Cala Gonone Guide: Things To Know (+10 Accomodation options)

Cala Gonone is a picturesque coastal town located in the province of Nuoro, on the eastern coast of Sardinia, Italy. Nestled between the dramatic limestone cliffs of the Supramonte range and the crystal-clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Cala Gonone is renowned for its stunning beaches, rugged landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. The town serves as a gateway to the Gulf of Orosei, an area celebrated for its unspoiled natural beauty, including numerous secluded coves, caves, and hiking trails.

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Historically, Cala Gonone has been a fishing village, with its roots tracing back to ancient times. The area was inhabited by the Nuragic civilization, known for its distinctive stone towers (nuraghes), which date back to the Bronze Age. These archaeological sites highlight the long-standing human presence and cultural significance of the region.

During the 20th century, Cala Gonone transitioned from a primarily agricultural and fishing community to a popular tourist destination, thanks to its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities. The construction of a tunnel through the mountains in the 1970s improved access to the town, spurring its development as a hub for adventure tourism. Today, Cala Gonone attracts visitors from around the world who come to explore its pristine beaches, embark on hiking adventures, and immerse themselves in the local Sardinian culture.

The town’s combination of natural beauty, historical richness, and modern amenities makes Cala Gonone a unique and appealing destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure.


Cala Gonone is renowned for its stunning beaches, each offering unique landscapes and experiences.

Here are the top five beaches you shouldn’t miss:

Cala Luna

Cala Luna is one of the most famous beaches in the Gulf of Orosei. Known for its crescent shape and crystal-clear waters, it features a stunning combination of white sand and turquoise sea. The beach is surrounded by limestone cliffs dotted with caves, providing natural shade. Cala Luna can be reached by boat or via a moderately challenging hiking trail from Cala Fuili. It’s an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the caves.

Cala Fuili

Cala Fuili is the last beach accessible by car from Cala Gonone, located at the end of Viale Bue Marino. A short but steep descent via stairs leads to this picturesque cove. The beach is composed of pebbles and white sand, set between dramatic cliffs. Cala Fuili is a popular starting point for hiking trails, including the path to Cala Luna. The clear waters and rugged surroundings make it perfect for snorkeling and rock climbing.

Cala Mariolu

Often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia, Cala Mariolu is famous for its unique, tiny white pebbles that look like sand. The beach boasts incredibly clear water, making it a paradise for snorkeling and diving. Accessible by boat or a challenging hike, Cala Mariolu offers a more secluded experience compared to other beaches. Its underwater beauty attracts divers from around the world.

Cala Sisine

Cala Sisine is another gem in the Gulf of Orosei, characterized by its mix of white sand and pebbles. The beach is surrounded by steep cliffs and lush Mediterranean vegetation. Cala Sisine is accessible by boat or by hiking from Planu ‘e Murta. The journey to the beach itself is part of the adventure, rewarding visitors with a serene and scenic location. It’s an excellent spot for swimming and enjoying the natural surroundings.

Spiaggia Centrale

Spiaggia Centrale, also known as the main beach of Cala Gonone, is the most accessible beach in the area. Located close to the harbor, it features fine sand and calm, shallow waters, making it ideal for families and those looking for a convenient beach experience. The beach is equipped with amenities such as bars, restaurants, and rental services, offering a more comfortable and leisurely environment.

These beaches highlight the diverse and breathtaking coastal scenery of Cala Gonone, each offering unique opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and exploration.

Outdoor Activities

Bue Marino Caves

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One of the main attractions of Cala Gonone is the Bue Marino Caves. These caves, accessible only by sea, offer a unique underground exploration experience. Inside, visitors can admire a series of fascinating rock formations, including stalactites and stalagmites, as well as ancient cave paintings. The caves were once home to a colony of monk seals, from which they derive their name. Guided tours provide a safe and informative way to explore these caves.

Hiking Trails

Cala Fuili to Cala Luna
The hiking trail from Cala Fuili to Cala Luna is one of the most popular in Cala Gonone. This moderate hike takes approximately two hours, winding through rugged terrain and offering spectacular views of the coastline. Starting from Cala Fuili, the trail includes rocky paths and shaded areas, making it a challenging but rewarding hike. Upon reaching Cala Luna, hikers are greeted by a stunning beach, perfect for a refreshing swim.

