When you hear somebody talking about Sardinia, you always notice the same places: Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo, Costa Smeralda, Forte Village and so on… But what about the Ogliastra region? It is located exactly in the middle of this gorgeous island, on the east coast, and has really a lot oy magnificent experiences to offer, and let me say, beaches and coves (“cala” in italian) that I can easily put in my worldwide favourite list. And, in addition to this, what if you discover this unexpected paradise onboard of a 42 feet, sailing boat, with a fantastic and enthusiast skipper? Take notes and enjoy!
The starting point of this sailing cruise is the Porto Turistico di Santa Maria Navarrese, located in Santa Maria Navarrese, a coastal and tourist town, part of the municipality of Baunei, in the province of Nuoro, Sardinia. It is located at about 150 km north of Cagliari and 160 km south of Olbia, where you can find also the two main International Airports.
The turistic port is really well equipped, quite new, very clean and safe. Walking down the dock you’ll meet the man who will take you all around this beautiful cruise: his name is Giovanni, but please, call him Nanni.
After 36 years of management career, the passion for sea and sailing drived Nanni’s life, after 20 years of private sailing, to share his knowledge and passion with people loving sea and sailing as himself. His boat, named Crelis is a Jeanneau Sun Odissey 42.2, with up to 6 beds + skipper capacity.
He will entertain you with gorgeous food, life stories and he will be more than happy to teach you some basics of sailing.
Let’s talk about the cruise! You have a lot of choices; what we have done (twice already), is daily trips from Santa Maria Navarrese in order to get back to the port every night, and one night “in rada”, which means at anchor. This is why we prefer to get back to the port facilities in order to go out for dinner and have evening walks in the surroundings, but if you need more “isolation”, you can always ask Nanni to stay at anchor all nights.
We suggest one week in order to appreciate all the great places to see and enjoy along the coast.
The first day we decided to start sailing south, from Santa Maria Navarrese to the amazing beach of Cea. This beach is mostly famous for its “faraglioni” (Stacks), and the marvellous crystalline water. Well, let us say that you’ll find crystalline water in every single cove you’ll visit in this trip, with some excellences of course. Nanni drops the anchor out of the faraglioni to let us swim accross them until the seashore, where you’ll enjoy a soft and white sands under your feet.
We spent almost all day here, and coming back to the port, sunbathing and relaxing on the upper deck, we suddently stopped at the Ogliastra Island, a small island just in front of the port. Another swim, another idiot photoshooting under the water and then a great “aperitivo” prepared by Nanni: pecorino sardo (sardinian sheep cheese), pane guttiau (a really thin and crispy bread, dressed with salt and oil), salsiccia sarda (sardinian sausage) and a glass of Vermentino (typical fresh white sardinian wine). What a life fellows… Wow…
The main feature of this part of Sardinia is that if you go out for dinner you’ll mostly find places to eat country style food, fat and really tasty. One example? Go to Mec Puddu’s, a wonderful slow food sardinian restaurant. Ask the waiter to drive you through the specialities of this places, you’ll enjoy them all.
The day after we decided to sail south again, but stopping just after Arbatax (the main port in this region), dropping the anchor at Porto Frailis.
This little bay is well protected, so that the sea is really like a swimming pool. You can easily see the bottom of the sea at 7 to 10 meters below your feet. We always enjoy this place so much. Eventually you’re entertained by the music of the Arbatax Park Resort bar at lunch. The seashore is a bit more crowded, because this beach has an easy access from the road too, and additionally you have two hotels facing the bay, the Arbatax Park already mentioned and the Hotel La Bitta.
Now it’s time to take it serious and sail north.
First step Pedra Longa and its surroundings coves. Here you see a big rock that stays silent on the sea. Great landscape and great place to dive!
Moving up north then you’ll pass the Monte Santo Cape and then… The secret jewel of Sardinia… Cala Goloritzè… Guys, what a sea… Breathtaking…
No way to describe it, and trust us, the picture is even worse than reality. One of the most crystalline waters we’ve ever seen (yes we have been to Maldives, several Caribbean Islands, Thailand and other tropical paradises, but trust us, this cove is a crack). The shore is made of little and soft optic white stones that make all this so bright that you have to keep your sunglasses on. What a view. What a place. What a relax.
Contiguous to Goloritzè you’ll find Cala Mariolu, and the dream can continue. Please, spend all day here if you can, and most of all have a great lunch on the upper deck of Crelis looking at this magnificient spot.
Norther than Cala Mariolu you’ll step into Cala Biriola, and then, before proceeding towards Cala Sisine, don’t miss the opportunity of visiting the Grotta del Fico (Figue Cave). You can access it only by boat, you get close to the cove, and some guys of the local organization will take you with a tender just next to the stairs to get up to the cove itself.
Its situation on the coast, on a sheer cliff overlooking the sea, has kept the Grotta hidden for thousand years; it is visitable only since the 2003. The guided tour last 50 minutes, and it’s totally worth. You can take pictures only without flash inside. Take a look online to get an idea of it, but trust us, visit it.
And finally we get to the wonderful and wide Cala Luna, where we spent the night at anchor.
The magic of Cala Luna starts after 6pm, when all turists boats leave the shore: this beach is reachable only by the sea, so that after the guided excursions go back to their own ports, you can enjoy a wonderful barefoot walk on a white, silent and peaceful beach, entering caves, passing a small internal lagoon, or just sitting on the silky sand looking at the sunset. An experience to be done once in a lifetime. Take it slowly, enjoy every minute, every breeze. Before it gets really dark, is time to go back to Crelis for a tasty dinner.
But, but… The most magical part is yet to come. When it gets darker, in summer after 11 pm let’s say, lay on the deck and look into the sky… The sky is so dark that you can clearly see the milky way and an enormous amount of stars. Ok, now you can fall asleep, only for few hours, because then, the show starts:
The sunrise in front of us, only the sound of the waves, nothing more, nothing less.
This is sailing, this is a great trip