Rough seas and windswept sands

Onwards with our tour of the Costa Smeralda coastline and this time we’re treated to the sea at its windswept best.

The water has transformed into a boiling, seething mass of navy fury topped with foamy white horses at Cala Liccia.

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To get to this empty, wind whipped shingle beach we have to do a far bit of scrambling down rocky paths.

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The beaches in Sardinia are not always accessible but that makes it even more rewarding when you finally arrive on them!

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The navy water contrasts nicely with the weathered orange tones of the weather beaten rocks.

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Onwards in the car until we spot another picturesque spot. The beach at Punta Capaccia.

Naturally I can’t help but be drawn towards the water like a magnet to metal so we end up picking our way down to the sands.

it’s rather blustery now so the effect is slightly less glamorous Italian retreat and more good old Blighty beach!

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Next on our beach day blitz are the stunning beaches of Spiaggia Del Romazzino,  Spiaggia del Principe and Spiaggia Capriccioli.

This island just keeps getting better and better!

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Costa S’meralda

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We’ve settled into our little hotel – the gorgeous Dolce Vita close to the celeb’s hangout of Porto Cervo.

Now we are all set to explore the stunning beaches of the Costa Smeralda, one of the highlights of this gem of an island.

Costa Smeralda is around 20km of jaw droppingly stunning beaches and coastline to the North East of Sardinia.

The main towns and villages in the area are Porto Cervo, Liscia di Vacca, Capriccioli, and Romazzino.

Our first beach on the coastal sight seeing itinerary is the empty stretch of glorious white sand at Spiaggia De Grande Pervero.

The early morning means we get the sands all to ourselves and it is truly beautiful.

There’s also the smaller Piccolo Pervero that makes up a duo of delightful beaches.

Cracking Castlesardo

The enchanting town of Castlesardo clings to the wind battered hillside above a pretty little beach.

 

With its pastel coloured houses, winding up the hillside it makes another pretty sight.

At the very top is the pretty old town, fortified with a castle, which makes for an interesting and atmospheric trip.

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As the wind has really picked up we get a very different view of the Mediterranean sea, choppy, roaring, royal blue and wave filled.

Even though it’s a wickedly windy day we are still treated to bright sunshine hitting the colourful walls and get tantalising glimpses of the sea between buildings.

In the lower, newer part of the town, the man spots a rather sinister sign showing some of the traditional elements of the area.

Sardinia is famous for its knife making apparently – but not sure about the creepy masks!

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As we head higher up and towards the old town and castle we have a perfect view back down to the ferocious sea.

Onward and upwards, we’re being buffeted by incredible strong winds now!

It’s worth persevering though as the old town is a labyrinth of alleyways and a wealth of lovely details and colours.

Below you can see a rather unusual piece of decoration in the little Santa Maria delle Grazie church. It’s an arm protruding from the wall that makes for an unusual candle-holder.

A traditional style shop sells a variety of local handicrafts including small rugs and pottery.

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However our attention is soon turned to a tiny gelateria with a host of unusual flavours including cheesecake (I can highly recommend this one!)

There is also an odd carrot and orange one! I am not too sure about that one . .

We’ve wandered our way right up to the very top of the hillside now, close to the fortified castle and there are some stunning views to be hand over the town and bay.

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Reluctantly we’ve got to head back down now but not before I grab a few more snaps of colourful fishing nets and rainbow walls.

The man braves the bracing wind so I can capture the rough and wild sea. Still beautiful.

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Nearing the bottom of the hill I am entranced by a set of delightfully coloured houses, all candy coloured and sweet enough to eat.

This pretty pastel building and bike reminds me of 1950s America or a Wes Anderson film set!

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Abandoned Argentiera

A completely different Sardinian trip this time is to Argentiera. Full of ghostly derelict mining buildings and empty, staring windows.

This eerie place is a former mining town and its name comes from the Italian argento -silver. It feels like a former gold rush town in the Mid West.

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Silver has been mined here since the ancient era including during the Roman era. It was reopened in the 19th century by a Belgian company but was finally closed in 1963.

Argentiera mine is one of the most important example of industrial archaeology in Sardinia, it’s even UNESCO protected.

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If you continue beyond the empty, windowless buildings of the mine you’ll find an attractive little bay.

The silvery shingle beach is lapped, as always, by a constantly changing seascape.

A kaleidoscope of colours shifts through the crystal clear waters and washes over rocky outcrops.

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A lovely little pit stop and worth half a hour to soak up the odd, empty atmosphere.

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Lonely Church

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Sometimes you stumble across something amazing, literally in the middle of nowhere and that is the case with the lovely Santissima Trinità di Saccargia.

On-route from Alghero we spot this stripey marvel from the main road and can’t help but pull over for a closer look.

The church is the most important Romanesque site in the island and makes for an arresting sight sat all alone.

The striking stripey construction is entirely in local stone – black basalt and white limestone, with a typical Tuscan Romanesque style.

The church was finished in 1116 over the ruins of a pre-existing monastery, and consecrated on October 5 of the same year.

Simply stunning

There’s no other words to describe our next Sardinian hot spot – simply stunning just about covers it.

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La Pelosa beach (Spiaggia della Pelosa) with its warm shallow turquoise waters and glittering white sands, is a true oasis of wonder.

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It could easily stand as possibly the best beach I have ever been to, it’s that incredible.

The beach is 300 meters long – and up to 60 meters wide in some spots and is overlooked by an ancient sixteenth century watchtower.

There are two main inlets, each with its own small harbour: The old port is Minori (small) and the new port is Mannu (big)

These unreal azure waters and pristine sands are like a little taste of the Caribbean but just under three hours from the UK!

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The imposing stone tower, the Torre della Pelosa,  used to be part of Sardinia’s marine defense system but now just serves as yet more stunning scenery.

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With it’s shallow waters barely coming up to waist height, this beach is a magnet for families and tourists alike.

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As it’s October we are lucky enough to get the benefit of relatively warm weather but the bonus of sparse crowds. I would imagine in the height of summer this place is thronged.

I could wax lyrical for every and a day about the crystal clear waters with gentle ripples revealing the pure white sands beneath.

The sea, the glorious sea! In places turquoise, in others azure, teal and cadet blue.

 

Soft fine sand swirls beneath our feet as we wade through the shallow waters of the bay.

In short, as close to beach paradise as you’ll likely to come in Europe. No wonder the man is jumping for sheer joy!

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We’ll do our best not to look too smug, but hey! Who can help it when the view is this good!

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If you’re heading to Sardinia then you’d be very foolish not to check out this slice of paradise. But try out of season to avoid the heaving masses!!

Stunning sands

Sardinia is a beach lovers paradise with mile after mile of stunning sands and seas.

The North West coast up from Alghero is no exception so come with us as we explore some of the frankly amazing coastlines on this gem of an island.

Driving out of Alghero the first beach we stop off at is the magical Spiaggia Maria Pia.

Climbing up from the road through sand dunes in a lush, fragrant forest you can hear birds chirping and inhale the scent of pine before the beach opens up before you.

This shimmering white sand beach is around 1200 meters long with excellent views of Fertilia, Alghero bay and the tiny Isola della Maddalenetta.

After having a quick paddle we head back into the car to travel further up the road past Fertilia to another little beach – Spiaggia Bombarde.

This beach has a bar and restaurant and it’s here we sit to watch the sun begin to sink.

I love the sunlight of this time of day as it drenches everything in golden syrup light.

Then it’s back in the little pap pap and back to enjoy another sundowner on the glorious Alghero harbour walls.

Assorted Alghero

Here’s a few final (yellow) snaps of Neptune’s grotto – the photos really don’t do it justice as it’s a fascinating underground fairy tale of a place.

If you’ve got a spare couple of hours it is well worth exploring, it’s truly magical.

Then it’s back on the boat and heading to Alghero again which is looking spectacular in the October sunshine.

As we wander through the meandering alleys and grand squares of this beautiful Medieval town we spot lots more cycling themed decorations dotted around.

Then enjoy soaking up a few rays on the harbour walls and enjoying the gorgeous azure waters beneath.

Neptune’s Grotto

Join us as we descend into the underworld now with a trip to the natural wonder that is Neptune’s grotto.

Heading to the protected marine area of Capo Caccia we’re surrounded by incredible cliffs and rock formations, one of which conceals the incredible cave we’re destined for.

We took the easy route via boat and docked in the slippery cavern but you can come via foot down a vertiginous set of 654 steps!

The incredible stalactite cave was discovered by local fishermen in the 18th century and is a mammoth space full of weird and wonderful formations.

The dim lighting adds to the unearthly feeling as tortured rock formations look like alien bones straight out of a Ridley Scott film.

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The incredible limestone formations date back around two million years ago

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Apologies for the slightly naff photos – they are all on my phone! Will try and find some decent ones to post.

Setting sail

Next up on our Sardinian odyssey is heading to the open seas to check out a natural wonder – Neptune’s Grotto.

As we head to the marina I’m distracted by colourful doors and prancing horses while the man is more excited by vast vending machines full of caffeine!

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I am also rather too excited by this Willy Wonka style sweet shop complete with psychedelic mushrooms and candy cane trees.

The historic centre with its honey stone is decorated with cycling based items that are a hangover from the 2017 Giro d’Italia which started in Sardinia .

Finally we arrive at the busy marina and board our vesssel, ready to head for the open sea.

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We love boats and try to hop on board at least one each holiday. Even better if the sun lets the pro tanner get his body out!

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The rugged coastline has some pretty impressive monolithic cliff faces and rock formations to enjoy on-route to the cavern.

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Take a trip with us into the heart of a cavernous wonderland next as we descend into Neptune’s grotto!