A walk near Balai

Balai is a charming beach located near Porto Torres, in a cove between steep cliffs.

Thanks to the fine sand, the shallow waters and the beautiful colors of the sea, this is a very popular beach in summer.

Balai beach in summer

But even in winter this area is interesting, thanks to the possibility of pleasant walks…

Along the coast at Porto Torres

From the area of the city port, we walk along the cycle and pedestrian path of via Lungomare Balai; here, our itinerary runs along the sea.
After passing the first city beaches, we reach the northernmost point of Porto Torres. Here we find an iron monument that represents a large anchor, dedicated to the fallen of the Battleship Rome, sunk in the Asinara Gulf during the Second World War.

Porto Torres

Monument near Porto Torres

This area is very panoramic: to the west we can see the port and the buildings of Porto Torres, while to the east we can see the beautiful bay of Balai beach, surrounded by rocky cliffs and a green park.

Balai Vicino

Just below us, on a cliff, there is the little and nice white church of Balai Vicino. Dedicated to San Gavino, it is located near a hypogeum: a cave dug into the rock, probably used as a tomb. According to traditions, the Christian martyrs Gavino, Gianuario and Proto rested here, after their death in this region in 303 AD.
The church was built around 1850, in limestone with a single nave; its white walls remind the houses of the Greek islands and stand out against the blue of the sea. The name of Balai “Vicino” is due to the fact that this is not the only church in the area, but it is the closest to Porto Torres.

Church of Balai Vicino

After reaching and closely observing the beautiful building, we continue along the path, through a very green park. On our left we enjoy the view on the beach: even in winter the sea shows many shades of blue.

Beach and Church of Balai Vicino

Balai Beach

Pics of Balai

Balai Lontano

The pedestrian and cycle path proceeds to the east, above the cliffs that close the bay of Balai.
The walk is very relaxing and we meet several people: walkers like us or joggers.

Path near Balai

We cross another small park, continuing our stroll; the view of the blue sea beyond the jagged cliffs is always gorgeous. In about twenty minutes we reach another little white church.
This is the church of Santu Bainzu Ischabizzaddu (“decapitated Saint Gavino”) or Balai Lontano, built in the place where, for tradition, San Gavino died.
It is believed that the building has taken the place of an older church.

Church and cliffs of Balai Lontano

Church of Balai Lontano

Here our tour ends, while we observe the succession of cliffs and inlets towards the east, towards the ancient tower of Abbacurrente; more in teh distance, the coast then becomes more linear near the long Platamona beach.

View from Balai Lontano

View of Tavolara

With the post of today we visit some beaches in the area of San Teodoro.
A peculiarity of the coast in this area is the presence in any panorama of the striking silhouette of the Tavolara island.

Tavolara island

The island of Tavolara is a strip of land almost entirely occupied by a long and massive mountain with rocky slopes.
This impressive limestone massif (six kilometers long and one wide) exceeds five hundred meters of altitude. It is therefore a promontory, clearly visible from the distance, which in the past was used as a Landmark by sailors.
You can reach the island by ferry. Access to the northern area of the island is not permitted, due to the presence of military base; instead, in the southern part, you can visit the wonderful sandy area of the Splmatore di Terra peninsula. Here there are several beaches and you can dive or also you can hike in the nature.

Tavolara mountain

Both the island and the nearby coastline of Sardinia are included in the protected natural park of Tavolara and Punta Coda Cavallo.
The beaches in this area are very beautiful and various; some consist of long stretches of sand, others are located in choreographic coves. We have chosen to see two extremely fascinating places; but surely the visitor who wants to explore the region will find other charming locations.

La Cinta beach near San Teodoro

La Cinta beach is certainly one of the most famous in the area of San Teodoro; the landscape is marvelous, the turquoise sea is very attractive and the fine sandy strip is so long!
The panorama is also enriched by the pond of San Teodoro, at the side of the beach, surrounded by dunes and Mediterranean scrub. To the north, the peninsula of Puntaldia encloses the beautiful bay with shallow waters and, behind it, you can see the silhouette of the promontory of Tavolara.

San Teodoro beach

Puntaldia peninsula and Tavolara

We chose to relax for a few hours by the sea, before starting a pleasant walk along the shoreline.
The first part is crowded, near the car park at San Teodoro and not so far from bars and restaurants; as we move away, we can find more quiet places in a natural environmet that leaves you astonished!

Budoni Beach

Another nice and accessible beach is that of Budoni.
Even in this case, we found a very long stretch of white sand in evocative environment, but less majestic than that of La Cinta. A part of the four miles of sandy beach are located near the buildings of Budoni and tourist villages; anyway other parts are surrounded by dunes, little rivers and small ponds.
Crystalline waters and shallow backdrops invite us to have a fun bath.
And when our eyes move in the north direction, they meet in the distance the superb skyline of Tavolara.

