This guided walking holiday, led by our local guide Alberto, or one of his colleagues, explores the contrasting landscapes of Sardinia, taking you from the wild, beautiful Barbagia region down to the stunning coastline of the Gulf of Orosei. Beyond the sandy beaches and millionaires' yachts, Sardinia is a land of shepherds' huts, traditional villages and tranquil valleys aching to be explored.
We begin in the mountain village of Aritzo, in the heart of the Gennargentu mountain range. This bustling village once prospered exporting ice from the mountains for making sorbets and ice cream; today it houses a former C17 prison and pretty C11 church. From here we explore the lush Flumendosa River Valley, dotted with chestnut woods and cork trees, and conquer Sardinia's highest peak, Punta la Marmora, for extensive views as far as the Gulf of Oristano. From Aritzo we head east towards Cala Gonone, a pretty seaside resort with a picturesque port and pebble beach. It's the perfect base to explore Sardinia's prehistoric heritage at the mysterious village of Tiscali and follow coastal paths leading to its stunning white-sand beaches.
We stay in two **** family-run hotels. Surrounded by ample parkland with a large swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi, Ninni's hotel in Aritzo is the perfect place to relax after a day's walking. Your second hotel, run by brother and sister, Alessio and Grazia, is right by the sea in Cala Gonone. Alessio is the chef and freshly prepared meals are served every evening on their terrace overlooking the sparkling Tyrrhenian sea.
The walks are mainly on stony paths and forest trails. Some ascents involve walking over loose granite stones and high stone steps, so walkers should be reasonably sure footed, have a head for heights and wear walking boots with ankle support. There is some scrambling on the Tiscali walk.
Arrive at your hotel in Aritzo where you'll spend the next three nights.
Gently climbing through chestnut woods we reach Serra Santa Maria and its newly renovated church. The Flumendosa Valley spreads out before us, as we descend past twisted cork trees and wild poppies. sheep and goats graze by the river, shaded by tamarisk trees, dotted with lilies and alive with the scent of wild mint and the humming of dragonflies. We eat our packed lunch (included) of grilled cheese, roasted lamb and fresh vegetables in a charming local agriturismo.
It's a 45-minute drive to the refuge then we set off past yew trees bright with red berries, and violet flowered willow herb to join a path, glimmering with burnished limestone rocks. The path winds along by mountain springs and alder copses to Punta la Marmora where we ascend on a pathway of pink granite stones left over from the Ice Age. We'll picnic at the summit with Sardinia mapped out below, then gradually descend through meadows, perhaps spotting wild horses and mouflons.
Today starts with a gentle walk up to the limestone tower overlooking Aritzo and the surrounding villages - we'll enjoy superb views out as far as the sea. Then we drive on to Fonni to visit the Nuraghi - Bronze Age dwellings dating back to 1500BC and found only in Sardinia. In the afternoon we visit Nuoro, the provincial capital, and its fascinating folk museum; curious carnival masks, wacky musical instruments and sumptuous sweetmeats are just some of the exhibits. Then it's on to Cala Gonone, where we spend the next four nights
We drive to Sopramonte (45 mins) then begin our climb through myrtle and rock rose. Soon forest gives way to limestone, and we walk over brilliantly coloured rocks ranging from ochre to indigo to reach Tiscali. Here there are primitive limestone huts with juniper branches for roofs, sheltered under a huge dolina (chasm). No one knows why there was a settlement here; some say it was a hide-out from the Romans. We picnic here then descend before returning to the hotel.
You could relax by the beach (it's just outside!) but it's a shame not to explore the limestone cliffs and marble pebbled coves of the Gulf of Orosei - there are regular trips from the harbour. On the way back stop off at Bue Marino, the fascinating underground canyon stretching for 15km, to discover some of its colourful limestone walls, stalactites and underground lakes.
From the Codula di Luna, a verdant canyon bright with pink oleander, the Gulf opens up before us with sweeping views back towards Cala Gonone and its pretty port. Then it's across a rocky promontory to Cala Luna, a cove of impossibly white sand shaded by limestone cliffs and lapped by the clearest azure sea. We enjoy a leisurely picnic on the beach before returning to the hotel by boat.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
NEARBY:The Hotel Sa Muvara is located just outside the little village of Aritzo in Sardinia's central mountainous region, Barbagia.
|01/05/2017 - 30/09/2017||£24||£54|
All prices shown above are valid from 10/01/2017.
