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East Sardinia in Comfort 25

Walking in Sardinia: The East Coast and Supramonte

Overview

The island of Sardinia has long been known for its nice sandy beaches and clear sea and is immensely popular as a summer retreat. Only recently, its many unspoilt natural and cultural treasures have gotten the right attention from nature lovers and walkers. It is still possible to walk on its spectacular trails, enjoying the peace of a true hiker’s paradise.

Your trip will take you to the heartland of the wild Supramonte region along Sardinia’s east coast, the island’s most spectacular area for trekking. Here sheer limestone cliffs coloured by wildflowers and the fruits of strawberry trees drop down vertically into the blue Mediterranean Sea, where little sandy beaches open up. Wild animals such as wild boar, Sardinian wild sheep or mouflons, and many species of birds of prey, including eagles, roam the barren karst plateaus of the mountain ranges, occasionally descending into the verdant valleys where lucky encounters with hikers are not uncommon.

Highlights

  • Breathtaking coastal views
  • Tiscali Ancient Nuragic archaeological site
  • Unspoiled nature, remote bays and secluded beaches
  • Delicious local food: cheese, ravioli, a wild assortment of desserts, honey and Cannonau wine

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Oliena

Arrive in Sardinia at Cagliari or Alghero airport and take a local public bus to Oliena (change in Nuoro), where you are met by the hotel owner and taken by car to the hotel located near the Su Gologone spring. We suggest that you arrive before 16:00 h so that you have the time to catch the bus to Oliena.

Day 2: Monte Corrasi Circular Walk | 11 km

This morning you will walk through a wild limestone landscape underneath the towering walls of the Supramonte’s highest peaks. This vast area is an isolated land of shepherds, slashed with deep gorges and inaccessible peaks that are home to a rich fauna of eagles, mouflons, foxes, wild cats, and wild boar. From the mountain’s flanks, there are airy views across the high belvederes and karst plateaus of the Supramonte and into the fertile valley of Oliena. The route is not particularly difficult; it is well marked for the most part as it gradually ascends to the plateau of Monte Corrasi. You return on a different route to your hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 5 hours ↑825 m ↓815 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel near Oliena (Albergo Monte Maccione or similar), breakfast & dinner included

Day 3: Monte Maccione to Su Gologone Spring | 14-15 km

Today’s walk leads you through the beautiful Holm oak woods that cover the lower slopes of the impressive limestone rocks of the Supramonte, which are more than 800 meters high. During the walk, you will enjoy great views of the valleys of Oliena and Guthiddai. If you wish, you can climb the steep, stony slope of the Scala di Sovana to the Punta Cusidore halfway along today’s walk. At the end of the walk, you can walk another 2 km to the limestone source of Su Gologone. This is a narrow canyon, 108 m deep, and the most important water supply of Sardinia. At 16:30 h pick up from Su Cologone and transfer to your hotel near Dorgali.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 5 hours ↑395 m ↓990 m (with an optional climb: 15 km, 6-7 hours ↑640 m ↓1250 m)
  • Accommodation: a 3-star countryside hotel near Dorgali (Sant’Elene or similar), breakfast & dinner included

Day 4: Mount Tiscali | 11 km

After breakfast, you are transferred to Rio Flumineddu (15 min). You then start walking along the Scala de Surtana valley; a right turn leads you to a limestone plateau where two beautiful ovili huts have been recently restored. You descend again to the valley and start climbing up Monte Tiscali. Near the top, you can visit, hidden in a cave, the remains of a prehistoric Nuraghe village. You can enter the enormous round hole, which is formed by the erosion of the limestone rocks. The spot itself is very remarkable, like an oasis in the mountain, inside you will only find some remnants of Nuraghe houses but it is really worth the climb. After passing through the wooded gorge of Surtana, there follows a descent to the river Flumineddu, where you will be picked up for a short ride back to the hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 5 hours ↑700 m ↓700 m
  • Accommodation: a 3-star countryside hotel near Dorgali (Sant’Elene or similar), breakfast & dinner included

Day 5: Goroppu Gorge | 15 km

Today you have the opportunity to walk to the amazing Gorge of Gorropu, dug out by the Flumineddu River, with its stunning, vertical white walls over 350 m high. After breakfast, a transfer from your hotel takes you to the trailhead of today’s path, near the modern bridge over the river. From here, you follow an easy path upstream along the river passing through the fragrant Mediterranean maquis coloured by wildflowers and the red fruits of the strawberry trees. By climbing over huge boulders and passing through narrow passages, you reach the point where the gorge’s base is only 5 m wide! From here, you turn back to the entrance of the gorge and backtrack your route to your pick up point near the bridge.

Alternative walk Suttaterra to Dorgali: This route follows the mountain ridge, starting near the Silana Pass and going all the way to the town of Dorgali. There are spectacular coastal views of the Gulf of Orosei and inland on the Supramonte range along the route. The route is quite easy without any remarkable level change; it is not marked but sufficiently beaten. Private transfers to Suttatera in the morning and back to Dorgali in the afternoon are included.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 5 hours ↑340 m ↓180 m (alternative walk: 11 km, 3.5 hours ↑320 m ↓690 m)
  • Accommodation: a 3-star countryside hotel near Dorgali (Sant’Elene or similar), breakfast & dinner included

Day 6: Dorgali to Cala Gonone | 11 km

A car transfer takes you just outside Dorgali, where you start the walk via an old tunnel that connects Dorgali with Cala Gonone. The track climbs to the top of Monte Bardia, from where there is a long gradual descent. You have great views into both valleys during the walk. When you reach the asphalt road, you can decide to walk straight to Cala Gonone or add an ascent of Monte Irveri (616 m).

