Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is the Italian island of Sardinia. Sardinia is remarkably different to the majority of Italy however, as it has gained cultural influence from across the Mediterranean. Their native language, Sardo, is even said to vary from one village to the next depending on the roots of its influence. In September 2020, we drove to Sardini; taking the overnight ferry from Livorno, Italy – and back to Nice, France. In the interest of taking time to relax, we explored the local area of Eastern Sardinia, rather than rushing around to explore the whole island in the 6 nights we were there. Here is a list of the best places we visited:
Orosei is a great place to stay on the East Coast of Sardinia because although it is quaint, rustic and quite traditional – it is situated near some of Sardinia’s nature hotspots. It is therefore a fantastic place for those interested in active holidays that include water sports and hiking or cycling.
We stayed in Mannois Lofts & Apartments, but Albergo Mannois seem to own a series of hotels, restaurants, bike rentals, and beach clubs within Orosei – all of which you’ll have access to as a guest! Their restaurant served an amazing Ravioli Di Mare which was one of the best pasta dishes I have ever eaten.
The Mannois restaurant is a little formal, so if you’re looking for something a little more casual and lower priced you’ll need to head straight to @pasta_e_pasta! Just looking at their Instagram as a pasta lover is exciting! We ate here 3 out of our 6 nights in Orosei, that’s how much we loved it. The below is a photo of the Yesterday Bar, which seems to be the place to go drinking! We popped here for a bit of late afternoon bar food, but whenever we walked past in the evenings it was very busy and they were always playing great music!
Although we only spent lunch in Cala Gonone, it seems like much more of the traditional holiday hot spot than Orosei. Think endless beautiful coastline, with a façade of restaurants offering happy hour on cocktails. This was September 2020 and COVID cases were beginning to rise in Italy again. Sardinia have a very elderly native population (check out Zac Efron’s Down to Earth, S1 E4 – Sardinia), so precautions were in place for tourists. I imagine in its prime, many great nights out have been shared here. If I was to travel to this region of Sardinia again, I would definitely consider staying in Cala Gonone. The waters are crystal clear at Cala Gonone, and this area is particular is popular for water sports.
Golfo di Orosei
The Golfo di Orosei actually encompasses both of the coastal towns mentioned above. The gulf spans from Orosei, all the way down to the beach of Cala Goloritzè. To explore the Gulf, we rented our own boat for the modest sum of €150 – comparatively a group tour was €50pp so it seemed worth the splash out!
The coast is a series of caves, beautiful beaches, blue lagoons and mountain views! I couldn’t recommend this experience enough. The only downside is that almost every couple/small group have the same idea… So at busy points it can be difficult to get close to the hot spots. It was much clearer on our journey back between 4 and 5.30pm. We rented from Blue Driving and had a great experience with them.
Gola di Gorrupu
This magnificent canyon can only be accessed from hiking, and boy should we have planned the hike a little better than we did… The hike from the free car park was a mere 4km so I didn’t think much of it. But actually, the descent is approx 1600m down and 650m up! Obviously reversing that on the way back was like walking a mountain backwards – the easier downhill trek first & then the uphill stint last when you’re most tired.
The snap below was taken in the canyon itself, which is 5 Euro entry per person. It is great fun and the entrance is marked by a bunch of springs to cool down in afterwards.
Unfortunately we found out the hard way that there is no where to fill up a water bottle, so if you plan on doing this then make sure you take enough water! We had ran out in the depths of the canyon so we had to do the uphill stint with nothing… Nearly leading to a divorce before we are married. Alternatively, from searching online it looks like you can either get a Jeep ride one way or both ways for 20 Euros & 30 Euros respectively, including the park entrance fee.
Castello della Fava
Castello della Fava is said to be “one of Sardinia’s best preserved medieval fortresses”, of which for 2 Euro entry you can climb to the very top… if you are a fan of tight spaces! The ladder that reaches through to the rooftop is a teeny hole, but the views at the top are worth the climb. It felt like a treat to lay my eyes on a sight which was mountains and rich farmland one side, and coastal on the other; it was simply unique! I liked Castella della Fava because it somewhat had the mainland Italian feel to it. The cobbled maze-like streets of a hill top town always work a charm on me.
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