Sardinia: so much more than a seaside holiday
Thanks to its mild climate almost all year round, plus a stunning array of scenery set against a rich natural background, Sardinia has become, over the past few years, the ideal venue for lovers of the outdoors and such sporting activities as on-road cycling, Nordic walking, free climbing, trekking, canyoning, paragliding, mountain biking, canoeing, horse riding, sailing and diving.
The island offers visitors a large number of bays and inlets, upland plains, woods and forests, alongside a formidable choice of rock formations comparable to those in the Verdon in France or the Ordesa National Park in Spain, both popular destinations for those on the lookout for an active vacation.
The choice of climbing, free climbing or trekking along the many paths on the island, all set in unique, breathtaking scenery, also affords the visitor the opportunity to discover places rarely visited and well off the beaten track: places where strong local identities have been preserved to a remarkable degree; places where the mountain-scapes, totally unspoilt, mysterious and full of secret corners, offer a bio-diversity unique in Europe.
The area of the Gennargentu, the heights of the Supramonte, the granite valleys near Iglesias and Gallura, the mountain chain of the Sette Fratelli, the limestone pillars or ‘tacchi’ and the cliffs of Ogliastra with their sheer drop into the sea, plus hundreds of old cart tracks and dirt roads hidden in the interior (but easily accessed by off-road vehicles, on foot or mountain bike) are all steeped in the same atmosphere which welcomed the very first travellers. “In Italy, you won’t find what’s in Sardinia, just as in Sardinia you won’t find what’s in Italy” – thus was the island summed up in the 1700s by the Jesuit naturalist Francesco Cetti, when describing its varied animal and plant life, and outstanding natural beauty.
Eroded by wind and rain, worn by time, the rocky cliffs which drop dramatically into the sea at Capo Testa (S. Teresa di Gallura) Masua (Iglesias), Capo Caccia (Alghero), Cala Gonone (Dorgali), the extraordinary natural obelisk of the Aguglia di Goloritzè (Baunei), and, in the interior, the rock walls of Monte Oddeu (Dorgali), Cusidore (Oliena) and Su Gorropu (Urzulei – Orgosolo – Dorgali), present a welcome refuge for lovers of climbing, free climbing, bouldering, vie ferrate and canyoning, many of whom flock here from all over Europe.
Unforgettable and spectacular tours start from the Valle di Lanaitto at Oliena and the Piana del Golgo at Baunei: from both these locations different routes of varying difficulty are available to those who are passionate about this type of holiday.
Signposting of these routes leaves something to be desired so we suggest you contact one of the many co-operatives or local groups who will be only too pleased to help you organise anything from a one-day to a week’s trip; they can also help you explore the many different types of accommodation and eating places which offer an opportunity to enjoy really delicious local dishes.