A Gulf of Orosei boat tour is a great way of fully appreciating one of the best areas of Sardinia.
The Gulf of Orosei is one of the most beautiful, stunning marine areas of Sardinia. It is also one of the most difficult places to explore. If you’ve been on this site before, you have surely read that I recommend renting a car in Sardinia.
Let me tell you though, if you are planning to visit the Gulf of Orosei, that might not be enough. You will also need good physical resistance and some love for hikes because many beaches require up to 5 hours of sweat on a strenuous hiking trail.
Many, therefore, opt for a boat tour of the area. This really is the most comfortable way to see all the main coves and beaches – and several of the lesser known ones! – and it doesn’t involve waking up at the crack of dawn and using up all your energies by 10:00 am. Most boat tours of the Gulf of Orosei depart between 8:30 am 9:00 am, so you will have plenty of sleep and time for a good breakfast before you start exploring the marvels of this coast.
There are options that will meet everyone’s needs, from cheap charter or hop-on hop-off ferries, to more expensive but smaller private boats.
Finally, continue reading to find a Gulf of Orosei boat tour that is perfect for your needs.
Make sure to read my post A Short Guide Of The Golfo Di Orosei.
Gulf Of Orosei Boat Tour – All The Options
Boat tours of the Gulf of Orosei usually depart from these three locations:
CALA GONONE: The marine part of Dorgali municipality and one of the best areas in terms of infrastructure, with lots of hotels, camping sites, restaurants and more.
SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE: The coastal district of Baunei, it’s a small yet pretty village where several boat tours depart from. There are plenty of hotels and a few good restaurants.
ARBATAX: The largest hamlet of Tortolì, with its own harbor, it’s very trafficked. It’s home to the gorgeous Rocce Rosse, a few excellent beaches (Porto Frailis among all) and some great hotels and restaurants (such as La Bitta).
You will find several tours leaving from Cagliari as well, but all of them will take you to one of the departure points I have mentioned. I actually don’t recommend this as a day trip from Cagliari as it is quite a bit of a drive!
|STARTING POINT||CALA GONONE|
|PRICE||FROM $35 USD|
|EXCLUDED||GROTTE DEL BUE MARINO TICKETS, LUNCH, UMBRELLAS AND TOWELS|
This is the cheapest and most basic option, but it will allow you to see the main highlights in the Gulf of Orosei. You will board a hop-on hop-off boat with many other travelers – so it’s hardly a provate experience – but you will also spend your day around some of the best beaches in Sardinia! Places like Cala Goloritzè, Cala Mariolu, Piscine di Venere and Cala Luna are quite difficult to forget.
What about the food? You can buy lunch on the boat (they have a café) or bring your own packed lunch and enjoy it during one of the longer stops.
For an additional fee, you are also offered the possibility to visit the Sea Oxen Grotto.
|STARTING POINT||CALA GONONE; SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE|
|PRICE||FROM $79 USD PER PERSON|
|INCLUDED||SKIPPER, UMBRELLA UPON RESERVATION|
|EXCLUDED||GROTTE DEL BUE MARINO TICKET, LUNCH, SNORKELING GEAR|
If you prefer having a more private tour or you are traveling with a small group of friends, this is the best option for you. Zodiacs can carry a maximum of twelve persons and are easier to maneuver, and they actually go much faster. You can reach every cove you want and enjoy a peaceful day at sea without the hassle of a larger group tour or a mini cruise. The tour can be personalized.
|STARTING POINT||CALA GONONE; SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE|
|PRICE||UP TO $1145 FOR A GROUP OF 6|
|INCLUDED||SKIPPER, LUNCH, SNORKELING GEAR|
|EXCLUDED||GROTTE DEL BUE MARINO TICKET|
For an even more private and customizable experience, you may want to charter a zodiac with a skipper. This is one of the most expensive options; but on the other hand you will have the boat to yourself, a delicious seafood and fish lunch included, and all the flexibility to spend more or less time at the places you prefer.
|STARTING POINT||SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE, ARBATAX|
|PRICE||FROM $290 USD|
|INCLUDED||SKIPPER, DRINKS, LUNCH|
|EXCLUDED||GROTTE DEL BUE MARINO TICKET, SNORKELING GEAR, SUP RENTAL|
If you are a fan of sailing, this is an incredible option. You will spend a full day on a sailboat, exploring every corner of the Gulf of Orosei. The tour includes a private skipper, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), lunch, and an overall wonderful experience on a sailboat equipped with every comfort, including air conditioning.
