The area of northern Sardinia, and in particular the north-east, have a pleasant blend of beauty between the characteristic Gallura granite mountain and the beautiful sandy beaches mixed with large and small rocky coves. An area rich in flora and fauna thanks to an ideal environment characterized by numerous waterways. An area that, contrary to what one might think, has the largest number of historical-archaeological sites in Sardinia, especially from the Nuragic era. The most important Nuragic village of La Prisciona is located in the Arzachena archaeological area, recently subject of excavations and restorations at the hands of Dr. Angela Antona of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage for the provinces of Sassari and Nuoro.
Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda are certainly places that drive tourism in the north of Sardinia, and probably the whole island, but the north-western coast is particularly rich in tourist attractions. The Gallura coast has the romantic Isola Rossa, the breathtaking views of Costa Paradiso, the beautiful white beach of Vignola, the cliffs overlooking the sea of Capo Testa and the famous resorts of Santa Teresa Gallura and Palau.
Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda
An inscription on a rock announces you have entered Costa Smeralda, the kingdom of rocks surrounded by the Mediterranean, junipers, oaks, and heaven blessed by beautiful beaches and crystal clear sea.
The capital can be considered Porto Cervo, so called due to the presence of numerous ramifications in its inlet. In the heart of town is the Piazzetta, a meeting place in the summer of numerous celebrities; a must see is the small church of Stella Maris, an example of pleasant architecture that adorns the town.
Isola Rossa is a small tourist town with numerous beaches and a beautiful Spanish tower built on the cliffs in a dominant position. The view is strongly characterized by the presence of a red cliff located in the middle of the sea, a short distance from the shore, hence the name of the town. The Marinedda beach is located to the east, not far from Punta Canneddi, from where you can admire an area still largely intact, and a natural landscape of extraordinary value, which reaches up to the resort Costa Paradiso.
Above Isola Rossa and also the entire coast, rises Trinità d'Agultu, an agricultural centre formed from the magnification of a sheepfold of Gallura after the eighteenth century.
Costa Paradiso is a vast holiday resort whose name identifies the entire area, more properly, it is called Li Rosi Marini. You can admire the cliffs and the Li Cossi beach, the mouth of a bay, in the valley of a stream with pink porphyry walls. Another must-see is the Tinnari beach, further west, formed of pebbles of red and grey porphyry, rounded by water and wind, and surrounded by dense vegetation of hilly slopes all around.
Vignola has a long and extensive coastline of white, coarse sand characterised by a crystal clear sea. Not far from the beautiful coast of Monti Russu, picturesque rocky promontory with red porphyry, which envelops a beautiful bay; next to it, in Cala Vall'Alta, lies the Rena Maiore beach, famous for its fine white sand, bordering a vast pine forest.
Vignola is a part of the municipality of Aglientu, the centre of Gallura, with particularly interesting and characteristic features, a short distance from the sea, with beautiful mountain landscapes characterized by the typical Gallura rocks, pure watercourses and Mediterranean vegetation rich in fauna.
Santa Teresa Gallura
Santa Teresa di Gallura is a well-known tourist resort consisting of a small town founded in the nineteenth century, and that has become a popular vacation spot since the 60ies. The beauty of its beaches and its shores is enhanced by the services and facilities offered by the tourist facilities. The local port is dominated by the Tower of Longosardo, in the centre of the town is one of the most popular and crowded beaches: the beach of Rena Bianca. The Marmorata beach is located to the east, and the view you can enjoy from here is breathtaking, with a view of the coasts of La Maddalena and Corsica.
The Capo Testa promontory is located to the west of Santa Teresa Gallura, with a rounded shape and is characterized by large masses of rock incredibly eroded by wind and water. In the eastern part of the promontory the Bay of Santa Reparata opens, with the homonymous beach; and further on the Cala Spinosa beach. From here a path leads to the northern area of Capo Testa, near the homonymous lighthouse, where the grey granite rock formations are truly extraordinary, eroded in a thousand different forms, resting on tall granites washed by the sea. Further to the west of Capo Testa, the wonderful Valle della Luna opens, a huge fracture in granitic rocks of extraordinary beauty and majesty.
Palau was founded in 800 as a modest dock for connections with the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago and is now a port for communication with the islands, as well as a recreation centre.
From Colle di Baragge, behind the town, you can enjoy a wonderful view: you can spot Porto Raphael, Punta Sea and Punta Sardegna a Mare and Porto Pollo, with the Liscia beach, divided into two parts by the Isola dei Gabbiani, joined to the mainland by a slim sandbar, and the Cala di Trana, one of the most isolated beaches of the coast. On the opposite side of Palau to the east is the famous roccia dell'Orso (bear rock), a craggy hill so called because of the presence of a giant granite rock carved by the winds and the humidity into the particular form of a bear, so much so that it resembles a bear even close up, in a dominant position over the archipelago.