The Junior Suite is larger and has a seating area. These rooms also have baths.
The Suite has a seating area, terrace and Jacuzzi.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
NEARBY:The Hotel Costa Dorada is truly a family affair, run by two brothers and a sister! The hotel is right on the sea front, just opposite a small beach and a short ten minute walk from the main beach. It is located at the far end of the small seaside resort of Cala Gonone - you can't really beat this spot for tranquillity! In addition, early risers will appreciate sitting on the veranda watching the sunrise over the bay here.
|Dates||Sea view room||Junior suite|
|01/05/2017 - 30/09/2017||£14||£24|
All prices shown above are valid from 28/04/2017.
The junior suite is larger, with a sitting area and also benefits from a sea view.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
Transfers included from Cagliari airport at 11:20, and back to Cagliari airport at 07:00.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We have used Headwater before and always found the hotels good and the guides excellent.
I think the boot system is tricky - we were on a two boot holiday, and we had some real scrambling, so check before booking.
Although challenging at times, we really felt as though we had had a good relaxing. holiday. Sardinia is beautiful. The food at the Hotel Sa Muvara was wonderful but red meat at every meal. It was cold when we were there at the beginning of May so be prepared. The bar and restaurant had wonderful fires but the rooms were chilly. Fantastic staff. The Hotel Costa Durada was more noisy with dog barking, bottle collection early mornings so if this bothers you, ask for a quiet room. If you are... read more following a gluten free diet ask Alberto to get you some bread as that supplied by the hotels was not very nice. Alberto is the best guide we have had, knowledgeable, kind and a wonderful sense of humour.
The itinerary and Alberto the guide were excellent, the hotels a bit of a mixed experience. The Sa Muvara would probably been really nice with better weather, but getting hot water for a shower was a bit hit and miss, and a lot of other members of the group found their rooms very cold. The food was sometimes really good but generally a bit salty and far too much of it. Comparing our experience with a previous holiday (walk in the florentine hills), perhaps we expect too much for basic rustic ... read moreitalian food. The Hotel Dorada was in an excellent position, but I didn't find the rooms that comfortable, and the food rather disappointing although the soups were excellent.
For all the above, it wouldn't put me off having another Italian holiday with you.
My first time in Sardinia, our guide Alberto really brought the island alive. His extensive knowledge of nature, culture and history far exceeded my expectations, a brilliant holiday, highly recommend it.
Alberto made the holiday and went over and above the call of duty.
We enjoyed the challenges of walking in a beautiful landscape. The walks were varied and interesting. We also enjoyed time to relax returning home feeling refreshed
Brochure slightly misleading about Hotel Costa Dorada; the idyllic location portrayed was not accurate - next to a busy public car park, not an isolated location. We had upgraded rooms so they were fine. Others in the group were very disappointed with their rooms. Walks were good and our guide Alberto was superb. He really made the holiday.
A very well organised holiday with superb Sardinian hospitality and comfortable accommodation. Alberto's extensive knowledge of the history, flora, fauna and geology of the island added to a wonderful week's experience as did his 'surprises and adventures'!
A friendly guide,very good knowledge of area,fantastic lunches. Great walking,a lovely group of people,will book another trip next year. Thank you Headwater.
A varied week with an excellent guide
Well planned holidays which offer something different to the traveller who wants to experience the country in more detail.
Excellent, wonderful area and wildlife. Archaeology and geology easy to see and museums excellent. We hope to go agin to see the spring flowers.
Wonderful range of walks. Alberto was the best guide we have ever encountered in our many walking holidays. His knowledge of the history, geology, flora and fauna of Sardinia was extremely wide and very well presented. He was very kind, friendly, efficient, sensitive to our needs and flexible in adapting the itinerary to best meet the weather conditions. We cannot praise him too highly.
Alberto - our guide was fantastic - knowledgeable - kind - patient - fun - punctual - and always smiling ! The highlight of our trip. Not to mention his delicious picnics !
An excellent week in Sardinia. Our guide, Alberta was responsible for making the holiday so memorable with his fantastic knowledge of the history, geology, plants and animals of this beautiful island. He has a lovely manner and was greatly liked by the group. I was disappointed initially that the group was so small, being only five but we all got on well so it became a luxury with plenty of space in the vehicle and a very personal service. The boat trip on our free day was exciting and showed us the magnificent coastline and caves.
