(Deutsch) Ausflüge in Sardiniens Norden

Christina/ May 16, 2024/ The daily grind, Culture

Although it’s still low season and public transportation is infrequent, we were able to go on some beautiful excursions. The north of Sardinia has a lot to offer in this regard. Right on the first day of our delayed arrival (https://www.unionesarda.it/de/sardinien/enav-flugzeug-von-landebahn-abgekommen-ermittlungen-eingeleitet-schwere-verspatungen-und-fluge-an-die-costa-smeralda-umgeleitet-tgh40g27), we visit the tourist information. My dream of a trip to Alghero bursts like a bubble. The distance is over 200 km, and the bus connection is too poor. Without staying overnight, it’s not feasible.
Luckily, there are other attractive destinations. The first nearby destination is Capo Testa. There are two alternatives to reach the attraction. Either by bus from Santa Terese di Gallura or on foot through the Punta Contessa forest area. Since we miss the bus at the stop – the stop is easy to overlook – we eventually walk. The ladies at the tourist information told us the path is quite easy.

Hiking to Capo Testa
Just past Santa Teresa, we turn right into the hiking area. Initially, it’s still a wide path. Since there are no signs here, we simply follow the view of the Capo Testa lighthouse. Eventually, the path becomes a narrow trail, but still quite visible. The path is often crossed by tortoises. Occasionally, a lizard appears. We delve deeper into the dense macchia, which feels like an expedition. Needless to say, we are the only hikers around for miles.

But as long as we’re heading in the right direction, I’m not worried. However, over time, the difficulty of the path also increases. Sure-footedness wouldn’t hurt. After some time, we end up on a “rock path” right by the sea. Eventually, we hike over the “Cappeddu cliff” and then return to the “nature trail” of the Punta Contessa forest area. The entire path offers a magnificent panorama of the Strait of Bonifacio and the Cape Testa peninsula. We can already see the bridge to the Peninsula from afar. After about 2.5 hours, we’re back on Via Capo Testa. But there’s still a long way to go to Grotta del faro.

In the labyrinth of granite rocks
At first, we follow a signpost, which soon literally disappears into the sand. Again, we find ourselves stuck in prickly macchia. The path to the lighthouse seems so close, but the path down isn’t visible. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones in this situation. So we let two hikers from the region go ahead. Then we follow their tracks and eventually reach the white granite rocks. The formations sometimes look like eagles, sometimes like frogs, and sometimes like elephants. It’s really fun to walk between the rocky coves, but it’s also quite exhausting as it’s often steep uphill. Eventually, we’re so thirsty that we settle down at “Paninoteca Groove on the Rocks” with good music and a cool Radler.

The way back to Santa Teresa is much shorter. We had considered taking the bus. But since we don’t want to wait half an hour in the blazing sun for it, we start walking. Along the road, we discover the Percorso natura, which passes by Lu Brandali, an archaeological excavation. That was a really good start to the second day of our vacation. In the evening, we take a stroll around Porto di Santa Teresa Gallura. Here, I notice a sign for Porto Quadro and think that could be a destination for the next day.

Stranded at the dog beach
I found a hiking recommendation on my phone. It’s supposed to lead from the dog beach at Porto Quadro to Punto Falcone. The return is through the town of Marazzino. That’s the theory. We find the Porto Quadro, or rather the holiday resort. However, there’s no harbor in sight, as the name might suggest. Since there’s also no place to eat here, we set out to find the dog beach. We find it too. Unfortunately, we’re less lucky with the path to Punto Falcone. We end up back in the dense macchia and somehow don’t feel like having scratched legs. So we head back to the road. Due to the heat, our tongues are practically hanging out. A drink stop would be ideal now. Like a mirage, the Punta Falcone Resort appears before us.
We head straight for the terrace and want to order two Radlers. The waiter asks us for our room number. We don’t have one. For a moment, it looks like we might be turned away. After learning that we’re on foot, the supervisor gives us the all-clear. If we pay cash, we can order something. That’s our salvation! After our spirits are restored, we return to the beach. Maybe we’ll find the way to Punto Falcone after all. But even the locals have no idea, so we decide to end our hike there. Nevertheless, it was an experience.

