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Cala Gonone

The town

Cala Gonone paeseCala Gonone, Cala Gonone, is a tourism area of Dorgali midway along the Gulf of Orosei and just 4 kilometres from S’Abba Frisca. It’s an ideal destination for anyone who wants to visit the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean and explore the hinterland’s particularly interesting archaeological sites and natural attractions. Mountains and holm oak forests encircle Cala Gonone to form a very beautiful natural amphitheatre where the Supramonte (highland) meets the sea. It’s been a famous beachside location since the early 20th century, and it can be reached by taking the road over the Irghirai Pass or by going to Dorgali and then through the tunnel under Mount Bardia.

The gulf and the beaches

The tourist port makes Cala Gonone an ideal departure point for cruises along the Gulf of Orosei, with services offered by the local transport and hiring consortiums. The renowned Bue Marino caves can be reached by boat and they open up into the longest cavern system in Italy, where Mediterranean monk seals lived until the 1980s. Going in the same direction by boat, you can visit the very beautiful beaches at Cala Fuili, Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu, Cala Goloritzè and more among the most admired beaches in Sardinia and indeed all of Europe.


Cala Luna kayak

Attività ed escursioni a Cala Gonone

  Close to the port, there’s a pleasant walk above the central beach and along the shoreline towards the park of Palmasera, where summertime events brighten the beachside location. Cala Gonone is regarded as a climbing paradise in Sardinia because it has cliffs by the sea with dozens of pathways set up. Thanks to the mild climate all year round and with many highly qualified operators offering services, it’s possible to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor sports including trekking, kayaking, cave excursions, diving, horse riding and fat-tyre biking.

Hotels and services in Cala Gonone

There are many hotels as well as tourist villages and B&B’s to choose from, not only in summer but also in winter. To get to S’Abba Frisca Park Museum from Cala Gonone, you can hire e-bikes, scooters, and other vehicles. There is also a taxi tuk-tuk service with driver for hire.


Dorgali, at the base of Mount Bardia, is about 5km away from S’Abba Frisca. It’s on the border where the regions of Barbagia, Baronia and Ogliastra meet and it boasts beautiful natural features that attract interest across Italy and Europe. The territory extends from the Supramonte (the highland) to the coast and it has important archaeological sites from the Nuragic civilization including Serra ‘e Orrios, Biristeddi, Thomes, Nuraghe Mannu and Tiscali. The coast has much to offer: a succession of pristine beaches such as Cala Luna, Cala Cartoe, Osala; cliffs, coves and grottoes such as Bue Marino and in the hinterland, the grotto of Ispinigoli, which has one of the largest stalagmites in Europe.


Il comune

At 400m above sea level, Dorgali is the fourth largest council area in the province of Nuoro in terms of inhabitants (8,576 people), and it is the largest in land size (226.54 sq km). The old centre of town has many artisans’ workshops where new generations of masters continue to produce top quality jewellery, leather, ceramics, knives and more. The town is also dedicated to agriculture and livestock, with a modern and spacious cheese factory offering a vast array of quality cheeses that are ideal accompaniments to the renowned Cannonau wine produced at the nearby Cantina Sociale, and also in many private cellars. In food production, olive oil, bread (pane carasau), fresh pasta, cakes and pastries maintain traditional tastes that have been handed down over centuries. Since the 1950s Dorgali has been attracting visitors from across Italy and the world.

The area of Cala Gonone

In Cala Gonone, there are hotels, tourist villages, agriturismo, restaurants and B&B’s that are starting points for excursions, guided visits, free-climbing, mountain biking, horse riding, and so on.



Midway along the Gulf of Orosei, Dorgali has one of the broadest territories in the province of Nuoro. From the highlands of the Supramonte to some of the most famous coastal areas in the Mediterranean, there are outstanding natural areas of unrivalled beauty.


The archaeological site of Tiscali takes its name from an ancient limestone sinkhole (dolina), unique in its shape and size. In a highland area between Dorgali and Oliena, the sinkhole contains the ruins of various types of huts thought to have been built in Nuragic and Roman times. To reach Tiscali safely you must have good trekking gear. You should go with an experienced guide as the track to it is very rough and steep, and while it is signposted, you still need two hours to get to the site, even if you know this area.


Coming from Nuoro in the direction of Orosei on the s.s 125, take the turnoff at km 209.400 for the Ispinigoli cave, one of the most impressive limestone formations in the Dorgali region. It has a stalagmite around 38m tall, the second largest known in the world. A sinkhole 60m deep connects to the karst drainage system of San Giovanni Su Anzu (St John’s Bath), around 16 kilometres long.


The Nuragic village of Serra ‘e Orrios is also in the Dorgali region. Coming from Olbia on the s.s. 131, take the turnoff to Dorgali on the s.p. 38 road. Dated to the second millennium BCE, the village is quite extensive with around 100 circular hut bases in a network of alleys. The huts are in small groups with shared open areas and public wells. Two temples are located away from the huts in sacred enclosures. Serra ‘e Orrios is one of the more complete examples of a village from the Bronze Age in Sardinia. Relics excavated here can be seen at the Archaeological Museum in Dorgali.


Between Orgosolo and Urzulei, Gorropu canyon is the result of erosion by the Frumeneddu River and is the deepest in Europe. It can be reached either on the s.s. 125 coming from Genna Silana, or coming from Dorgali along the valley of Oddoene.


The Archaeological Museum in Dorgali was founded in the early 1980s and is now in the school complex on Via La Marmora in the centre of town. The museum holds many Roman and Nuragic era relics collected around Dorgali and Cala Gonone. There are guided visits. More information can be found on the website for the Comune di Dorgali.


On the 19th of January everyone gathers around another bonfire dedicated to St Sebastian in the square at the Parish Church of St Catherine. Dorgali’s carnival begins on Mardi Gras day with “Lardajolu”, a particular festival of masks and associated eating of broad beans cooked with lard, a dish prepared and shared especially for this occasion along with local wine in the town’s central square. As the festivities continue, there are warm pastries called “tippulas” for everyone. And to finish, there’s the “Pentolaccia” – horse riders going through Corso Umberto. Easter rites begin on Palm Sunday with a procession through the town toward the Parish Church of St Catherine. On Holy Thursday, the ritual of washing of feet records the Last Supper of Jesus. On Good Friday the Deposition (“s’iscravamentu”) is followed by the Via Crucis for the body of Christ. Easter Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection that concludes with “s’incontru”, the meeting of Christ and the Madonna, a solemn moment accompanied by volleys of rifle fire.

There are also countryside festivals with religious rites celebrated across the region of Dorgali, organized by Priors and volunteers from many associations. After Mass there are refreshments including pastries, salami, cheese and wine for everyone. Music and dancing complete the evening. First half of May: the Madonna of Valverde (Our Lady of Green Valley) Second half of May: Madonna of Buoncammino (Our Lady of the Good Path); Saturday before Pentecost: Su Babbu Mannu (feast of the Holy Spirit); 24 June: St John the Baptist; 27 July: St Pantaleon; 13-16 August: feast of the Assumption, Ferragosto in Dorgali; 16-17 September: St Cyprian and St Cornelius; 25 November: festival of Patron Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Ferragosto in Dorgali is celebrated from 13-17 August. The Procession of the Assumption of Mary is particularly important because precious heirloom costumes are worn by women and men for this occasion. Autunno in Barbagia (houses and courtyards opened to visitors for autumn celebrations with town after town taking its turn) comes to Dorgali in the last week of September. In the foreground: special foods and wines, artisans’ activities, exhibitions.