Original Post August 1, 2021 | Updated September 1, 2023
Searching for that perfect beach in Sardinia? I’ve got you covered here. On our visit to Sardinia, one of our list of things we wanted to do was to visit many of this Italian island’s crystal clear, aquamarine beaches. After much research and having picked to stay on the Eastern coast of Sardinia in Baunei, we found that Cala Goloritzé is one of Sardinia’s most sought-after beaches. We decided to hike to Cala Goloritzé, and I can see why this beach is worth the trek. I’m here to share our finds and tips for hiking Cala Goloritzé.
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Cala Goloritzé is a small beach in Sardinia, on the island’s eastern side in the Ogliastra region, and has been a “Natural Monument” since 1993. A favorite for locals and tourists alike, Cala Goloritzé boasts of wild and unspoiled coastlines where you’ll find limestone cliffs, mountain ridges, and rock formations of differing heights covered in intense green Mediterranean vegetation. Among those rock formations is the famed tall, pointed, needle-looking rock, Aguglia di Goloritzè. Sometimes you’ll find thrill seekers and adventurers brave enough to climb these rocks.
Zoom out to see a map of Sardinia and the location of Cala Goloritze
The beach is something out of Instagram; really, this is how I found it, as it is one of the most photogenic coastal locations in Sardinia. There’s no way you can resist the aquamarine, blue-greenish water of Cala Goloritzé. Be forewarned; however, this beach is not sandy. There are small pebbly rocks along the shores, so it’s not comfortable to walk or sit on when you’re on the beach relaxing. But don’t let that deter you away.
How to Get to Cala Goloritzé
There are two ways to reach this stunning beach, by boat or foot. Planning to take the trek on foot, be prepared to save this entire day for Cala Golortizé. It’s a fun outing by boat, but you won’t be close enough to enjoy the beach’s shores, read more below.
Hiking to Cala Goloritzé
We utilized one full day of hiking to and beaching it up at one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia, the Cala Goloritzé beach. Since we were based out of Baunei, the nearest town, we drove 20 minutes up into the mountains. You’ll want to put Su Porteddu as your GPS destination to find the location to begin your hike to Cala Goloritze. It is a dirt road, so keep this in mind when you rent a car for this journey; fun fact, we drove through a herd of cows and goats along this road which my children found so intriguing.
When you locate Su Porteddu, you’ll find a bar/restaurant and its parking area (free). Beyond the parking area, you’ll find a small wooden building kiosk, where the staff will be waiting for you before you start your hike. Before we move on to the hike, I highly recommend using the bathroom at the small bar/restaurant before your trek, which was free during our visit.
Just a note, Cala Goloritzé is not a free beach. A protected site since 1995, to prevent overcrowding this protected area, you must reserve your spot in advance (at least 72 hours prior) on the Heart of Sardinia app as only a certain number of people (up to 250 as of summer 2021 and recent according to Heart of Sardinia App) can be at the beach for the day. It was about €6 per person, €24 altogether for my family of four. We paid via the Heart of Sardinia app via Paypal, and I saved my receipts and showed the staff at the small wooden kiosk before our hike. You can also pay at the kiosk, but be prepared to know that it is cash only, and you still must reserve your spot online.
Additionally, I also recommend reserving an early time slot. Reserving an early slot (7:30 am) gives you time to hike the 1-hour trek to the beach, find a good spot to rest your belongings, enjoy the beach an entire day, and still hike it back to your car before the end of the day. Additionally, the entrance to the beach is manned by someone that will also be checking your receipt, so make sure you hold onto that receipt.
Hiking to the Beach
We started our hike around 8:30 am from the starting point near the kiosk. Here’s the tea, the trek on foot takes about an hour, and the return trip to the car takes roughly 1.5-2 hours back. However, the hike to the beach is worth it, trust me. It’s a moderately easy hike, and kids can certainly do it; my 15 and 9-year-old girls did this hike just fine. Additionally, I recommend good hiking shoes or closed-toe shoes with grips (I wore my Keens sandals).
