Sardinia: Wild and Blue

A Trek Along an Untouched Mediterranean Coast
with Stefano Baldi
Repertory Trip: Next Offered May 2016

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Cagliari, Italy
Depart: Olbia, Italy
Lodging: 4 nights in hotels, 4 nights in shepherds' refuges, 1 night beach camp
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 8 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails, some steep sections, 4-6 hours a day, optional swimming
4p

Highlights

  • Witness Sardinia’s traditional pagan winter festivals—a glimpse into the past
  • Visit artisan workshops, enjoy a cooking workshop, taste fine wines
  • Hike across the rural landscapes of Sardinia’s inner mountains


I had a wonderful time. I am so glad I pushed my boundaries and did this trip.Debbi O.—Prospect Heights, IL

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  The exact dates have not been finalized but we expect they will be in May 2016. The “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” are available below. Please note there may be slight changes to the itinerary for future departures. Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!

There’s a corner of Sardinia that is utterly wild and untouched, where the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean lap the shores of golden beaches, and shepherds’ paths lead to ancient stone age sites. The only way to reach this spectacular landscape is on foot, as the shepherds do, or by boat along the enchanting sea. WT Trip Leader Stefano Baldi, whose passion for the unique cultures of Sardinia has led him to explore its most remote reaches, has handcrafted an extraordinary trek across this untamed landscape that will immerse you into an incredible world unlike any other. We’ll hike shepherds’ trails, discover mysterious ancient dwellings known as nuraghi, swim in isolated coves, camp on a secluded beach, and meet local shepherds as we stay in their shelters along the coast. The hiking is rugged, and our camps are basic, but the reward is an experience of a people, culture, and landscape that few would imagine still exist in Europe. And after five nights of rough but exhilarating living, we savor two fantastic nights in an exquisite boutique hotel, the Su Gologone, renowned for its stunning setting, beautiful design, and great cuisine. If this is your kind of adventure, join us for an absolutely unforgettable hiking and cultural experience to wild Sardinia!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Cagliari / Santa Maria Navarrese / Giradili

After meeting in Cagliari, we explore a fascinating defensive complex known as a nuraghe, a Bronze Age megalithic site particular to Sardinia, then head to Santa Maria Navarrese, a charming seaside town set on the shores of a turquoise bay of the Mediterranean. From here we hike a coastal path to Pedra Longa, where a huge karst monolith rises beside the sea, and take a boat ride along the coast to stop at Cala Mariolu, a beautiful pebbled beach, and swim in a gorgeous pool of clear blue water at the base of tall vertical cliffs. The next day, a dramatic hike brings us to Giradili, one of the most breathtaking sea cliffs along Sardinia’s eastern coast, and on to Ovile Irbiddossili (“shepherd place”) following a former mulattiera, a mule track used by charcoal gatherers and shepherds.

Days 4-6
Cala Goloritze / Cala Sisine / Margine

A coastal hike brings us to Cala Goloritze, a tiny, secluded white pebbled beach that’s so beautiful it’s been declared an “Italian National Monument.” After a chance to swim and enjoy the transparent waters, we hike to a basic refuge with a welcoming atmosphere for dinner and overnight. The next days’ hikes lead through a forested canyon to a remote white-sand beach (where we camp overnight) and to a shepherds’ shelter that offers accommodation in dormitories built as “cuiles,” traditional round-shaped shepherd huts made from stones with juniper branches as the roof.

Days 7-10
Gorropu Gorge / Tiscali

Heading inland, we hike steeply down into the Gorropu Gorge, an impressive limestone canyon that’s one of the deepest in Europe, and walk beneath its towering 1,300-foot walls past emerald ponds and boulders as large as houses. Another hike finds us in the Supramonte di Oliena, a mountain-and-highlands area that is home to Tiscali, a mysterious nuraghic village with round stone dwellings visible amid crumbling ruins. As a grand finale, we explore Mamoiada, the home town of Mamuthones, an annual February festival with pre-Christian roots and propitiatory rituals to ensure eventual good harvests, and enjoy lunch and wine tasting at Cantina Sedilesu, one of the best wine producers of Sardinia. Overnights on Days 8 and 9 are at Su Gologone, a lovely accommodation that’s ample reward for the rugged hiking and camping we’ve experienced the last few days. Depart from Olbia on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 4+, moderate to strenuous, according to our trip grading system. Our hikes range from four to six hours in length and are mostly on rough terrain, with some exposure and ascents and descents of as much as 2,950 feet. You carry only a daypack with trailside essentials (water, camera, etc.) during the day, but you should have good mountain hiking experience and wear sturdy, well-broken-in hiking boots for maximum comfort on the trail. Along the way we explore several beaches; swimming is optional (but highly recommended). At this time of year, the water is at its warmest and the summer crowds are gone.

We stay a few nights in hotels, but the majority of our lodging is extremely rustic—either camping in tents on the beach or in ovile (shepherds’ refuges) with dormitory-style accommodations (four rooms for four people each with bathroom; or two large rooms accommodating 10 people with outside bathroom). There is no running water along this wild stretch of coast, so showers are not always available.

