Island Insiders: Sardinia
Sun, sea, Sardinia! It’s the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean and an absolute jewel in Italy’s crown. One of our favourite island destinations, Sardinia is where you go to lose track of time, eat amazing food, snorkel or simply do nothing by soak up the sun like a beach-bum pro!
Although swanky Costa Smerala in the north east is lovely (and pricey!), and the beaches in the south of the island are white and plentiful, it’s eastern Sardinia that we’ve grown to love the most. The province of Dorgali with its steep cliffs and sandy coves offers a quieter Sardinian scene with wilder, more remote beaches, sheltered and shallow waters and miles of national parkland.
Accessible only via a twisting, winding, ear-poppingly mountainous route, Cala Gonone is a one-hour drive from Olbia airport and is the perfect destination for an extra laidback Sardinian experience. It’s from the town’s small port that you can catch a boat to any one of the area’s completely unspoiled beaches – the best shuttle service you’ll ever take with a pick-up and drop-off at various idyllic and secluded spots all day long.
Cala Luna is a must – this half-moon shaped beach with its whiter than white sand and turquoise waves is surrounded by a cool green forest and is the perfect spot for a day of pure relaxation – be sure to order an iced Limonata from the beach kiosk or a slice of watermelon from the friendly local vendor.
Cala Gonone is also known for its deep marine grottos that nestle into the cliff sides. The Groftta del Bue Marino is a major attraction of the area – a stunning cave filled with natural rock sculptures. Take a boat from the port and enjoy a two-hour round trip that includes a guided tour of the grotto.
And a day of adventure can be had with a visit to Gorropu gorge – it’s deep with plenty of cooling shade, offering a great opportunity to break away from the hot summer sun and stretch your legs (guided walks are recommended).
Aside from the natural beauty of Cala Ganone, it’s the friendly locals who add to the charm of this island-holiday destination – good-humoured, welcoming and always ready to entertain visitors with music and dance- what’s not to love?
…it’s the friendly locals who add to the charm of this island-holiday destination…
Cala Gonone has quaint eateries and bars a-plenty, most dotted around the beachfront promenade area that comes alive at night. Seafood, ravioli and wood-fired pizzas must be sampled, and don’t forget to try the celebrated myrtle berry liqueur. It works well as an aperitif or digestif, or both!! There’s even myrtle berry sorbet, which is particularly moreish.
Where to stay
There are several small and family-friendly hotels in Cala Ganone – the types of places that ooze Italy – bougainvillea, breakfast terraces, white washed walls and sea views. Look at Hotel Cala Luna and Monte Turri Hotel as a starting point.