Budoni beach

The beach of Budoni

Sardinian sea near Budoni

Budoni beach and Tavolara

Berchida, a wild beach

Our destination of the month is Berchida beach, overlooking the Sardinian eastern coast and the Orosei Gulf.

The approaching route

We are in a wild place, far from the main towns. We drive along the eastern Sardinian road from Siniscola to Orosei; the route, after Capo Comino, is in the inland, away from the coast.
We cross a barren landscape through the hills, until we meet the crossroads with the sign for Berchida beach. We take a dirt road, in good condition, which continues through pastures, isolated fields and vegetation until reaching a thicket of bushes.
Here we find a building with a veranda: this is a farmhouse, which can be used as a refreshment point for the beach.
There are also places for animals, so we can see some nice donkeys.

Farmhouse near Berchida

A donkey


The road finishes at the large square where you can leave the car; here parking is at payment during the summer months.
From here, we start a short walk on foot … the trail passes through the Mediterranean scrub, and, at the end of the vegetation, we understand what makes this beach unique!

Berchida Beach

The scenery in front of us is magnificent and uncontaminated: the dunes covered with vegetation surround a large beach. Behind these dunes there is also a pond, almost dry due to the heat of the summer months.
The beach is very long, with pale and fine sand; the water is clear and shallow… Like others in this area, the beach is not very crowded; it remains pleasing even during the chaotic days of August, when many tourists arrive.

A pond near Berchida

Beach of Berchida

Berchida beach


Bathers at Berchida beach

We stop here and enjoy this sea, waiting for the evening; then, with lower temperatures, we will make a long walk on the sand along the coast.

Winter at Palmavera

Welcome in 2017 from the nuragic complex of Palmavera!
We are a few kilometers from Alghero, the charming Catalan city in the north-western Sardinia. The complex is located north of the bay of Alghero, in a small plain near the beautiful beaches of Le Bombarde and Lazzaretto.

The green and soft slopes that surround the area and the climate mitigated by the sea make this a pleasant destination, even in winter.

Palmavera complex and panorama

The nuraghe of Palmavera

The nuraghe of Palmavera has a complex structure; in particular it consists of several towers, two of which are fairly conserved and surrounded by a wider set of remains of walls; so, we can deduce the past presence of many other buildings, probably huts, of which remain only the foundations.
We need a strong fantasy to mentally reconstruct the settlement, imagining the volumes of the buildings and the ancient people who lived there.

Towers of Palmavera Nuraghe

Nuraghe of Palmavera, central structures

Palmavera Complex

The complex contains an inner courtyard with an interesting circular area known as the “meeting hut”, surrounded by a low stone perimeter wall.
Along the edge there is a cylindrical seat known as the “seat of the head”; furthermore, to the side, we can see a hot stone, probably designed for a ritual use.
At the center of the “meeting hut”, on a sort of altar, we find a valuable reconstruction of the past: a small tower carved in sandstone.

Detail of the meeting hut
Meeting hut of Palmavera
Archaeologists believe that this is a model representative of the original structure of nuraghe, showing a wider top part, not visible in any of the sites currently found island. Today, the nuraghi have a cylindrical structure and this suggests that some ancient parts at the top, probably wooden, collapsed over time.

About Nuragic civilization

Many questions still remain about the Nuragic civilization, which developed in Sardinia between the Bronze Age (from 1600 BC) and the Iron Age.
It consisted of a nation of farmers and ranchers, but also of brave warriors, devoted to the cult of the primal forces of nature; in the end it loses cultural identities, as a result of invasions and integration processes with the Punic and Roman populations.
The remains of impressive buildings come from this remote civilization. Today we can see nuraghi, funeral monuments or worship places (dolmens, menhirs, tombs of the giants, holy wells, etc.), as well as the huge stone statues of Monte Prama Giants. Also numerous ceramic and metals artefacts (the famous “bronzes” sculpted) demonstrate the skills of the ancient craftsmen.
The nuragic civilization didn’t know writing, so today we have few information about many aspects. We are not even sure to know the purpose of the nuraghi, symbols of the Sardinia.
There are the many theories of archaeologists, that have suggested a defensive use, as fortresses or towers; however other experts hypothesize a residential use for the local aristocracy, or also a sacred meaning… Maybe they was places of worship or devotion to ceremonies and meetings.

Door in the ancient ruins

Surely we will talk again, in the future, of the mysterious Nuragic civilization.
So, follow us on our visit to other important archaeological sites on the island!

Rena Majore and Rena di Matteu, so similar, so different

We’re walk along the path down through the woods, towards Rena di Matteu, and we feel the scent of the pines. The sun is already hot, in the early hours of the morning, even if a gentle breeze makes the path most pleasant.

