The Little Mermaid, Sardinia: Filming Locations, Itineraries And More

Have you watched the movie The Little Mermaid? Don’t you agree with me that locations are absolutely fabulous? Would you like to see the Little Mermaid filming locations and feel like The Little Mermaid herself?

If your answers are yes, then you have only one option: visit Sardinia! Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed here, in this island that we call paradise on earth. Curious to find out more? Then continue reading, as in this post I will share the Little Mermaid Sardinia filming locations, and include a bunch of useful (and local) tips to help you plan your visit.

At the end of this post, I even suggest a Little Mermaid Sardinia itinerary!

But what’s the movie about? I will do my best not to spoil it, but here it is!

Looking for more movies filmed in Sardinia? Then read my post 30 Great Movies Filmed In Sardinia And About Sardinia.

The Little Mermaid Sardinia
Photo by AerialDronePics @shutterstock

The Little Mermaid In Sardinia

This famous Disney tale that tells the story of Ariel, the youngest of King Triton’s seven daughters. She wants to know more about the world beyond the sea and her curiosity about humans grows since she rescues Prince Eric from a sinking ship during a storm.

Breaking her father’s rules, Ariel accepts the magic spell offered by her aunt, witch Ursula, and loses her fish tail and her voice in exchange for two legs and two feet to follow her heart and passions. However, Ariel’s choice endangers her life and her father’s kingdom.

But I don’t want to spoil the whole story, in case you haven’t watched the cartoon or the movie.

What’s new about this movie, then? In addition to the songs we love, such as “Under the Sea”, that won the Oscar prize as Best Song, there are three new entries.

Many of the outdoor scenes of the live-action remake of the musical classic were shot, as I wrote before, on the northern coast of Sardinia, between Golfo Aranci, Santa Teresa di Gallura and Castelsardo.

The production chose Sardinia not only because of the beauty of its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and dramatic coastline with cliffs where massive waves break against the rocks, but also for the history and rich cultural heritage of the island.

Finally, let’s discover The Little Mermaid filming locations in Sardinia.


Little Mermaid Sardinia Filming Locations


The castle that Ariel looks at from a rock in the sea is Casterlsardo, a little town in the north of Sardinia, an hour by car from Alghero and less than two hours from Olbia.

Castelsardo is located inside the Asinara Gulf and is included in the “100 Most Beautiful Italian Villages”. It was originally called “Castel Genovese” because of the castle, which is still in perfect conditions, that gives the name to the village.

Although from a distance the castle is that of Castesardo, perched on a cliff by the sea, going to visit it, you should not expect to find the reconstruction we see in the film. In fact, I would remind you that the places were only used for outdoor scenes.

Moreover, there are no palm trees (well, at least not like those shown in the movie) in Sardinia! Being set in the Caribbean Sea, these were all added during editing.

Calessino tour of Castelsardo

The Doria Castle still retains its original form: it survived wars and needed only reinforcements. It has now been converted into a museum where various objects from around the Mediterranean basin are on display.

From the castle the view is fabulous: you can admire the entire Gulf of Asinara, the city and, when the weather is clear, even Corsica. On the other way, if you prefer to see, as Ariel did, the castle from the sea in the distance you can rent a boat with a skipper.

Anyway, simply arriving to Castelsardo by car from the western part of Sardinia you’ll have a breath-taking view of the village.

If you are keen on visiting Castelsardo, you will find my post The Best Guide To Castelsardo, Sardinia particularly useful.

The Little Mermaid Sardinia
Photo by Rodolfo Baldussi @shutterstock

Rena Majore Beach in Aglientu

Do you remember the scene where Ariel emerges from the crystal clear sea turning her head and hair? Of course you do, it’s impossible to forget! And it’s also part of the trailer. That scene, as the one in which Ariel rescues Eric, and many others are shot at Rena Majore Beach near Santa Teresa di Gallura.

Rena Majore is one of the most beloved beaches of north Sardinia and it was famous even before The Little Mermaid was filmed in Sardinia. In fact, it was chosen for being the natural set of some commercials.

You will love this beach for the contrast of white fine sand, the different shades of the blue sea and the darker ones of the granite rocks that separates in two the shoreline. The sea gently slopes allowing bathing even for children and less experienced swimmers, while, further out, the seabed is rich in fish, attracting snorkelers and divers.

Santa Teresa di Gallura hotels

Even if the sand is dotted with rocks, you won’t have any chance to find the one where Ariel lays looking at the castle because, in reality, that does not exist. I’m sure anyway that you won’t be disappointed by the beauty of this place.

