SANTA GILLA LAGOON – MONTE ARCOSU – PORTO PINO – BEACHES
This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to combine an interest in nature, bird-watching or the ecosystem of the lagoon area with the pleasure of relaxing on the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of southern Sardinia.
The first stop on the tour is the Santa Gilla Lagoon, a coastal lagoon in southern Sardinia recognised by the EU as one of the most important wetland areas in Europe. We explore the area by 4×4, driving along the narrow, winding tracks of the lagoon area for about 9 miles (14 km) to discover the wonderful flora and fauna that can be found there. The lagoon is one of the most important European migration sites for the Greater Flamingo, and the birds can often be seen here in great numbers. Eating the small crustaceans found in the lagoon gives the flamingos their distinctive pink colouring.
The tour continues with a visit to the Monte Arcosu nature reserve, one of the largest WWF protected areas in Italy. We travel up the mountain on a dirt track surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and lush Mediterranean plantlife. Visitors are often lucky enough to catch glimpses of Monte Arcosu’s rare species, such as the Sardinian red deer, and can also try their hands at the basics of aromatherapy. From here we go to Tratalias, a small town in the plain of Sulcis, an area that was very important in the past, as demonstrated by the large number of prehistoric, Punic and Roman ruins found here. Part of Tratalias itself is an abbandoned medieval town, and here you can find the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria di Monserrato, the seat of the dioscese of Sulcis, and a cathedral, until 1503. A number of the old buildings around the church are undergoing preservation work.
Having left Tratalias and its medieval area, we arrive in one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia: Porto Pino, a wonderful place with a 2.5 mile long stretch of fine, white sand. The beach is bordered by high dunes stretching as far as the Capo Teulada military practice area where one can have a snack in the shade of old juniper trees, and relax surrounded by the wild, uncontaminated nature that Sardinia is known for. Porto Pino is a marvellous place where the stark contrast between the blue of the sea, the green of the trees and the white of the sand make it seem almost unreal. The water is clear and refreshing, and is a great place to admire the view of the coast.
But the tour doesn’t end here: after Porto Pino we continue along the Costa del Sud, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the whole of Italy, to visit a number of other wonderful beaches. The most well-known of this stretch are Teulada, Capo Spartivento, Chia and Pula, but the tour also goes to secret, hidden beaches which are only accessible by 4×4. The Costa del Sud is a breathtaking stretch of coast, with jagged, angular cliffs, broken up by little, sandy coves and creeks, crumbling rocky outcroppings and little islands stranded just offshore. Ancient Spanish towers rise from almost every promontory, overlooking a landscape bursting with intense green vegetation, offset by the bright turquoize of the sea. The final stop on the tour is Tuerredda, one of the ten most beautiful beaches of Sardinia, a paradise of fine white sand and transparent waters that seem Caribbean rather than Mediterranean.
In short, this tour allows visitors to discover the little corner of paradise that is the Costa del Sud, an area that is sure to capture your heart with its stunning scenery and wild, intoxicating landscapes.
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