The path follows what seems like an old donkey/goat trail and is a mixture of dirt, rocky pathways, and rocky steps. I recommend being mindful of your steps during the hike for loose rocks; I almost slipped a few times. Hiking sticks might also be helpful. Additionally, the great thing about this hike are the surrounding rock formations and vegetation you can see along the way. At some points, we stopped for the view. There were specific vantage points with views of cliffsides and rugged terrain, with the ocean in the background being breathtaking. Additionally, my little one was excited to hear goats roaming nearby during our hike.
Do we regret the hike to the beach? It was tough but one of the most rewarding family experiences we have ever had! I don’t think my kids have hiked for this long, but I was proud of them. The best thing about this hike was not only appreciating the Mediterranean backdrop, but the final destination to the beach was an excellent reward; more on that in a bit.
Take a Boat to Cala Goloritzé
If you’re not the hiking type, or if mobility is an issue, you can also visit Cala Goloritzé by taking a boat from nearby Santa Maria Navaresse or Cala Gonone. As a protected beach and one you must pay to visit and hike or boat to, boats are only allowed 200 meters from shore. It is constantly manned and patrolled. And, rightly so, for such a beautiful location.
There are several tour companies offering boat tours and rentals. Again, the catch, boats can only dock 200 meters from the shore, so sadly, you’ll have to swim to shore or swim nearby. You can find wonderful boat excursions, here.
Enjoy the Day at Cala Goloritzé
It took us about 1.5 hours to finally make it to the top of the beach (we took our time as I was constantly taking photos and carefully making my way down without falling on my behind due to the loose rocks). This is why I highly advise closed-toe shoes with good hiking support; here’s one I highly recommend!
As mentioned above, hiking to Cala Goloritzé is worth it. Here is why… check this beach out.
As you arrive at the top of the beach and view your surroundings and scenery, you can see why Cala Goloritzé beach is gorgeous in its own way. Be very careful as you descend the wooden steps to the beach, it is very narrow, and there were some steps not usable but can be walked around on. I ensured my husband had eyes and assistance ready for the girls. Once you descend down to the beach, a staff is waiting at the foot of the stairs to check your receipt for payment of an entry.
We were very glad to have arrived early. Since it was a tiny beach, we were able to find an excellent spot to rest our belongings. We brought our travel beach tent that is so light from Decathlon to hold our stuff and keep us shaded at times. Arriving early also allowed us to enjoy the beach the whole day.
It’s really hard to describe the water; with its shimmering aquamarine color, it was easy to fall in love, especially when the sun hit the water the right way. Temperature-wise, the crystal clear blue/green water was cold in early August, but with the August heat on this Italian island, you get used to it. Additionally, to enjoy the water even more, I also recommend bringing your snorkel gear; there are areas that are neat to snorkel in around the beach and secret coves to enjoy.
As mentioned above, this is not a sandy beach. On this beach, you’ll find minuscule, white pebbles along the shores. It is still easily enjoyable and not a reason to skip this beach.
Besides being tiny, the downside to this beach is that there are no amenities on the beach, no bathrooms, and no restaurants. We brought our own food with us and snacked and picnicked on the beach. Furthermore, the beach can get crowded later during the day as beach goers and boaters start to make their way to the beach.
We spent the entire day enjoying this beach from 10:00 am until we left the beach to make the trek back at 2:30 pm. I didn’t want to leave. By then, the crowd was filling up the beach, and we were ready to hike back before the rest of the crowd would be hiking back.
Hiking Our Way Back
The hike back to the restaurant and entrance was challenging. As I mentioned earlier, hiking to the beach takes about 1 hour to reach the beach. However, the trek back takes twice as long, roughly about 1.5-2 hours. It is an uphill hike following the donkey trail back with loose rocks here and there. Furthermore, the intense heat in early August also didn’t help. We stopped several times under any shade to rest our bodies and drink water. I recommend you bring at least 2 liters of water per person for this hike.