Rena Majore is equipped with a large parking site nearby and a kiosk where you can rent umbrellas and chairs or get some food and a drink. Because of its beauty, easy access and services, during summer Rena Majore can get quite crowded.

The beach is only 5 minutes by car from Rena Majore village, after which it takes the name, and it’s really easy to find following road signs. In the village some streets take their names to the sea, in fact, you can find Via del Tritone, Via del Tridente, Via del Delfino and many others.

The Little Mermaid Sardinia
Photo by Marco Bongera @shutterstock

Rena di Matteu Beach in Aglientu

Less than a kilometer away from Rena Majore Beach, connected to it by a beautiful walk by the coast, you can find Rena di Matteu Beach.

The turquoise and blue shades of the sea in contrast to dark rocks emerging from the water, the white fine sand, the shallow seabed, all enclosed by small cliffs at either end of the beach are the perfect background of the carriage ride scenes with Ariel and Eric.

You’ll love this beach for many reasons: its beauty, the lack of any services that makes you feel like you are in an unspoilt paradise, the amazing panorama of Capo Testa on your right, Monti Russu on your left, Corsica in the background and even Asinara island in the distance, when the sky is very clear.

You can reach Rena di Matteu only on foot following a 15-minute footpath starting in Rena Majore Beach or, on the other side, through a path from Cala Pischina.

Do not forget to take everything you need for the day such as water, food, sun protection because, as I told you before, there are no services on this beach.

Cala Moresca
Photo by AerialDronePics @shutterstock

Cala Moresca – Olbia

Cala Moresca is the natural set where the scenes of the fishermen’s village and the surroundings of the castle pier were filmed.

A few kilometers away from Olbia, next to Golfo Aranci village and within the protected area of the promontory of Capo Figari, there is this hidden gem: two little beaches of fine golden sand with the clearest emerald sea you’ll ever see (Costa Smeralda takes from the color of the sea).

The beaches face Figarolo island, which stands out from the water with its unique pyramid shape.

Behind the beaches there is a pine forest: you will enjoy the shade of its trees during the hottest hours of the day. A path in the Mediterranean vegetation will take you to two other beaches: Cala Greca and Cala del Sonno.

It is easy to get to Cala Moresca from Olbia: follow the direction to Golfo Aranci and once you go past the village, keep following Cala Moresca’s sign. Once you reach the car park, you’ll have to walk for a few minutes to reach the beach.

Another option is to book a boat excursion such as this one that will take you also next to Figarolo Island.

Much like Spiaggia Rena di Matteu, Cala Moresca is not a serviced beach. So remember to take everything you need with you.

For more information about Olbia, head over to my post The Most Complete Guide To Olbia, Sardinia.

You should also consider reading my post The Best Beaches In Northern Sardinia.

Cala Moresca

A Little Mermaid Sardinia Itinerary

If you are planning a trip to Sardinia to picture yourself as The Little Mermaid, you will find these itineraries particularly useful.

Little Mermaid Sardinia itinerary option 1

You can fly directly to Olbia airport and rent a car. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to move within Sardinia by public transport. You can spend one night or more between Olbia and Costa Smeralda to visit Cala Moresca.

Then drive to Santa Teresa di Gallura to see the other The Little Mermaid Sardinia locations, you can spend a few more days here to enjoy some other beautiful beaches.

And, last but not least, you should reach Castelsardo to admire the castle.

You can keep driving to Alghero where there’s another airport or come back to Olbia. If you have enough time you can keep on visiting Sardinia. I’m sure you will love the sea, food and wine and the welcoming of the locals.

Little Mermaid Sardinia itinerary option 2

Alternatively, you can fly to Alghero and rent a car here. My personal advice is to stay a couple of days in Alghero: once there I’m sure you’ll understand why I recommend it.

From Alghero drive to Castelsardo, you will love the view of Castelsardo in the distance.

Enjoy this unique village for at least one night and have a delicious dinner at Il Cormorano, and then keep driving to Santa Teresa di Gallura to visit Spiaggia Rena Majore and Spiaggia Rena di Matteu.

Your last stop will be Olbia for Cala Moresca.

If you prefer a customized itinerary based on the number of days you wish to spend in Sardinia, your passions (for example sightseeing, hiking, snorkeling, diving) and your budget you can browse my page Sardinia Holidays Planning and pick one of my services.

Otherwise, consider one of my Sardinia Itineraries which are readily available!

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Discover the Little Mermaid Sardinia filming locations - via @c_tavani

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