Cala Goloritzé is one of Sardinia’s most celebrated beaches. Located on the Eastern coast of the island, in the gorgeous Gulf of Orosei in the region of Ogliastra and roughly 9 km (5.6 miles) north of Baunei, the setting of this small cove is simply paradisiac.
With limestone cliffs reaching a height of 500 meters (1,640.4 feet); unique rock formations around it – the most notable one a beautiful arch at its southern end; tiny white pebbles that look like snow; a pinnacle that calls to be climbed and lush Mediterranean shrub and a forest of holm oaks, it’s little wonder that Cala Goloritzé was declared a National Monument of Italy in 1995.
A favorite of locals and tourists alike, Cala Goloritzé is one of the most photogenic spots on the island. Follow the best Instagram profiles in Sardinia, and you’ll see it regularly making an appearance.
Read a post or article about the best beaches in Italy / the Mediterranean / the world, and there it is. Yes, Cala Goloritzé is that beautiful.
Mind you: this gorgeous spot on the Tyrrhenian Sea hardly is a secret spot anymore. Visit in the peak summer months and you’ll struggle to find a place to lay down your towel. Nevertheless, it’s truly worth visiting, even though getting there requires a bit of effort.
Are you curious to learn more about Cala Goloritzé, and want to know how to get there and make the most of your time at this Sardinian jewel? Continue reading then!
Table of Contents
Everything You Need To Know About Cala Goloritzé
Cala Goloritzé Beach
Cala Goloritzé was formed in 1962 as a consequence of a landslide that detached from a sandstone wall. This is not a sandy beach as you may imagine – instead of sand, you will find endless, minuscule white pebbles that make it completely unique.
A 143-meters pinnacle rises above it (more about it below) and to the south there is a rock arch that many – including myself – enjoy climbing to then dive in the clearest, bluest waters you can imagine.
Climbing the arch if forbidden. Should you decide to do it regardless, don’t even attempt it if you are not 100% confident in your steps and aren’t sure you will be able to jump from a height of around 12 meters. Rocks can be slippery, and once you make your way up there is no way to get down unless you reach the top and jump in the water. Trust me, I have tried!
The beach is highly protected – in fact, boats must stay 300 meters from the shore and the area is regularly patrolled to make sure everyone respects that rule. There also is a guard on the beach that makes sure no boats approached and nobody stays at the beach beyond closing time.
Water is immediately deep, and incredibly transparent – making Cala Goloritzé a fantastic place for swimming and snorkeling. You will have perfect visibility and be able to see the bottom even when it is 15 meters deep.
As I have already said, the water at Cala Goloritzé is of an incredible shade of blue, and so transparent that even when 15 meters deep you can still see the bottom. It’s the perfect place to swim and snorkel.
If you enjoy swimming and snorkeling, make sure to swim all the way to the arch and then behind it. At its right, you will find a small cave that is fun to see.
One of the peculiarities of Cala Goloritzé is that spring water gets right onto the beach – from the rock formations around it – and in the water. So you can expect the sea to be colder than in other places in Sardinia – in fact, water is freezing cold in some spots!
Furthermore, as there are lots of goats roaming around the area, it’s not uncommon to see them get all the way down the beach and make their way to one of these sources to have a drink – despite the presence of many amazed tourists!
Cala Goloritzé Pinnacle
The symbol of Cala Goloritzé is Monte Caroddi, an Aguglia – literally “needle” and more specifically a pinnacle – that surmounts it with its 143 meters located on the southern side of the beach, where Eleonora’s falcons like to nest.
This limestone spire is a favorite of climbers, and there are various climbing routes on it. The most famous was opened by Alessandro Gogna and Maurizio Zanolla – AKA Manolo – and is known as the Sinfonia dei Mulini a Vento (Symphony of Windmills).
Make sure to read my post Where To Go Climbing In Sardinia.
Cala Goloritzé Tickets
A few years back the municipality of Baunei, where Cala Goloritzé is located, has introduced an access fee for any visitor wishing to spend the day at the beach – this is done to protect the beach, which as I have already pointed out is a National Monument; and to finance the maintenance of the trail to get to it.
