This enchanting bay to the south-east lies between the Marina di San Pietro and the rock formations of Sant’Elmo, at the gates of the long and magnificent coast of Costa Rei. Cala di Monte Turno is one of the pearls of Castiadas, chosen as the most beautiful beach of 2018. Its arch of soft white sand evocatively ‘breaks up’ the play of colours of the blue of the sea, the green vegetation and dark volcanic rock of the hill behind. About 15 kilometres further south, at the extreme south-eastern tip of the island, you will be dazzled by the beauty of Porto Giunco, an unparalleled oasis in the protected marine area of Villasimius-Capo Carbonara. Chosen in 2014 as the first in Sardinia, it placed ‘only’ fifth overall. A masterpiece of nature, where the blue of the sky merges with that of the water, in a palette that seems to have been created by a painter and that has inspired directors and artists as the setting for commercials. In the surrounds, the air is perfumed by eucalyptus and Mediterranean scrub, behind which stretches the Stagno di Notteri, the habitat of pink flamingos creating a unique effect with a strip of white sand in the middle of two blue expanses.
In fifth place in the 2018 ranking is the beautiful beach of the promontory of Capo Malfatano, in the territory of Teulada, located right between Tuerredda, the beach that is symbolic of Sardinia, and Piscinnì. It is a wonderful place both in terms of nature and history, with medium grain sand and pebbles, a very shallow seabed and inlets with amber-coloured rocks. The bay, sheltered from the winds, became first the Phoenician then later Punic landing point, since the 6th century BC. Today, Portixeddu, sixth in the ranking, is the last beach of Sulcis - in the territory of Fluminimaggiore - before the Costa Verde. It is an expanse of over two kilometres of fine, clear sand bathed by a crystal-clear sea, often stirred up by the mistral winds, rendering it perfect for surfing. The mouth of the Mannu river forks it into two parts. In tenth place is another Sulcis wonder, this time in the Iglesiente sub-region: Masua is a location that combines the charm of the ghost of mining villages and disused mining sites with the blue sea guarded by cliffs rising up out of the sea, like Pan di Zucchero.
This location unites the infinite shades of the sea and the charm of wild nature that pervades the coastal rocks. Cala Corsara is a bay south of Spargi, a jewel-islet in the Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park. The cove is divided into four beaches of almost impalpable sand, surrounded by small dunes where the growths of juniper and broom are interspersed with rare plants such as roses and sea lilies. The form of some of the granite rocks is surprising, the result of erosion by wind and water. The northern coast, before the archipelago, was also the protagonist in 2014, when Cala Spinosa, the splendid bay of Santa Teresa Gallura, was chosen as the 7th most desirable destination, and in 2015, the year with the highest number of Sardinian beaches on the list, when the Capo Coda Cavallo beach also ranked in the top ten. This stretch of soft sand extends over a strip of granite terrain, sheltered by the imposing bulk of the island of Tavolara, the rocks of Molara and the picturesque islet of Proratora, which form a protected marine area symbolic of Sardinia. There is also a spectacular underwater world to discover...
“Still little known, obscured by the fame of the nearby Cala Mariolu (...), with which is shares the same characteristics: crystal-clear water in shades of green and blue, a cliff polished by time and a lido of white pebbles.” This is the reason why Cala dei Gabbiani, the less famous ‘pearl’ amongst the many pristine paradises of Ogliastra, came close to the record, awarded second place overall by Skyscanner in 2017. This same placement came in 2014 for its ‘twin’ Cala Mariolu, of which Cala dei Gabbiani is the natural continuation. They share the same scenographic impact, being two of the many gems of the Baunei coast in the southern part of the Gulf of Orosei. Separating them is the flat spur of Punta Ispuligi. Until the end of the 20th century, this stretch of coastline was referred to together as Ispulige de Nie, ‘snow fleas’, in reference to the pebbles polished by the waves, round and flattened like sugared almonds, in an alternation of tones forming a shore of cream, white and pink.
The central-eastern coast of Sardinia, in the territory of Baunei, is a series of incomparable coves, reachable only by sea or via a challenging trek. In addition to Cala dei Gabbiani and Cala Mariolu, others have also been selected in the international portal’s ranking. In 2015, second place went to Cala Goloritzé, one of the most beautiful coves in the Mediterranean and a national monument. It too is composed of polished white pebbles, turquoise waters flowing from underwater karstic springs and marble rocks shaped by time. In the surrounds is the majesty of Perda Longa and the pyramid-shaped spire of Mount Caroddi. Yet another magical location climbed up on the third step of the podium in 2016: the beautiful Cala Biriola. A little further north is this delightful beach protected by a cliff of limestone that forms an arch stretching over two kilometres, covered by a wood of centuries-old holm oaks, maquis shrubland, and junipers clinging to the rockface. A few dozen kilometres further north, in the territory of Dorgali, is the beauty of Cala Fuili which was awarded 10th place in 2015’s rankings. This wonder is so cinematic that it appeared as a set in the film ‘Swept Away’ (1974).