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours ↑485 m ↓960 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel near Cala Gonone (Hotel l’Oasi or similar), breakfast included

Day 7: Cala Gonone Selection of Walks | 9-16 km

Today you can choose between different activities and a couple of walks. From Cala Gonone, you can opt between several boat trips (e.g. to the double sea cave Bue Marina, which you will also pass if you return from Cala Luna by boat). Another option is to visit the Nuraghe Mannu site. You can also go diving, kayaking and fishing.

  • Walk Cuccuru su Corvu to Cala Gonone: Optional transfer to the start of the walk from where you climb to Sedda e s’Atta, which offers a spanning view on the gulf. You then descend into a canyon full of large rounded boulders. You continue following the river bed until the famous Cala Luna beach (which can only be reached on foot or by boat). Take a refreshing swim and picnic lunch before continuing along the coastal trail to Cala Gonone.
  • Walk Cala Gonone to Cala Luna: Starting from the harbour of Cala Gonone, you follow the coastal road until the end, and at Cala Fuili, you enter the winding coastal trail that, in a short while, brings you to the beautiful beach of Cala Luna. You can return the same way you came or take a boat back. This beach can only be reached on foot or by boat.
  • Walking for the day: Cuccuru su Corvu to Cala Ganone: 16 km, 6 hours ↑570 m ↓946 m; Cala Gonone to Cala Luna: 9 km, 4 hours ↑405 m ↓402 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel near Cala Gonone (Hotel l’Oasi or similar), breakfast included

Day 8: Departure

End of the walking tour. On departure from Cala Gonone, you can reach Cagliari, Olbia or Alghero by public bus (with one change in Nuoro) if you fly from Olbia, direct busses from Cala Gonone to Olbia airport run 4 times a day in summer. On request, a private transfer can be arranged.

What to Expect

Accommodation

The hotels in Oliena and Dorgali are cosy, friendly and nestled in peaceful remote locations with superb views of the mountains and easy access to the walks. The hotel in Cala Ganone is a simple 3-star family-run hotel located on a peak’s edge overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Orosei. From the terrace of the restaurant, you will enjoy one of the best views of the gulf. All the rooms have private bathrooms. The places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

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*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days, as well as 5 dinners. When no restaurant is available on the route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or the restaurants in the town where you stay for overnight.

Difficulty & terrain

You will walk along lovely footpaths along the coastline and in the highlands. Sardinia is mainly made out of limestone cliffs, which means that you will need to be sure-footed because you will often walk on rocky and stony paths. Some routes (such as Monte Tiscali) are a bit demanding, with some parts of (easy) climbing, no scrambling involved. On some days, you have alternative walks of different difficulty provided to choose from (read more about difficulty grades). The walks are poorly to moderately marked, often on uneven footpaths, small tracks amongst shrubs and, on a rare occasion, on narrow gravel roads. On some days, you will be walking in a desolate limestone area, with no springs or villages along the way. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from 1 April until 25 July and from 1 September until 31 October, departing every day. Late spring, the early summer and the entire autumn are beautiful in Sardinia. It is too hot for walking in August. Without a doubt, the best time to see Sardinia is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is just warm enough, and the temperature of the Mediterranean allows for the first dips of the season. The months of September and October are also an excellent time to visit the region, while the temperatures are still mild. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival airports for this tour are Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero.

By train or bus

Important: We recommend booking an early arrival flight and a late afternoon return flight, so you can arrive and leave with public transportation to avoid expensive optional private transfers; in case you can’t get good timetables, if you want to save money, it’s better to book extra nights in Cagliari, Olbia or Alghero. Sunday is always the worst day to arrive and leave due to very few public means of transportation being in service.

Arrival Oliena

We suggest that you arrive before 4 p.m. so that you have the time to catch the bus to Oliena/Dorgali. You always have to change in Nuoro. When you arrive in Oliena or Dorgali, you are picked up by the hotel owner, but you have to call him in advance to be picked up as you arrive.  If you arrive after 16:00 h. or on a Sunday or National Holiday, you can either book a private transfer to the first accommodation in Oliena or Dorgali OR book an extra night in the city where you are flying to and reach Oliena or Dorgali by bus on the next morning. If you arrive in Nuoro after 19:00 h, you will need to be picked up in Nuoro instead of Oliena or Dorgali. This service will have an additional cost.

Departure Cala Gonone

On departure from Cala Gonone, you can reach Cagliari, Olbia or Alghero by public bus (with one change in Nuoro). If you are flying from Olbia, direct busses from Cala Gonone to Olbia airport run 4 times a day in summer. You can check bus timetables on:

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in 3-star hotels as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners (Days 1-5)
  • Luggage transport when changing hotels on Days 3 & 6
  • Private transfers as per programme: Oliena square – hotel (Day 1); afternoon transfer to Dorgali (Day 3); return transfers on Days 4 & 5; hotel – old tunnel (Day 6)
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at the first hotel)
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and 2 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Transfers on Day 7
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights
  • Transfer to Cuccuru su Corvu on Day 7
  • Private airport transfers

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