Mountain ranges on Sardinia
Large parts of Sardinia are covered with mountains or mountain ranges. The mountains reach up to 1.834 meters and in winter there is often snow up here. You may even go skiing by then - but only on top of the mountains. Many of the mountains are very rugged and hiking trails there are often only for experienced hikers and climbers. Others are also good for easy walks - it is hard to tell whats coming in advance. Sonorous names and wonderful landscapes such as Sette Fratelli, Gennargentu, Monti Ferru, Monti Arci, Monti del Sulcis, Monte Arcosu or Iglesiente and Monti Limbara are very tempting if you are seeking an active holidays with mountain hikes or climbing tours in Sardinia. It is not advisable to to hiking in summer (July/August). Temperetures are rising above 40 degrees Celsius / 104 degress Fahrenheit. In particular, rocky valleys are a health risk due to heat. Also june and september are sometimes quite hot. Any other month is great to explore Sardinas mountains. In springtime (march, april, may) you will furthermore find waterfalls that dry out in summer.
Gennargentu and Monti Ferru
The Gennargentu massif is located in the middle of the islands east coast. Punta la Marmora, the is the highest peak of Sardinia - it reaches 1,834 meters. The extent of the mountains is considerable - it cannot be discovered or explored by just making a short walk or hike. That's why you should look for a specific destination and explore the area from there. In the high altitude of the mountains, it is much colder than in the offshore coastline. Something clothes that will keep you warm therefore are essential; especially in spring and autumn.
In the mountains of the Gennargentu you will find various trails - from ambitious mountain tours to climbing or easy walks. If you like to walk along a simple and easy trail, you may get started in Villagrande Strisaili. Very rugged mountain slopes for climbers and narrow winding roads, however, can be found at Ulassai / Jerzu / Gairo. Really challenging with climbing routes is a tour in the gorge Su Gorropu, one of the deepest gorges in Europe. It is easy to get to the gorge, then a guide is recommended. At Villanova Strisaili you will reach the gorges of Pirincanes and the Rio e Forru waterfalls. This tour should be done in the summer months when there is little rain. The gorges and waterfalls can become dangerous when unexpected rain is coming - spring tides are not too rare around here.
The Gennargentu meets the oceans shores in Cala Gonone, where spectacular cliffs and beautiful beaches dominate the landscape. For this reason, the hiking tour from Su Golgo to the bay and beach Cala Goloritzé is very popular. From Baunei, signs point to "Il Golgo" and to the parking lot, from where the tour starts. The tour takes about 1.5 hours and it is a moderate tour, not being too easy. From the same starting point, an easy hike takes about 35 minutes to Cala Sisine - another bathing bay or beach that is very popular. The path leads along a river and is signposted. The gentle foothills of the Gennargentu near Cardedu, on the other hand, invite you to relaxed walks through vineyards and other fruit and vegetable growing areas.
Monte Ferru / Monti Ferru
What seems to be a single mountain is a complete mountain range. Monte Ferru rises up to 1,050 meters and covers a large area. It is of volcanic origin and represents the largest volcanic uplift in Sardinia. The slopes offer walks along quiet side streets or hiking trails from the coastal towns such as Cuglieri or S’Archittu. Startiing in Cuglieri with a car towards Santu Lussurgiu one drives right through the massif. From Cuglieri also paths and small, winding and curvy roads lead into the mountains.
A worthwhile destination can be found in the valley of the river Riu S'Abba Lughida. The waterfall of S'Istrampu 'e Massabari where the water is pouring down the rocks. In the valley of the Riu Sos Molinos you will find S'Istrampu de Sos Molinos - a river with another waterfall which guarantees splendid moments in spring or autumn after rain.
Iglesiente, Monti del Sulcis and Monte Arcosu
Around Buggeru - up to Torre dei Corsari the mountains of the Iglesiente are rising. These mountains are extensive and rugged in their core area. Hikers and adventurers will find it a wonderful destination. Often it is very lonely around here. Off peak season you often won't see anyone else for many hours. In some places it is more likely to meet wild boars than men around here. Some trails are only suitable for experienced hikers. But still: There are smaller side streets which can also be used for a hike. Along the foothills - in and around Torre dei Corsari you'll find easier trails and gentler slopes. The area was once heavily used for mining. Accordingly, numerous old mines can be explored here - by foot or by car. Do not enter the mines, they might collapse (which has already happened to some). Make sure that you have a sufficient water supply with you.
In search of hiking routes, you simply drive towards the beach of Portixeddu or along the coast. Between Portixeddu and Buggeru you will find a parking lot, a bar and signs that show the way to man coastal trails or deeper into the mountains. You will be rewarded with awesome panoramic views towards the ocean. If you like geology you'll also find the area very exciting - a vast amount of various minerals can be found around here.
Between Iglesias and Villacidro stretches the nature reserve Monte Linas - Oridda - Marganai. The plateau of Oridda is covered with an ancient holm oak forest, there are numerous gorges, waterfalls and caves. In Villacidro - not far from Guspini - you will find one of the most beautiful waterfalls: Cascate di Villacidro (from Villacidro towards "Sa Spendula"). The caves created by the infiltration of water into the limestone are also spectacularly beautiful - among others, the Grotto of San Giovanni in Domusnovas is well known. This zone is a habitat for animals like wild cats, griffon vultures or Sardinian cave salamanders and more. The Linasia Garden is a botanical garden that depicts the habitats of local plants, including endemic species. Guided tours are being conducted - on foot or by horse.
