Cliffs overlooking the sea, canyons, caves, waterfalls. The most famous Sardinian hiking itineraries stretch across several days of walking through inaccessible and deserted areas, often reserved for expert trekkers. EEA-classified trekking trails require the careful assessment of ability and physical condition, verification of weather conditions, adequate equipment and the possibility for communication. The marking and tracking of the trails are not always exact and is sometimes sketchy, so it is essential to be accompanied by guides. A challenging but unique hike passes through the peaks of the Gennargentu and reaches Punta La Marmora (1834 metres). The name is a tribute to the 19th-century Piedmont-born cartographer and general, who made maps and wrote scientific works dedicated to Sardinia. Walking on the Gennargentu, you can admire the landscape of the eastern coast and you might spot mouflons and golden eagles. An itinerary also starts in the deepest part of Ogliastra and moves towards the ‘rooftop’ of the Island: a four-hour walk that starts from the Nuragic village of Ruinas, in the territory of Arzana, climbs up to the Florisa, La Marmora and lastly the ‘della Croce’ peaks, which have always been a point of reference for hikers tackling the massif.
Captivating trails across the Buttes of Ogliastra, between impressive vertical rocks, holm oak forests, springs and little lakes, domus de Janas, nuraghi and cuiles (ancient shepherds’ huts). In this area, you can combine the experience of the trails with a timeless journey aboard the Trenino Verde (Green Train). Some trails lead to the discovery of fairy-tale places, like is Tostoinus and the ‘mountains of the moon’, along the Path of the Eagles. Various itineraries branch off from the Montarbu services centre: the ‘Ermolinus path’ along the valley of the torrent of the same name, where you can admire s’Ilixi ‘and Canali, an 18-metre-high holm oak; there is a path leading to Taccu Isara, in the territory of Seui; another ring-shaped path gets its name from the Su Marmuri caves of Ulassai: during the three kilometres of the journey, you will stop at panoramic spots overlooking the Rio Pardu and Santa Barbara valleys. A path is dedicated to the artist from Ulassai, Maria Lai, and is dotted with her works. The view at the butte known as taccu di Tisiddu is a must. Its rock faces, with a giddy height of almost a hundred metres, are reflected on the houses of Ulassai. The Perda 'e Liana circuit, in the territory of Gairo sant’Elena, is one of the most fascinating due to the presence of the limestone tower, junction where the tangle of Ogliastra trails meet.
Beyond the southeastern slopes of the Buttes are Barbagia di Seulo and Sarcidano. On route from Villanovatulo to Seulo, you will come across areas that were once frequented (and inhabited) by shepherds and coal merchants. The itinerary from Pala de Nuraxi to the fork for Addolì, two thirds of which is downhill before the last uphill third, passes through various natural monuments like the is Janas cave, in the territory of Sadali that, according to legend, was the dwelling of mythological characters. A short walk from the cave, there is the charming waterfall of su Stampu ‘and su Turrunu: the water gushes from a hole and forms a little lake hidden in a thicket. The path from Funtana Maore to Genna ‘e Teula stretches across places of great scenic and cultural value: you will see species like the Sarcidano horse and the Sardinian deer. The path, which is suitable for everyone, starts from Sadali and takes you as far as Arcu ‘e Spineddai, while another, starting from the lookout point of Pranedda Ollastru unwinds, with a view of the Flumendosa valley, taking you to the nuraghe Adoni.
The Selvaggio Blu (Wild Blue) is the most famous trekking trail and one of the most challenging in Europe, a seven-day hike that entails partly climbing and via ferrata and has no refreshment points: you need to take water and food with you for the whole seven days. You will camp out at night. ‘In exchange’ you will be experiencing a journey through unspoilt nature and deep blue coves: 50 kilometres from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cala Gonone. A short hike will take you to the spectacular natural monument of Pedra Longa: the first part of the route is relaxing and the stages that follow make it an exciting and demanding mountaineering path, not recommended for hikers. The true first stage starts from the pinnacle of Pedra Longa. The fatigue of the climb - 625 metres of altitude difference - will be rewarded by the Supramonte di Baunei landscape. Along the path, you will see steps made from juniper that allow you to cross the seemingly inaccessible mountain: that known as ‘e s’Ozzastru leads to Punta Giradili. The crossing of the Gulf of Orosei covers the same areas as the Selvaggio Blu but favours the immediate hinterland: it is an easier trekking trail, although challenging. The departure and arrival are identical and it is a five-day hike, with views of the eastern coastline.
