The area on the mid-east cost of Sardinia, is a perfect destination for sunny rock climbing vacations. Excellent climbing is combined with afternoons on the beach. It is a mountainous island with a wild and spectacular rocky coastline, containing high and steep cliffs as well as exotic sand beaches. Great weather through out the year, picturesque villages, good food, and friendly people makes the list of wishes for a climb-sun-beach vacation complete.
Sardinia offers a wide variety of sport and adventure climbing. Some routes are generously bolted and great for starting to climb on lead and for developing multi-pitch skills. Routes are available at all levels. But it is not a gym-like place where routes are served to you on a plate, perfectly arranged. The long climbing history on Sardinia has left a variety of routes with mixed styles of protection and arrangement, so you’ll find a bit of everything.
You find sport climbs on over hanging, slabby or vertical walls. You climb either in massive caves, on grey limestone pinnacles, or on high cliffs rising straight up from the sea. The naturally protected adventure climbing is located more inland in the limestone gorges. There you find big wall rock climbing, up to 400m on traditional gear for both beginners and experienced climbers.
There is also seaside bouldering and deep water soloing for the brave beach people.
Cala Gonone Rock Climbing
The most popular climbing area on Sardinia is around the town Cala Gonone. This is a rather touristy place and not very cheap, but still full of climbers. It is easy to find hotels or apartments for rent on-line. There is also a well equipped camping in town. For less fancy accommodation there is sheep farm (agriculturismo) up the hill above Cala Gonone, with beautiful view over the sea and the sunrise, where you can camp.
Some favorite sport climbing areas around Cala Gonone is the Millenium Cave, the Amphiteatro and the beach of Cala Luna. These are steep crags with acrobatic routes on tufas and stalactites, grades from 6a and up.
For multi-pitch routes we recommend Oceano di Mare and the Alchimista, which you first rappel down to the sea, take a swim, then climb back up. These are vertical routes, 250m of technical climbing in the 6th grade. The back-drop of the sea is amazing!
Many of the climbing areas can be accessed by foot or by boat from Cala Gonone, but it is best to have a car, especially if you live up on the hill above town.
Supramonte, 30 min inland from Cala Gonone, also have beautiful long routes that require placing natural gear. The routes range from 200m to 600m long and there are some really hard test pieces such as Hotel Supramonte. On the equipped routes bolts are spaced, so it is advisable to bring a small rack of nuts and friends also on these climbs.
Driving south along the east coast of Sardinia, the next climbing spot you find is in Baunei. Mostly famous for multi-pitch routes on Punta Giradili and Punta Argennas. However a few sport climbing crags are also well worth visiting. And recently the overlooked little pillar Pedra Longa also has an equipped line.
Also within 2h drive from Cala Gonone, located by the charming village of Ulassai, a number of rock towers offers excellent rock climbing. More recently developed routes in Jerzu has contributed to the pleasures for less advanced climbers in this area, that now hosts about 400-500 routes.
The mid-east coast of Sardinia contains only a small part of the climbing on Sardinia. Climbing areas well worth visiting are located along the cost or slightly inland all around the island. Taking a road trip from the east to the south to the northwest you will experience amazingly different nature and wide variety of climbing styles. You will also discover the more traditional and less touristy parts on the island.
All climbing on Sardinia is included in the Pietra Luna guidebook that is available in Italian and English.
The best time for climbing is from September till June when it is not too hot. You can fly or take the ferry to Olbia.
Sardinia Rock Climbing Holiday 2008
Most of this trip in early October 2008 we spent in Cala Gonone.
Waking up to a beautiful sunrise every morning in our tent at the agriturismo high up on the hill.
Following the shady parts of crags, as the sun is too warm, we explore the area. Climbing the classic multi-pitch routes Alchimista and Oceano di Mare with amazing views over the sea, is maybe the most memorable moments.
Venturing inland to Monte Oddeu to check out the partly equippemd multi-pitch routes there as well as the sport climbing in Jerzu.
A goal of the trip was also to climb the Wolfgang Gullich route on Punta Geraldid. Starting before sunrise, it still got too hot for us to finish the mission. It is a beautiful line that we will have to return for.
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