Palau

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Palau

A famous tourist resort in Gallura on the northern coast of Sardinia, near the Emerald Coast, it is the marine gateway for the Maddalena archipelago

Clear blue water and boulders sculpted by weather and time. Palau is nestled in an inlet well repaired from the northern winds, adjacent to the exclusive Costa Smeralda and looking out over the beauty of the enchanting Maddalena Archipelago National Park. This tourist resort and harbour town came about in the late XIX century and counts some four thousand residents. Summer evenings bustle with night life and events. The main religious festivity here revolves around Santa Maria delle Grazie in early September, and winter is enlivened by a spectacular Carnival celebration that is reason enough to come for a visit. On a granite promontory chiseled by time just outside of town is a natural sculpture that seems crafted by an artist. It is Orso rock, the symbol of Palau, and looks out to distant horizons over the sea. The II century CE geographer Tolomeo claims that it had already been known since the days of Antiquity, and that even then sailors used it to guide them along their way. The seascape around Capo d’Orso is as beautiful as it is interesting, thanks to the tafone tombs and remains from the Neolithic Era. The sea bed here is resting place of shipwrecks from a variety of periods. Other sites well worth a visit are the Luchìa nuraghe, set as a guardian to the Bonifacio straits, and the Giant Tombs of Li Mizzani and Sajacciu, near the church of San Giorgio. As you head towards Don Diego, stop at the Batteria militare fortress at Talmone. There is another fort on Mt. Altura, a belvedere that looks out over the sea.

As you go from one end of Palau to the other, the shoreline alternates between granite coastline, sandy stretches, like Sciumara beach, and the lovely Porto Faro, with its Nordic atmosphere. Headed west you’ll come across the renowned and exclusive Porto Rafael, with its luxurious villas and a tourist harbour framed by wild olive trees, myrtle and lavender. Then there is the enchanting beauty of Punta Sardinia and the exotic atmosphere of Cala Trana, a little beach of light pink sand protected by dunes and flanked by huge granite boulders. Further towards Santa Teresa Gallura you’ll find the wild natural haven of Isuledda or Isola dei Gabbiani (Seagull Island). It is actually a peninsula held together by an isthmus of sand and surrounded by a turquoise sea. Two beaches fan outwards to the water’s edge: Arenaria and Porto Pollo. There is always a pleasant breeze here making it ideal, along with nearby Barrabisa, for windsurfing, kitesurfing and fun-boarding. International competitions featuring world champions are held here every year. Isuledda is also great for camping and campers. The view from here includes the little island of Cavalli and, further in the distance, Spargi and Budelli.

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