To make sure to ensure your spot at the beach during the summer months, make sure to book in advance via the app Heart of Sardinia or via the official website (also called Heart of Sardinia). You can book from 72 hours in advance. Tickets are €6 per person and include access to the parking lot.
The app is actually quite buggy, especially if you have an iPhone. If you are unable to book via the app, you can send a whatsapp message and pay directly when you get there. You can message these numbers: +393495462583 – active Monday to Friday; +393804616989 – active every day. Again, you can book only 3 days before your intended day of visit.
If you visit in the off season, no reservation is necessary but you will still have to pay the €6 fee once you get to the beginning of the trail.
How to get to Cala Goloritzé
There is no real easy way to access Cala Goloritzé as you can’t get there by car. The only way to reach it is either by boat or on a hike.
If you know how to drive one, you can rent your own rubber dinghy in either Cala Gonone or Santa Maria Navarrese. Prices for a full day rental (from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, by which you have to be back at the harbor) vary depending on the season and can be anything from €100 to €250 for the day, not including fuel.
You should require to have a boat with a shade or parasol for the peak hours. Keep in mind that boats are only allowed to harbor around 300 meters from the beach and can’t load off people on the shore, so if you want to spend a day at the actual beach your only option is to hike.
Boat services to Cala Goloritzé depart daily from Cala Gonone, Arbatax and Santa Maria Navarrese – the latter being the closest access point.
Once again, keep in mind that boats can’t moor within 300 meters from the shore, so they usually just stop by for passengers to jump in the water and swim around before continuing to explore the gulf or – more seldom – charter passengers to shore on a row boat.
The following boat tours can be bought online:
Cala Goloritze boat tour – departing from Santa Maria Navarrese, it actually goes to a selection of beaches in the area, making a stop at Cala Goloritzé.
Orosei gulf hop on – hop off boat tour – similar to the one above, but it departs from Cagliari.
On a hike
If you intend to hike to Cala Goloritzé, you will first need to make your way to a parking lot called Su Porteddu, in the Golgo Plateau. You will have to drive through the small town of Baunei to get there.
If you are coming directly from Baunei, it will be a 15 minutes drive.
If you are coming from Santa Maria Navarrese, Baunei’s beach hamlet, factor in about 35 minutes to get to Su Porteddu.
Another good base would be Tortolì, which is a 40 minutes drive south of the Golgo Plateau.
Once you are at Su Porteddu parking lot, you will have to park your car and go through the check point before you start hiking. The trail is literally in front of the parking lot. At Su Porteddu, you will also find a small café where you can get drinks, sandwiches and quick meals, and were you will find toilets.
The trail to access Cala Goloritzé via the hike is open from 7:30 am daily. You can access the trail until 10:00 am and the beach closes at 5:00 after which all visitors will be required to leave.
The hike to Cala Goloritzé is one of the most rewarding in Sardinia. It is almost entirely downhill on the way to the beach, and a steep uphill on the way back, along a very well marked trail that is easy to follow.
Here are some technical data you may find useful:
DISTANCE – 3.5 km one way (around 2.2 miles).
WALKING TIME – About 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the beach; and 1.5 hours to get back up to the parking lot (unless you are better at walking uphill, in which case you may end up being faster!).
ALTITUDE DIFFERENCE – 470 meters (1,524 feet).
DIFFICULTY – I would classify the hike to Cala Goloritzé as moderate to hard, but that really depends on your level of fitness and on your overall approach. I have done this hike plenty of times with different friends, and some found the uphill climb back to the parking lot terribly challenging. My usual recommendation is to go at your own pace – the trail is easy to follow, so if you are struggling uphill just slow down and tell your friends you will meet them back at the parking lot.
IS THE HIKE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN? – I have seen plenty of children on this hike in the past, but none last time I was there. Some do well on the hike and have a good time, others clearly struggle. Before taking your children on this hike, consider how eager they are. If they are hikers in the making, they will enjoy it. If they don’t really like walking (especially uphill), then give it a miss and opt for a boat tour instead.
The interesting thing about this hike is that you will be completely immersed in nature with no real sight of the sea until almost the very end, when you will be able to spot magnificent views of the cove below.
As Cala Goloritzé is surrounded by mountains, the sun starts going down and the beach gets in the shade as early as 4:00 pm even in the peak months. Most people start leaving then, for fear of being stuck in the dark on the trail.