Gorropu Gorge

Gola di Gorropu Supramonte

Gorropu Gorge is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. The gorge is one of the deepest canyons in Europe, with walls reaching up to 500 meters high. The hike to Gorropu can start from various points, with the most common being from the bridge over the Flumineddu River. The trail is about 12 kilometers round trip and offers breathtaking views of the canyon’s dramatic landscape. This hike is recommended for experienced hikers due to its length and the rough terrain.

Boat Tours and Excursions

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Boat tours are a fantastic way to explore the Gulf of Orosei and its hidden gems. Several companies offer daily excursions from Cala Gonone, taking visitors to some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches and caves along the coast.

Gulf of Orosei Day Trip
A popular option is a full-day boat trip that includes stops at Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu, and Cala Goloritzé. These tours often include opportunities for swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. Some tours also offer guided visits to the Bue Marino Caves, famous for their stunning stalactites and stalagmites.

Dinghy Rentals
For a more private and flexible experience, visitors can rent dinghies with or without a skipper. This allows for a personalized exploration of the coast at one’s own pace, perfect for discovering hidden coves and less crowded spots.

Snorkeling and Diving Spots

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The waters around Cala Gonone are teeming with marine life, making it a prime destination for snorkeling and diving.

Cala Mariolu
Cala Mariolu is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and diverse underwater landscape. The beach’s rocky seabed and the presence of numerous caves make it an ideal spot for snorkeling and diving. The clarity of the water allows for excellent visibility, offering a glimpse of various fish species and marine flora.

Cala Goloritzé
Another excellent snorkeling spot, Cala Goloritzé, is accessible by boat or a challenging hike. The beach is famous for its limestone arch and pristine waters, providing a beautiful underwater environment. Snorkelers can explore the underwater cliffs and see a variety of sea creatures.

Bue Marino Caves
For divers, the Bue Marino Caves offer an extraordinary experience. The caves extend underwater and feature impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Diving tours often explore these underwater passages, revealing a unique subterranean world.

These activities highlight the natural beauty and adventurous opportunities that Cala Gonone has to offer, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Nuragic Ruins

Nuraghe mannu
Ilmionome (Roberta P.), Public Domain

The Nuragic civilization, which flourished in Sardinia from the Bronze Age to the Roman era, left behind numerous archaeological sites, known as nuraghes. These ancient stone structures are unique to Sardinia and are a testament to the island’s rich history.

Nuraghe Mannu
Located near Cala Gonone, Nuraghe Mannu is one of the prominent Nuragic sites in the area. This well-preserved structure offers insight into the life and architectural prowess of the Nuragic people. Visitors can explore the central tower and surrounding ruins, learning about the ancient civilization that once inhabited the region.

Village of Serra Orrios
A short drive from Cala Gonone, the Nuragic village of Serra Orrios is one of the largest and most significant sites in Sardinia. The village features numerous round huts and sacred wells, providing a glimpse into the daily life and religious practices of the Nuragic civilization. Guided tours are available, offering detailed explanations of the site’s history and significance.

Local Museums

Museo Archeologico di Dorgali
The Archaeological Museum in Dorgali, located a few kilometers from Cala Gonone, houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Nuragic, Roman, and Medieval periods. The museum’s exhibits include pottery, tools, and jewelry, offering a comprehensive overview of the region’s historical development. Interactive displays and detailed descriptions make it an educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Museo della Foca Monaca
This museum is dedicated to the Mediterranean monk seal, a species that once thrived along the Sardinian coast. Located in Cala Gonone, the museum aims to raise awareness about the conservation efforts to protect these endangered animals. Exhibits include information about the seal’s biology, habitat, and the threats they face. The museum also features multimedia presentations and educational activities for children.

Traditional Shepherd Huts (Cuiles of Buchi Arta)

Cuiles of Buchi Arta
The traditional shepherd huts, known as “cuiles,” are an integral part of Sardinian pastoral culture. The Cuiles of Buchi Arta, located in the Supramonte mountain range near Cala Gonone, are among the best-preserved examples of these structures. Built from local stone and wood, these huts served as seasonal shelters for shepherds and their flocks. Visiting the cuiles provides insight into the traditional way of life in Sardinia’s rugged interior.

