In this East part of Sardinia the nature is overwhelming. The limestone mountains drop into the ocean in the nearby Golfo di Orosei. The cliffs are robust and melt down into the aquamarine waters. The mountain range has one of the deepest valleys in Europe. History is everywhere and the area breaths outdoor activities. Don’t miss this part of the island!!
My route came from the Northeast so I drove down via the SS125 all the way down to Dorgali; my next stop. The route is beautiful with astonishing views at every corner of the road. You pass several small villages where you find the authentic pizzerias; perfect lunch stop. After a couple of hours you reach the town Orosei; recognized by the huge marble mine. From Orosei you can book tours to the Golfo de Orosei but I went one stop further to Dorgali. The SS125 goes even further to Sant Maria Navarrese, with on one side the mountains and on the other side the blue ocean.
Dorgali is a perfect base for two nights to visit the surroundings in the area. The mountains with vineyards and olive yards are part of the view of my hotel; Hotel Il Querceto. The sunset is very relaxing and amazing from the rooftop!
The hotel has a great location, but I found the interior a bit chill with all the marble (no wonder right….?) and the breakfast is extended. The front desk is very helpful and helped me to book the boat tour and gave me tour suggestions for a month! Hiking is popular here and of course the boat trips to the Golfo di Orosei.
Golfo di Orosei
The reason I drove all this way to the East side of Sardinia was because I wanted to see this dramatic cliff coast with pretty beaches, coves and grottoes. One of the more famous spots is Cala Luna. You get to these remote locations by feet or by boat; I chose the boat option. This way you can see a lot more than only Cala Luna but a lot more of this fantastic coast.
In the morning I drove from Dorgali in 20 min to Cala Gonone at the coast, this is the town where you can book your tour at one of the many vendors in the harbor. But this place attracts also a lot of climbers and hikers, next to the kayakers, sailors and boat tours. It is a real outdoor activity town. My hotel booked me a spot on the boat of the tour-operator Daymar; a full day tour for 50EUR.
Tip: Be prepared for the tour and check if you need to bring your own lunch. Around the corner of the vendors, there is a good shop to get fresh salads if you forgot your lunch like me…..
The boat tour is well organized; you get a cool-box and a beach umbrella. The boat left at 10:00AM with an experienced skipper and 12 (max) people on board. The rubber boat was comfortable, clean and new. Bare in mind, it is a touristic place…..even in September. Don’t expect to be the only one at one of the view beaches at the stops. But my skipper stopped literally in the caves with turquoise waters and let us out to swim. This way we got the feeling we were alone. Very cool thing to do, dark inside and the sun peeping in the grotto, what created a mystic feeling.
We did a similar stop and in between we raced over the water and went very close to the limestone walls; very excited that leads to screaming in the boat! We passed Cala Luna but on the way back we stopped here. We stopped at amazing places with horseshoe-shaped beaches with stunning blue clear waters. I’m I still in Europe was I thinking….?!?!?
The stone mountains that reach the water have such unique structures that I kept on making pictures.
We stopped for a longer break at a white beach, the beach is made of small stones instead of real sand.
Tip: Bring your water shoes or flip flops because the stones on the beach could hurt your feet.
We did a snorkel/swim stop in a sheltered area. I can remember all the names of the stops that relate to the photos; Cala Sisine, Calo Biriola, Grotta del Fico, Cala Mariolu and so on. Hope you don’t mind, just enjoy the scenery!
The second longer stop was the lunch break and was at another crowded beach. You don’t have that many beaches here and the beaches are not that big. All the boats go to the same beautiful beaches, so try to find a good spot between the other tourist. We were almost at the end of the Golfo di Orosei and time to head back, but not without stopping at my hot spot; Cala Luna. Unfortunately I could not take the picture without people in it, but it turned out pretty OK.
Tip: Be aware that the sun goes down in the West and rises in the east, this means that in the morning the beaches and caves have the most of the sun, in the afternoon the sun disappears behind the big cliffs.
Around 17:30PM we returned at Cala Gonone. I was so hungry; I went straight into the first restaurant with terrace in the harbor for a spaghetti mussels and vongole (Il Nuovo Gabbiano). I saw some dark cloud passing by, but I didn’t care, what an amazing day. Enjoyed it soooooo much!! So guess what, go and do a detour but don’t miss out this part of Sardinia; hope the pictures can convince you!!!
Next day I was heading to Alghero, but not without stopping at the notorious town called Orgosolo. It is a town high in the mountains, so it took me a while winding through the olive trees fields and ancient dry-stone walls (murales). Because the place is so remote in the past, it became a place where banditry and violence reigned.
But not anymore, now you can find over 150 political paintings all over the walls of Orgosolo. The murales reflect different aspects of Sardinia’s and international political issues but it also represent a new form of urban decor; including graffiti-style murals.
But most of all they are a piece of art and attracts a lot of local and foreign tourist to this remote town in the middle of the Sardinia’s mountains.
Where are you going next? Follow my route to Alghero, by clicking here.
Arrivederci East Sardinia!!!