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Much more than exclusive: Asinara by sailboat

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

When you feel like you’re flying on water; when the wind ruffles your hair and frees your thoughts; when you’re intoxicated by the light and the sun, and your eyes are drawn to the unobstructed horizon, then you must be on a sail boat.

Sailing towards the Asinara

Sardinia, with its 1,849 km of jagged coastline and its countless inlets, bays, islands and islets, is one of the best places to abandon yourself to the pleasures of this means of transport, ancient yet extraordinarily modern in its respect for nature.

There is a vast array of boats available, from large cruisers to small lateen sailboats, and an equally wide choice of where to cruise, from the “Caribbean” sea of the south coast, with its long golden sandy beaches from Porto Pino to Villasimius, to the reefs and coves of the north, between the Maddalena archipelago and the Gulf of Asinara.

Asinara Island

And the island of Asinara is in fact our destination today: if Sardinia is already in itself a world apart, Asinara is even more so.

Sailing towards the Asinara

With its unique nature and history, and the exclusivity offered by its National Park and Protected Marine Area since 2002 (two bodies that, among other things, regulate access to mooring buoys, authorised only in the areas of Fornelli, Cala Reale and Cala d'Oliva), the island, covering 50 square kilometres, is a refuge of uncontaminated nature and spectacular waters, a paradise for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.

Sailing here is always an unparalleled and unforgettable experience, because of the island’s distinctive characteristics. Having for a long time been a prison camp from which escape was impossible (as evidenced by the numerous prisons from various eras, which still exist and can be visited accompanied by guides), the island has been able to maintain its biodiversity intact thanks to this isolation, and has remained uncontaminated in the real sense of the word.

Asinara island

Cruises organised by specialist operators in Stintino, Porto Torres or Alghero may include two or three nights anchored in roadsteads that can be combined with excursions on land: the island is uninhabited (the last prison was closed in the 1990s), but there are plenty of tourist services, including jeep, electric car and mountain bike hire, or horse riding.

Donkeys of Asinara

You feel like you’ve landed in a place far from the modern world, not only in space but also in time, where you can walk among the ghost houses of the small village of Cala d'Oliva, be moved by the chapel and Austro-Hungarian ossuary of the First World War prisoners near Cala Reale, or wander among the white donkeys that freely graze everywhere.

A word of advice: don’t forget to bring your camera, a hat (the vegetation is low and sparse, and it’s very hot in the summer) and the desire to be filled with wonder again.

Asinara Island

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