Sardinia is a land full of natural wonders, where you can find unexpected landscapes, even spectacular 72-meter-tall (that’s more than 236 feet) waterfalls! The waterfalls of Lequarci, are just one of the many wonders that the town of Ulassai has to offer.
This small village located in central-eastern Sardinia is home to wonderful caves all waiting to be discovered, as well as breathtaking hiking trails. Ulassai itself, surrounded by the typical Tacco (Heel) formations and mountains of Sardinia, is a beautiful place, where you can discover Sardinian traditions and history.
If you want to visit a lesser known part of Sardinia, one that not many tourists ever discover, this guide is for you. Here, I will share some tips on what to see in Ulassai, and how to plan your visit.
Don’t forget to read my post The Most Beautiful Hidden Gems In Sardinia.
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Some Background Information About Ulassai, Sardinia
Ulassai is a town in the province of Nuoro, in a region of Sardinia known as Ogliastra. Surrounded by limestone mountains, covered by lush vegetation, the area of UIassai is a place frozen in time, full of charm and magic, perfect if you love unspoiled places.
Located at 800 meters (that’s 2,624 feet) above sea level, Ulassai is in what became popular as the Blue Zone of Sardinia, a geographic and demographic area where life expectancy is much longer than the average. In fact, in this region, people often reach 100 years of age!
The History Of Ulassai
Ulassai’s history dates back to the time of the Nuragic civilization, as evidenced by the several settlements discovered in the area, as well as the burial grounds, called the Tombs of the Giants.
In the Middle Ages, like many small towns in Sardinia, Ulassai was passed from one ruler to the other, including the Republic of Pisa. In the 19th century, Ulassai and its territory saw the proliferation of banditry.
Nowadays, Ulassai is known for its gorgeous landscape and the many hiking trails that allow visitors to admire it. To find out more, just keep on reading.
What To See In Ulassai
The village of Ulassai
Surrounded by nature, the small town of Ulassai has a rich history, culture, art and tradition is definitely worth visiting.
Famous for the production of Cannonau wine and olive oil, Ulussai is also the birthplace of the famous artist Maria Lai, to whom the the civic museum has been dedicated: the Stazione dell’Arte, set up in the town’s old train station and a must see for all art aficionados. The artist’s works can also be seen around the town, such as in the municipal wash house.
Another place you should not miss is the small church of Santa Barbara, located on the road to the Lequarci Waterfalls and built in the typical Sardinian style, with local stone and granite.
Ulassai had very few influence from the outside for a very long time, so it kept most of its traditions intact. You can discover Sardinian customs and gastronomic recipes handed down from generations. Among the local specialties, I recommend trying the Culurgiones, a handmade pasta stuffed with potatoes, Sardinian pecorino cheese and mint.
Culurgiones are found throughout the Ogliastra region, and each and every village has its own secret recipe for them.
Su Marmuri Caves
The Su Marmuri Caves (the literal translation of the name is “marble caves”) are among the most important in Europe. You will find them on the slopes of the Ulassai’s Tacco, a massif that looms over the town.
They extend for more than 800 meters (that’s almost 2,625 feet) and reach as high as 70 meters (about 230 feet). Inside the caves it is possible to admire the ever-changing stalactites and stalagmites in large and evocative natural halls. Among them, the “great hall” strikes with its width of 30 meters (98.5 feet) and height of 72 meters (more than 236 feet), while the “organ hall” features formations similar to the pipes of the musical instrument.
Make sure to read my post The Most Impressive Caves In Sardinia.
Waterfalls of Lecorci and Lequarci
The Lecorci and Lequarci waterfalls are a truly unique sight and one of the main reasons to visit Ulassai. The water falls from the so-called Tacchi, typical formations of the area, characterized by smooth vertical walls covered by typical Mediterranean vegetation that reach about 1,000 meters in height – that’s more than 3,280 feet).
The waterfalls of Lecorci form at the foot of the Tacco, the same where the caves of Su Marmuri are located. The Lecorci falls then join the Lequarci falls, the largest in Sardinia. The striking landscape, situated in a long canyon, is a must for hiking lovers, as well as climbing enthusiasts.
The best way to explore the area is on guided hiking tours. Several depart every weekend, but you also have the option of joining a guided tour that goes on Mondays. For more information, click here.
Check out my post The Most Beautiful Waterfalls In Sardinia.
Where to stay in Ulassai
For overnight stays in Ulussai, you can book a room in one of the local B&Bs such as Antico Borgo and S’Omu e Idda, or at the Hotel Su Marmuri, the only one in town. Alternatively, you can always look for rooms or houses for rent, a nice way to experience the life in a village surrounded by nature.
To look for accommodation in Ulassai, click here.
How to get to Ulassai
If you are traveling by plane, the nearest airport to Ulussai is Cagliari Airport, which is 117 km (a bit less than 78 miles) away. To get to Ulassai from Cagliari, you are better off renting a car – it is the fastest and most convenient way to get from Cagliari to Ulussai.
By car, you need to take the SS 125 all the way past Tertenia, and continue until you reach the junction for the SP11 Jerzu/Ulassai/Orsini. The journey will take you around 1 hour and 50 minutes, but you can make several stops along the way.
Alternatively, you can consider taking a bus from the regional ARST service. To get to Ulussai from Cagliari, you need to take line 103. Expect the trip to last around 3 hours.