The main road to Santa Teresa, crossed by numerous cars this season, is only a memory behind us. Now there is only nature all around… And there, in front of us, we know that a new beach is waiting for us. It’s a new discovery, a beach that we had never seen before. As we proceed, we see the sea in the distance among the bushes: an enchanted view that gives us a foretaste of our arrival, leading us to wonder what lies ahead.
We can think of another beach nearby, which we know well: the magnificent Rena Majore.

a) Rena Majore

Rena Majore is the widest beach (the name means precisely “major beach”) in the stretch of coast between the promontory of Capo Testa (near Santa Teresa di Gallura) and the Monti Russu. In this area, uncontrolled overbuilding has spared beaches area, so this has allowed to preserve the environmental original features.
Although Rena Majore is easily accessible from the road leading down from a tourist resort, the beach seems to be fully immersed in nature, thanks to the hills and dunes that surround it and the cliffs that enclose the northern and southern parts.
A small bump breaks Rena Majore in two distinct sections: the northern part shows the greater expanse of white sand; all around you can see soft lines of the dunes that go inland, along the last stretch of a small brook. The southern one has instead a sandy shore tighter, picked up by an impressive group of vertical rocks to the south; in this part there is a small kiosk.
The sand is fine, bright. The seabed descends gradually and the sea is suitable for everyone. The clear water and the presence of some rocks, near the cliffs, give lovely colors to the sea…
Rena Majore

Rena Majore 2

Rena Majore 3

Rena Majore 4
But we must abandon the memories of Rena Majore, because we’re almost arrived…

b) Rena di Matteu

After about twenty minutes of walking, the path has led us to the top of a group of cliffs, before descending gradually to the left towards Rena di Matteu.
The first visual impact is very strong: the pale sand, the wild vegetations of the Mediterranean, the sea with innumerable shades of blue … It seems a small, wilder, Rena Majori.
The long journey has awarded us with this great view, but perhaps it has discouraged the laziest travelers: despite the high season in Sardinia, the beach is far from crowded.
We go down toward the shore to learn more about this beach and even to take some photos.
We find that the seabed quickly becomes deeper, than at Rena Majore: you will have to pay more attention to swim, with not completely calm sea.
But now it’s time for us to enjoy this beach, hoping that the pictures can convey, at least in part, the appeal of this place.
Rena Di Matteu 1

Rena Di Matteu 2

Rena Di Matteu 3

Rena Di Matteu 4

All the beaches of Castelsardo

Summer is coming and we want to show our guide to the beaches of Castelsardo, famous sea destination in northern Sardinia!
The town of Castelsardo is situated on a coast quite high and rocky; it has only a few small beaches, but you can find wider, popular and accessible beaches in the nearby village of Lu Bagnu. Because of these features, we will illustrate in detail the coast of Lu Bagnu, a place that in 2016 can boast two Blue Flags, as well as a Green Flag! Depending on the landscape, the soil and seabed, we will describe the features of the beach related to various accesses to the sea (7 of them are reachable directly from Lu Bagnu).

Click on the red markers to see detail about access to the beaches.

We will also provide a brief description of the remaining beaches in the surroundings of Castelsardo.

a) Sa Ferula


Starting from the east of Lu Bagnu, the first access to the sea is known locally as Sa Ferula, whose name derives from the nearby restaurant “Sa Ferula”; the “Ferula” is a typical shrub, widespread in the north of Sardinia.
Here we can reach the sea along an impressive staircase, that allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of Lu Bagnu coast (near the panoramic green area, for walking and cycling). Below the stairs there is a rocky area and to the west begins the sandy beach which is joint with the whole of Ampurias.
The zone near the cliff remains quieter also in summer, but the rocks in the sea make it less suitable for swimming.


b) Ampurias/Sacro Cuore (Blue Flag 2016 “Sacro Cuore/Ampurias”)


The beautiful sandy beach, that can be reached either by the descent of Sa Ferula or by this descent, known as Ampurias/Sacro Cuore. Here, too, the name derives from an homonymous accommodation (Ampurias) and a religious institute currently in disuse (Sacro Cuore). Ampurias was also the name of the ancient diocese of Castelsardo (in the town you can admire the ancient cathedral).
In the year 2016, the Blue Flag has been recognized to this section of the beach, characterized by shallow water and sandy, suitable for swimming and also accessible with children; the place is very attractive for the singular rocky island that rises a short distance from the water and the presence of various services: aid service, picnic area with a small kiosk, restaurants not so far and access ramp suitable for people with disabilities. In summer it is definitely the most popular beach.


c) Vela Blu


The next part of coastline is accessible through the descent Vela Blu, so called because in the vicinity of the homonymous restaurant. It is similar in characteristics to the beach Ampurias, but having fewer services (no kiosk on the beach, or rescue service). The water is shallow and sandy, but continuing westward, it becomes more and more rocky.

