Cala Gonone in the East Sardinia is no doubt the most beautiful place I have ever been. Guy Ritchie chose Cala Gonone as one of the locations for his movie “Swept away” starring Madonna (which didn’t turn out successfully, but it’s definitely nothing to do with the location), still untouched wild beaches and dramatic view of the limestone cliffs and caves meeting turquoise blue water creates scenery of uninhabited island. It’s a little paradise on the earth!
The most magical thing about the beaches, is getting there – you can’t get there by car, which means, that you can either hike the mountains (in +30, no thank you) or take a boat. Well, boat it is then!
There are 3 options:
1. Take a shuttle boat to some of the most popular beaches like Cala Luna or Cala Mariolu, which leave every hour and you can stay on the beach whole day. You won’t be able to get to all of the beaches, but at least you are not time restricted. Costs: Cala Luna 8 euro, Cala Mariolu 25 euro.
2. Guided excursion is second option, private boat for 10-12 people will take you to all the beaches and will stop for an hour on some of them. It will also take you to some hidden caves, where you will have a chance to jump into the mysterious waters. If you are not bothered by the time pressure, prefect way to see whole coastline in one day. Costs 35-40 euro.
3. The best thing is to rent your own boat. You won’t need a license, it is pretty straight forward to navigate the boat, the only challenge is once you have unloaded all your thing on the beach, somebody will have to park it 100m from the coast, and swim back to the beach (and back again), but hey that’s kind of great way to keep you in shape after eating pasta every day!! Cost 80 euro+ gas. If you rent a boat in Box. nr 4 you get a free umbrella and cool box.
Cala luna is our first stop, famous for the sandy beach which is rock-bound by the limestone cliffs and caves. Small private coves are separated from the main beach with cliffs and can be reached only by boat or swimming. It can get a bit busy during the day, but considering number of people circulating through the beach every hour (catching their boats for next beach) , it never really gets overcrowded. There is a lifeguard and a restaurant on the back of the beach.
This could be a fantastic beach, if it would get a bit “softer” – made from large pebbles, it’s extremely uncomfortable laying on the beach and almost painful getting into the water. Yet, in the morning you could be the only one on the beach.
My favorite Cala Biriolu is a hidden gem of the Cala Gonone, just around the corner of Cala Sisine. Beautiful orange shade sand is mixed with white pebbles and comes in a perfect combination with crustal clear turquoise waters, I could just sit there whole day and stare into the water…in fact that’s what I did. If you get here with your own boat, there is a “beach boy” who will help you hold the boat while you unload/load your belongings from the boat. Really helpful especially if that’s your first day on the boat.
My second favorite is next on the line paradise like strip of sand and pebbles, hidden between the large rocks. The “main” beach has a cliffs from which you can jump into the blue waters and snorkel to see fishes which are not (yet) afraid of humans. There is a small bar on the beach which sells ice cream and cold drinks.
Cala Gabbiani beach you won’t find on the main boat routes, but that’s the place you will find the locals. Long yellow sand beach with so clean blue waters it is a natural swimming paradise and as it is practically empty you almost feel like on your personal little island.
Just 50 meters from the super famous Cala Goloritze, you can get the mini version of it, super blue waters, soft yellow sandy beach and you can unload your belongings on the beach. Watch out for jelly fishes though, I saw two of them!!
Last one on the Cala Gonone coastline is UNESCO protected Cala Golorize beach, you can’t get to the beach by boat, but only hike or swim 300 meters. As you have noticed I don’t do hiking very well and 300 meters sounds like an half and hour swim, we observed the beach from the distance and it looked very nice… that’s it, no more comments.
1. Get the Italian afternoon aperitivo in the Hotel Bue lounge bar just above the port, with lovely view to the central beach and marina you are guaranteed to get the best cocktails in town and free yams.
2. When you plan visiting the beaches by boat, remember that they are backed by high cliffs and after 3pm sun starts setting down, leaving some of the beaches in the shadow. There is sun till evening on the Cala Sisine and Cala Luna.
3. Forget your Italian vocabulary at home, everybody speaks English (and French and German). Since when Italians have started learning other languages? Bravo!!
4. When you rent a boat, make sure you go with the “boat guy” to fill the tank. Otherwise our gas bill was “rounded up” by 20 eur (first time we paid 20 eur, next time 40 eur for the same distance we drove).
5. If you are looking to rent apartment, check Biriola holidays (www. biriola.com). We got a fab apartment and a great welcome from mr. Mateo.
6. And last, before you board the boat, get ready for the wild wild west – it’s gonna be hot..um very hot, and there will be no food or water on the beaches, so get yourself a pretty old-fashioned cool box with Italian goodies and cheap umbrella before you go.
If you prefer sandy beaches, read more about Cala Gonone sandy beaches here.
Click on the map below to find all Cala Gonone beaches.