The good news is that once you get on the main part of the trail, it will still be in full daylight, so you can linger at the beach a bit longer and actually walk up when the temperatures are a bit more forgiving.
You really need hiking shoes for this hike. Though I would classify it as moderate, the terrain can be tricky and slippery and you will often be walking on gravel and smooth rocks.
You can also join this guided hike to Cala Goloritzé that departs from Baunei.
Check out my post The Best Hikes In Sardinia.
Here are a few more tips to make the most of your time at Cala Goloritzé.
BRING WHATEVER YOU NEED FOR THE DAY – This is not a serviced beach (don’t expect to find toilets!) and you will need to bring whatever you may need for the day – from an umbrella for some much needed shade, to water, food and sunblock. You will also need to bring a towel and snorkeling gear, as this is one of the best snorkeling spots in Sardinia!
NO DOGS ALLOWED – This is a highly protected beach and unfortunately you will need to leave your pet at home for the day.
LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS – There are no garbage bins at the beach. You will have to take back with you whatever trash you produce during the day. This also goes for cigarette butts, in case you are a smoker.
DON’T STEAL SAND – Or pebbles, in this case. Stealing sand, stones and shells from Sardinian beaches is a crime and if you are caught with it you’ll end up with an expensive fine. Read more about it here.
BEWARE THERE’S NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY – Keep this in mind, especially in case you decide to climb the rock to dive in the water, or if the water is rough! There is however a guard on the beach that can call for help in case of emergencies.
Other nearby beaches
The Gulf of Orosei, where Cala Goloritzé is located, is home to some of the most scenic beaches in Sardinia. Here are some of my favorite ones:
SPIAGGIA DELLE SORGENTI – Literally Spring Beach in English, this is a beach where spring water gets onto the beach flowing between the rocks. It’s located around 200 meters north of Cala Goloritizé.
CALA MARIOLU – North of Cala Goloritzé, this beach is famous for its tiny white pebbles white as snow, which give it the name Ispuligi de Nie (literally “snow flakes” in Sardinian). It can be reached by boat or on a strenuous hike departing from the Golgo Plateau.
CALA DEI GABBIANI – North of Cala Goloritzé, this small cove has the clearest water you can think of.
CALA BIRIOLA – Also referred to as Cala Biriala, this small cove can be reached by boat or on a strenuous hike that includes abseiling.
CALA SISINE – This is one of the most accessible beaches in the area, located at the end of a ravine which was once a river bed. You can get there by boat, or by car until a certain point, after which you will have to walk.
POOLS OF VENUS – Piscine di Venere in Italian, this is not actually a beach but a stunning swimming spot.
CALA LUNA – Pictured above, this is one of the most famous beaches in Sardinia. The set of the famous movie “Swept Away”, it can be reached by boat of on a hike departing from Cala Fuili, south of Cala Gonone.
There even are a few caves – namely the Grotta del Miracolo and Grotta del Bue Marino, once inhabited by monk seals.
Check out my post 30 Great Movies Filmed In Sardinia And About Sardinia.
Where to stay to easily access Cala Goloritzé
Depending on whether you want to hike or take a boat to Cala Goloritzé, you should sleep in either Baunei or Santa Maria Navarrese. Both have good accommodation options. I have tried and recommend each and every one mentioned here:
Hotel Bia Maore – in Baunei, it has nice rooms decorated according to the local style. Breakfast is excellent.
Hotel Nicoletta – in the center of Santa Maria Navarrese, it features classic rooms and has access to a private beach area.
Are you planning a trip to Sardinia? Make sure to check out my other posts:
- The 15 Best Beaches In Sardinia
- A Quick Guide To Cala Luna, Sardinia
- A Concise Guide To The Golfo Di Orosei
- 10 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Sardinia
- Where To Stay In Sardinia: The Best Areas And Hotels
- The Most Unique Airbnbs In Sardinia – With Prices!
- The Most Beautiful Beach Resorts In Sardinia
- 17 National Parks And Nature Reserves In Sardinia
- A Quick Guide To Is Arutas
- A Quick Guide To Mari Pintau
- An Easy Guide To Cala Zafferano