East Coast, Best Coast – Cala Gonone

Days after arriving back in Sardegna, I got a message from Kristina asking if I wanted to go for a day trip to Cala Gonone, a quaint little town on the eastern coast. When traveling Italy, access to a car can be EVERYTHING and Kristina gracefully agreed to drive us there. After hours of winding through rural Sardegna and a few GPS mishaps (oops), we came to this insane stretch of road that snaked down this mountain into Cala Gonone. The breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea from this distance were enough to signal that this trip was going to be one to remember!

We arrived at our B&B around 3ish and the day was warm and humid. Flocks of people were sunbathing, the bars were full and even during the midday rest, the town was still alive. The sea welcomed us with a gorgeous breeze. The view was STUNNING. I mean, imagine waking up to this every day…

That night, Kristina and I walked down the lungomare (literally “long sea” but think more boardwalk, or long path along the beach.) We passed tons of restaurants, stopped for gelato and then headed towards Palmasera Beach. Around this time, the sun was starting to set and this beach was shaded by a huge cliff face. The water refreshed us after a long day of travel. As we sat in the pebbly sand, we began scheming for tomorrow’s adventure. We decided to hop on a gommone, a rubber dinghy, and tour the beach along the Gulf of Orosei. At about 50 euros a person, this experience is one that I wouldn’t miss. After the beach, we stopped to grab lunch ingredients for tomorrow, and then we headed back up to the B&B for an aperitivo with a panoramic view. Around 9PM we went out for local dinner and found a restaurant sitting right on the beach. We enjoyed culurgiones and spaghetti alle vongole con bottarga, both Sardinian specialties.

A light aperitivo of insalata caprese, melanzane e vino with a view!
Culurgiones – pasta stuffed with potato, cheese and mint – a Sardinian delicacy
Buona notte, Cala Gonone!

The next morning, we woke up and went down to grab a quick breakfast before our gommone trip. The trip would begin around 10:30 and end around 5PM normally. Kristina and I wanted to make it back a bit earlier so I could get back to Cagliari later that night and the thing about Sardinians that I will always love is how hospitable they are. They assured us that they would drive us back from our last stop early, which essentially meant that Kristina and I would get the boat to ourselves for the last leg!

We walked into the port ready for the day’s adventure, coffee and cornetti in hand. Our gommone driver was a Sardinian local with amazing comedic timing. A few minutes into the ride we quickly realized that everyone on our boat was Italian and our driver was speaking to a few riders in Sardo, which Kristina also speaks. As we rode along the coast, we passed the most insane rock cliffs, formations and beaches. There were lots of caves and grottos caved into the rock side which our gommone driver was able to navigate us into some of these little spaces. Inside one of the caves, the water was neon blue. I swear I had never seen more blue water in my life.

Absolutely perfect weather as we drove past the first beach along the gulf, Cala Luna.

Our first official stop was at the Piscine di Venere (Pools of Venus) and only three of us on our boat of 13, decided to jump in. Again, I had never seen water like this before. Crystalline and perfectly refreshing, I felt like I was in a dream. This water was perfect in every sense of the word. After about 10 minutes, our group decided to head to the next beach. Along the way, we passed many micro beaches that you could only reach by foot. The boats were not allowed to drive into the beaches as they were protected by the Sardinian government. However, the beaches that we did stop at were absolutely stunning in their own rights. All of these beaches were undisturbed and quiet. My favorite was Cala Goloritze which had a natural stone arch and turquoise blue water. I cracked open an Ichnusa cruda (Ichnusa is the most famous beer on the island and is quite popular on the mainland) on this beach and felt like a true Sardinian. The sun was scorching at this point in the day, but a quick dip in the water solved any and all problems.

Sardinia’s eastern coast
The one and only beer of Sardinia – Ichnusa
Next time I visit, I will rent out a private boat! There were many of these smaller gommone’s available for day rentals.
Kristina and I after spending 5 hours in the beautiful Mediterranean sun! Bring a hat and don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly!

As 3PM neared, we hopped back on the boat and headed back to Cala Gonone. After dropping off the group at Cala Luna, Kristina and I reveled in the glory of this place as our driver blasted music on the boat. This coast is undisturbed and the cliffs are lined with greenery. I think this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been! And to top it all off, I got to spend it with an incredible friend. What more could I have asked for? Sardegna is the gem of Italy and I will stand by this statement. When you think of the islands, people immediately think of Sicilia and Palermo, but Sardegna has so much to offer and it houses every imaginable climate and terrain you could immagine. This is what makes Sardegna so special and if you get the chance to visit, Cala Gonone should be at the top of your list to see. Thanks again to Kristina for being a wonderful travel companion and incredible friend! Alla prossima volta, Cala Gonone!

Leaving Cala Gonone

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