A week in Sardinia: itinerary, food and various joys
Let's start with a statement that I think everyone agrees on: 2020 is a year that will long be remembered for all the surprises it is bringing. These unhappy surprises have clearly also had a negative impact on all those trips booked well in advance, which have been postponed due to force majeure to the coming months (if not years). The Covid-19 situation forced me and my friends to revise our plans. This, however, gave us the opportunity to book a trip that - in different times and circumstances - we would never have thought of booking. A week-long trip to explore one of Italy's most amazing regions, Sardinia.
With the trip over, I can say that I am very happy to have had to opt for this change of plan.
Thanks to the immense helpfulness of our local friends (Enrico, Elisabetta, and Riccardo - whom I thank once again!), Valerio and I were lucky enough to be able to tour the length and breadth of the island (and believe me, we covered a lot of kilometres - thank you Enrico!), starting from Cagliari, passing through Iglesias, Masua, Nuoro, Stintino, Olbia, and beyond. In short, a great tour.
Having been kindly hosted, I can't give any info on places to stay this time and I realised, alas, that I didn't take photos at all the stops. In return, however, we did get a lot of joys about the food (hence the title of the post), which I will accurately report.
At the end of the post, you can find a map summarising all the stops made from 7 to 13 August.
Day 1-2: Cagliari, Iglesias and Masua
I left from Pescara and Valerio from Milan and we met up with Enrico in Cagliari. We spent the afternoon in the city, for a walking tour to the Bastion of Saint Remy, one of the four bastions of Cagliari that boasts a breathtaking view of the entire city, and then for an aperitif in the centre.
In the evening we moved on to the wonderful town of Iglesias, which left us pleasantly surprised. Strolling through the city streets one is surrounded by colours and beautiful places to have a coffee or something to eat.
Iglesias was the base for us to move on to Masua the next day. The first day at sea was decidedly unrelaxing and adventurous. We rented a beach umbrella in a very nice lido - Mitza Bar - very well inserted within the natural and rocky landscape of the south-west coast of Sardinia, which also boasts of a fabulous view of the Pan di Zucchero at sunset (photo attached).
In the morning we enjoyed a nice tour of the Faraglioni and the Porto Flavia mining site by dinghy and went inside a semi-submerged cave, the Grotta del Soffione.
In the afternoon we decided to tackle the via ferrata to climb the famous Pan di Zucchero stacks, the highest stacks in the Mediterranean (a good 133 metres!). A truly incredible experience, of which I leave you a few photos. If you happen to be in the area and you like adventure, be brave and climb to the top too, you won't regret it.
In the evening we treated ourselves to a special dinner at what - only once I was back home - I found out had been voted the best beach resort in Italy in 2019 - the Warung Beach Club. The food was nothing short of sublime.
Culinary joy #1: if you happen to be in the area and want to treat yourself to a special dinner, book a table at the Warung and, be sure to try the Red Tuna - typical of the place - and, above all, don't miss their mille-feuille with orange caramelised carasau bread, custard and lime. D - I - V - I - N - A!
Day 3-4: Is Arutas, Nuoro and Golfo di Orosei
In order to maintain a brisk pace, we hit the road again on the third day, aiming to reach Nuoro by evening. Between Iglesias and Nuoro, however, we stopped for the afternoon at one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia, the Is Arutas beach in the Gulf of Oristano, known for its sand made of very fine, rice-like quartz grains (you can see them in the first photo), and for its crystal-clear (I might add, rather cold) water.
On the fourth day, we dedicated ourselves to exploring the Gulf of Orosei, which turned out to be a real pearl of the Mediterranean. We opted to hire a dinghy from Cala Gonone and went around almost all the bays in the gulf (Cala Luna, La Piscina di Venere, Cala Goloritzè), taking the opportunity to take a dip here and there (even from a cliff, mamma tvb!) when we could drop anchor without any particular problems. I won't add much more about the beauty of this place, the photos speak for themselves.
Culinary joy #2: If you are in Nuoro, you CANNOT fail to try the local desserts. Pasticceria Incantadora makes ricotta casadine that are the end of the world!
Culinary joy #3: In Cala Gonone we also had great food, super fresh fish in a place not far from the port called Il Cormorano, with an all-female staff (at least in the dining room).
Day 5-6: Isola Rossa, Alghero, La Pelosa and a quick visit to Olbia
Of the following days, unfortunately, I do not have many photographic finds, but I will still try to tell you about the last part of the trip in as much detail as possible.
On the fifth day we moved from Nuoro towards the north-west, to be more precise towards Isola Rossa. A peninsula, contrary to what the name suggests, in the province of Sassari, characterised by red granite rocks. We took the afternoon to relax on the beach and rent a pedalo to swim a little further out.
In the evening we took the opportunity to take a tour of the town of Alghero which, as was the case with Iglesias, left us pleasantly surprised, both for the beauty of the cobbled old town full of characteristic shops, and for the walk along the harbour ramparts.
Culinary joy #4: Fabulous dinner also in Alghero - but then again, having had native guides, it could only go well! - at a place called La Lepanto, which boasts very friendly service and spaghetti all'algherese defined by Valerio as 'the best spaghetti with clams I have ever eaten'. Then you name it!
The next day we ended with a bang: day trip to the world-famous La Pelosa beach in Stintino. There was no place left on the main beach (it was sold-out until the end of the month, so if you plan to go I recommend booking weeks in advance), but we didn't give up easily and found a place in a small clearing among the rocks. Not very comfortable, but at least we had the chance to swim in the fabulous water (again, photo attached) and relax for a few hours.
Culinary joy #5: In the evening we headed to Olbia to meet some friends (hi Ric and Sara!) and eat at one of Sardinia's famous agriturismi. This one, in particular, is called Cabu Abbas and boasts a wonderful view of the entire city of Olbia from above. It offers an 18-course set menu (drinks, myrtle, dessert and coffee included), of which I particularly loved the ricotta, fried aubergines, pecorino cream and gnocchetti.
I am really very happy to have had the opportunity to explore so many places in such a short time. Especially the northernmost part, which is very often snubbed by mass tourism. I, for example, had only been to the Costa Smeralda before and, as enchanting as that side is too, I can say out loud that Sardinia really has much more to offer than that.
I would like to renew my heartfelt thanks to Enrico, Elisabetta and Riccardo <3