Bonifacio: The Rügen of Corsica
The next day, we set off on a big adventure. With the ferry, it’s a 50-minute journey from the harbor to Bonifacio. The distance between Sardinia and Corsica at this point is only 12 kilometers. We book the round trip with Ichnusa Lines for 58 euros. The approach to the port of Bonifacio is spectacular. The city perches on chalk cliffs high above the sea. It reminds me of Rügen. The lady at the tourist information had somewhat discouraged us from the trip because the way from the harbor to the old town is so steep. I doubted this statement from the beginning, and now, as we stand at the harbor, I feel vindicated in my opinion.

The King of Aragon’s Staircase
We easily reach the old town and almost stumble into the tourist information. Armed with a city map, we plunge into adventure. Since today is market day, we take a look around first. I love Southern European markets. The stands are often lovingly arranged and offer great delicacies. We linger at a schnapps seller and stock up on souvenirs.

We take a look at the city map and realize that the lady at the tourist office gave us a Dutch version. We’re interested in the King of Aragon’s Staircase and find that we’re already quite close. For the descent of 187 steps, we pay 5.00 euros, including a construction helmet. On the staircase, we encounter people with flushed faces and heavy breathing. It quickly becomes clear that it’s really steep here. The purpose of the helmets becomes apparent: the steep rock walls are very low. Taller people could easily bump their heads here. However, the experience justifies all efforts. The steep descent and the narrow rock passage are really an adventure. However, I wouldn’t want to experience this sight in summer when it’s high season!

Since we’re only in Bonifacio for one day, we skip the fortress visit. We’ve walked along the city walls, and the bastion doesn’t offer better views. Instead, we stroll to the end of the old town and take a look at the marine cemetery. The layout of the cemetery is impressive. It’s interesting that most of the graves are family graves and accommodate up to 12 people.

We descend two floors and focus on the harbor area. Life is bustling here. I’m amazed at how beautiful the marina is. Here, bars and restaurants line up next to each other. The selection is vast, and the view of the harbor and the old town is amazing. We take advantage of our break to plan the next, and probably the last, activity of the day. We want to walk the Campu Rumanilu Trail (German: Rosemary Trail) along the sea and maybe even continue to the lighthouse.
The hiking trail is spectacular. We walk along the cliffs of Bonifacio with the old town behind us. The further we follow the cobblestone path (good footwear is helpful), the more magnificent the views become – both ahead of us and behind us. At 80 meters above sea level, we seem to float above the sea. Beneath our feet, the bright cobblestones, in front of us the turquoise sea, and above us the azure sky. It couldn’t be better. Especially in the warm afternoon light, the atmosphere is incredible, and I want to anchor this image deep within me so that I can recall this wonderful moment anytime.
But, of course, the ferry doesn’t wait for us. So we slowly – with heavy hearts – start the journey back. We also enjoy the fantastic view of the city on the chalk cliffs high above the sea once again. And when the sun slowly sets into the ocean, happiness is perfect!

Another highlight awaits us the next day: Castelsardo. We take the afternoon bus from Santa Teresa and drive along the coast towards the Gulf of Arsinara. Since we don’t have an electronic bus ticket, the driver writes us a ticket. Just before our destination, the bus suddenly stops at a cafeteria. The bus driver mutters something to himself, which I don’t understand. Maren says he’s going to smoke a cigarette here. I’m confused and think it’s a joke. But it’s actually serious. After a few minutes, we continue. In Castelsardo, we go straight to the tourist information. The somewhat grumpy employee provides us with a city map.

Chilling at the Vento Lounge Bar
We cross Via Nazionale and climb the old town. The closer we get to the fortress, the more magnificent the views become. I’m absolutely fascinated. Castelsardo is my favorite on this trip. At the castle, we immerse ourselves in the old town. The maze of alleys is fascinating. The good signage helps. When we reach Piazza del Duomo with a view of the campanile, a “Wow” escapes us. Both the square itself and the view of the sea are breathtaking. Luckily, there’s a great bar right there, which happens to have a happy hour for Aperol Spritz. Some wishes do come true. We grab a seat right by the sea railing. It couldn’t be better. With Aperol Spritz and snacks, we watch the sunset. An absolute dream! Occasionally, the bell tower rings, and beautiful choir voices can be heard from the cathedral. What an ambiance.

