Gulf of Orosei and Supramonte: Top 10 Things to do and see
Visiting the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte, in eastern Sardinia, is discovering some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the island.
And yes, this region is perfect for nature and outdoor enthusiasts: it is the perfect place to alternate hiking and swimming breaks in the most beautiful coves of Sardinia!
In order to help you prepare for your trip, I have prepared the Top 10 things to do and see in the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte . And at the end of the article, you will also find my selection of the best accommodations for all budgets.
Whether by sea with a boat trip in the Gulf of Orosei or a hike in the Sardinian mountains, there is no doubt that you will love your stay in the region.
So, what to do in the Gulf of Orosei and in the Supramonte?
Visit the Supramonte and the Gulf of Orosei: the must-sees
1. Boat trip in the Gulf of Orosei
This is the essential excursion to the Gulf of Orosei: a boat cruise!
All departures are from the tourist port of Cala Gonone. Whether in the city center or at the port level, you will find lots of shops and huts offering excursions to the Gulf of Orosei. The services offered, as well as the prices for a cruise are almost identical for all, no need to go around one by one, it will be according to your inspiration!
These cruises are in great demand and despite the large number of providers, it is better to book at least 1 or 2 days before. I speak to you knowingly because when we wanted to make our reservation for a zodiac rental in the Gulf of Orosei, the first 3 huts had no boat available for the next day.
I also advise you to inquire about the forecast weather because the boats do not come out in case of bad weather.
You will have the choice between 3 possible options:
- A sailing cruise in the Gulf of Orosei. I recommend it if you want to enjoy a comfortable boat in luxury mode.
- A zodiac excursion or boat a little bigger with skipper. You will have to respect the schedules and the bathing times on the creeks.
- A zodiac rental that you can drive yourself. It is the best option to visit the Gulf of Orosei and beaches without time constraints. This is the one we chose and it was one of my best moments of my stay in Sardinia!
The price of an excursion to the Gulf of Orosei will depend on the chosen means of transport:
- 90 € per person if you opt for a sailing cruise
- Expect 40 € per person for the classic zodiac tour with driver
- 120 € for renting a zodiac to fly yourself. This option is the most interesting, especially if you are at least 4 to divide the costs, it will not cost you more than the classic boat trip and you will be totally free of your program.
You will then discover the splendid beaches of the Gulf of Orosei:
- Cala Luna
- Cala Sisine
- Cala Biriola
- Cala Mariolu
- Cala Gabbiani
- Cala Goloritzé
They are all beautiful and I will not know what to answer if one asked me which is the most beautiful. In any case, you can swim in turquoise and transparent water and relax on small coves of fine sand.
If you go on a skippered sailboat or zodiac trip, there are swimming coves on some, but not all, coves, while if you rented your own zodiac, you can do whatever you want.
For the Cala Goloritzé by cons, it is forbidden access to any boat, you will be content to admire it from the sea.
During your boat trip to the Gulf of Orosei, you can also visit the Bue Marino Caves . Most providers included it in the program of the day . Nicknamed as having served as a refuge for the monk seal (marino drunk in Italian), visiting the caves ensures a little cool and allows you to discover many of the rooms of this huge limestone cave . The entry costs 9 €, to add in addition to the day by boat.
Visiting the Bue Marino Caves in the Gulf of Orosei is not possible if you rented your zodiac. Access is restricted to tourist boats only.
For this, go to Cala Fuili (accessible by car or bus shuttle from Cala Gonone). From there a path leads to Cala Luna.
Plan good walking shoes and water, as hiking is not so easy but the Cala Luna is well worth the detour.
2. The Gorges of Su Gorropu
Visit the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte, it is also to enjoy to discover the Sardinian mountains and go hiking!
And that’s good because here you’ll find one of Sardinia’s most famous hikes, the Su Gorropu Gorge . They are known to be the deepest of Sardinia or even Europe. This is one of the best places in Supramonte to go for a walk.
They are located near the Gulf of Orosei and can be reached by the SS 125 road that connects Dorgali and Arbatax .
There are several starting points for hiking Su Gorropu:
- From the car park to the Silana Hotel at km 183 of the SS 125
- From the bridge of Sa Barva, about 15 km from Dorgali
In any case, the hike will take you between 4 to 5 hours of walking . The path, pretty stony (mandatory hiking shoes) down to the entrance of the Gorges where you will find a hut to pay the entrance fee of € 5 (do not forget to take cash!).
Inside the gorges, you can follow several courses to explore depending on the level of difficulty but prepare to have to trudge through the rocks. The last level, the red, can only be accompanied by a guide.
