After finishing our hike to Tiscali on a crazy high we knew we wanted to explore more of Sardinia by foot and our next stop was Gola Su Gorropu, aptly referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Europe.” It most certainly lived up to the name and I seriously had no idea that Sardinia was hiding such wonders!
Despite starting at the same place as the hike to Tiscali, this walk couldn’t have been more different and for me that sums up the hiking in Sardinia- you could spend days exploring and never get bored of the scenery.
There are two main trailheads leading to Gola Su Gorropu, one which I already mentioned leads to Tiscali too. Given we knew where this trailhead was we started there despite it being quoted as the slightly less scenic approach. As usual, when we arrived there wasn’t any clear sign posting of where to park and we noticed cars parked randomly along the road leading to the trailhead. We had no idea how far the start was so decided to keep going until it was obvious. We were soon faced by the steepest dirt track I’ve ever seen at which point we should have probably retreated. Instead of admitting defeat, however, our poor hire car battled it’s way up the road, burning the clutch in the process and making a lot of noise. I had to get out the car halfway up the hill to reduce the load! When we miraculously got to the top the park ranger politely told us that cars like ours were ruining the track and you should only go up this road in a 4 x 4. I’ll remember that for next time 🙂
Anyhow, when we finally got started we initially walked beside the beautiful Rio Flumineddu and then entered a shaded woodland area. The path was wide, well kept and easy to walk on. En route there were a few springs you could drink from so I made sure to fill up my Camelback to keep us going.
We paid €5 each at the entrance and the guide explained the route to us. Essentially it was one route divided in to green, yellow and red sections. The rocks had spots painted on them to let you know which part of the route you were on. The green section was suitable for anyone, the yellow for experienced hikers and the red was not recommended unless you were with an experienced guide.
He advised us not to shout as the echo may scare the mountain goats and buffalo and cause an avalanche! Exactly what you want to hear before entering!
As soon as I started the walk into the canyon I couldn’t help but think that the green section was most definitely not suitable for everyone! There was a lot of scrambling and climbing involved and I admit I found it quite tough! We soon reached the yellow section but I admitted defeat when I found myself stuck on the side a rock with not enough strength to pull myself up but too scared to go down again!
The canyon itself is incredible and you feel truly insignificant when flanked by 400m high limestone rocks reflecting the orange and yellow tones of the sun. We tried (and failed) to take photos which capture it, but I think this is definitely one for the memory!
After we excited the canyon we found a spot for lunch overlooking the valley and once again couldn’t believe how beautiful the scenery was! We reluctantly headed back to the car, hoping that one day we may return to Gola Su Gorropu!
- Close to Cala Gonone in the Golfo D’Orosei on the east coast of Sardinia
- There are two main routes, one from the car park opposite Hotel Silana at the Genna ‘e Silana pass on the SS125 at kilometew 183. For the second trail head take the SS125 heading south from Dorgali. Between 200-201 km there is a sign to Hotel Ristorante Sant’Elena on the right. It’s not actually singposted to Tiscali or Gola Su Gorropu but this is the road you want, after a while the sign posts kick in to reassure you you’re on the right road.
- The hike will take around 4-5 hours taking into account lots of photo opportunities and lunch!
- It costs €5 to enter and a guide will explain the route to you.
- There are a couple of springs en route- one outside the Canyon itself so don’t worry about running out on a hot day
- You’ll need sturdy walking shoes or trainers and need to be happy with a little scrambling!
HAVE YOU BEEN TO SARDINIA?
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO HIKE?