The Gallura region (Northeastern Sardinia) is renowned for the beauty of its coasts, those of the La Maddalena Archipelago, and for its inland wonders, characterized by rocky areas fringed by the Mediterrenean flora. The region is home to a vast heritage of archeological sites and ruins of ancient cultures.
Arzachena, Luogosanto, Aggius, Olbia, are only a few of the most characteristic and well-preserved towns in Gallura, towns that offer the opportunity to discover local artisanal, cultural and food and wine traditions. Gallura is home also to important historic ruins from the Neolithic Period: giants’ graves and dolmens.
Arzachena: The town, whose first founding dates back to the Roman period, consisted – until the 17th century – in a handful of small houses surrounding the 18th century Church of Saint Mary, dedicated to the Madonna of the Snow. Today Arzachena, with its cobbled small squares and its flowery corners, is a lively and colourful town. Pink granite and white stones are just some of the materials typifying the architecture of the town’s houses. Green areas and bars abound as well as little nooks and crannies in which can be found fine boutiques and shops selling typical Sardinian delicacies and locally produced crafts.
Do not miss the soft lights at night in Porto Cervo, the most renowned hamlet of Arzachena.
Historic sites in the Arzachena area:
Nuraghe Albucciu: leave Portisco on the SP94 towards Arzachena, and 600 metres after the residential area can be found Nuraghe Albucciu, one of the tens of thousands of such megalithic complexes
scattered throughout the islands. The nuraghe were built around the 2nd century BC. The Nuragic complex includes a granite building (7m high) built in a roughly rectangular shape , and “Tomba Moru” – the `Giants’ Grave - a sepulchral monument belonging to the Nuragic civilization.
La Prisgiona: From Arzachena – about a 25 minute drive - take the via Paolo Dettori, and at the intersection with SS 427, turn right and continue for a few hundred of meters until you see the signs pointing to another archeological area, the Nuraghe La Prisgiona (or from Portisco to Arzachena, at the roundabout take the SP14 leading to the Capichera region). also close to the complex is another archeological site, the Coddu Vecchiu Giants’ Grave.
Luogosanto: From Portisco towards Palau, along a dirt road close to Mount Pulchiana, over an empty landscape, lined on the one side by big cork oaks and on the other side by green areas of pastures and unspoiled nature, lies the town of Luogosanto, built on the steep side of Mount Casteddu (320 meters above sea level). The town is named after the large number of religious buildings scattered throughout its territory. Driving along a road which starts from the residential area, you reach the small Natural Park of Fonte La Filetta named after a spring located in the park. The spring, surrounded by holm oaks and cork oaks, is famed for its mineral content and diuretic properties. The park offers facilities for picnics and walks.
Historic destinations around Luogosanto: *Out of Luogosanto on the SP14, you reach Hill San Leonardo, on the top of the hill sits the Balaiana medieval castle and a stone’s throw lies the small church of San Leonardo. It is worth climbing the stairs to enjoy a spectacular view.
Hermitage of San Trano: Along the road to Arzachena you can make a detour to the Hermitage of San Trano, a small church dating back to the 13th century. Built from granite, on clear days you can enjoy a view across the Corsica coasts. In a 20 minutes’ drive across the SP133, in the heart of Gallura, you reach Luras (508 meters above sea level), a town founded by the Etruscans.
Historic destinations in the area surrounding Luras:
Galluras Museum: situated in via Nazionale, in front of the World War II memorial, the architecture of the Galluras Museum is in harmony with the structure of the ancient Gallura houses. Stretching across three floors, the museum is home to 4,000 local historic relics.
Santu Baltolu: Along the SP137 is the small church of San Bartolomeo, Santu Baltolu, the date of its construction is unknown. The ancient church hosts both San Nicola’s feast (second Sunday of May) and San Giuliano’s feast (first Sunday of September). 100 meters away from the church you can find two beautiful-thousand year-old olive trees. The oldest (supposed to be 3,000 or 4,000 years old), named S’Ozzastru, is 12 meters in circumference and 8 meters tall.
Aggius: Heading towards south-west, on the SP133 of Palau, you reach Aggius, awarded Borgo Autentico d’Italia (genuine Italian medieval town) by Touring Club Italiano. The town is surrounded by unspoiled nature. It is the starting point for a trip to the spectacular Valle della Luna, a kilometer-long plain surrounded by granite blocks of different shapes.
Historic destinations in the Aggius area: The Nuraghe Izzana is one of the most imposing and best-preserved nuraghis in Gallura. It lies on the border between Tempio and Aggius, in the charming Valle della Luna plain.
Tempio: sitting at the foot of Mount Limbara, it is famous for processing cork and granite and for its vineyards. Each year it hosts a famous carnival, the most important in Sardinia. Tempio, alongside Viareggio, Fano and Cento is a member of the Italian Carnival Federation. To reach the town, take the SP94 to Porto Cervo and Costa Smeralda, turn left at the crossroads to Monticaglia/Arzachena, at the roundabout continue straight to Arzachena on the SP14 towards Palau, at the second roundabout, follow the road sign to Tempio.
Historic destinations in the Tempio area: located about 2 kilometers away from Tempio, the Nuraghe Majori massif dominates the wood which features corks, holm oaks, downy oaks, ash trees and alder trees. Close to Tempio – and worth a visit - is the Limbara mountain range, the third highest in Sardinia (over 1,300 meters). To reach North Mount Limbara from the center of Tempio Pausania, take the SS 392 to Oschiri. The southern area of the mount is reachable from Berchidda, via the SS 597 Sassari-Olbia, or via the SP 62. Mount Limbara is home to numerous rare species including the Sardinian hare, fallow deer, mouflon, golden eagle and peregrine falcon. Here you can also easily spot wild boars. The mountain range offers 7 routes for tourists (each with a different theme). Some routes are suitable for mountain bikers.
Lake Liscia: Lake Liscia lies between Luras, Sant’Antonio, Arzachena and Luogosanto. It is the perfect destination for those who love spending time immersed in nature and for mountain bike, quad and sailing enthusiasts. Swimming in the lake, however, is not permitted. You can easily reach Lake Liscia by car, motorbike or via the Gallura Express green train which connects the lake to Palau and Perfugas. Trips to Lake Liscia are available onboard comfortable Mississippi-style boats, a one-off experience in Sardinia. A single ticket which includes both the train and boat ride is available.