Walking, excursions and long distance walking through nature

In springtime Sardinia changes from a green mossy island into that blooming paradise, burst into flower, already known to the writers in antiquity. Spring is therefore the ideal season to visit Sardinia, to breath in the sweet scented air and enjoy it's rough naturalistic environment. April, may and june are the best months to take a long stroll in the countryside, to participate in excursions with an expert guide or to engage in long distance walking on the island. The natural environment is breathtaking and varied, ranging from the bays with white sandy shores and the green-blue sea up to the impervious bare mountainranges of the Gennargentu and the Supramonte that may leave you in awe. Equipped with a good detailled map, a trustworthy guidebook, good shoes, enough water but not in the least in good company, it is a challenge and a particular experience to walk through the mediterranean macchia, along paths and dusty roads, to explore this island in all it's natural beauty.

There are many possibilities for a walk, to follow tracks or to participate in organized excursions. Guidebooks are predominantly in Italian, some can however also be found in english or in other languages. Often local tourist offices provide information on the possibilities to follow marked tracks. There are also enough guides on the flora and fauna of southern-Europe or even Sardinia and Corsica. On this page you will find only a few suggestions for a walk or excursion. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to post it in the guestbook or on the forum.

Walking on the Monte Arci in central west Sardinia

In central west Sardinia lies the mountain the Monte Arci, an old volcano that is covered with woods. It is a very pleasant walking area, not only because it provides shadow in the heat of the summer but also because the temperature is always a few degrees lower than the underlying plains and coasts. The Monte Arci was already known in prehistoric times for it's marvellous black obsidian which was used to carve arrowheads and cutting utensils. Two conic peaks that can be seen on top of the mountain, called the Trebina Longa and the Trebina Lada, remind us of the former volcanic activity. The vegetation is characterised by oakwoods, including the corkoak, the typical mediterranean macchia and the pastures. The macchia consists of rockrose, mastic, true myrtle and the phyllyrea (family of the wilde olive) and in some areas also the strawberry tree (corbezzolo). The fauna has been reduced in the last centuries due to human activity to the mere presence of the wild boar, the fox, rabbits, the marter and a kind of wild cat, felis lybica sarda. The deer and the mouflon are no longer present on the Monte Arci. The variety of birds is much larger and the Sardinian hawk and falcon can still be spotted regularly. Poisonous snakes are not know in Sardinia, the Natrix viperina is a watersnake that looks like a viper but is not poisonous and this snake can be found also in North-Africa.

The eastside of the mountain has the most possibilities for walking, starting in Villaurbana, Pau, Morgongiori or Usellus, and tracks are in general marked. Descriptions can be found in the small book Itinerari nel Monte Arci. There are also very detailled maps of the area, scale 1:25.000 of the Istituto Geografico Militare Italiana. However it is advisable to keep to the paths and tracks. In Pau you will also find a nice museum of obsidian, prehistoric and modern artifacts.

Museo dell'Ossidiana Pau (Museum of obsidian), free entrance. There are also excursions to obsidian findspots.
Accommodations available at Camping Sennixeddu at Pau

Maps and guides:

Scanu, A. 2001: Itinerari nel Monte Arci, Sassari, from the series Guide e itinerari ambientali della Sardegna.
Maps: Carta Topografica d'Italia, 1:25000
Nr. 529, sezione III, Villaurbana
Nr.529, sezione II, Usellus
Nr. 539, sezione IV, Ales
Nr. 538, sezione I, Terralba

The Giara of Gesturi

To the southeast of the Monte Arci there are a few highland plateau's that have a special cultural historical and natural historical value; the Giara of Siddi, the much wider Giara of Gesturi and the small Giara of Serri with the prehistoric sanctuary. The Giara of Gesturi is famous because of the presence of the wild horses that live on this highland, the so-called cavallino della Giara. The highland is characterised by the mediterranean macchia, wooded lands and the ponds (pauli) with pastures, an ideal habitat for the horses. The specific flora is also characterised by the presence of wild orchids.

The Giara of Gesturi can be reached by car from Setzu or from Gesturi. Access is however limited as it is a natural park. There are organized excursions and tracks you can walk.

See also the page on the natural environment of west Sardinia with the film on the Giara
The site of the Parco della Giara (italian) with suggestions for walks and excursions

Guides and maps

Demartis, G.M. e V. Mossa, 1991: La Giara, Sassari, from the series Guide e itinerari ambientali della Sardegna.
Maps: Carta Topografica d'Italia, 1:25000
Nr. 539, sezione I, Tuili (covers for 95% the Giara)
Nr. 540, sezione IV, Isili (eastside of the Giara)

Walking in the Iglesiente near Fluminimaggiore

The region around Fluminimaggiore in the mountains of the Iglesiente is called the Fluminese. The cooperation Start-uno manages the site of the temple of Antas, the ethnografic museum in Fluminimaggiore and the walking routes of the area. They also organize guided excursions in this area that is rich in old mines, caves, oakwoods, mountainpeaks and the coast near Buggerru. The walking tracks that start at the temple of Antas lead to the caves of Su Mannau, along parts of a roman road and through the green valley with the dried up mountainriver for most of the year, the the rio Antas.

See also the page on the natural envrionment in Southwest Sardinia
Cooperativa Start-uno organizes walks and excursions in the region around Fluminimaggiore

Guides and Maps:

Scrugli, A. 1992: Il Fluminese, Sassari, from the series Guide e itinerari ambientali della Sardegna.
Maps: Carta Topografica d'Italia, 1:25000
Nr. 546, sezione II, Gonnosfanadiga
Nr. 546, sezione III, Capo Pecora
Nr. 555, sezione I, Iglesias
Nr. 555, sezione IV, Buggerru

Excursions to the cave of Tiscali

The cave of Tiscali is worldfamous and is located near the Supramonte on the eastside of Sardinia. This immense cave, of which the ceiling had collapsed in geologically remote times and where trees and plants grow on the inside, has been for centuries a refuge for Sards. There are remains of a prehistoric village and it was frequented by shepherds until recently. The cave can only be reached by foot. Excursions to the cave of Tiscali with expert guides depart from for example Dorgali.

Excursions are organized by:
Cooperation Ghivine
Gennargentu snc

Bibliography

1. Casu, T - G. Lai - G.L. Pinna 1989: Guida alla Flora e alla Fauna della Sardegna, Nuoro
2. Colomo, S 2003: Guida pratica alla Flora e alla Fauna della Sardegna, Nuoro

Last updated 15/03/2014

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