A trip around Sardinia in Sardinia

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We'll start at Olbia, a town which wrestled the title ‘Golden Gate’ from the island Alghero. It’s a Golden Gate because of all the tourists the port and airport have to transfer and because of the importance of Sardinia's east coast in general. The northern stretch of coast, broken up into thousands of indentations and rocky promontories, is breathtakingly beautiful. Let yourself be dazzled by the clear waters, where colours blend with the white sand of the beaches and with the red or pink granites and the green of the Mediterranean bush, dotted with one of the many sorts of blossoms that grow all throughout the year. This is the part of Sardinia most famous all over the world, with the Costa Emeralda and other resorts (that also boasts the highest concentration of marinas) and with the universally renowned Porto Cervo, hosting the Costa Emeralda Yacht Club in the vanguard.

Continuing northwards, we come to La Maddalena Archipelago, with its historical sites, among which Garibaldi's final home and resting place on the island of Caprera. Be covered up under the spell of the natural beauty of the archipelago's larger islands and of all the smaller ones. Even after going through Santa Teresa, and leaving the Straights of Bonifacio behind you, the coast remains rocky. Now we begin to come across wider and longer beaches, like those of Rena Maiori and Vignola. When we reach Costa Paradiso, we once again find an alternation of rocky shores and charming coves until the granite northern stretch of coast comes to, what can only be described as, a triumphal close at Punta Li Canneddi and Isola Rossa. Then we come to the sandy coast at the mouth of the Coghinas River. After being interrupted by the rocks of Castelsardo, the strand resumes with the miles-long beach that accompanies us to Porto Torres. From this point onwards to the Stintino promontory, where the landscape is dominated by the Mediterranean bush of the Nurra region, dark boulders of schist and transparent waters come to rest on snow-white beaches, the most famous one being Pelosa.

After rounding Capo Falcone, in the first stretch of the western coast, the shoreline becomes rough and inhospitable. In order to find the first beach, we have to travel to the islands known as Isola dei Porri, Biancareddu and Lampianu. Then we arrive at Argentera and Porto Ferro. In a landscape, dominated by limestone cliffs (some of them being of a spectacular height), we catch a first glimpse of the marvels of Alghero's coast. It varies from the huge rocky spur of Capo Caccia to the bay of Porto Conte, from the beaches of the Rada to the port and then back to the high, inhospitable coastline, once again dominated by rocks on the stretch that takes us to Bosa.

After passing the mouth of the Temo River, the fishermen's port and the marina, the dark, volcanic shore begins to rise. It is followed by the lower and gently rounded limestone boulders marking the landscape around S'Archittu and other localities. We arrive at the Sinis Peninsula with its sandy beaches, set off by the many marshes just behind them, alternating with higher and steeper stretches. Once past the Gulf of Oristano, which is all flat-bottomed and shallow, offering good harbour facilities. Once again, the coastline becomes rough, but marked from time to time by beautiful beaches. The Costa Verde begins just south of this stretch and comes to an end in the unique landscape formed by the Dunes of Piscinas. Still farther south, the coast rises to form high cliffs alternating with beaches, among which Portixeddu and Cala Domestica. We then encounter the metalliferous limestone of the Gulf of Gonnesa, bordered to the north by the characteristic Pan di Zucchero in front of which we find some former mining towns which are now being converted into holiday resorts.

After rounding Capo Altano, we come in sight of the islands of San Pietro and Sant'Antioco, both famous for their landscapes - with coasts that are uniformly high, formed by rock formations, with small beaches and secluded coves - and their towns, which were founded by people from Liguria. The Sardinian coast continues with an alternation of low coastlines, such as can be seen at Porto Pino, and higher ones, among which the rocky spur of Capo Teulada. Just beyond this, traveling along a beautiful scenic road, which later connects up with the main road to Cagliari, we come to the Costa del Sud. The beaches are manifold from those of Chia (near ancient Bithia) to Maddalena Beach, just before reaching Cagliari. After going through Cagliari, with its many harbour facilities and numerous marinas, we come to the seemingly unending Poetto Beach. The coastline then rises, granite once again predominates and holds sway until we reach the magnificent resorts around the town of Villasimius, one of southern Sardinia's finest seaside holiday towns.

Then we turn north and start up the eastern coast. The first beaches we come to are those of Costa Rei, one of the most popular among the people from Cagliari. After rounding characteristic Capo Ferrato, we come to Muravera's beaches, renowned for their total absence of pollution. We once again come across sandy beaches on reaching the Salto di Quirra and the Marina di Tertenia. The coast then starts rising, interrupted now and then by inlets and beaches like that of Orri. Soon, after we are in Arbatax, with its cliffs of red porphyry. Leaving behind the beaches of the Ogliastra region, we come to a coast dominated by limestone, which rises to great heights and remains compact, except for some well-known coves: Cala Mariolu, Cala Sisine and Cala Luna. Among the many caves is the Grotta del Bue Marino, the favourite refuge of the monk seal. After Cala Gonone, which has lately become an important marina, we come to the beginning of the coasts dearest to the people of Nuoro: from Orosei to Cala Liberotto and Capo Comino, from La Caletta to Posada and Budoni. And so now we are back in the granite land near Olbia, the destination of more visitors from abroad. Here we find San Teodoro and the jagged peninsula of Capo Coda Cavallo. Finally, Molara and the higher and more imposing island of Tavolara come into sight, telling us that we are almost back to where we started from on our trip around Sardinia.

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