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Connoisseur's Guide · Europe · italy · Sardinia · Three destination for intelligent sun lovers

Golfo di Orosei

Author: Anothertravelguide.com1 COMMENT

Golfo di Orosei

The Golfo di Orosei (Gulf of Orisei) is the wildest and most impressive coastline in Sardinia. The white sandy beaches of the small coves along the gulf are compared to those in the tropical Maldive and Seychelle islands. This part of the island is a perfect destination for those who wish to enjoy the harsh beauty of an untamed natural environment.

Up until fairly recently, the coast along the Golfo di Orosei had been much quieter and less frequented by tourists than the celebrated Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) further north, which has drawn famous entertainment stars and their admirers to its shores for decades. Things changed somewhat in 2001, when pop diva Madonna arrived to star in the movie Swept Away, a remake of Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea (1974) by Italian director Lina Wertmüller.
Guy Ritchie, the director of the new remake and Madonna's husband at the time, chose to film some of the movie's paradisiacal beach scenes at Cala Luna, the same location as his predecessor Wertmüller. Although Ritchie's film was not a success at the box office, Madonna's appearance in it brought worldwide fame to the formerly secluded cove.
Sardinia's 2000-kilometre coastline is famous for its turquoise-coloured waters, cliff-lined shores and idyllic coves with white sandy beaches, of which a few can be reached only by boat. Most of these coves are concentrated in the 70-kilometre stretch of the Golfo di Orosei on the island's east coast, from Punta Nera in the north to Capo di Monte Santu in the south. In some places the cliff faces are almost vertical, concealing picture-perfect beaches and deep-water caves.
The best-known of these is the Grotte del Bue Marino, which consists of several caverns that are full of stalagmites and stalactites. At one time, the grotto was popular with monk seals, who gathered there to give birth to their young. The coastal cliffs at the Golfo di Orosei can rise up 400 metres from the sea in some places, with the Supramonte mountain chain extending 30 kilometres inland.
To really enjoy this unbelievably beautiful area where the mountains meet the sea - creating a magical and dramatic dialogue between two untamed forces - it is worth heading to the harbour at small seaside town of Cala Gonone and renting a boat. The kiosks of numerous boat rental companies dot the edge of the port like the beads of a necklace.
It's best to choose the smallest possible boat, as otherwise your idyllic trip risks becoming a classically organized tourist hell. A trip in a big boat for 12 people or more will cost 40 EUR per person, while a more private ride in a small inflatable motorboat for three or four people will cost 80 EUR per boat, plus fuel expenses. The route includes all of the most beautiful beaches along the shore, and which are impossible to reach in any other manner, including Cala Goloritzè, Cala Mariolu, Cala Luna and Cala dei Gabbiani.
Actually, some of these coves - including the UNESCO-protected Cala Goloritzè - are difficult to reach even by boat, which means that you will have to swim to their shores; ora lternatively in the case of Cala Goloritzè, make a one-hour trek along a cliffside path. However, once you reach the beach, you will feel as if you have arrived in Paradise itself. The water here is coloured in an incredibly beautiful bluish-green tone, and it is absolutely transparent, making this cove a perfect stop for snorkelers.
While nowadays you shouldn't expect to enjoy the quiet solitude of a castaway like Robinson Crusoe at the beaches of the Golfo di Orosei, they certainly won't be overcrowded, either. Bear in mind that most of these seaside coves have nothing else to offer except for white sandy beaches and a crystal-clear sea. You won't find any cafés or beach chairs or sunshades, so bring along the appropriate amount of food, water and sunscreen for your outing.
A number of beaches can also be reached by car, including Cala di Cartoe, where Madonna liked to relax while filming Swept Away. The trip there from Cala Gonone is an adrenaline-filled drive along a serpentine road through the mountains. The last stretch along a dirt road leads to a white sandy paradise surrounded by rocks at the edge of crystal-clear blue waters.
For a truly unforgettable experience, one of Europe's most fabulous trekking routes - Selvaggio Blue (Wild Blue) - winds along the coast of the Golfo di Orosei. The exciting and picturesque five- to seven-day hike begins at Pedra Longa and ends at the aforementioned Cala Luna beach. The scenery is quite diverse in comparison with other trekking routes in Europe. At one point you will be in a meadow surrounded by cows and sheep, then the trail will lead through a shady olive grove, and then the next moment you will be standing at the edge of a steep cliff over an abyss.
This hike is fairly demanding, and although cliff-climbing skills are not absolutely necessary, they do come in handy on occasion. The route goes through some pretty wild territory and it would be easy to lose one's way, which is why this trek must be taken in the company of a local guide. On the other hand, you will be able to swim alone on the sandy beaches of isolated coves, jump from cliffs into the sea, spend a night in a three-storey beachside cave and look up into the stars of a pitch-black sky come nightfall. (

Where to stay. Albergo Mannois is a small and charming hotel in Orosei's old town. Spread out in three separate buildings, its 18 guest rooms may not be very large, but are pleasantly affordable and include the price for renting a chair at the Orosei municipal beach. Countless cafés and bars stand practically within arm's reach. (Via Angioy 32, Orosei;

Su Gologone is a legendary family-owned hotel run by Giovanna Palimodde, a passionate local patriot and art collector. Artworks can be found all over the grounds of the hotel, as well as in every one of its 70 guest rooms. A night spent here is like a voyage in itself. The drive from Su Gologone to Cala Gonone is about 20 minutes. (Su Gologone, Oliena;

Where to eat. While the Golfo de Orosei is not a gourmet destination, you will always find good pizza, as well as skilfully prepared seafood from the catch of the day at the cafés in the region. The best-known restaurant is Su Gologone, which has been famous in this area since the 1960s. Its cuisine is traditional to the core, and since Su Gologone is located in the mountains at a distance from the sea, it serves mainly meat dishes and vegetables prepared in different ways. The servings are large and the prices are reasonable. (Località Su Gologone, Oliena;

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