Explanation of Trip Levels

Stefano Baldi

Stefano Baldi, of Tuscany, has led hiking trips in Europe for us for nearly 15 years. He has spent most of his life living in the beautiful rural countryside of Tuscany, except for a few years in Florence as a student. His love for nature led him to found an agricultural co-op with friends in the 1970s, and a decade later, he started his own farm in the hills north of Florence, where he now lives with his wife and two daughters. "Food is one of my strongest interests. I'm always curious about the cuisine of other places. I think the understanding of a different culture can come through the palate. For this reason, I love cooking and eating and I do both very (too) much." Outside of Tuscany, one of Stefano's favorite places is Sardinia "for its spectacular, wild landscape and deep Mediterranean roots. The genuine traditions kept alive here have a direct link with pagan times and are truly a part of everyday life in Sardinia." When not leading trips for us, Stefano grows organic vegetables, keeps bees, and raises cinta senese, the traditional small boars of the Siena region, now endangered. He spent five years restoring two old houses on his property, one of which is now an "agriturismo" accommodation.

Upcoming Trips:

Pagan Festivals of Sardinia, February 11-19, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, April 7-17, 2015
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail, May 14-22, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, May 26-June 5, 2015
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites, July 19-26, 2015
Ultimate Dolomites, August 17-28, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, September 15-25, 2015
Sardinia: Wild and Blue, May 2016

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Client Testimonials:


Stefano was fantastic! His love for the area—history, geography, cuisine, and wines was apparent every step of the way. Sandy H., Indianapolis IN Stefano was extremely flexible and sensitive to our interests and needs. Many extras were built in based on our requests. I would do one his trips again. Cecily H., San Carlos, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano Baldi is a real master working on his "home court," In-depth personal knowledge of the geography, culture, history, cuisine, and wine. An absolutely superb leader. Harvey S., Huntington VT
Corsica and Sardinia
This was our 4th trip with Stefano, a confident, kind humorous man. He enjoys all kinds of hikers. Walter E., Etna, NH
Corsica to Sardina
He’s just a winner—knowledgeable, organized, sensitive to participants needs, charming and fun sense of humor! Angus and Elisabeth R., Norwich, VT
Corsica to Sardina
Stefano Baldi is fantastic. He leads with a good pace. His choice of restaurants and food was superb. Susan and Tony C., Del Mar CA Once again, Stefano ran a trip in exemplary fashion. His love of the area was obvious and he easily generated equal enthusiasm with us. WT should be proud to have such leaders on its staff. Michael W., Stamford, CT
Volcanoes of Southern Italy
Aptly named “El Maestro,” Stefano’s expertise, knowledge, and passion totally infused our experience. Lynne G., New York NY
Corsica & Sardinia
Stefano worked to create experiences for us that penetrated the surfaces of the culture. He infected us with his love of Sardinia, its people, its foods, its landscape. I very much appreciated his love of good food and wine. Carol C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano was a wonderful leader. His contacts with the local Sardinians made the trip very special. He loves this place! His enthusiasm was contagious. Gordon C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
It was our third trip with Stefano and we always enjoy his enthusiasm and expertise. Barbara R., San Diego, CA
Great Hikes & Chefs of Northern Italy
Stefano's knowledge of and personal dedication to educating his clients about Corsica and Sardinia (geography, people, culture, food) made the trip a pleasure. Peter C., San Francisco, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
What a pleasure it was to have Stefano as our leader! His love for and passion to show us the best of Corsica and Sardinia was evident throughout the trip. He also cared very much about the well being and enjoyment of each of us and made accommodations based on our requests and needs. Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Corsica And Sardinia
Stefano was great. Very knowledgeable regarding the area (particularly Sardinia) and you can tell he loves it there. Very professional, flexible, and responsive to differing needs of group members, yet at the same time has a laid back, relaxed demeanor and is very pleasant company. Catherine P., Toronto, ON
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano did a superb job of handling all the trip details effortlessly...or so it seemed to us! Everything ran very smoothly. His knowledge and love of the area made it feel like we were traveling with "old friends" who truly enjoying sharing their experiences with us! Pat S., North Oaks, MN
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is a professional, sensitive, and thoughtful guide. Also, his sense of humor makes him very pleasant company!
Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano is passionate about the area and takes great care in making sure guests have a well rounded experience of both Corsica and Sardinia—from food to culture to hiking! I would not hesitate to sign up for a trip he was leading. Michelle J., Irvine, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is outstanding on all fronts and an exceptional trip leader. This was my third trip with him, and he continues to impress me with his knowledge of the area, ability to select great restaurants, and attention to detail and good humor. Rob K., Pound Ridge, NY
Ultimate Dolomites
Stefano's passion for the people and culture of Sardinia made the trip exceptional in many ways. Jim H., San Luis Obispo, CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano is hilarious! Very understated, philosophical sense of humor, great stories about farming in Italy. Bix W., Pebble Beach, CA
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano was charming and had a great dry sense of humor. He answered all our questions about Italian customs, food, and culture and gave us great insights to all. Lisa S., Sacramento, CA
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites
Stefano was a wonderful addition to the trip. His knowledge of the local flora and fauna on the hikes was a very unexpected bonus. A very wise, experienced, and delightful leader! Julie R., Bainbridge Island, WA
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail
We appreciated Stefano's deep knowledge of Italian culture, agriculture, and cuisine, and his wry sense of humor. Pam B., Newton Center, MA
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail