Sardinian woodlands

I’m completely aware of the fact that Sardinia isn’t famous for its forests but I’d like to show just a few of them nevertheless! In fact Sardinia wasn’t renowned for hiking routes either and now thousands of people come to visit the breathtaking paths of Ogliastra or set off for various multiple day hikes such as the Selvaggio Blu trek.

As for these enchanting woods surely we aren’t talking about the Yellowstone Park but as it appears to me one might just find (almost) everything on this stunning island… only in little! And why wouldn’t you feel like walking under these ancient trees while you’re spendig some time in Sardinia?

  1. Foresta Fiorentini

One time I was really keen on finding some mushrooms and possibly eat them with some friends in the evening. So this was the plan. But once we were there on the path crossing this little bridge we somehow found ourselves heading for the centre of a forest. In these tiny little hidden places I tend to rethink my priorities. Autumn does that to me. It changes the prospective, the way you look at things. A cool sunny day of autumn doesn’t let you lie down on the ground and take a nap. But it does make you appreciate every ray of light that makes through the trees until it gives you a very personal moment of warmth. 

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So this time our trip started in the mountainous area of Goceano  more precisely in a forest called I Fiorentini about 50 km from Sassari and 80 km from Olbia. Needless to say you’d better be patient as roads in Sardinia might be a bit tricky but if you follow the road signs you’ll probably end up where you should (otherwise – as they often say it here – pick a direction and eventually you’ll find yourself on some random beach which sounds good anyway).

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The highest pine trees in all over the island can be found right here in the Fiorentini forest

The peculiar thing about these woods (apart from the complete absence of mushrooms which I can’t emphasize enough) is that all kinds of domesticated animals (pigs, cows, chickens and horses) were pasturing everywhere apparently ignoring us.

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I wouldn’t say that these woods are packed with tourists so you can imagine the peaceful walks along the old paths

Since the essence of picking mushrooms is not following the path this made us zigzagging the whole forest which is okay anyway as it led us to the highest pine trees of the island. It definitely gives you an unusual feeling as much of the island is covered by the so – called macchia mediterraneaa sort of low shrubland that reigns over the landscape.

2. Monte Minerva

The view towards Monteleone Roccadoria and its lake beneath

Monte Minerva is situated in an area about 40 km from Alghero standing above the surrounding fields by its 644 meters.

There are many paths leading to the top of the mountain so choose the one that best fits you. We picked the longest which is about 10 km long (round trip) because we wanted to take a good look on the surrounding land but there are others too, such as the one that leads straight to the summit. If you like short but steep and intense hikes you should definitely opt for the latter.

Hiking routes at Monte Minerva (you’ll find this map at the parking pace upon your arrival)
The surrounding countryside with its vivid colours
Zigzagging on the path towards the top
A small hut of the forest rangers is placed on the top of the hill. There you have an almost 36o degrees view including the not too distant sea too!

There are many more daily hikes in the Sardinian woodland with proper paths (which shouldn’t be taken for granted when you are looking for a nice walk) and many of them might be even enriched with some visits to the thousands of architectural sites spread all over the island such as ancient tombs and sacred wells (domus de janas and pozzo sacro nuragico)

3. The hot springs of Benetutti and the surrounding woods

I’d like you to know that Sardinia is much more enjoyable in the first months of the Autumn than in August when it’s packed with tourists everywhere and the prices are definitely higher. Just think about it for a second: less people, easy booking, 20 – 30 degrees, no queue at the bar ….

Although days are getting shorter we managed to see 3 different places in the same area which is called Goceano. It’s a less known Sardinian region compared to the coastline but it’s definitely worth an hour’s drive. Being in the centre of the island its beauty and uniqueness are not related to the sea but rather to its forests, slopes, nuraghi  and hot springs. Yes folks, this area has a couple of hot springs used by common  people and free of charge ever since they were built by the Romans (or even before)

The first two places  – Foresta Burgos and Monte Pisanu – are quite close to each other but while the former seems to be part of Middle Earth (somewhere near Amon Hen if you ask me) with its ancient ruins and the moss that covers every rock and trunk in the forest the second is rather “domesticated” as it’s a picnic area even if the size of the tables makes you think they were made to suit giants (they call them “tavolata” and they offer enough space to feed a whole army.

The smallest ‘tavolata’ at Monte Pisanu

Now normally I’d say that travelling 30 km by car is a relatively easy task but you’ve got to keep in mind that in the central part of Sardinia roads are full of turnings and cows hanging around everywhere not to mention that the road signs are quite contradictory so that’s why it took us about half an hour to get to the hot springs close to Benetutti. But who cares if your path goes through the forest that slowly changes its savage summer colours into something soothe and surprisingly varied, right? And then, in the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden there they are: hot springs!!!

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Hot springs are available for everyone

The temperature of the water is around 40°C so you might not want to stay in for more than 15 minutes at a time as you might get a little dizzy. Besides since they are open to the public usually there’s some people waiting in line at the weekend. But worry not, nobody will spoil your privacy while you’re enjoying your bath. There is one pool out in the open air and another inside an old stone building (called ovili) but in any case they are open for everyone night and day!

Not exactly like waiting in line at the bank
Not exactly like waiting in line at the bank
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Time to have a bath!

I’ll be adding more and more possible destinations for daily walks in Sardinia but if you have any suggestions or questions let me know in the comments or on my fb page!

4 thoughts on “Sardinian woodlands

  1. Wonderful photos… as well as what you tell about the day…. That was fantastic… Only now i’ve remembered it and seen it… 😛

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