A Quick Guide To Cala Luna, Sardinia

Cala Luna, in the Gulf of Orosei, is one of the most scenic beaches on the eastern coast of Sardinia. Located between the regions of Barbagia and Ogliastra, it’s a place of incredible beauty – so much so, that it’s been used as the set of many movies. 

Located between the territories of Baunei and Dorgali and often contended between the two, this cove is surrounded by rock formations and scattered along the beach you will find five caves which are the perfect framing for photos, not to mention a great place to look for shade in the summer months. 

Although not accessible by car, Cala Luna is hardly a secret spot. Go there in the peak summer months and the beach will be crowded with families who got there by boat, or group of excursionists who hiked there. Yet, if you happen to be visiting the eastern coast of Sardinia, Cala Luna is an unmissable spot. 

In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know to plan your visit to Cala Luna, and a few tips that will help you make the most of this incredible place.

diving in Sardinia, Cala Luna
A view of Cala Luna as seen during the hike

Everything You Need To Know About Cala Luna Beach

Cala Luna Beach

Cala Luna – Elune, in the Sardinian variety spoken in Baunei – is a gorgeous 800 meters cove of fine golden sand, surrounded by white cliffs that raise up to 300 meters which are perfect for rock climbing and characterized by beautiful azure waters which are shallow for the first meters and soon after become deep, yet so transparent that they are perfect for snorkeling, diving and fishing.

The beach is located at the mouth of Illune River, at the end of Codula di Luna canyon. Getting to the sea, the river creates a small lagoon surrounded by a forest of oleanders, holm oak, oak and Mediterraenan bush.

South of the beach, you can spot Masongiu Peak; whereas to the north you will find five small caves that provide shelter from the sun and a nice frame for photos.

FUN FACT: Cala Luna has been the set of a bunch of famous movies. The most notable one is Swept Away – both the original movie by Lina Wertmuller and the remake by Guy Ritchie were filmed there. Another movie filmed in Cala Luna is Mr Robinson, a parody of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Though there is no umbrella and sun beds rental at Cala Luna beach, nor a lifeguard service, you can find a kiosk at the back of the beach, immersed in the forest; and you can rent kayaks and pedalos directly at the beach. 

Cala Luna

How to get to Cala Luna

Cala Luna can’t be reached by car, but I promise you that your efforts to get there will pay off entirely. The easiest way of getting to Cala Luna is by boat. If you are up for a bit more of a challenge, you can hike there. I have done both, and each way has its perks – though keep in mind I don’t recommend hiking in the peak summer months, when the weather is too hot.

By Boat 

Boats to Cala Luna and other beaches in the Gulf of Orosei depart regularly from Cala Gonone, and you can opt to just stop in Cala Luna or go on a hop on hop off boat cruise.

Prices vary depending on the kind of boat you opt for – with zodiacs usually being more expensive, but also much faster as they carry less people. If you opt for a charter ferry, tickets cost between €16 and €25 roundtrip, depending on the season (prices are on the higher spectrum in the peak weeks).

Here are a couple of options you can book online, but keep in mind they actually are day trips from Cagliari (including transportation and all entry fees):

Cala Luna cave

On a Hike

There are two trails to reach Cala Luna, both of them there and back. The timings reported are average and as for any hike depend on your pace and on how often you stop. By all means, and remember to factor in time in Cala Luna!

TRAIL ONE – It departs from Teletottes, in the Supramonte region near Urzulei. It’s a strenuous hike of 21 km there and back that will take you around 10 hours.

TRAIL TWO – This is the trail I followed last time I went to Cala Luna. It departs from Cala Fuili, the last cove you can reach by car from Cala Gonone. It’s a moderate hike (difficult in parts) of around 12 km there and back, that can take 6 hours or more, depending on how often you stop. The trail follows the coast but goes through the beautiful Mediterranean vegetation, so for the most part you won’t be getting views. While the hike is mostly moderate, there are parts in which you have to climb large rocks. 

