Cala Luna, the most spectacular beach in the Mediterranean
Here the sea has a thousand different shades, rocky cliffs and reefs, a small lake, enchanting little beaches, and dense Mediterranean scrub. It's a varied setting that makes Cala Luna one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Mediterranean Sea.
It is the jewel of the Gulf of Orosei, on the east coast, on the border between Barbagia and Ogliastra, a true symbol of Sardinia. The nature here is wild, and unspoilt. It will bewitch you.
We are on the moon!
In the dialect of Nuoro, Luna - meaning Moon - is elune. This is what Cala Luna was called by the shepherds who, in the past, travelled here on foot from the village of Baunei, a journey that took eight hours. In their eyes, it was like going to the moon. Moreover, the cove has the distinctive shape of a crescent moon.
We are at the mouth of the Rio Illune, a torrent that over the centuries has carved out a canyon, a gorge along which water flows that in turn feeds a small lake, immediately behind the beach. All around are flowering oleanders and fragrant Mediterranean scrub vegetation. There is also a bar.
In this setting is Cala Luna, well protected from the wind: 800 metres of calcareous gravel and sand like talcum powder, carved into the cliffs that encircle the inlet. Five caves provide shade during the hottest part of the day. The place has attracted many film directors, who have chosen this location as their set. Among them, Lina Wertmüller, who set the film Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare di agosto (Swept Away) here.
Everyone in the water
The seabed at Cala Luna is very shallow for the first few metres, so it is also suitable for children, but then it suddenly deepens, making it ideal for snorkelling or diving. You will be in the company of numerous fish, swimming in schools or alone. There are plenty of octopuses and starfish. In the area, many specialised centres organise guided trips or hire out diving equipment.
Getting to Cala Luna on foot is tricky, time-consuming and rather difficult. The best advice is to book a one-day mini-cruise.
These usually depart from Cala Gonone. The Grotta del Bue Marino (Sea Ox Cave) was once the home of the monk seal, known as the sea ox because of the characteristic cry it emits; inside, there are freshwater lakes fed by underground rivers. Then there is the Grotta del Miracolo (Cave of the Miracle), which lives up to its name. Stalactites branch out in all directions, creating a spectacular geological cathedral. Then you can admire Cala Mariolu and Cala Biriola. The Venus Pools are accessible only by sea, so don't miss this stop. The beach is made of pebbles and coarse-grained sand; the sea is so perfectly turquoise, thanks to the springs gushing from the cliffs and seabed, that the boats seem suspended in mid-air. Why not dive in and have a swim.
Trekking and climbing
Experienced climbers scale the sheer cliffs overlooking the emerald sea in scenic climbing sessions.
To discover Cala Luna by land, on the other hand, there is a trek, which is at times challenging, along three paths. The best signposted one starts from Cala Fuili, while for the others it is best to rely on expert local guides. Cala Fuili and Cala Luna are about 7 kilometres apart. Some grottos offer shade and rest. It is best to set off early in the morning, not least to appreciate the fascinating colours of the rocks, brightened by the first rays of the sun.
Hiring a mountain bike is easy and provides an opportunity to visit inland areas. As you pedal, you will pass by the cuiles, the ancient shepherds' huts, made of limestone. Then, on the plateau at an altitude of 200 metres above sea level, you will come across cabins and Romanesque structures once used as storage buildings, with millstones and fragments of urns. This is a fascinating excursion to alternate with life at sea, taking in the history and culture of the region.