Enchanting cliffs sculpted by time

Scogliere - Santa Caterina di Pittinurru - Cuglieri

Enchanting cliffs sculpted by time

Thousands of kilometres of ever-changing coastline, alternating sandy expanses with fantastic rocky headlands artfully shaped by the power of wind and water
power of the sea and heat of the sun, the rocks are charged with energy

A surprising gallery of ever-changing landscapes. This is what the island's coastline looks like. Expanses of white or golden sand, sometimes sparkling with quartz or tinged with pink. Or stretches of soft virgin dunes. Or deep inlets and stunning cliffs shaped by wind and waves into the most original and bizarre shapes. Cliffs, stacks and tafoni (also known as honeycomb weathering) are veritable artistic installations on the sea, and are accessible natural wonders, easily reached by car, motorbike or bicycle. These striking places don't get very crowded, like the solitary promontories surrounding the island's charming lighthouses and countless coastal towers. There is always a sheltered spot where you can find an exclusive terrace overlooking the sea, an intimate corner to enjoy at your leisure, far from the bustle of the beaches. Take a refreshing dip amidst the light reflecting on the rocks or dive from 'balconies overlooking the sea', surrounded by sheer cliffs, spires and ravines. Peaceful places where you can witness unforgettable sunrises and sunsets while listening to the music of the sea.

Panorama di Capo Caccia - Alghero
Faro di Porto Cervo - Arzachena
Scogliere - Santa Caterina di Pittinuri - Cuglieri
in the north-west, between tall dark cliffs and sheer precipices over the water

Head up to the north-western tip of Sardinia: from the tower of Capo Falcone, a promontory of very dark schist - 'la pietra di Stintino' ('the Stintino rock') - a hundred metres high, overlooking the sea, you will feel as if you are floating, your gaze dominating the Gulf of Asinara. At your feet, the stretch of fine sand of La Pelosa. Around you, a sea 'of seven colours'. Descending along the north-west face, you will be amazed by the Capo Caccia cliffs, within the Porto Conte park in Alghero: vertical walls, home to impressive hollows such as Neptune's caves. Towards the south, in Bosa, limestone rocks mixed with basalt create lunar landscapes, especially at Capo Marargiu, the nesting site of griffon vultures, and near Bosa Marina, where you will find a natural basalt pool: Cane Malu. The basalt and limestone cliffs continue along the scenic coastline of Cuglieri. They start from Capo Nieddu which, often buffeted by the north-westerly wind, dominates the seaside village of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri. Here you will also see a rare example of a waterfall that flows directly onto the coast: the Rio Mannu, which plunges a hundred metres. And then the famous s'Archittu, a limestone arch, a work of nature that would appear to have been chiselled by man.

Falesie di su Tingiosu - Cabras
Scogliera di S'Archittu - Santa Caterina Pittinurri
Pan di Zucchero  - Masua
Sandstone cliffs and stacks dot the south-west

The Sinis peninsula is the kingdom of sandstone. A fine example are the cliffs of su Tingiosu, in the area of San Vero Milis, surrounded by beautiful beaches, such as s'Arena Scoada. A granite spur marks the southern end of the vast expanses of sand on the Costa Verde: Cape Pecora, a paradise for underwater fishing. Almost adjacent to the coast are mines where people once worked tirelessly, now ruins of industrial archaeology. The emblem of this is Buggerru, a former mining village, which alternates between beaches and rugged coastline, including a black spur, the Nido dell’Aquila (‘Eagle's Nest’). The tallest stack in the Mediterranean, Pan di Zucchero, juts out from the Iglesias coast. Its white-cerulean colour stands out against the purplish hue of the coast in front of it. It will reveal itself to you in all its grandeur at the end of the Porto Flavia tunnel, a piece of futuristic (in its day) mining architecture. You can get there by boat or canoe. The island of San Pietro is an oasis where the elevated coastline dominates sandy stretches. Some stretches are 'movie-like', such as La Conca, an impressive wall of reddish trachyte, and Le Colonne, the symbol of Carloforte, imposing basaltic stacks and remnants of sea erosion.

Capo Malfatano - Teulada
faraglioni di Cea
Pedra Longa - Ogliastra
red rocks surround the east coast

Two headlands mark the far south-west: Capo Malfatano, in Teulada, a strip of land suspended over the sea with beautiful coves, and the spectacular Capo Spartivento, the western boundary of the Chia (Domus de Maria) coastline. Near Cagliari, a strange cliff is said to have been arched by Lucifer: it is the Sella del Diavolo (‘Devil's Saddle’). You can 'mount’ the saddle with an enjoyable walk. In addition to hiking shoes, bring a mask and flippers, because every reef has its own underwater world to explore. They will come in handy at Capo Ferrato, near Muravera, which is dotted with secluded coves and overlooked by an ancient lighthouse. Unmistakable red porphyry silhouettes dot the sea at Tortolì. Of particular note are the Scoglius Arrubius, 'twin' stacks guarding the beach at Cea, and the famous Rocce Rosse ('Red Rocks'), next to the port of Arbatax, where you can set off to explore the Ogliastra coves. By sea and by land: this is the ideal area for an invigorating holiday surrounded by nature. From the mountains to the sea: here the limestone amphitheatre of the Supramonte di Baunei mountains overlooks the Gulf of Orosei, showcasing natural monuments: Pedra Longa, 300 metres high and overlooking the sea, the Aguglia of Cala Goloritzè beach, a 'pyramid' for professional climbers, and the cliffs of Punta Ispuligi, separating the 'paradises' of Cala Mariolu and Cala dei Gabbiani.

Capo Testa - Climbing - Santa Teresa Gallura
Isola di Tavolara - San Teodoro
Roccia della tartaruga, Cala Ghjlgolu - Loiri Porto San Paolo
in the north, natural rough granite or smooth granite reflecting the moonlight

In Gallura granite is king. Wind, waves and salt have smoothed and modelled it with animal-like features: have you heard of the famous Bear Rock in Palau or the turtle-shaped rock of Cala Ghilghjolu in Loiri Porto San Paolo? Speaking of which, the unmistakable silhouette of Tavolara, a granite mountain emerging from the sea between islets of schist and porphyry, Molara and Molarotto, emerges opposite the dock. Underwater you will swim among yellow anemones and red and yellow gorgonians. Towards the north, in Golfo Aranci, Capo Figari is worth a visit, thanks to its amazing diving spots and hiking trails. In front is the small island of Figarolo. The situation is similar in Cala Capriccioli, near Porto Cervo (Arzachena), where the enchanting bay is faced by the charming little island of Mortorio. Rocks moulded into particular shapes are also typical of Capo Testa, in Santa Teresa Gallura, especially in Cala Grande-Valle della Luna: the granite illuminated by the moonlight creates inimitable reflections. From Gallura to Anglona, rocks and colours change. The name Isola Rossa ('Red Island'), a coastal village in Trinità d'Agultu e Vignola, gives a foretaste of the landscape: it is red-brown, like the towering trachyte cliffs of Castelsardo, where you will find a natural sculpture, the unusual Elephant Rock.