From Piscinas to Nora – The southwest coast

As much as I like hiking I can’t deny the fact that a summer road trip has the authentic power of boosting my mood. Living in the north of Sardinia helps me to explore this area every time I can without having to drive for hours to reach my destination. As a matter of fact in the past few years I’ve seen (and revisited) hundreds of different  places but the south of the island has some truly spectacular landscapes and a fascinating history too. So let me take you with me on a trip rolling down to the south where deserts, mountains, stunning beaches and ruins of a dormant Roman town are awaiting to be discovered.

  1. Piscinas (Costa Verde)

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Colorful milestones on the road towards the beach of Piscinas

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So let our little road trip begin in this unique place right in the middle of the west coast of Sardinia. What is so special about this place is the fact that we are talking about a real desert with imposing dunes  formed by the force of the wind coming from the sea. This area (and the south-west of Sardinia in general) was characterized by the presence of mines all over the coastline (this industry  changed remarkably the landscape and the lives of thousands from the middle of the 19th century) but now they are only silent monuments of remote times.

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Rails leading to the past
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Dunes and  Mediterranean shrubland with some mountains in the background
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Driving through abandoned mining facilities. This area seems perfect for bikers (have to come back again…)

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Then out of the blue we found ourselves on the top of the hill of Ingurtosu looking at this spectacular building facing the valley with a breathtaking view all down the way to splendid dunes and beaches of Piscinas. (I’m sorry I didn’t manage to take a better picture but the road was too straight to pull over – but I’m as curious as you to find out more about this area so hold on, I promise I’ll be back there soon)

2. Nebida – Masua – Porto Flavia

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It is quite contradictory that an area so rich in natural landscapes, coastal hiking paths and industrial history is one of the poorest areas of Italy. Many times I’ve wished to be able to express the view and the feelings a place like this triggers in me but I might as well let the pictures do the job as I’m far from capable of describing it. Oh, by the way that little island you can see in front of the beach is the biggest rock (133 m high) situated in the sea (partially under) of the whole Mediterranean area (there is even a via ferrata on it).

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Need a tip? Hire a kayak on the beach and make a trip to the island of Pan di Zucchero (30 min) so that you can see the spectacular Porto Flavia from an unusual perspective
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Apart from the tourists visiting the stunning coastline and the beaches many climbers have started to explore the area as those rocks in the background seem to attract them from everywhere!!!

You can visit the old mines of Porto Flavia with the help of local tour guides or you can take a look at it from the sea approaching by kayak or rubber dinghy.

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This piece of industrial history is the living memory of an era in which mining companies wouldn’t stop at anything to get what they wanted – sometimes this attitude resulted in surprising and architectural solutions – see next pic to find out what this was
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This picture showing the latest technique of transporting the ore by ships in 1924. This solution provided a safe mooring and faster shipping.
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Her majesty: Pan di Zucchero

3. Porto Pino

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Porto Pino is about a 50 min drive from the little town of Nebida towards south. This beach is famous for its white sand and crystal clear sea but I would add something else: it is so big that you shouldn’t worry about being disturbed by hundreds of tourists (as most of them refuse to walk for 10 minutes to find a clear spot). Remember though that it is a protected area so you can admire the huge white dunes from the distance but you should not walk on the top of them.

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4. Nora

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The ancient Roman ruins of Nora is a spectacular archeological site about 40 km from Cagliari. Although we are talking about ruins it is easy to imagine people living among these walls, doing their daily routine of a typical Roman colony even if its origins are much older than that…

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Art of meticulous hands – mosaics
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Can’t really blame them for settling down in a place like this, can you?
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The submarine – View from behind the bars of Torre del Coltellazzo

This is just an extract, a short version of a road trip you might want to do. Mere ideas and some advice for anyone willing to spend some time on the road but the real deal comes with your own taste, priorities and mood. But let me tell you something: as far as you get the feeling that there’s much to see yet, don’t rush, take your time (you know that stuff being a traveller rather than a tourist) as this is something you really need to take in. And one thing is sure: it’s kind of impossible to see everything in Sardinia in only one lifetime…

I’ll be here trying though…

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