The island is an infinite world to explore on a hike. Through the Rete Escursionistica della Sardegna (Sardinia Hiking Network - RES), you can explore the island with routes suitable for everyone, from beginners to experts. It is important to stay alert at all times, even when the route seems easy. At the end of the day your effort will be rewarded with unforgettable experiences. Towns and hinterlands offer the first insights into flora, fauna and history: Monte Urpinu, Botanical Garden, Molentargius-Saline Park and Sella del Diavolo (the ‘Devil’s Saddle’) in Cagliari, Mount Ortobene in Nuoro, in particular the stretch from the Chiesa della Solitudine church to the statue of the Redeemer, Monserrato Park in Sassari, the tour of the springs in Tempio Pausania and Aymerich Park in Laconi (with its medieval castle). From here, it is only a few steps into the Funtanamela forest. 500 hectares of holm oaks and Mediterranean maquis, a habitat for Sardinian deer and wild Sarcidano horses, along routes that follow the ancient herding routes between Barbagia and Campidano.
Within the villages or in the surrounding countryside, the routes lead to medieval fortresses: the castles of Serravalle in Bosa, del Goceano in Burgos, Acquafredda in Siliqua, Casteldoria in Santa Maria Coghinas, della Fava in Posada, from where you can explore the Tepilora oasis. The Medusa castle, near Samugheo, can be found by following the course of the Araxisi stream, along a path that spans coves, small canyons and prehistoric remains.
During the two-day walk from Cornus to Tharros (an imaginary bridge between Phoenician and Byzantine times), you will discover the wonders of the Sinis peninsula, home of the Giants of Mont'e Prama. In Ogliastra, the easy 'nuraghi trail' takes you past the natural monuments of Perda Liana and Scala di San Giorgio. The s'Urbale route takes you into the famous Nuragic remains of Teti, while the Nolau route takes you past Romanesque churches and domus de janas (chamber tombs) overlooking Lake Omodeo. Near the ruins of ancient Nora, the Pula route follows the ancient Roman road to Chia, passing the Santa Margherita coastline.
Mining archaeology, too, through the routes of Sardinia's geo-mineral park: a 'ghost' world of sinkholes, waterfalls and canyons. The obsidian trails of Mount Arci, the mines of sos Enattos in Lula and Funtana Raminosa in Gadoni, the 'deer path' of Montevecchio in the area around Guspini and Arbus, the Argentiera path in the Nurra mine and the via dell'argento (silver path) in Sarrabus-Gerrei. The enchanting mining path of Santa Barbara winds its way through abandoned sites, sea and woods, overlapping with the 'coastal trail of the Iglesiente' in the sections from Portoscuso to Portixeddu and from Nebida to Masua, where you can admire the spectacle of Italy's tallest sea stack, Pan di Zucchero.
Sardinia is also a land of rare or indigenous wildlife species, and there is no shortage of trails dedicated to spotting them: the Giara plateau in the Marmilla hills, famous for its horses, the Assai oasis, land of the Sardinian deer, the Asinara national park, home of the white donkey and featuring themed trails. A short distance from Cagliari are the WWF oases of Mount Arcosu and Sette Fratelli, with the Maidopis botanical garden, both habitats of the Sardinian deer. The trails that cover the immense park of Gutturu Mannu start from the Pantaleo forestry barracks and wind along mule tracks, through dense Mediterranean vegetation, springs and streams. S'Arcu e' s'Arena and Calamixi give you a view of the lower Sulcis from dizzying heights. The trail network runs through the picturesque Pixinamanna and is Cannoneris forests, from where you reach another popular hiking destination, Mount Nieddu.
Themed routes branch out from the outskirts of Alghero, around the Porto Conte park: the 656 steps of the Escala del Cabirol lead to the stunning Neptune's caves. The climb is challenging, but the spectacle is worth the effort. The routes along Lake Baratz are set between the beach and a natural lake (the only one of its kind on the island): a loop, along the lake and in the shade of pines, holm oaks and eucalyptus, or from the lake to the dunes of Porto Ferro (also on horseback or by mountain bike). The 'Sentiero della Costa' (Coastal Path) starts at Torre Bantine Sale tower and runs past the coves of Turco, Vino, Porticciolo and Viola, past sheer cliffs and Spanish watchtowers, and ends near the northern edge of the Le Prigionette forest.
Gallura, especially the deepest part of the island, is also a great place for hiking. Many trails lead you to discover the Limbara massif, or through the stazzi, typical rural settlements. You can enjoy typical Gallura landscapes on the 15-kilometre route between Santa Teresa Gallura and Luogosanto, and from Capriuleddu, through holm oak forests and granite hollows shaped by the north-westerly wind, to the La Gruci stazzo. On Caprera, the second largest island in the Maddalena Archipelago Park, a short circuit takes you to the Arbuticci military fortifications and the Candeo fort, one of the most unique pieces of military architecture in the Mediterranean, built during the Second World War. The whole island, the last resting place of the Hero of Two Worlds, is part of Garibaldi’s Compendium, best discovered on long walks.