On the eastern side of Sardinia there is a gorgeous rugged bay of about 20 km long that houses lots of hidden caves and secluded beaches in between its towering cliffs. The most beautiful ones are only accessible by foot or boat…
It is called the Golfo di Orosei, part of Sardinia’s largest park: Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu. Which also consists of the Supramonte mountain range. Along the bay, the limestone plateau suddenly protrudes into the unbelievably blue waters. It reminded us of the famous cliffs of northern France – minus the blue hues.
Apparently UNESCO protected Cala Goloritze is supposed to be the nicest beach, and it might be true, because the only way to get there is by foot or by boat. The starting point of the 1h to 2h walk is at the bar/parking of Su Porteddu. It’s a 1 ½ h drive from Cala Gonone, so come in time. An old mule path brings you through a limestone canyon all the way down to the beach. Along the way you might encounter some goats or wild piggies.
No sun beds, no stalls selling stuff, no masses. Just a white pebble beach with the most turquoise water ever. A gem indeed!
Cala Goloritzè isn’t the only wonderful beach in the Golfo di Orosei. The absolutely must do here is rent a gommone in Cala Gonone to explore the bay. A gommone is an inflatable motor boat. The best part is you can steer it all by yourself! There are several ticket booths near the port of Cala Gonone that rent out gommoni and other (group) boat excursions.
After a small demonstration and some instructions on how to navigate the boat, you’re off on your own! You can choose a boat with roof (which can be folded back) or without and normally you will also receive an umbrella, paddles and cool box for your picnic.
When you come closer to the small beaches along the bay, you’ll notice a rope with buoys in the water, surrounding the beach. From this point on you cannot go closer with your boat, because the water is too shallow. You have to jump in and swim to the shore. It is possible to bring an umbrella, your bags or the cool box onto dry land: Pull the motor out of the water and use the paddles to bring your boat ashore. Drop your things. One person paddles back out the ‘non parking’ area, drops anchor and swims back to the beach.
There are lots of grottos, like the famous Grotta del Bue Marino and several secluded beaches. When sailing from Cala Gonone southwards, you’ll pass by Cala Luna, Cala Sisine, Cala Biriola, Cala Mariolu, Cala Dei Gabbiani and finally Cala Goloritzè.
For once you can admire the beaches from the waterside, so you can actually take pictures like you see them in the postcards!
We brought a bottle of wine and imagined ourselves real millionaires, having a drink on ‘our boat’ while admiring the most beautiful view! Bellissima!
- Book ahead. Especially in high season. There is not an everlasting amount of boats. (Which is actually a good thing!)
- Negotiate prices between the different booths. We paid around 125€ in high season.
- You need to fill up the tank when you return, so add another 20-30€ for gas.
- You’ll be given a map. So you won’t miss any beaches!
- Take pictures of the boat before you leave, especially of the dents and scratches on the propeller.
- Don’t drop anchor too close to the ropes, or you’ll risk getting the rope twisted around your motor when you start the engine again. (Yup, happened to us. Luckily we weren’t the only gommone-dummies out there)
- There is police on the water! If your boat is in the prohibited area, they’ll pull it out and deliberately drop your anchor far away from the beach.
- We first sailed all the way to Cala Goloritze, which is the last beach of the bay. Because we were told that’s where the sun goes down first. No idea if that is true though…