Limestone caves with stalactites, emerald blue sea bays and climbing friendly temperatures for most of the year, that’s Sardinia and that's why it’s also called Pearl of the Mediterranean sea.
Sardinia is the second largest island of the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily. It is an autonomous region and one of the 20 regions of Italy. We can see Corsica from the very north, as it is less than 15 km from coast to coast. There are two ways to get to Sardinia: flight or a combination of car and ferry (most of them from Livorno)
Sardinia is one of the oldest geological bodies in Europe and (not only) climbers’ paradise. There are thousands of round tower-fortresses from the ancient Nuragic civilization all around the island. Hilly regions are beautiful for hiking and rugged bays with crystal clear water are inviting for swimming. Climbing is possible for most of the year, except the hottest summer days. There are sunny south faces and wind protected cliffs for winter and shaded walls for other months.
Western coast is much more windy and rainy. Most climbing spots are located at the eastern part of the island, where you can find the most beautiful rock formations. Limestone cliffs prevails, with famous overhang cave climbing, but there are basalt and granite rocks as well.
Most visited are equipped limestone cliffs around Cala Gonone and Baunei. This is not a complete list of climbing destinations, but some tips will be useful.
Limestone crags around sea bay Golfo di Orosei offer plenty of both trad and sport climbing routes. Stalactite karst caves are must see / must climb with hard overhang routes with beautiful sea view.
We visited sectors Il Budinetto and La Poltrona high above the Cala Gonone village. Both of them are reachable by foot from the football stadium. Further Il Budinetto is about half an hour hike along a broken gravel road around an antenna and a trail to get to the cliff. Il Budinetto is on your right (going up) and sector Flintstones is on your left. La Poltrona is much closer, just a short hike up behind the kart track.
All of them are slabs of gray limestone, well protected. Both Budinetto and Poltrona are south-faced and wind protected amfiterters, suitable for winter conditions. Beautiful view of the Cala Gonone city, marina and beaches it the reward for getting to the top of any route.
Cala Fuili bay definitely worths visiting. Located about 2 km south from the city, there is a deep gorge where you find sunny crags by the sea and shaded crags further to the land. Most climbed routes are a bit polished.
There is an easily reached beautiful cave to the other side from Cala Gonone. It is called Biddiriscottai and you can get there walking along the rocky shore. The cave itself is not deep, so there is sun till the afternoon. Routes in the rear wall start from the 5b grade with pretty polished holds. Overhangs on side walls offer much more difficult beautiful lines. The bottom of the cave is sandy, so bring a ropebag.
Further to the north, there is an amazing Millenium cave. About 2 km hike high above cliff with a tricky descent along a rope protected trail leads you to the magnificent cave open to the sea. Amazing overhand sport climbing lines can be found in the ceiling.
Park the car in the turn of a small road, follow the gravel road on foot till you reach a sign on a stone. Then descent carefully down and a bit to the right until you reach the bottom of the cliff. From there, the cave is on your left.
Some easier slabby sectors of Margheddie are located above (NW) the gravel road.
Surroundings of this picturesque mountain village are another great climbing destination. It is actually not far from the one above. White limestone cliffs and towers oversee the emerald blue bays. Plenty of sport and trad lines can be found further and higher to the mountains. Sunny coast is mostly climbed in winter and spring.
Significant 128 m high tower called Pedra Longa di Baunei can be reached by a panoramic road winding down to the coast. There is a parking lot, small restaurant and some trails at the end of the road. There are mostly sport routes all around the rugged tower, reachable in few minutes from the parking.
Drive about half an hour to climb a massive of unusual granite shapes western from Baunei. Take a road to Urzulei to reach Punta Giogadorgiu cliff. Most of the routes are newly equipped for sport climbing. Some trad lines can be found here as well. Rough granite rock is eroded into fantastic shapes.
North od Sardinia
There are some cliffs around Capo Caccia in the northwest. This region is windier and rainier, but not less beautiful. Famous Neptun cave is one of the most visited Sardinia’s tourist attractions and worths visiting when you need a restday.
There an inland cliff close to Sassari, Sardinia’s capital. White limestone wall raises from the green landscape by Osilo village. You can reach it by one of the gravel roads and about twenty minutes hike up. Walking to La Muraglia, you are crossing a private land, so you have to send you ID and car plate to the owner’s number written on a sign on a tree.
La Muraglia is faced southwest, so there is plenty of sun till the late evening. Some trees bellow the rock gives a nice shade to belayers.
Another touristic attraction is Capo Testa on the far north of the island. It’s here, where you can observe Corsica coast over the sea. All the cape is formed by granite rocks and boulders of incredible shapes.
Sport routes are described in old guidebooks, but bolts are being removed recently. It is not recommended to use rusty bolts that remained. Big size cams are useful for trad climbing.
Hking, biking, swimming, sightseeing, culture, food…you could spend your climbing trip just in restdays :-)
The highest mountain of Sardinia is called Punta la Marmora (1834 m) and is reachable by a a two hours hike from the Refugio Bruncu Spina.
Neptune cave (Grotta di Nettuno) is located at the end of Capo Caccia about 30 minutes drive from Alghero, which also worths visiting.
Plenty of useful information can be found in the online guide
https://climbingsardinia.com, nebo https://www.thecrag.com
One of the best books is caled Pietra di Luna