The famous wonders of the eastern coast can also (or only) be reached on foot: it is the perfect combination of a day’s trekking and a dip in the most beautiful sea in the Mediterranean. You will reach Cala Goloritzè via a well-marked out route of an hour an and a half. It starts from su Porteddu, on the Golgo plateau and it unwinds along the bacu Goloritzè, across mule tracks, past rock arches, canyons, centuries-old trees and shepherds’ shelters. The downhill trek is not difficult, but the uphill return is, with a 500metre altitude difference, so it’s best not to tackle it in the hottest hours. The cove is famous for its beach and for the Pinnacle, a limestone monolith overlooking the cove, a destination for climbers from all over Europe. The trail heading to Cala Mariolu, a beach of tiny round pebbles, is decidedly more challenging (to be tackled with guides). The trek takes six hours there and back. This time, you proceed from Golgo in the direction of the church of San Pietro. An uphill stretch takes you to Punta ‘e Lattone and, from here, you begin a downhill hike until you reach a spectacular arch carved out of the rock: a window looking out onto the gulf. As you advance, the blue of the sea peeps out from amidst the vegetation. A refreshing dip in the sea will help you face the uphill return. In the same amount of time (six hours) you can go to and return from another paradise: Cala Luna. From the locality of Teletottes you will take a path that runs alongside the Codula di Luna: the long walk will take you, without too much trouble, to the splendid beach of light, soft sand.
In four days, you will cross the Barbagia areas, from Arcu Correboi to the spring of su Gologone, to Oliena: it is the Great crossing of the Supramonte, one of the most exciting trekking trails on the island. The Supramonte contains plenty of stunning destinations that can (also) be reached in a day, particularly the canyon of Gorropu, one of the deepest canyons in Europe, with 500-metre-high rock faces that can only be visited on foot along three paths. To the north, passing through the valley of Oddoene, in the territory of Dorgali: this is the least challenging trail and is a two-hour walk, starting from the sa Barva bridge, passing close to the Rio Flumineddu - a torrent that created the canyon - until you reach its entrance. To the south, the trail - which can be completed in three and a half hours there and back - starts at the sheepfolds of Sedda ar Baccas, in the territory of Urzulei. The long, steep descent along s’Ischina ‘e sa raicca will take you to Pischina Urthaddala, a ‘pool’ at the foot of a drop in the river and, after that, to sa Giuntura, a junction of the Orbisi e Flumineddu rivers, the waters of which collect in a little lake that can only be crossed with adequate equipment. After wading across the Flumineddu, you will be able to reach the nuraghi of Gorropu and Mereu, two ‘giants’ made of white limestone that stand out against the greenery of the wood. The third itinerary, to the east of the canyon, starts from Genna Silana, in a parking area of state road SS 125. The trail, which takes one hour there and two hours back, is well marked out. The only difficulty is the rise. By zig-zagging, you will cross a wood, filled with ferns and Mediterranean fragrances, and you will reach the entrance to Gorropu that can also be reached from sa Barva.
The charm of the Baronie territory is unique, from the limestone ridges of Mount Albo to the Tuttavista massif, crossed by the Isalle and Cedrino rivers and flood plains. Montalbo, the habitat of numerous rare species, is crossed by trekking itineraries, the 'heirs' of the coal merchants’ paths. The views from over 900 metres above sea level are breathtaking. The massif falls largely within the territories of Siniscola, Lodè and Lula: it is a limestone bastion about twenty kilometres long, featuring vertical slopes and cut into by deep ravines with an elongated and imposing shape, full of canyons and caves, including those of Bona Fraule, Janna Manna and Omines Agrestes. Its peaks, Catirina and Turuddò are a thousand metres high and the ponor of Tumba ‘e Nurrai is squeezed in between them. A wide ring-shaped trail crosses the territory of Lodè. Another stretch, which can be reached from the entrance to Badde Viola, crosses the Corru ‘e mandra pass and runs through an old holm oak wood, the transhumance routes, coal yards and pinnettos, ancient sheepfolds renovated and equipped as a stopping place.