Fresh from two weeks in Sardinia, my head’s buzzing with memories or soaring heights, deep canyons and huge rock formations jutting out of crystal blue waters. Sardinia, my friends, is a hiker’s paradise and I’m officially hooked! The hiking really is breathtaking (literally and metaphorically) and I was astounded at just how diverse the terrain seemed to be on one unassuming island in the Med. I’m already pining to get back on their trails but for now I’ll have to be content with sharing my experiences here on the blog!
First up was our hike to the archaeological site of Tiscali, a Bronze Age village hidden in a mountain top cave. With a strenuous 2.5 hour hike scrambling precariously close to cliff edges, it’s not surprising this village was only discovered a hundred years ago! The thought of people living in this isolated cave 1000 years BC completely blew my mind and I’m not even a history buff…
The first thing to mention about this hike is the incredible drive to get to the trail. Although initially hard to locate the 10km road leading to the trail head (see directions at the end of the post) the drive along the winding road taking you deeper into the valley, is in my opinion one of the most scenic drives in Sardinia. Imagine rolling vineyards soaked in soft sunlight surrounded by the limestone Supramonte moutains. It was incredible and we had numerous photo stops to try and capture it but as usual they don’t quite do it justice!
To our surprise when we reached the car park it was empty. We soon realised that this is typical of Sardinia (or at least when we were there.) You seemingly have these amazing trails to yourself, only passing a few other people in the hours you’re out there. We felt like we were actually discovery Tiscali ourselves!
The start of the trail is pretty hard going- a 20 minute steep ascent climbing and scrambling over boulders. I was quite surprised to be honest because nothing I’d read about the walk said is was particularly hard but it definitely required a good level of fitness and suitable footwear to tackle it safely.
After the ascent you reach a woodland trail which leads you through a valley in the mountains. It was beautifully quiet and relaxing and thankfully gave us some shelter from the sun!
Once you’re through the valley you start another challenging ascent. Although there is a well marked path along most of the route, there were definitely areas where the path was less clear and you were scrambling dauntingly close to edge of the mountain! Again, I couldn’t help thinking that there wasn’t much information on the difficulty of the walk and worried about people finding themselves feeling vulnerable on the mountainside. Anyhow, we managed to safely scramble to the top where we were greeted by this view. (Please note, Cristiano almost pulled us both off a cliff trying to take this photo on timer. I think my heart rate has only just returned to normal…)
When we entered Tiscali we paid 5 euros each to the guide who then gave us some information and allowed us to walk around the site. I think he must sleep in a hut up there during the week which seemed a little creepy!
The site itself is really just a skeleton but with a little imagination you can imagine what it looked like all those years ago. We spent about half an hour walking around, pointing things out to each other and speculating on what life would have been like for them.
And then it was time to head back down. We set ourselves a challenge to get down in an hour (not that we’re competitive) and just about made it! We couldn’t help but take off our walking shoes and have a paddle in the beautiful river at the base of the valley. This hike really did have it all!
To top it off, we stopped in a vineyard on our way home to buy a bottle of wine to have back at the hotel and ended up in a wine tasting session. I hope they’re used to grubby hikers.
- Close to Cala Gonone in the Golfo D’Orosei on the east coast of Sardinia
- 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 but this is the road you want, after a while the sign posts kick in to reassure you you’re on the right road. We found the signposting in Sardinia is generally diabolical!
- The hike will take around 4-5 hours including a tour of Tiscali which costs five euros to enter.
- There is no water en route so take a good supply with you. I had a 2L camelback which was just about enough for the two of us.
- You’ll need sturdy walking shoes or trainers
- You’ll need a decent level of fitness and be happy with scrambling rocks and heights.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO HIKE? I NEED INSPIRATION!