa river. The Cala Pira bay has a nice semi-arch beach and an old Spanish tower. A very important archaelogical site is situated close to Piscina Rei – you can admire 22 pre-historical menhirs. There is probably somekind of relation between the menhirs and the positions of the sun and the moon. However, the real purpose they were built for is still unknown. Costa Rei has beautiful nature, but for shopping it is necessary to drive to Muravera or to Cagliari.
Pula and Chia
Pula extends in the south of Sardinia close to the town Nora. This area is suitable for the family holidays, but also culture and history lovers. The center of Pula has a characteristic features of the local architecture from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Not far from the town there is a beautiful beach (8 km). It extends from Pula to Santa Margherita di Pula. A lot of facilities for summer holidays can be found along the whole beach. Many of the apartments and hotels in this area are built in the shade of the pine trees right next to the beach. Close to the town Pula there is a small promontory with a high concentration of zeolite, silica and calcite in the lava. Another popular destination of the area is an 18 whole golf club Is Molas. Just few kilometres far from Pula is situated the archeological site Nora. The Phoenician-Punic town dates back to the 8th cen. BC. A big part of the objects found in the ancient town are in the museum in Pula. The area is well known also for the small tomatoes growing there (pomodorini di Pula) and wine from the wine-yards Santadi. To the south from Pula there is Chia and its administrative center Domus de Maria which is about 8 km far in the hinterland. Among the nicest beaches of the area let’s mention Campana, Su Giudeu and Cala Cipolla. The area starts from a tiny island Su Cardulinu and extends to the promontory Capo Spartivento. You can find there a huge light color sand dunes with junipers growing on them. Some dunes are even 24 m high. In the lagoons Stagno di Chia and Su Sali often stay the pink flamingos.
Sulcis – Iglesiente
The region with this historical name extends from the villages Buggerru and Nebida in the north down to the touristic area Chia in the south and includes the island Sant’Antioco (which is connected to Sardinia by a long bridge) and the island of San Pietro – in the 18th century it was occupied by the Genoeses. Their influence is still very strong in the island, mainly in the local dialect and in the cuisine (they were and still are very skilled fishermen specialized in tuna fishing). The south-west of Sardinia is rich in coal and various minerals. The area reached the highest development at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century when the English bought the mines. However, even the Romans long time before the English occupied the area because of the coal resources. The mines are closed now, but it is possible to book a guided visit. The guides are usually former miners. Everyone who happens in this region should visit Porto Flavia close to Masua - it was built in 1924. For those times it was a very innovative system for storage of the minerals - there is about 600 m long corridir excavated into the rock. At the end of the corridor there is a big whole situated high above the sea level from which the minerals used to be loaded into the sailing ships. In more, there is a breathtaking view over the island Pan di Zucchero from there. In Buggerru, right on the sea shore, there is a complex of buildings where the minerals were washed. In Sulcis you find a very nice and precious necropolis, so-called domus de janas, built almost 5000 years ago as well as the Punic town Monte Sirai or the temple Antas. If you prefer to relax, choose one of the following beaches: Porto Pino (4 km long beach) or Capo Pecora (white sand beach with high cliffs on both sides) or Portixeddu (suitable for the windsurfing lovers).