A pleasure for the eye and for the soul. When you come across this corner of paradise during your mini-cruise along the splendid bays of the Gulf of Orosei, you will be drawn like a magnet to the turquoise and blue waters: it's impossible not to dive in! Beyond the entrance to the Grotta del Fico ('Fig Cave'), a few steps away from the equally beautiful and wild Cala Biriola, lie the Piscine di Venere ('Pools of Venus'), one of the most beautiful stretches of the Baunei coast in Ogliastra, which can be reached in about half an hour by dinghy from the ports of Santa Maria Navarrese or Cala Gonone (Dorgali). Or you can take a hiking trail through Supramonte, recommended for experienced hikers only, which leads first to the Pools of Venus cove and then to Cala Biriola.
Their sparkle, clear water and bright colours are due to the many freshwater springs in the cliff face and the very pale limestone rocks that dot its predominantly sandy bottom. This beautiful stretch of sea borders a small sandy and pebbly cove - just 50 metres long - but it is nonetheless very popular: in 2019 it topped the list drawn up by a well-known search engine (Holidu) of the most popular Italian beaches based on travellers' reviews. It is bordered by semi-submerged white rocks and imposing 200-metre-high limestone cliffs, which in turn are surrounded by dense, lush Mediterranean vegetation. The local (and original) name of the place, particularly of its cliffs, is su Piggiu 'e Laori. Pools of Venus is a recent name, clearly inspired by the beauty of the water. The sea is so crystal clear that the boats - both private and chartered - which are 'obliged' to stop over on summer days seem almost suspended in the air.
Behind the pools, the sheer cliffs recede from the coastline, giving way to a forest of Mediterranean maquis, ancient holm oaks and junipers clinging to the rocks. This is the point of departure for the long and demanding trek - a stage of the famed Selvaggio Blu ('Wild Blue') - that leads to the Pools of Venus cove and Cala Biriola. The path runs along the cliff and offers thrilling views of the sea below. Shepherds and coal miners have left behind countless traces here: ladders, walkways made of entwined logs and iron rails to assist the passage of men and animals. The route also includes climbing sections, which should be tackled with the assistance of expert guides and appropriate equipment, and ends in the beautiful Cala Sisine, a beach that opens up at the end of a gully, once the bed of a river. Next door is the Grotta del Miracolo (‘Miracle Cave’), a natural wonder of stalactites and stalagmites in the most amazing shapes. Further north, the last Baunei beach - halfway to Dorgali - is Cala Luna, another magical place,and a symbol of the island. Towards the south, your mini-cruise will pass by the famous Cala Mariolu, famous for its pebbles similar to sugared almonds, and its natural, beautiful continuation, Cala dei Gabbiani. Finally, in the southern part of the gulf, there is Cala Goloritzè, another 'pearl' of the Mediterranean: turquoise sea, white pebbles and the Aguglia spire dominating it from above.