Not Only Beaches: Lake of Baratz

Lake Baratz

Unspoiled nature


A few kilometers from Alghero, about 20, and at only one kilometer from the beautiful wild beach of Porto Ferro (see post), surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub there is the Lake of Baratz. Famous for being the only natural lake in Sardinia, was originated about a hundred thousand years ago: it is small but very suggestive, surrounded by luxuriant pine forest, plants of dwarf palm, arbutus, rockrose(Cistus), rosemary, myrtle and especially in spring by beautiful wild orchids. Caressed by the breeze coming from the sea, as soon as you get to the lake you are struck by its beauty and tranquility that surrounds it, and you are distracted only by the presence of its inhabitants: mallards, coots and freshwater turtles. Nearby attractions include the Natural Park of Porto Conte (see post), and in the area of Capo Caccia the wonderful Caves of Neptune.

Good walk!

GPS coordinates: 40.6812415, 8.2260932

wine,olive oil,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,nuragus

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Not Only Beaches: The Church of Saint Antioco of Bisarcio

St. Antioco of Bisarcio

“Dioecesis Bisarchiensis”


The Basilica of St. Antioco of Bisarcio is located on a hill, along the SS 597 from Oschiri to Ploaghe. It was a cathedral until the year 1503 and then a bishopric. The construction work began in 1080 in the Romanesque-Pisan style, and were suspended several times. Workers that took part in the construction were from Pisa, Lombardy and Middle East, but the construction was completed until between 1170 and 1190 by French Burgundy carpenters, who worked on behalf of St. Bernard of Chiaravalle and the Cistercian monks. The church is entirely built  with red-brown trachyte. Some parts of the exterior walls, such as the section between the bell tower and the apse, date back to the original construction of the year 1000. It has three naves, with trussed ceiling; the central nave has a semi-circular apse, while the aisles have cross vaults. The three naves are separated by two rows of five columns each, plus a pillar. What we see today is the result of the reconstruction made by the Aragonese in the sixteenth century, when, after the collapse of the left side, it was rebuilt in an asymmetrical way. Among other things, two curiosities: the facade built at the end of the work, was placed against the old Romanesque façade, and the upper part of the tower which is positioned at the end of the right flank, was destroyed by a lightning, and of the majestic square bell tower remains only the lower part.

In our journey through Sardinia, after talking about the Church of Saccargia (see post), we could not forget the many other churches that are part of the cultural heritage and history of this island. In particular, we will talk about Romanesque architecture, which here has had a remarkable development from the earliest origins. In the island in fact, we can find examples of Romanesque style by unprecedented results and with numerous forms, due to the settlement of many religious orders from various Italian regions and from France during the era of Sardinian Giudicati(districts, literally: judgeships). In consequence of that, in the churches of the time, we can recognize the influence of Pisa, Lombardy and Provence in addition to traces of the passage of workers of Arab culture, arrived in Sardinia during the Spanish dominizione. In the Early Middle Ages Sardinia was divided into four kingdoms or Giudicati, ruled by a king or judge, who was the local representative of the Byzantine Emperor, but due to the decline of empire, the island fell out of the sphere of its influence, became independent and the territory was divided into four kingdoms, Cagliari, Arborea, Torres and Gallura, in turn divided into curatorie (main administrative, electoral, fiscal and judicial divisions of Sardinian Giudicati).
Also the territory of the Church was divided and the vast dioceses of the Byzantine era were divided into new ecclesiastical districts: archdiocese and diocese ruled by archbishops and bishops, which ruled the parishes. It was in this context that the judges, through donations, gave stimulus to the revival of culture under the protection of the Holy See, facilitating the arrival in the island of Benedictine monks from various parts of Italy (from Monte Cassino, St. Victor of Marseilles, Camaldoli, Vallombrosa, Citeaux), who here built their monasteries. The increasingly stable and rooted presence of the Republics of Pisa and Genoa often interfered in the political and determined the end of three Giudicati(Cagliari, Torres and Gallura, which after the year 1250 fell into the hands of the lords of Pisa and Genoa) and contributed to the circulation of new artistic currents in the island that left the most important traces in the architectural activity, especially ecclesiastical. Clearly this is only a brief reference to the history of the Sardinian Giudicati, without pretending to be anything more. Our intention is to stimulate your interest in the hope that you will join us on our journey to discover the wonders, whether they are culinary wonders, cultural, scenic and natural wonders of this incredible land, yet to be discovered.
GPS Coordinates: 40.64464, 8.892504