Guided Tours
Several guided tours are available that take visitors to these remote sites. These tours often include hiking through the scenic Supramonte landscape and visiting the cuiles, where guides explain the construction techniques and historical context of the shepherd huts. Some tours also offer the opportunity to meet local shepherds and sample traditional Sardinian cheese and other products.

These cultural and historical sites offer a deep dive into the rich heritage of Cala Gonone and its surrounding areas, providing a fascinating complement to the region’s natural attractions.

Best Hotels and Other Accommodation Options in Cala Gonone

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Cala Gonone offers a variety of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. From beachfront hotels to rustic agriturismos, here are some of the best options:

Top Hotels in Cala Gonone

Hotel Caramare
Rated highly for its excellent location and amenities, Hotel Caramare is a small hotel that provides comfortable rooms with sea views. The hotel also offers packed lunches for beach trips and has a reputation for cleanliness and friendly service.

Hotel Brancamaria
This hotel offers a luxurious experience with spacious rooms, a large swimming pool, and panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s a bit further from the beach but provides a shuttle service for guests. It’s ideal for those looking for a more relaxed and upscale stay.

Hotel Cala Luna
Situated along the promenade, Hotel Cala Luna offers rooms with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. This family-run hotel is known for its excellent service and fine dining options. It’s a great choice for those looking to stay close to the beach and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Cala Gonone.

Hotel Ristorante La Conchiglia
Located right on the seafront, this hotel offers large rooms with modern decor and a friendly atmosphere. Guests appreciate the included breakfast and the convenience of being able to borrow umbrellas for the beach.

Club Esse Palmasera
For those looking for a resort experience, Club Esse Palmasera offers extensive grounds with multiple swimming pools, sports facilities, and entertainment options. It’s a great option for families and those who want a variety of on-site activities.

Agriturismo Around Dorgali

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Agriturismo Canales
Located near Lake Cedrino, Agriturismo Canales offers a serene setting with traditional Sardinian meals made from farm-fresh ingredients. Guests can enjoy activities such as farm tours and cheese-making demonstrations.

Agriturismo S’Ozzastru
This family-run farm stay provides comfortable accommodations and a range of activities including horseback riding and cooking classes. It’s a great way to experience Sardinian rural life and enjoy home-cooked meals.

Agriturismo Su Tiresi
Set in the hills, this agriturismo offers beautiful views and a peaceful environment. It’s known for its warm hospitality and delicious homemade food, including cheese and wine produced on-site.

Camping and RV Spots

Camping Cala Gonone
This campground is conveniently located just outside the town center and offers pitches for tents, caravans, and RVs. It’s equipped with essential amenities like showers, a bar, and a small shop. The close proximity to the beach and hiking trails makes it popular among nature enthusiasts.

Camping Car Palmasera

This RV park provides spaces with necessary services such as electricity and water. Its convenient location allows easy access to the beach and the town, making it a great base for exploring the area.

Where is Cala Gonone?

Cala Gonone is a seaside town located in the municipality of Dorgali, in the province of Nuoro, on the east coast of Sardinia, ItalyIt lies within the Gennargentu National Park and the Bay of Orosei, a coastal area known for its stunning beauty.

Best Time to Visit

Optimal Months for Travel

The best time to visit Cala Gonone is from April to September. During these months, the weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for both beach activities and hiking.

  • Spring (April to June): Spring is a fantastic time to visit if you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. The landscape is lush and green, and the weather is warm enough for outdoor activities. May and June are particularly good months for hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the area.
  • Summer (July to September): Summer is the peak tourist season in Cala Gonone, with July and August being the warmest and most crowded months. This is the best time for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the full range of beach activities. September offers a slightly quieter experience with warm temperatures still ideal for beach outings.

Weather Considerations

  • Spring: Temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). It’s generally sunny, but occasional rain showers can occur. The sea is starting to warm up, making it possible for early-season swims.
  • Summer: Average temperatures range from 25°C to over 30°C (77°F to over 86°F), with peak temperatures occasionally reaching higher. The sea temperature is perfect for swimming, ranging from 22°C to 25°C (72°F to 77°F). July and August are the driest months, with little to no rainfall.
  • Autumn: Late September into October sees a gradual drop in temperature, but the weather remains pleasant. This period can also be a good time to visit, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Seasonal Activities

  • Spring: Ideal for hiking, exploring archaeological sites, and enjoying the blooming Mediterranean flora. Trails such as the one to Cala Luna are less crowded, and the temperatures are perfect for outdoor adventures.
  • Summer: Perfect for water-based activities such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, and boat tours. Beaches like Cala Mariolu, Cala Luna, and Cala Fuili are at their best. It’s also the best time for outdoor dining and enjoying local festivals.
  • Autumn: This is a great time for those who enjoy a quieter atmosphere. The sea is still warm, making it possible to enjoy beach activities. Hiking and exploring the region’s natural beauty are still very pleasant without the intense summer heat.

