Sardinia is a beautiful island, with a climate and diet that lends itself to having one of the longest life expectancies, and the biggest proportion of centenarians in the world. It has a bit of everything. it is mountainous, rising straight out of the sea to its highest point at Punta La Marmora at 1,834 m. Couple this with nearly 1800 km of coastline, much of it beautiful beaches, it is easy to see how the island is something of a paradise.
The climbing is also excellent! From mountain walking, single beginners pitches, through mid grade sport climbing to multi pitch desperados, there is something for everyone. Most of the rock is limestone, although in the north and centre of the island, there is some granite borrowed from Corsica. Although it is possible to climb all over the island, there are 4 major centres.
The most popular area for visitors is probably around Cala Gonone on the east coast, and it is easy to see why, with its beaches and beautiful surroundings. A stay here will put you in reach of the local crags, as well as some of Italy's best climbing on the Aguglia pinnacle and around Punta Giradili. Be aware though that some of the bolts in this area are old and not always salt proof, especially around Cala Luna.
Jerzu and Ulassai are popular and extensive, and best in late spring, summer and autumn, being located higher up in the mountains.
Isili, one hour north of Cagliari is excellent with many fine steep crags situated along the valley floor. The wildlife here is also beautiful.
Domusnovas in the south east of the island is perhaps the 4th major "centre" of climbing on the island.
Photos (click for full view)
In this area:
|Baunei - Cala Goloritze||
A very special needle, and a very special location. Aguglia Goloritze rises 200m above the emerald green Mediterranean sea. It has a handful of routes that all finish on the tiny pointed summit, with beautiful views of the coastline and its fascinating rock formations. The cliff is solid, perhaps getting a little polished, particularly on the popular routes, but nevertheless a summit that should be on most people's tick list.
|Baunei - Punta Giradili||
The impressive 400m cliff south of Punta Giradili and east of the small town of Baunei is one of the best big walls in Sardinia, if not the whole of Italy. A cross between Verdon Gorge and the Calanques.
All the routes are fully bolted although sometimes not too closely, so a few backup wires and cams might be useful. Bring two 60m ropes.
|Jerzu - Il Castello||
Technical wall climbing requiring strong fingers
|Jerzu - l'Isola del Tesoro||
Excellent, often difficult climbing on steep slabs and walls. L'Isola de Tesoro is set in a beautiful location with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. It faces west and gets the sun in the afternoon. Bolting is usually very good.
|Jerzu - Palazzo d'Inverno||
Steep climbing on small holds
|Ulassai - Canyon||
Situated just above the town of Ulassai, the canyon is a great summer destination with excellent climbing in all grades. It gets the shade in the afternoon and coupled with the altitude remains cool. Spring and autumn are also suitable for climbing.
|Ulassai - Cave of Dreams||
Actually a continuation of the main Ulassai canyon, more easily reached from the sports field north of the town. The cave is a small gorge that gives steep, strenuous climbing on tufas and edges. Can be damp and cold outside the summer months.
|Ulassai - Gola di San Giorgio||
A real roadside crag, you can almost belay from the car in this impressive little gorge. The gorge is actually a set of cliffs and a fin of rock, the road winds its way through this and from the top a footpath connects you to the cave at su Marmuri close to Ulassai. Legend has it that the gorge was created by St George, the bishop of Suelli, who wanted to reach Osini, but was blocked by the rocks, and so ordered them to open up. Whatever, the climbing here is short, steep, technical and fingery, and best suited to the warmer months, it can get cold in the winter.
|Ulassai - Lecorci||
The steep walls of Lecorci offer lots of good, hard climbing that requires strong fingers and good technique. It is very quickly reached and gets the sun in the morning.
|Ulassai - Su Casteddu||
A huge crag just round the corner from Ulassai. The routes are of excellent quality, and set in a beautiful location. Although it is 100m high, at present it has been bolted for single pitch routes, many of which require an 80m rope. ALWAYS TIE A KNOT IN THE END OF YOUR ROPE. Note that because the crag is relatively new, not all the grades have "settled down" yet, treat with caution.
|Ulassai - Torre del Venti||
The big obvious crag behind the grassy Barigau Piazza in Ulassai. Torre dei Venti offers steep wall climbing on small holds.