Alberto was an outstandingly good guide, whose knowledge and enthusiasm added substantially to my enjoyment of this holiday. The picnic lunches that appeared from his rucksack were fantastic, and his concern form our well being and enjoyment genuine and appreciated.
It was an exceptionally enjoyable, stress-free holiday. Exactly as described in the Headwater brochure and all aspects were efficient and well executed.
We were very lucky to be with a great group of like minded people (7 in total). Maggie, our guide, was amazing. Her contributions to the group dynamic, her local knowledge and incredible enthusiasm for Sardinia made our holiday. She was a lovely person to spend our time with and we were delighted when she chose to join us on her day... read more off for a boat trip!
All the other staff we came into contact with be it at the hotels or on our days out (the river picnic for example) contributed to a wonderful experience.
The hotels were fantastic. The Hotel Sa Muvara in the mountains was wonderful - great accommodation, attentive staff, lovely food and the views were amazing. The Hotel Costa Dorada on the coast was perfectly located by the sea; again good accommodation, delicious cuisine, great staff and a lovely outlook. Both hotels made you feel you were staying somewhere special, immersed in the local culture and that you were not staying in some bland building presented with international cuisine. We felt we completed our holiday having had a taste of the real Sardinia.
Having never previously taken a holiday with a group and guide, we are sorely tempted to take a similar trip.
This was an absolutely superb holiday. The guide and both hotels were excellent. It was good to have the contrast of staying 3 nights inland and the rest of the holiday on the coast. Maggie, the guide, was exceptionally well informed and helped make this a great holiday. The food was varied and freshly prepared in both hotels. The walking took us to beautiful locations with superb views from high points. The group gelled and it was one of my best ever holidays. Enormous fun!
Fascinating holiday with an excellent mix of walking, archaeology and food! We actually put on a tiny bit of weight the food was so good. Excellent group and we all got on really we'll from the first evening.
Very memorable. Great scenery, great food, great companions and an excellent guide in Maggie. Haven't laughed so much in a long time!
Perfect for the discerning holidaymaker wanting small group companionship, trouble free guiding, most meals included, not too many extra expenses and bettter standard of accommodation than offered by lower cost operators.
Maggie was a superb guide. The walks were varied and spectacular , but much more challenging than the brochure implied... That said , because of Maggie's experience ,whilst challenging , they were very enjoyable.
Transport was poorer than expected . Picnics , with the exception of the roast suckling pig event , were essentially the same each day which was a tad disappointing.
Overall, a terrific break and I look forward to the next...
The unexpected cold,wet.windy weather in Sardinia in mid-May required a change to the advertised programme.We actually had three organised walks instead of five (plus one of our own),but our knowledgeable guide substituted archeological visits instead. A very enjoyable week despite the weather.
The weather was not too good (mostly cloudy) so mountain-top views were out. But our guide Alberto was so good. he made up for the lack of sun! His knowledge of trees, plants (medicinal uses) and history was extraordinary, and he was good company. The historical sites on the island were fascinating. As it's such a large island a lot of time was spent getting to places but the roads were good and Alberto was a good driver.
Sometimes the walking was quite rough as the landscape is very ... read morestoney so two walking sticks is recommended, Tiscali was definitely the highlight: both a dramatic walk and a uniquely interesting site..
Sardinia is a very beautiful island with an interesting history and culture. Headwater enabled us to gain a real insight into the island and the holiday took us to some very stunning locations. Our trip was very ably led by Alberto who was one of the best guides we have had, very considerate, knowledgeable and excellent company.
This was an excellent guided holiday which provided good contrast between the two hotels and areas visited. The flowers and birds were excellent too. Our guide, Alberto, who was 'standing in' for the normal guide, Maggie, was outstanding and couldn't have looked after us better. As a local, his knowledge of Sardinia, its customs and culture, together with his botanical meant he was the best Headwater guide we have had.
The holiday was excellent. Each days walk was so different from high mountain tracks with stunning views to pleasant pathways banked with wild flowers which meandered down to a river plus the last walk which ended at a lovely white sandy beach. The lunches provided were great - suckling pig cooked over a charcoal fire and local produce including wine at Tiscali. The picnic at Cala Luna was excellent too and all carried by Alberto - no problemo for him!