Monti del Sulcis and Monte Arcosu
Another mountain range can be found in the south of Sardinia: Monti del Sulcis. In those mountains you'll find a WWF Nature Reserve: Monte Arcosu. During weekends, when the weather is fine - Sardinians love to go there for a walk or a hike. In contrast to other hiking areas this one is equipped with signs hinting the way to several destinations and trails. It only opens on saturdays and sundays starting at 09.00 am until 06.00 p.m.. After paying a small amount in order to enter the nature reserve the mountains open up in all splendor. Rare plants, ancient trees and unusual animals like the Sardinian deer can be found right here. In springtime the valleys are full of flowering plant such as lavender. An intense floral scent covers the valleys and slopes. In other words: This is an exceptional experience one should not miss.
Hiking trails are not only leading you through the valleys of Monte Arcosu, some trails are leading upwards. Proper footwear - firm shoes, preferably light hiking boots - is absolutely necessary, otherwise you will not be allowed to enter the reserve. Even the simplest valley hike leads you through the stream and over steep and slippery rock face. The Monte Arcosu is well worth the effort ... for me it is one of the most beautiful hiking areas of the island. The proximity to Cagliari and Pula / Chia makes the Monte Arcosu a beautiful destination in the mountains.
Around the Monti del Sulcus and Monte Arcosu you will find the coastal towns and beaches of Pula, Chia, Porto Pino.
Monte Arci and Sarrabus-Mountains
Monti Arci - The small ones
The mountain range of Monti Archi lies within reach of Oristano and Cagliari. Going there by car only takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The giara di Gesturi with wild horses is also not too far away.
The mountains of Monti Archi are much less touristic than the Gennargentu/Supramonte. There are many trails in these mountains. Take good care that you do not get lost around here. It also happens to Sardinians, so it is best to use the main routes.
Monti Archi is quite interesting for people being interested in history or geology. Rich occurrences of obsidian are one of the characteristics of Monti Arci. The obisidian used to play a very important role in history because it is an extremely hard material and it opened up many opportunities because of the tools that were made of obsidian. This is why you may discover lots of traces of ancient Sardinia in this area. In Pau you will find the excavation site „Su forru de is sintzurreddus“ that is being part of the neolithic age. If you like to go deeper into history and geology you will find the Musuem of Obsidian an interesting place to go to. The nuraghe complex „Brunk‘ e s’omu“ is in in the town of Villaverde. In Morgongiori there is a sanctuary named „Sa domu de is coambus“. Another spot about geology is the geological museum in Masullas which is being located in a former 17th century monastery. The Monti Arci mountains are one big nature reserve, the highest peak goes up to goes up to 812 meters (about 32.000 inches). The mountains are of volcanic origina and it is only a smaller mountain range - but still very beautiful und worthwhiel.
In front of the mountains you will find the city of Oristano and the beautiful Sinis peninsula: Oristano.
Mountains in the north: Monti Limbara
In the north of Sardinia are the mountains of Monti Limbara - in the heart of the Ganz im Norden der Insel – im Herzen der Gallura district. This mountain range is different than the other ones. Granite and bizzare rock formations cover the landscape an meet the eye. Those mountains are well known for their caves and hollow spaces. The lower regions of Monti Limbara consist of forests while the higher regions are made of a steppe landscape. If you dare to hike up on top of the mountains you will overlook the coast and the ocean - sometimes even to island of Corsica which is about 90 kilometers or 56 miles away from Monti Limbara. The Monti Limbara hiking trails are easy to access - via Tempio Pausiana along the street SS392 (follow the signs to Oschiri). In Coradoreddu you will find municipal houses from where you can start as well. The southern part of the mountains cann be accessed via Berchidda and the country road SS597. Another destination within Monti Limbare is the forst oft Olia (close to the town Monti). From here you will enjoy the view onto Monti Limbara. If you are being interesed in archaeology, you will find the tombs of Pascareddha (ital. Tombe dei giganti Pascareddha) from the bronze age along the north slopes of the Monte di Dieu southwest of Calangianus.
Sarrabus-Mountains and Parco dei Sette Fratelli
The nature reserve Parco dei Sette Fratelli (Park of the seven brothers) can be found in the Sarrabus mountain range. It is not far from the capital cagliari and lovely villages like Villasimius. You will get there via the coastal road SS125, street signs will help you finding the nature reserve. If you follow the signs you will reach a forestral house (Caserma Forestrale) and a parking lot. This is the place where most people start from. If you like to explore a little bit: Go past the parking lot and enjoy great vies towards the coast, the capital Cagliari from high above and nice side roads. The Sarrabus mountains are also quite popular with the locals. People come here for a hike or with their mountain bikes. There are a lot of hikings trails - from broad forestral road to small pathways. Sardinian deer or mufflons can be found in this area.
The mountains do not only consist of the nature reserve Sette Fratelli. If you go past the parking lot you will find the high plain on the picture above. Small roads, flocks of sheeps and goats as well as spectacular views are waiting for you. Sardinians like to come here for biking and indeed the area is an awesome place to explore with a bicylce.