Exploring Gulfo di Oresei, Sardinia

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Another area of Sardinia we got to explore was Gulfo di Oresei. While this area technically can be reached by foot (which involves a 2 hour hike), it is best accessed by boat. The gulf is made up of about 10 beaches, each with their own unique qualities. Most of the beaches allow you to land a dinghy for getting onto the beach, but someone has to anchor the boat out past the buoys and swim in. The beaches of Gulfo di Oresei are a bit bigger than the ones in La Maddalenas, but many are still smaller than some of the ones we found in the Caribbean. The only real problem with these beaches is that the tall limestone cliffs start shadowing the beaches very early in the afternoon, limiting your sunbathing hours.

Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze is the stunningly beautiful cove the farthest south in Gulfo di Oresei and one of the smallest beaches in the area. Jason decided to stay with the dinghy while I swam in to shore. The beach was covered in tan, topless Italians lounging on every somewhat flat rock they could find. One thing I found interesting about the beaches in this area was that the majority of them are covered in small rocks instead of sand. The good news is that it doesn’t stick to your skin, but the bad news is that it really hurts to walk on.

Cala dei Gabbiani

Rock lined beach of Cala dei Gabbiani, Sardinia
The beautiful rock beach of Cala dei Gabbiani
Cala dei Gabbiani
You can see how far back the dinghies have to anchor at Cala dei Gabbiani

This beach will forever hold a special place in my heart as it was where Jason and I got married. This beach was a little bigger than some of the others and definitely less crowded. Sandwiched between more popular options – Cala Goloritze and Cala Mariolu – it appeared that most people skipped over this spot. The sand is made of small rocks, so bring shoes to walk to around. You can land your dinghy to unload on the North shore and then anchor out a bit farther back. The shore line is covered in big rocks that are hidden just beneath the surface of the water, so be careful when swimming around. There is a nice climbing wall on the North side of the beach as well if that is your sort of thing.

Cala Mariolu

Cala Mariolu in Sardinia
The long flat rock is where the tour boats come to unload visitors

This was Jason’s favorite stop in the area and the beach he wanted to get married on. The dock for unloading boatload of visitors could have served as a makeshift aisle and a perfect cliff to jump off of after we committed ourselves to each other. After all the amazing reviews I had read about this particular secluded beach, I was a little disappointed in how touristy it was. You could sign up for scuba lessons on one part of the beach, rent snorkel gear in another, and I’m sure there were beach umbrellas available in a far corner. While the beach was beautiful, the hordes of tourists kind of turned me off of this one.

Cala Luna

The caves of Cala Luna as the sun starts to set
The caves of Cala Luna as the sun starts to set

Cala Luna is one of the more popular beaches in the region. Covered by white sand mixed with pebbles, it is probably best known for the series of caves on the North side of the beach. Possibly the most popular place in Sardinia with climbers, you can easily find them hanging from the top of the caves, holding on to nooks and crannies my eyes couldn’t even see. The stop also has a beach bar accessible by a small bridge over a marshy/swamp like area. This beach is one of the stops with the tour boats, so there is a dock that you can pull up to and unload. You can also get to the beach by a 2 hour hike, which a lot of people do. The view sure is a nice reward!

Climbers hanging around in Cala Luna, Sardinia
Climbers hanging from the top of the caves
The beach scene at Cala Luna, Sardinia
The beach visitors are an interesting mix of hikers with all their gear and sunbathers

Cala Gonone

Cala Gonone, Sardinia
The town of Cala Gonone sure is purdy

The beach at Cala Gonone is one of the most accessible to visit. It’s the only beach truly accessible by car as it is connected to the marina and main town. The town is pretty small and a lot was shut down for the season when we visited in September. We were told the area completely shuts down in the off season and local Sardinians go to other parts of the island for winter. It appeared that most of the restaurants were lining the road overlooking the water or on the road heading to the marina. The town has a few different grocery stores, all fully stocked with basics, including a well stocked wine aisle. Make sure you bring your own bags because most of the stores in smaller towns don’t offer them!

I really loved this area as it was so unspoiled and beautiful. Next time I’d love to stay a bit longer and maybe check out one of those hikes as well.

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