Wild beauty of Barbagia
A trip to the Gulf of Orosei, discovering dazzling white beaches, blood red rocks and staggering stalactites!
A journey into the wildest part of Sardinia, home to mysterious caves, blinding white beaches and gigantic giant's tombs.
Skirting the Gulf of Orosei
Our journey begins in Orosei, an important medieval city in the province of Nuoro, which gives its name to the large bay overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea. The heart of the city is its Piazza del Popolo, home to a total of four churches: the majolica-domed Church of San Giacomo Maggiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Church of the Rosario and the Church of the Anime.
From Orosei we head to the Grotta di Ispinigoli, to admire Europe's largest stalactite, a 38meter long column which connects the base of the cave with its roof. The cave is open to the public ten months of the year, and visits include a 45 minute guided tour.
Travelling southbound, amidst Mediterranean vegetation and impressive rocks, we come to Dorgali. The remains of the prehistoric settlement of Dorgali are situated a few kilometers to the north, in the Nuraghic Village of Serra Orrios. This is one of the best conserved ruins of the pre-historic era in the whole of Sardinia, famous both for its size (the site contains traces of some 80 edifices) and for the way in which the urban plan is articulated.
Six kilometers from the Villaggio di Serra Orrios we find another impressive Nuraghic construction: the so-called Giant's Grave
Cala Gonone, the Marina of Dorgali, is the first place we come to on the Gulf of Orosei and, since the 1960's, is one of Sardinia's most popular holiday destinations. From here, every half hour, boats depart for the Grotta del Bue Marino and the beaches of Cala Luna and Cala Sisine, characterized by their sparkling white sand and spectacular rock formations.
The historic center of Nuoro, capital of the Barbagia and home city of Grazia Deledda, the Sardinian writer who, in 1926, received the Nobel prize for literature, is best visited on foot. Just a few meters from Piazza San Giovanni we find the Casa Museo, brimming with fascinating documents.
A passion for fashion? Don't miss the Museo della Vita e delle Tradizioni Populari Sarde - on the nearby hill of Colle Sant Onofrio - which houses a fabulous collection of traditional costumes, textiles and jewelry
Moving just a little further South, we arrive in Oliena where trekkers will no doubt want to attempt to climb Mount Tiscali, scaling the sheer rock cliffs in order to reach the only recently discovered Nuraghic village constructed on the summit of the mountain, within a Karst depression.
Final destination: the beaches of Arbatax
Back on the coast, once past Baunei, we proceed to Santa Maria Navarrese, an elegant tourist resort, from where excursions commence towards the southern part of the Gulf of Orosei.
Our final destination is Arbatax, fraction of Tortolì, in the province of Ogliastra, home to a busy tourist port and an airport. Much loved by holiday makers, the town boasts a magnificent beach (known as Cea), famous for its stunning red rocks.
Hotels in the area
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Santa Maria Navarrese