This hiking path is still quite long and difficult, there are Jeep services that can make you a part of the way to and from the trip . But you will still have to walk about 1 hour before or after, it is impossible to reach the gorge by car. Count around 15 € per person for a trip.
3. The Ispinigoli Cave
In the vicinity of the Gulf of Orosei, I advise you to go visit Ispinigoli cave. It is the perfect place to cool off and do a good family activity in the Supramonte.
The cave is 15 minutes drive from Dorgali and 25 minutes from Cala Gonone.
The tours are guided only (in Italian and English), there are hours and lasts about 45 minutes.
The entrance is from the top of the cave, so you have to descend 280 steps to admire the various forms of stalactites and stalagmites, but especially what makes the reputation of the Cave of Ispinigoli: its impressive column of 37 meters high, connecting the ground to the vault. It is the highest in Europe.
The cave is open every day from June to September from 10h to 18h and closes between 12h and 15h in April, May and October. It is closed from November to Easter. Price: € 8 per person.
4. The Valley of Lanaittu
Sightseeing in the Gulf of Orosei and in the Supramonte is also to discover places a little less tourist.
The Lanaittu Valley is one of them.
To reach the valley, take the Oliena-Dorgali road . After Oliena, take the road for about 10 km following signs to Su Gologone and then to Valle di Lanaittu.
You can also stop first to see Su Gologone, a mountain source whose flow can reach not less than 10,000 liters per second in case of heavy rains. Count 2 € for the entry. Open from 9h to 19h.
It is just opposite that is the entrance to the Valley Lanaittu. You can walk there by car, bike or on foot.
7 km long, with its mountains and cliffs, vineyards and olive trees, the Valley is an opportunity to make beautiful walks in nature in the Supramonte . You can also visit 2 caves: the cave of Sa Oche and the cave of Su Bentu . Open only from April to September for € 2 and € 5.
In the Valley, near the caves, you will also find the nuragic village Sa Sedda e Sos Carros . Built in 1300 BC, only ruins remain today and it takes a little imagination to imagine what it could do. A brochure in French is provided for the visit.
Another famous tourist site around the Gulf of Orosei and Supramonte: Tiscali.
Tiscali is a nuragic village hidden in a sinkhole whose vault has collapsed. Dating from the 6th century BC, it was inhabited until the Roman period, but only discovered at the end of the 19th century because it is invisible from the outside.
Found still in the state at the time, the site was unfortunately later robbed by grave robbers. You can still admire the ruins of the old houses.
Price: € 5 per person.
Some of the objects discovered in Tiscali are now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Dorgali.
Tiscali is only accessible on foot by 2 hiking routes:
- From the Sa Barva Bridge (the same as for the Su Gorropu Gorge). The trail is 8 km long, count between 4 to 5 hours for the round trip with the visit of Tiscali.
- By the Valley of Lanaittu, count about 4 hours of walking but this path is a bit more difficult than the first.
Both routes have some very stony passages and with rocks, hiking shoes are essential.
If you want to go with a guide, many providers organize trips to Tiscali from Dorgali or Cala Gonone . The day will cost 45 € per person with transportation, lunch and Tiscali entrance ticket included.
To continue this tourist guide of the Gulf of Orosei and Supramonte, I recommend you to visit the village of Orgosolo.
Located about 1 hour drive from Cala Gonone, this is the most famous mountain village of Supramonte. It is Orgosolo you can admire hundreds of Murals, the frescoes painted directly on the walls of houses. They refer to politicians or major international events such as the attacks on the World Trade Center or the Second World War.
The first frescoes were made as part of a school project in 1975 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Italy . For several generations and even well-known artists have helped to make Orogosolo a giant work of art.
The majority of the Orogosolo murals are visible along the Corso Repubblica, the main artery of the village but there are also in the adjacent streets.
As there is no explanation in the streets, I advise you to get an audio guide (5 €) to visit Orogosolo and learn more about the history of each of the murals. A card (€ 3) is also available to locate.
The place is quite touristy with lots of souvenir shops and restaurants.
7. Nuoro and Monte Ortobene
Near the Gulf of Orosei and part of the Supramonte, you can also go for a walk in the small town of Nuoro.
His visit combines very well with the discovery of Orgosolo, on the same day.
Isolated mountain village, Nuoro was long considered a crime area, known to harbor bandits and opponents of central power. Today is ancient history and the city is experiencing a revival of cultural vitality thanks to its university and its ethnographic museum.
The museum presents a collection of jewelry, weapons, masks and traditional Sardinian costumes . The tour is particularly interesting for discovering folklore and Sardinian culture.
Price of 5 € per person; closed from 13h to 15h.