When we leave the square via the cathedral, visitors come towards us. Two elderly ladies draw our attention to the fact that there are free drinks and food today. It’s a shame we’re done with that topic. Around 9:00 pm, we want to take the bus back to Santa Teresa. With a 20-minute delay, the bus finally arrives. However, the delay is more than made up for on the return journey. We’re back home just before 11:00 pm.

La Maddalena
The days passed quickly, and soon the vacation was almost over. We want to spend the last hours on “La Maddalena,” an archipelago off Sardinia. The lady at the tourist information had strongly recommended this trip to us. So our expectations for today are quite high. First, we want to take the bus from Santa Teresa to Palau. From there, the ferry crosses to La Maddalena, the island’s capital. When we arrive at the bus station, we meet our bus drivers from yesterday, who greet us friendly and jokingly ask what we’re doing here again.

Bus ride included
Several bus drivers are standing in front of the coach and chatting. When one of them notices that Maren wants to pay with a 50 euro note, they start gesticulating wildly. They suggest she change the bill in the nearby cafeteria. So we scrape together our change so that we can at least pay the outbound journey in small change. However, when we try to do this on the bus, the driver tells us to sit down first. We’re confused but follow the instruction. When we arrive in Palau, nobody still wants money from us. It’s the same on the way back. Well, then we rode “all inclusive” this time.

In Palau, we get off directly at the ferry terminal. Since the ferries cross to La Maddalena every 30 minutes, there’s no rush. Luckily, we catch the next ferry immediately. For 10.80 euros, we go there and back. Fifteen minutes later, we’ve reached the island. As always, I enjoy the ferry ride. I like slowly approaching the opposite shore. The landing spot for the ship is very central, so three minutes later, we’re already in the pedestrian zone.

The bridge to Caprera
It quickly becomes clear that the town is very manageable and not really suitable for a whole day. We’d like to walk across the connecting bridge to the neighboring island of Caprera. We could also take a bus tour on the Strada Panoramica around the island. But with such beautiful weather, we don’t feel like sitting on a bus. We try to find the tourist information, which isn’t so easy. It’s quite hidden in an alley. Fortunately, they haven’t closed for lunch yet when we arrive. We ask about a footpath to the neighboring island. The lady tells us that it’s quite far and would take us at least 1.5 hours one way. That’s no problem; we have time. Due to the lack of signs, it’s not easy to find the entrance to the hiking trail. Finally, we ask locals and get the information we need. The lady also recommends walking along the water; that’s the most beautiful way. We set off in good spirits, only to realize that almost everything outside the city center is a military restricted area. Well, that’s disappointing. We end up in a Trabant settlement called “La Moneta.” Unfortunately, there’s no money to be seen for miles, only concrete.

Hitchhiking back
The sight of the bridge connecting La Maddalena and Caprera is anything but pleasing. We’re quite disillusioned. Since we don’t feel like continuing along the dusty path in the heat, we want to turn back. However, I don’t feel like walking back the same way. So what to do? Hm, the next bus wouldn’t come for an hour. So it’s thumbs out and hope someone stops. The first cars drive past us without stopping. But then a small Italian car pulls up next to us. The passenger door opens, and we breathe a sigh of relief. The nice gentleman, who works at the nearby Garibaldi museum, gives us a ride back to town. He’s originally from Cagliari and works on La Maddalena half-yearly. In winter, he tells us, it’s pretty uncomfortable here: “It i seither rainy or windy or even both. And the humidity is high.” Yes, that doesn’t sound inviting.

We’re extremely grateful for the ride. Back in the city center, we walk to the other end of the archipelago. The lady from the tourist information had told us that there’s still a beautiful beach there. To be honest, there’s really nothing there anymore. So we turn back fairly quickly and spend the remaining time in a café with a cool drink. We amuse ourselves with a few pigeons fighting each other for a few crumbs of chips. In the late afternoon, we take the ferry back to Palau and then the bus back to Santa Teresa. That concludes our last excursion in Sardinia. Now it’s time to say goodbye.

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