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Beaches of Sardinia: Capo Testa

Capo Testa

Santa Teresa di Gallura


Capo Testa is a small peninsula overlooking the Strait of Bonifacio, located in Northern Sardinia, 5 km far from Santa Teresa di Gallura and connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus formed by the beaches of Rena di Ponente and Rena di Levante. It offers a variety of beaches with waters crystal clear and shallow, ideal for holidays with children. The surrounding area is formed of  luxuriant Mediterranean scrub, which frames one of the wildest and most beautiful sea area in the Mediterranean.

Among the many beaches in the area, we recommend: Capo Testa, long beach  surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub; Valle della Luna or Cala Grande, fine white sand surrounded by spectacular granite boulders, and popular since the 1970s by hippies and nudists; the Liccia, also this characterized by clear and shallow water; the beautiful Cala Spinosa, known for its clear waters (one of the favorite for divers) and protected by high cliffs and that, in the extreme north of the beach along the rocky ridge on the right side, shows the remains of the ancient Roman port of Tibula; Rena Bianca Beach in Santa Teresa di Gallura with crystal clear water and white and fine sand.

The Capo Testa promontory, perched on the white cliffs, it is crossed by an endless network of trails of an ancient easement for military purpose and is dotted with watchtowers and ruins of old military buildings recently restored, and casting a glance over the Strait, it is possible to admire the village of Bonifacio.

In this area the most known typical recipe is the Zuppa Gallurese (see post), or “Suppa cuata“, once offered only in marriages, and prepared with slices of bread and cheese(see post) soaked in mutton broth, paired with a good Vermentino di Gallura (see post), DOCG wine with an intense and enjoyable scent.

GPS Coordinates of Capo Testa: 41.2428, 9.146804

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La Maddalena Archipelago National Park

La Maddalena

Beautiful islands, beaches and sea


La Maddalena Archipelago National Park, established in 1994, is a geomarine protected area and a natural environment of rare beauty, made ​​up of 62 islands and islets(7 bigger: La Maddalena, Caprera, Budelli, Santo Stefano, Santa Maria, Spargi and Razzoli)  situated in the north-east of the coast of Sardinia. The islets are made of granite and are of great natural beauty, bathed by a wonderful  and transparent sea! In the 180 km of coastline of the Archipelago of La Maddalena  there are some of the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean: the most fascinating and famous is the beautiful Pink Beach(“Spiaggia Rosa”), situated north west of the Archipelago in the island of Budelli, which owes its name to the characteristic  coral pink of the sand, caused by the disintegration of the calcareous shells of tiny marine animals. And then the wonderful “Spiaggia del Cavaliere“(Beach of the Knight, also in the Budelli Island), covered with light-colored and impalpable sand, surrounded by a landscape of extreme beauty with pink rocks, mediterranean scrub and the sea of an almost unreal light blue. In the island of Spargi there are Cala Corsara with fine white beach and crystal clear sea and Cala Granara; Cala Coticciu is situated in the Caprera island and then in the island of La Maddalena, there are the picturesque white sand dunes of Bassa Trinita. And if you want to discover the Archipelago and to bathe in its beautiful waters, you can make one of the many boat trips and have a closer look at these magnificent beaches!!!