GOOD TO KNOW: If you decide to hike to Cala Luna when the beach season has started and boat services to the beach are running, you will have the option of getting back to Cala Gonone by boat. You can get boat tickets directly at the beach, right by the dock. Keep in mind that a shuttle service from Cala Gonone to Cala Fuili is offered for an additional €2, but if you need to return to Teletottes (about 1.5 hours to drive from Cala Gonone to Teletottes) you will have to coordinate the cars independently.

For guided hikes to Cala Luna that include transportation from Orosei, click here.

Other useful information 

To make the most of your time in Cala Luna, I thought I’d share a few more tips.

BRING WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE DAY – There is a kiosk in Cala Luna – immersed in the wood behind the beach. There you can grab a meal and a drink. However, keep in mind that the location means it is overpriced and you would be better off carrying whatever you need for the day, which includes an umbrella for shade, sunblock, food and water.

DON’T TAKE SAND – Stealing sand, pebbles, stones and shells from Sardinian beaches is prohibited and if you are caught with it, you will be given a fine. 

TAKE YOUR TRASH BACK WITH YOU – There are no trash bins at the beach, so make sure to pack whatever trash you have and take it back home with you and dispose of this properly. The same goes for cigarette butts: don’t drop them in the sand. 

THERE’S NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY – Make sure to keep this in mind. 

Cala Sisine
The beautiful Cala Sisine

Other nearby beaches

Cala Luna is located in the Gulf of Orosei, where you will find an incredible amount of gorgeous beaches.

North of Cala Luna, Cala Fuili is the last beach accessible by car from Cala Gonone, and the starting point of the hike to Cala Luna. Not far from it, at 3 km from Cala Luna, there are the Grotte del Bue MarinoSea Oxen Grotto – are accessible by boat and among the best known caves in Sardinia. 

South of Cala Luna, accessible by boat or on more or less strenuous hikes departing from the Altipiano del Golgo, near Baunei, you will find a few other beautiful beaches – namely:

CALA SISINELocated at the end of a ravine which was once a river bed, it’s one of the largest in the area, accessible on an easy hike.

CALA BIRIOLA – A small, very scenic beach of tiny white and pink pebbles and incredibly clear waters. You can get there by boat or on a very strenuous hike that requires abseiling too.

PISCINE DI VENERE (VENUS POOLS) – Not a beach, but a stretch of water with the most incredibly clear waters.

CALA MARIOLUAlso known as Ispuligi de Nie (literally “snow flakes” in Sardinian) because of the tiny white pebbles, it’s one of the most famous beaches in the area. Most people go there by boat as the hike is truly difficult.

CALA DEI GABBIANI – Accessible on a strenuous hike or by boat, it’s a beautiful tiny stretch of white-as-snow pebbles and clear waters.

GROTTA DEL FICO – Another lovely cave, closer to Cala Goloritzé.

CALA GOLORITZE’ – One of the most peculiar beaches in Sardinia thanks to its Pinnacle, it is actually only accessible via a hike departing from the Golgo Plateau. You can read more about it in my post A Useful Guide To Cala Goloritzé.

Cala Gonone
Cala Gonone at sunset

Where to stay to easily access Cala Luna

Whether you want to hike to Cala Luna or get there by boat, the best place to stay will be Cala Gonone, Dorgali’s seaside town. This is a popular summer holiday resort where you won’t have troubles finding accommodation options to cater your needs and budget. The following is a selection of good places to stay:

  • PALMASERA BED AND BREAKFAST – Close to the beach and the center of Cala Gonone, this small hotel offers comfortable, nicely decorated rooms (some of them with views of the sea). Pets are welcome.
  • HOTEL VILLA GUSTUI MARIS – A nice seaside hotel with comfortable rooms decorated in classic style. The massive pool is an added bonus.

Further readings

Are you planning to visit Sardinia? Make sure to check out my other posts:

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Discover what you need to know about Cala Luna - via @c_tavani

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