It is not a strenuous hike, but a bit more challenging and mostly uphill, hot hike back. Don’t let this deter you if you have kids, my teen and tween kids were able to do this, and I found other families with smaller children hiking to and from the beach. Also, the beach closes around 6 pm during the summer, so that would also be a good time to hike back, but please give yourself plenty of time before it gets dark out as I would not want to be hiking this trail in the dark. Additionally, overnight camping or stays are not allowed on the beach.
Tips for Hiking Cala Goloritzé
- Download the “Heart of Sardinia” App and search for Cala Goloritzé
- Pay via “Heart of Sardinia” App after picking your dates and times (I paid via paypal, and for a family of four it costs us €24, €6/pp)
- Reserve an early slot to hike early to the beach and be able to spend the day and have enough time to hike back to the car
- It takes about one hour to hike down to the beach, and approximately 1.5-2 hour uphill hike back with a distance of about 6km in total from there and back.
- Carry enough water for each person, at least 2 liters/person
- Wear good hiking shoes or closed toe shoes with good grips
- Wear proper clothing for a hike at the beach depending on the season, we had wick away summer hiking clothes and our bathing suit on underneath.
- Carry snacks, there won’t be any food stalls on the trail or at the beach. We carried a small lunch box of snacks and sandwiches to eat at the beach and granola bars.
- Use the restroom before your hike, there are no rest stops along the way or at the beach. There is a restaurant Su Porteddu at the start of the hike you can use the bathroom at no cost when we went
- Watch your steps for loose rocks
- Take plenty of photos
Location: near Baunei (9 kilometers North of Baunei), Province of Ogliastra, East Sardinia, Italy; GPS link to Su Porteddu: https://goo.gl/maps/BFG5n2QjXLamnMTc8
Things to do: snorkeling, hiking, climbing, birdwatching
How to Make Reservations: Download the Heart of Sardinia App and input Cala Goloritzé. Reserve the desired date and time. Adults are 6 euros, children under 6 are free; Residents are free with proof of verification on spot). Pay online via paypal or on site (pay cash online in Euros). Save reciept until you get to the Beach to show the staff you have paid. There is only a max of 250 people/day at the beach allowed, so making reservations in advance is recommended.
How to Get To Cala Goloritzé by car:
- Input Su Porteddu onto your GPS, follow the signs, you’ll see on the roadside a sign for Bar Su Porteddu.
- You’ll then drive onto a dirt road to the parking lot of the bar.
- Walk over to the small wooden kiosk building and either pay the attendant there or show your paid reservation from Heart of Sardina App
Hours: The Trail is open from 07:30 am- 5:00 pm (2023 Heart of Sardinia App)
Hike Distance and Details:
- Roundtrip hike is about 4.69 miles
- Duration is about 1 hour to the beach; the return hike takes longer as it is an uphill hike, approximately 1.5-2hours long
- Difficulty: It is a moderately easy downhill hike with loose rocks along the way to the beach. The return hike is uphill, so a bit more challenging. We recommend taking your time and using stopping points to rest your legs and shades for hot sunny hikes back. Bring 2 liters of water/per person.
- Use this route that we used:
Items We Recommend for this Hike:
- They no longer sell the brand we bought, but here is a similar stainless steel bento box we packed our lunch in. Stainless Steel Bento Box via Amazon.
- Keen closed-toe hiking sandals for women
- Keen closed-toe hiking sandals for men
- Keen closed-toe hiking sandals for kids (this one I highly recommend for kids)!
- Decathlon Lightweight beach tent
Cala Goloritzé is a beach destination you don’t want to miss in Sardinia. The beach may be tiny, but it is beautiful. Whether you hike to the location or take a boat near the beach, you can’t go wrong with either one, although I much prefer the hike over a boat ride if you’re the adventurous hiking type. Until our next adventure in Sardinia! Fino alla nostra prossima avventura in Sardegna! Ciao!