d) Americani/Ex-Edicola


The name comes from a building that was once used as a summer residence for international religious (particularly from the US/America), which is still present, although dilapidated, and the fact that until a few years ago near the descent there was the old newsstands (edicola).
The path to the beach starts through the bushes and reeds, at a short distance from the end of the Lu Bagnu river. The beach access is less convenient due to the lack of a stairway.
In this part, the sandy beach is narrower than at Ampurias, and in some places it is full of smooth pebbles (fluvial). In the sea there are sandy areas and flat rocks, which give pleasant shade of color to the water; the seabed is still shallow.

e) La Madonnina (Blue Flag 2016 “Madonnina/Stella Maris”)


The descent called the “Madonnina”, awarded with the Blue Flag 2016 title, starts from a parking marked by a statue of a Madonna, enclosed in a cave. From here you reach a beach with several services, including the kiosk, the possibility of aid and the ramp for wheelchair access.
The features are similar to those already described for the Americani (sandy, shallow seabed, with areas of sand and rocks). Like Ampurias, the beach is recommended for families and it is very busy during the summer.


f) Le Celestine


Through the descent of Celestine you access to the westernmost part of the coast of Lu Bagnu, at the end of the village. The name of the descent is linked to the building upon the cliff, a religious institute of the Celestine nuns.
The beach is sandy with some scattered rocks, wilder than earlier, and it doesn’t offer services; anyway there is a large free parking.
The medium depth seabed, partially rocky, involves greater caution for swimming; anyway here the hues and colors of the sea are very charming. This place usually remains quieter and less crowded than other beaches of Castelsardo, even in the summer months.
To the west you can walk under spectacular cliffs, with vertical walls eroded by the wind and dark rocks that plunge into the sea. The path up to the nearby Punta La Capra is very impressive!




g) Punta La Capra


Near the exit sign of Lu Bagnu, it is located the last descent to the sea. It is a steep staircase that winds along the almost vertical cliff. From here there are superb views at eastward, overlooking Lu Bagnu coast, and on the opposite direction on a bay surrounded by vertical rocky slopes.
The reef deserves a visit, especially for the natural scenery (to make great pictures!), which includes a small natural pool surrounded by the rock platforms.
The access to the sea in this area is rather difficult for the amount of rocks and it is not recommended in the presence of currents and rough sea. The area has no services.



Other beaches of Castelsardo and surroundings

h) Punta Li Paddimi Continuing to west, after leaving Lu Bagnu along the coast road towards Sassari, we find the Punta Li Paddimi beach. Enclosed in a small bay, however, it is accessible by road from the tourist village Rasciada Club and therefore intended only to its guests.

i) Punta Tramontana Further west of Punta Li Paddimi, near the junction with the road directed to Santa Teresa, you can go down through some meadows, Punta Tramontana. Here the coast is predominantly rocky, very popular among amateur fishermen.

j) La Marina The little beach of La Marina is located in a small bay in Castelsardo and is the “beach of the town”. Easy to reach because of its central location, it is good choice to take a sunbath; anyway, during last years, the sea was declared not suitable for bathing in recent years, due to the presence of the nearby port.

k) La Vignaccia / Pedraladda From the eastern part of Castelsardo you can descend along the coast known as “la Vignaccia”, that alternates cliffs and small beaches. The modest amount of (dark) sand, the presence of deep water and rocks make this area less inviting for swimmers than the others in the locality of Lu Bagnu. From this cliffs you can observe the characteristic view of the fortress and the village of Castelsardo.
It is interesting the presence of a unique flat rock, locally known as Pedraladda.

l) Cala Ostina Continuing towards east from Castelsardo, you reach Cala Ostina, whose name comes from an ancient port of the Roman era.
The overland access to the beautiful beach, enclosed in the bay, is only open to guests of the homonymous tourist village.


Ecstasy, watching the sea of Stintino

The cold winter rain is falling down… So, waiting for warmer months, we can remember the sea of Stintino, seen last year.

Stintino was a village of fisherman that, during last decades, has become a well-known tourist center of Sardinia.
Stintino beach of La Pelosa is one of the most popular places in Sardinia. It is famous for the white thin sand, the fantastic sea which cold and clear water emphasize the colors of the backdrops, ranging from white sand to the darker tones of the rocks, and the suggestive environment.
On the north, Asinara and Piana islands close the view; furthermore in the middle of the channel, on the small island of La Pelosa, we can see the ancient and suggestive Spanish tower.

We know that in summer there is a lot of people here; so you’ve to come here in the early morning to find a good parking; tourists arrives soon and the beach is crowded for all the day.
So, to find more quiet and to taste all the wonderful colors of this places, last year we choose to come here in spring… the water was too cold for swimming, but the weather was perfect to take pictures.

And now the memories are speaking to us through images!

La Pelosa beach La Pelosa beach La Pelosa beach Isola Piana La Pelosa tower