Cala Gonone Weather

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Recommended Restaurants

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La Poltrona
Situated slightly inland, La Poltrona offers a mix of traditional Sardinian cuisine and Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant is known for its generous portions and friendly service. Popular dishes include porceddu (roast suckling pig) and malloreddus (Sardinian gnocchi). Their homemade desserts, like seadas (fried pastry with cheese and honey), are also highly recommended.

Ristorante Il Pescatore
Located near the waterfront, Il Pescatore is renowned for its fresh seafood dishes. The restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and specializes in local fish and seafood, including the popular spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) and grilled sea bream. Their terrace provides a beautiful view of the sea, making it a great spot for a romantic dinner.

Ristorante San Francisco
This family-run restaurant in Cala Gonone offers a wide range of local dishes, focusing on meat and fish. The warm and welcoming atmosphere complements dishes such as fregula con arselle (Sardinian couscous with clams) and the catch of the day. The restaurant also features a good selection of local wines.

Ristorante Il Nuovo Gabbiano
Located at the harbor, Il Nuovo Gabbiano is a popular choice for both locals and tourists. The menu includes fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and traditional Sardinian dishes. The panoramic views of the harbor and the Gulf of Orosei add to the dining experience. Their fish soup and seafood risotto are particularly recommended.

How to Get to Cala Gonone

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By Air
The nearest airports to Cala Gonone are Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport and Cagliari Elmas Airport.

  • Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB): Located about 105 kilometers (65 miles) north of Cala Gonone, Olbia is the most convenient airport for international and domestic flights. From Olbia, you can rent a car or take a combination of buses and trains to reach Cala Gonone.
  • Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG): Situated approximately 210 kilometers (130 miles) south of Cala Gonone, Cagliari is another option. It serves numerous international and domestic flights. From Cagliari, you can rent a car or use public transportation to get to Cala Gonone.

By Car
Driving to Cala Gonone is a convenient option that provides flexibility and ease of access to the region’s attractions.

  • From Olbia: Take the SS131DCN south towards Nuoro, then follow the signs for Dorgali and Cala Gonone. The journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • From Cagliari: Take the SS131 north towards Oristano, then follow the signs for Nuoro. From Nuoro, continue to Dorgali and then to Cala Gonone. The drive takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

By Public Transportation
While public transport is available, it requires a bit of planning and multiple transfers.

  • From Olbia: Take a train or bus to Nuoro, then a bus to Dorgali, and finally a local bus to Cala Gonone. The total travel time is around 3 to 4 hours.
  • From Cagliari: Take a train or bus to Nuoro, followed by a bus to Dorgali and another bus to Cala Gonone. This journey also takes approximately 4 to 5 hours.

Local Transportation Options

Cala Gonone has a limited but functional bus service connecting it with Dorgali and other nearby towns. ARST operates these local bus routes, which are useful for short trips and accessing nearby attractions.

Taxis are available but can be expensive. They are a convenient option for short trips or when public transportation schedules are not suitable.

Car Rentals and Bike Hires

Car Rentals
Renting a car is highly recommended for exploring Cala Gonone and its surroundings. Several car rental companies operate in Olbia, Cagliari, and even Dorgali. Having a car allows for greater flexibility in visiting remote beaches, hiking trails, and cultural sites.

  • Local Car Rental Companies: In Cala Gonone, local car rental services are available, offering a range of vehicles from compact cars to SUVs suitable for rugged terrain.

Bike Hires
Biking is a popular way to explore the scenic landscapes of Cala Gonone and the surrounding areas.

  • Mountain Bikes: Available for hire from several shops in Cala Gonone, mountain bikes are ideal for exploring the Supramonte mountains and nearby trails.
  • E-Bikes: For a more comfortable ride, electric bikes are also available. They make it easier to tackle the hilly terrain of the region.

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