Centuries ago, it was a dangerous place and the scene of pirate attacks. Today, the coastal district of Tortolì is a treasure trove of attractions. Arbatax extends around its port and at the foot of the promontory of Capo Bellavista, dominated by a lighthouse, about three kilometres from the most important town in the Ogliastra area. It became the main maritime port on the eastern coast, gaining importance thanks to the development of the nearby production area. Today, it still has a commercial role and one of connection of the Island to the Italian peninsula by ferries. Within the harbour area, there is a tourist marina, which has about 650 moorings. It accommodates boats of up to 85 metres and offers dinghy rentals and charter services: from here, you can set off to explore the wonders of the coast of Baunei and the Gulf of Orosei: the exclusive Cala Goloritzé, Cala Mariolu and Cala dei Gabbiani, the natural monument of Pedra Longa, the picture postcard beaches of Cala Luna, Cala Sisine and Cala Biriola up to the caves of Fico and Bue Marino.
You won’t need to set sail to admire the Rocce Rosse: high cliffs of reddish porphyry and black diorite, next to the harbour, treating you to an unforgettable view. This setting is so distinctive that it has been immortalised in films and serves as a backdrop for music festivals such as Rocce Rosse Blues and Red Valley. The white tower of San Miguel, also known as the tower of Arbatax, stands out in front of the port. The tower may be where the locality gets its name: Arba ‘at ‘ashar is an Arabic expression that indicates the fourteenth tower, counting anticlockwise from the south. It was built in granite and porphyry around the middle of the 16th century, followed by the tower of San Gemiliano - which still exists - and the tower of Largavista, which was demolished to make way for the Bellavista lighthouse.
The Blue Flag, awarded by the FEE for water quality, environmental sustainability and level of services, flies on seven of the beaches along the Tortolì coast. Three of them extend around the village of Arbatax: to the north there is the beach of Ponente (East), between the port and the Pond of Tortolì. To the south, set in an inlet, you will find Porto Frailis, with find sand reflecting shades of silver and gold and a blue sea with hints of emerald green. Beyond the promontory, dominated by the tower of San Gemiliano, you will find the beach of the same name: it is the first part of the very long lido di Orrì and features golden sand, a deep blue sea, shallow waters and plenty of services available.