Beautiful scenery, varied walking, wonderful guide!
Thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Sardinia, second walking holiday with Headwater. Got a real feel of the countryside and the variety of terrain. So mountainous! Wonderful coastline and coral sands, clear sea water, glorious. Actually swam in late September with 'old wives' fishes nibbling on my legs! Good walking, excellent guiding, not an endurance test, but still challenging. Great views.
Excellent week, stunning scenery, friendly people. Fantastic local food and drink. Couldn't fault Maggie the guide, terrific. Some really good walks but could have been tested a bit more and walked further on some days. Would travel with Headwater again.
Very good holiday with interesting and varied walks. The whole experience benefitted from the knowledge, enthusiasm and encouragement of our guide Maggie.
Walks were longer than stated in your brochure, but this was not a problem, Maggie our guide was excellent, very helpful, adaptable to individual needs, she went 'the extra mile' A very interesting and enjoyable week, which not only involved the beautiful walks, but information about local customs, history and plants, trees and the terrain.
A set back because the guide(Maggie) was ill. After initial problems and changes to plans the local reps rallied round and both Robin and Flavio were excellent . I think that the grading of some of the walks was affected by these inevitable changes. ( Flavio was suffering from broken ribs) . It is to your credit that such a difficult situation was got over so well.
I have been helped both at the time and since we got home in trying to retrieve lost glasses
The unavailabilty of Maggie due to illness did cause problems mainly in the area of not communicating with the group exactly what the situation was. On the first night one of the owners of the hotel came up to tell us our guide would not be appearing that evening as expected but would appear next morning. He added not to worry if a guide did not turn up the hotel would arrange something. We sat there a group of largely strangers in a strange place at the beginning of a holiday which may or ma... read morey not happen as planned - not a good start.
Robin did appear next morning but we got the impression no body knew at that point whether Maggie would appear or not later in the week. When Flavio appeared on the Thursday morning and told us he would be with us for the rest of the holiday we were delighted, he is an exceptional guide.
I have every sympathy for Maggie having a condition that results in sudden devastating episodes and we were sorry we did not meet her having seen many very positive comments in clients reviews. She seems to be the lynch pin of this tour but you do need a firm plan B in place to cover for her unavailability. We had the impression of fingers crossed and hope for the best and fortunately you were lucky.
Beautiful and varied walks in unspoilt mountain and coastal locations. The guides were very knowledgeable and ensured a group of mixed abilities got the best out of each walk. The hotels offered the best of the two regions - good food and wonderful settings. The staff were were friendly and helpful.
Accommodation in mountains was first class in every respect.
Accommodation at seaside was good, but no in the same class as first part of holiday.
The walks were excellent, with Maggie being an outstanding guide and host. The variety of walking was just right for the length of time we were in Sardinia.
The picnic sites were top class, the buffet lunch provided after the river walk could not be bettered. All credit to Maggie and the Hotel employees.
This trip used two excellent hotels and the walks were varied and interesting.
Maggie, our guide, was experienced, excellent and extremely helpful. She went out of her way to make sure we enjoyed the experience to the full, including giving me one to one help over some of the more difficult parts of the walks. It is always better to be guided by someone who loves the area and during the entire trip, her love and thorough knowledge of the country shone through.
The f... read moreood exceeded my expectations, particularly in the first hotel. There was so much and all of it exceedingly tasty.
This walking trip is at the top end of two boots in my view
interesting, testing, enjoyable
Very good all round. Maggie, our guide, was excellent.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
|May 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|6th May||US$2045||Check availability|
|20th May||US$2060||Check availability|
|Jun 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|3rd Jun||US$2090||Check availability|
|17th Jun||US$2135||Check availability|
|Sep 2017||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd Sep||US$2135||Check availability|
|23rd Sep||US$2045||Check availability|
Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 6 people (in total) are required for each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed guide.
Selected Saturdays from 6th May 2017 to 23rd Sep 2017, for 7 nights.
All buffet breakfasts, 3 lunches and all evening meals
Transfers included from Cagliari airport at 11:20, and back to Cagliari airport at 07:00.
If you choose to book your own flights please check with us first that your chosen departure date is definitely operating as our guided holidays are subject to minimum group sizes.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Contrasts of Sardinia Walk. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.