Santa Maria Navarrese
Santa Maria Navarrese, with its tourist harbor and its incredible landscape of both sea and mountain, is one of the most beloved tourist centers on the Eastern coast of Sardinia.
Santa Maria Navarrese is a coastal hamlet in the municipality of Baunei, on Sardinia’s Central Eastern coast.
According to the legend, the name of the village derives from Princess Navarra who, having survived a shipwreck in 1052, found shelter with her ship at the port of this village, and to show her gratitude, she had a small church built and dedicated to Santa Maria. To this name was then added the adjective "Navarrese".
Today, the village of Santa Maria Navarrese has a charming little tourist port, from which several boat tours allow you to visit over 40km of coast among the most beautiful and pristine in the Mediterranean. It is the perfect place to hike in the nature of the Supramonte and enjoy very relaxing holidays.
Things to do in Santa Maria Navarrese
The territory of Santa Maria Navarrese is among Sardinia’s most captivating: uncontaminated for the most part, it is an invaluable natural treasure.
If you love active tourism, Santa Maria Navarrese is the perfect starting point to discover the territory of the Ogliastra region. Full of paths and mountains that suddenly open up on the shore. Trekking itineraries that unwind for kilometers, such as the Selvaggio Blu which follows 40km of coastline from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cala Luna.
There are also horse riding tours with expert guides who will take you along mountain itineraries that lead down to the sea. Or, if you prefer, you can explore the Golgo highland on board the little train “Trenino Supramonte”, an alternative and fun way discover unique landscapes.
A holiday in Santa Maria Navarrese must absolutely include a boat tour of the coves and caves that the coast of Ogliastra offers. Every day a number of boat tours depart from the tourist port and take tourists along the gorgeous cost, passing by the stack “Faraglione di Pedra Longa” (128 meters high), several coves such as Cala Goloritzè, Cala Sisine, Cala Mariolu and Cala Luna all the way to the caves “Grotte del Bue Marino”.
On the day of Ferragosto (Italian summer holiday), Santa Maria Navarrese is alive with celebrations dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta: on August 15th an important food festival takes place, where you can try many local dishes, the best of which is certainly the delicious local goat meat.
Things to see in Santa Maria Navarrese
Santa Maria Navarrese means not only nature, but also history and traditions.
In the center of town, in the square Principessa di Navarra, you will find the Church of Santa Maria di Navarra, dating back to the 11th century, tied to the legend that tells of the birth of town. Restored in the ’50s it still bears traces of an unmistakable Spanish influence.
Near the church there is the city park with thousand-year old olive trees, one of which is almost 10 meters high and 8 meters wide.
As the majority of Sardinia’s coastal towns, Santa Maria Navarrese as well has its own watchtower, dating back to the 17th century and located on a promontory before the small tourist port.
In the area around Santa Maria Navarrese there are monuments that show intense activity during the Nuragic era: the fortress" of Doladorgiu, the Tombs of Gigants of Santu Pedru and of Annida, the Nuraghes Loppellai, Nuragheddu and above all Orgoduri, Alvu, Co' and Serra, which still preserve the rests of villages and megalithic graves.
One of the most beautiful natural monuments that you can find leaving from the port of Santa Maria Navarrese is the cave “Grotta del Fico”, unique for the presence of the monk seal.
You can visit the cave using the boardwalks that run along the fossil bed of an ancient underground river.
The best beaches of Santa Maria Navarrese
Being a wild territory, mostly uncontaminated, the majority of the beaches of Santa Maria Navarrese are only accessible on foot or by boat.
Santa Maria Navarrese Beach
Santa Maria Navarrese beach is just by the town and can be reached taking the stairs in front of the church. It is a sheltered bay closed on left by the Spanish tower, with medium grained sand and a seabed that deepens slowly. It is very convenient not only because easy to reach, but also because there are many facilities.
Tancau Beach is located between Santa Maria Navarrese and Lotzorai. A long stretch of thin sand with a bright blue sea, from which emerges the small Ogliastra island. It can be easily reached taking road SS 63. Tancau is equipped with several facilities and restaurants.
Cala Biriola opens up on the Gulf of Orosei and is one of those coves that can only be reached via the sea or following a hiking path that starts from the plain of Golgo di Baunei. It features a rocky arch that arises from the sea; very thin sand, turquoise waters and Mediterranean maquis complete this slice of heaven.
Gabbiani Beach also opens up on the Gulf of Orosei and is part of the territory of Baunei. Candid white rocks that emerge from the sea, turquoise shallow waters, rocky cliffs. This beach too can only be reached by boat or on foot following a hiking path.