This is probably the latest discovered tourist destination in Sardinia. Its territory is characterized by beautiful mountains and hills and some of the most breath-taking coastlines. It is the area of Sardinia in which nature perfectly combines sea and land. In fact, this area is full of amazing little bays with crystal clear waters and wild countryside with all the fragrances of the Mediterranean vegetation. The vast territory of Ogliastra consists of high and impenetrable mountains as well as a combination of long and small sandy beaches and beautiful coves. The inland scenery is rich in vegetation and woods greatly and characterised by the so-called “Tacchi” (heels). They are impressive rocky formations in truncated-cone shape. Particularly relevant are the Taccus of Ulassai. These are just some of the reasons that make the Ogliastra area one of thefinest in Italy.
Tortoli, Lanusei and Arbatax are the biggest towns in this part of Sardinia. Farming is the main activity around there although sustainable tourism became a fundamental part of the local economy in the last 20 years
The name Ogliastra comes from Olivastri (Olive trees) which can be found everywhere in this area. To further enrich this fascinating province there are plenty of archaeological sites that attract visitors and holiday makers, among them there are many Nuraghi, Domus de Janas, Tombe dei Giganti (Giant’s thumbs) and Menhirs. This territory has a lot to offer also to climbers and trekkers and it is definitely the perfect place for hikers and for those who love to be in contact with uncontaminated nature.
Some of the most important attractions in the area are:
Boat trip on the Orosei Bay. It’s one of those things that must be done. Boats depart from Arbatax and the elegant Santa Maria Navarrese resort and will bring visitors close to Cala Gonone and back. The trip will be one of those you will remember for long time for the spectacular landscapes that include impressive limestone cliffs plunging into a turquoise sea. You will have plenty of choice to do so by either rent a small rubber boat yourself or avail of one of the many organized tours.
Among the must see beaches around the coast is Cala Goloritzé and its impressive natural stone arch straddling the sea. The beach consists of coarse grained white sand and pebbles, and crystal clear sea which is an authentic magnet for the sea lovers.
Another landmark in the area is Perda Longa. It is an impressive 128m high rocky spur standing on the North coast of Santa Maria Navarrese. Its original name refers to its unique pointed shape of Guglia, also called Aguglia or Augliastra by the locals. This majestic natural rock pinnacle which is just behind the natural arch in Goloritzé became a must-do for the many rock climbers visiting this area.
The beach of Cala Mariolu, very close to Cala Goloritzé from the sea, is one of the most stunning coves in the whole Mediterranean. Its name comes from the monk seal who used to live in this area until the 70es. The nickname of this cute animal was “mariolu” (thief) because it used to steal fish out of the local fishermen nets.
The turquoise colours of the Cala Mariolu beach have made it one of the most beautiful in Italy and are admired every year by thousands of holiday makers and naturalists.
Santa Maria Navarrese is a small little village with a vocation for sustainable tourism particularly for families. Its safe beach with clean waters provides full of facilities of any kind. The quality of services and the clean environment grant every year the Italian blue Flag to this part of coastline. The beach has many facilities including: wheelchair access, rent beach umbrellas, campervans service, hotels, campsite, cafes restaurants, and pubs. There are also some cool options for the nightlife lovers.
When there take a look at the impressive thousand-year old olive tree next to the local church. They are more than 10 metres high!
Baunei. It is a village located on the slopes of Mount Santo along the SS 125 road on the East coast. This area has plenty of itineraries for walkers and hikers departing from the village and going through the mountains from which it is possible to enjoy spectacular views of the coastline. These pats go through interesting archaeological sites and unique scenery. Of particular interest is the basalt plateau of Golgo with its famous 280 metres chasm, one of the deepest in Europe. A part from the uncontaminated landscapes that surround Baunei’s countryside we recommend a visit to the local church of San Nicola with a seventeenth century floor-plan. Other outstanding points of interests are “Aguglia di Pedra Longa”, “Cala Goloritzè”, “Cala Mariolu” and “Cala Sisine”. They can be reached by sea or through trails through the mountains. We advise you to contact one of the many trekking groups in the area before attempting the excursions.
Hiking and climbing. Walking in Sardinia is a great experience in many areas, the Ogliastra region offers some of the best and most varied trails, with hundreds of routes for experienced and amateur walkers. The tracks range from spectacular coastal walks overlooking the turquoise waters of Gulf of Orosei to mountainous paths in the Gennargentu chain. The countryside is still unspoiled and people live in harmony with it. This allows visitors to truly enjoy the unique environment and explore unforgettable places. In addition, walkers can visit a long list of archaeological sites, such as Nuraghi, Domus de Janas and dolmen which can be found along many trails. The most famous track is probably the Sentiero Selvaggio Blu, a multi-day expedition involving climbing and abseiling which includes both easy walks and very complicated passages.
Trip on Trenino Verde. If you would like to experience a trip back in time then the Trenino Verde (little green train) is definitely what you should consider. The train can be taken from Arbatax town which then continue to the village of Mandas after 159 kilometres. It is certainly one of the most exciting tours in central Ogliastra.
The journey will bring you through the wild and rugged mountains and hills of Trexenta and Barbagia providing magnificent views. The traveller will enjoy the atmosphere of a forgotten age. The service is available from June to September, however you can also travel in other periods if you make a reservation.
The train usually leaves early in the morning as the journey is quite long. It will stop in many little rural villages and towns such as: Elini, Lanusei, Artana, Villagrande, Ulassai, Seui and many more. The landscapes are dominated by the woods and forests of the Gennargentu chain and Mediterranean scrub. The little charming villages on the way provide plenty of surprises for the visitors including the opportunity to taste lovely local food and wine.