|STARTING POINT||CALA GONONE, SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE, ARBATAX|
|PRICE||FROM $290 USD|
|INCLUDED||ZODIAC RENTAL, COOLER, SNORKELING GEAR|
|EXCLUDED||LUNCH, ADDITIONAL FEES, FUEL|
If you are happy to drive a zodiac, this is one of the most fun options for a full day Gulf of Orosei boat tour. Unless you have a boat license, you will be given a 40 horsepower 4-stroke engine, which is powerful enough for a group of 5 or 6 passengers. You will be able to design the tour as you wish and the overall price is actually rather convenient.
Gulf Of Orosei Boat Tour Itinerary
Although every boat tour is slightly different and the place visited may also vary depending on the day, winds, and time available, there are several must-go places included in every boat tour.
Cala Goloritzè – The most famous – and also the most beautiful, if you ask me – beach in the area, it’s a protected cove. Tour’s stop by the beach, but it’s just a picture and quick swim stop from some hundred meters: that’s how important is Cala Goloritzè to the Gulf of Orosei. If you want to visit this beach, your only option is to hike there. For more information, read this post.
Piscine di Venere – These natural pools are simply stunning and are always included in boat tours of the Gulf of Orosei. You will just dive directly from the boat into the crystal-clear water: it’s so clean, it looks like the boats are floating in the air! They are called the Pools of Venus (who is the Goddess of Beauty) for a good reason!
Cala Mariolu – This beach, famous thanks to the white grains resembling snowflakes, is another must-see in the Gulf of Orosei. In the past, it used to be crowded with monk seals, that would steal fish from the fishermen. Now, although the seals have sadly disappeared, Cala Mariolu is one of the pearls of Ogliastra. Your stop here will be short – about 1.5 hours – to give everyone an opportunity to visit. Only a limited number of visitors is allowed per time slot. Read more here.
Cala Sisine – One of the larger coves in the Gulf of Orosei, it can also be reached via an easy hike that starts from a parking lot about 2 km away. The clear water (which are however almost immediately deep) and the beautiful cliffs make it an easy favorite. Read more about it in this post.
Cala dei Gabbiani – A gorgeous cove, very similar to the others but slightly lesser known. It features tiny white pebbles and incredibly clear waters that are perfect for swimming.
Cala Biriola – One of the most popular beaches, it looks like a slice of paradise on earth. It can be reached via a very strenuous hike starting in the Golgo Plateau, above Baunei. However, I recommend the much more comfortable boat tour!
Cala Luna – Cala Luna is the longest beach in the area and is the ideal spot for a relaxing stopover. The conformation of the beach makes it an excellent place for snorkeling and there is a pine grove and a small pond behind the beach. The whole cove is surrounded by cliffs, which make for a great view and a peaceful day away from strong winds. You can also get there on a hike from Cala Fuili, near Cala Gonone. Read more about it here.
Grotta del Bue Marino – A popular stop during boat tours of the gulf (though keep in mind not all tours stop there: enquire for those that do if you are interested), this cave system is a place you definitely have to visit. Until a few decades ago, it was where the Mediterranean monk seal would live and mate. Unfortunately, they have been mercilessly hunted by the fishermen (because of the competition for the fish) and have now disappeared, but the caves are still a unique place, worth your time and the price of the ticket (between €8 and €11 depending on season).
Here are a few additional tips to make the most of your boat trip:
DON’T FORGET THE SUN CREAM – The sun is pretty strong during the summer in Sardinia!
WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES – It’s a boat tour, not a fashion show, and you will need to be as free to move around as possible.
PACK YOUR LUNCH – If food and beverages aren’t included in your tour, pack some fresh water and light food. There’s a kiosk with a restaurant only in Cala Luna.
BRING A TOWEL – And also some dry clothes with you, you may want to change at the end of the day.
HANDS OFF SAND, SHELLS AND STONES – Taking anything from the beaches of Sardinia is forbidden, and you might get fined up to €5000. Don’t believe me? Read this!
To better plan your trip to the Gulf of Orosei, you may want to read these posts:
- The Best Hotels In Santa Maria Navarrese
- A Short Guide To Dorgali
- A Concise Guide To Baunei
- The Best Boat Tours To Cala Goloritzé
- A Short Guide To Cala Gonone