From Nuoro, take the road to Monte Ortobene . Up there, you will find the Sardinian version of Christ Redempteur, a bronze statue of Christ crushing the head of a demon. You can also enjoy the magnificent view of the mountains and the valley from the belvedere.
The Monte Ortobene is very popular for walks in the forest . There is also a picnic area with a coffee in the parking lot before arriving at the statue.
8. The Blu Selvaggio
The Selvaggio Blu is a hiking route for seasoned walkers.
For 7 days, you will walk the 45 km of the Gulf of Orosei, in the footsteps of the old goatherds, along one of the most beautiful coast of Sardinia.
This course is considered one of the most difficult of Sardinia and Italy but it will allow you to admire sublime landscapes. In addition to walking, some passages need to do some climbing or rappelling so it is better to have some experience in these activities.
You have to be in very good physical condition . You will walk between 6 to 8 hours per day on trails along cliffs. Some equipment is also imperative: a tent, a sleeping bag, a compass, very good shoes and of courseenough water and food to hold the week.
I recommend you to do the Selvaggio Blu accompanied by a guide because the path is often invisible. They will also be able to provide you with water, delivered directly by boat, because there is no drinking water on the way.
For the Selvaggio Blu with a guide, you will need to pay around 700 € per person (100 € per day) and book your trek well in advance.
The contact information can be found on the official website.
9. Climbing in the Supramonte
If you are wondering what to do in the Supramonte and the Gulf of Orosei, in addition to a boat trip and hiking, I suggest you to practice an activity a little different from usual: climbing.
Several climbing routes are possible in Eastern Sardinia:
- Cala Fuili: easy climbing above the beach, ideal for beginners
- Cala Gonone at La Poltrona, maximum height of 175 meters.
- Cala Luna: climbing over the Cala. The site has the advantage of being in the shade.
- Cala Goloritzé on the site of Aguglia or Punta Caroddi
- Attacks Ruia, a cliff located at Dorgali
- Su Gorropu Gorges on the site of the Hotel Supramonte. Book to the pros.
10. The SS 125 / Orientale Sarda Panoramic Route
Where to go in the Supramonte to benefit from beautiful panoramas on the surrounding mountains?
Easy answer: take the SS 125 (or eastern Sarda) panoramic road from Dorgali to Arbatax. One way or the other, there is a good chance that you will pass by when you arrive or leave the Gulf of Orosei and Supramonte.
This winding road crosses the Supramonte mountains for almost 60 kilometers and allows you to enjoy the landscapes of the Sardinian mountains with views of the peaks and gorges.
Normally the trip takes about 1h30 between the 2 cities but you will definitely put a little more time with all the photo stops. The road is not very busy and it is often possible to stop on the side to admire the panorama.
How many days to visit the Supramonte and the Gulf of Orosei?
I recommend you spend at least 3 days in the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte:
- On the first day of your holiday in Orosei, visit the mountain villages of Supramonte: Nuoro, Monte Ortobene and Orgosolo
- On the second day, make the boat trip in the Gulf of Orosei to discover some of the most beautiful coves of Sardinia. Do not forget to book it a day before if possible.
- The third day towards the Gorges of Su Gorropu for hiking and afternoon, you can visit the Ispinigoli Cave to cool off a bit after all these efforts.
If you have 4 days in the Gulf of Orosei, you can also discover the Valley of Lanaittu or the nuraghic village of Tiscali and do a little climbing if you like it.
When you arrive or depart from the Gulf of Orosei, do not forget to take the part of the SS 125 road connecting Dorgali and Arbatax to enjoy the splendid landscapes.
Where to sleep near the Gulf of Orosei
- Hotel Bue Marino: Located right in front of the port of Cala Gonone, super convenient for the boat trip. Double room spacious and bright sea or garden view from 65 € per night, breakfast 10 €. Pros: the location to take the boat, the roof terrace with jacuzzi, the good breakfast.
- Hotel la Playa: Located 5 minutes walk from the port and Cala Gonone beach. Nice and comfortable double room from 80 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the very friendly staff, the rich breakfast, the pool.
- Cala Luna: Located by the sea, 1 minute walk from the beach. Modern and bright double room from 100 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the pleasant setting, the magnificent view from the terrace, the warm welcome. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio in Cala Gonone!
How to go to the Gulf of Orosei
Sardinia has 3 international airports that welcome flights from France.
Here are the travel times from the 3 cities to reach the Gulf of Orosei.
- From Olbia: Cala Gonone is 1h30 from Olbia. For a stay in the Gulf of Orosei, the best option is to land in Olbia.
- From Alghero : Join the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte in 2.5 hours by car.
- From Cagliari: Also 2h30 by car to reach Cala Gonone, in the Gulf of Orosei.
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