GPS Coordinates of “La Maddalena” Island: 41.216554, 9.404712

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Figarolo Island

Figarolo Island

Natural Reserve of Golfo Aranci


Its name is due to the presence of fig trees. Inserted inside the Natural Reserve of Golfo Aranci, Figarolo is a limestone plateau dating from the Mesozoic period and is characterized by a distinctive pyramid shape. 139 meters high, the island of steep walls is the ideal habitat of the mouflon, wild specimen of sheep, a goat from with curved horns, which was inserted in Sardinia in the middle of the nineteenth century, skilled and fast climbers (they can reach 60 Km times) that live here well hidden in the dense oaks and the old olive trees. In Italy and in Sardinia it is considered a rare specie, that lives here in the island in the most inaccessible and rugged areas. The island is then also the natural habitat of some species of birds, such as gulls, the Manx shearwater, buzzards and ravens. There are numerous Phoenicians findings, including the remains of amphorae dating from the seventh century BC, which show that the island was frequented, probably due to its location on the route between the Phoenician Olbia and Etruria. In 1882 there was discovered a oval-shaped settling tank(4 m x 3 m), paved with “cocciopesto”(lime mortar with crushed pottery), probably the bottom of an ancient cistern from the Roman period. The island of Figarolo is reachable only by boat, and there you can find a beach(Figarolo Beach) with water among the most beautiful in the world, inhabited by several species of fish, sponges, starfish, sea fans and sea urchins.

The island is situated in front of Cala Moresca, surely one of the most charming beaches of Golfo Aranci (Costa Smeralda), white sand and turquoise sea, surrounded by mediterranean scrub and with the remains of a furnace which produced lime. No less fascinating is the Baracconi beach, beautiful foreshore and sea colors so intense as to leave you breathless.

GPS Coordinate s “Isola di Figarolo”: 40.980228, 9.643183

GPS Coordinates  “Fornace Cala Moresca”: 40.987454, 9.646343

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Beaches of Sardinia: Cala Brandinchi

Cala Brandinchi

Capo Coda Cavallo – San Teodoro(OT)

When I was little and I was going on vacation with the whole family, as I’ve already mentioned in my previous post (see post), the only hope for us children was to sleep. At that time (and even today, to be honest), the roads here in Sardinia were few, narrow and curvy and to get from Sassari to San Teodoro were needed, depending on traffic, about two hours (for a child an endless period ). However, arrived near Olbia, we began to see the sea and our attention was magnetized by the sun reflection on the water, by the glimpses of Tavolara island that we could see behind some trees, by the beaches that between a curve and the other left us literally breathless. Yes, today I will not do anything but repeat as usually,  that we will talk about a spectacular beach, a pearl of the Mediterranean, and you will think: “..but he does not say it all the time?”. I realize that I’m definitely repetitive, but the important thing is that what I’m saying is true. Here we are surrounded by an endless sequence of incredible beaches and hidden coves, long stretches of white sand, or beaches that have a water so blue and clear that leave you to believe of being in a huge swimming pool. Cala Brandinchi is one of them!

It is defined as the “Little Tahiti.” A dream beach with turquoise clear waters and a low sea bottom that is good for the games of the smallest and that make it worthy of the best exotic paradises. It is located in Capo Coda Cavallo, an area in the municipality of San Teodoro, about 7 km from the village. The beach stretches for over 700m and is made of fine white sand and is bordered by suggestive dunes (on which the beautiful white lilies grow wild) and by a nice, thick pine forest. Cala Brandinchi is part of the Marine Protected Area of ​​Tavolara – Punta Coda Cavallo, an area of ​​great interest in the flora and fauna, both on land and in the sea. The area of ​​Capo Coda Cavallo has become a protected area in 1997, and comprises the area that goes from the Pond of S. Teodoro until three areas designated as Areas of Special Protection: the island of Tavolara, Molara, and Molarotto.

The sea is the true protagonist of Cala Brandinchi, but just for that, it has one big drawback: it is very crowded in the summer, and to really enjoy it you need to get there early! If you don’t like live the sea asphyxiated by other swimmers in crowded beaches, not far from Cala Brandinchi, you can find a myriad of beaches and coves more or less big, equally beautiful and in some cases less crowded. In the next post, we will suggest a list of recommended “stops”  along the coast from Olbia down to the Gulf of Orosei (see other beaches in the Gulf of Orosei). Follow us!

Directions: from Olbia take the SS125 direction Siniscola and drive about 19.3 km; at this point turn left to Capo Coda Cavallo, continue for 900 meters and turn right into a dirt road, which continues for 1.3 km until you get to the beach of Cala Brandinchi. Equipped with a fee-paying parking.

GPS Coordinates:  Beach of “Cala Brandinchi”:  40.835402, 9.686088

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