Sardinia is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, famous for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich culture. But did you know that Sardinia also has a small desert? Yes, you read that right: a desert on an island. It’s called the Dunes of Piscinas, and it’s one of the most unique and fascinating places to visit in Italy.
What are the Dunes of Piscinas?
The Dunes of Piscinas are a natural phenomenon that occurs on the southwestern coast of Sardinia, near the town of Arbus. They are a series of sand dunes that stretch for about 6 kilometers along the shore, reaching heights of up to 60 meters. They are formed by the wind that blows from the sea and carries the sand inland, creating a landscape that resembles a desert.
The Dunes of Piscinas are part of a larger protected area called the Costa Verde (Green Coast), which covers about 47 kilometers of coastline and includes other natural wonders such as cliffs, caves, forests, and wetlands. The Costa Verde is home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, including some rare and endangered species such as the Sardinian deer, the Mediterranean monk seal, and the loggerhead sea turtle.
How to get there
The Dunes of Piscinas are not easy to reach, but that’s part of their charm. They are located in a remote and isolated area, far from the main tourist attractions and urban centers. To get there, you need to take a dirt road that crosses the countryside and passes through abandoned mines and villages. The road is not well maintained and can be bumpy and dusty, so you need to have a suitable vehicle (preferably a 4×4) and drive carefully.
Alternatively, you can take a guided tour that includes transportation and a local guide who will explain the history and nature of the area. There are several tour operators that offer this service, such as Sardinia Magic Experience or Sardegna.com. You can also book your tour online or through your hotel.
How to visit them
You can also visit the beach of Piscinas, which is one of the most beautiful and wild beaches in Sardinia. The beach is about 2 kilometers long and has golden sand and turquoise water. It is surrounded by the dunes on one side and by pine trees on the other. It is usually uncrowded and peaceful, except in summer when it attracts more visitors. You can swim, sunbathe, surf, or snorkel in the clear water, or just relax on the sand.
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the area, you can also visit some of the nearby attractions such as:
- The mines of Ingurtosu and Montevecchio: These are former mining sites that date back to the 19th century and were once among the most important in Europe. They produced zinc, lead, silver, and gold until they closed in the 1960s. Today they are abandoned and partly restored as museums that showcase the industrial heritage and social life of the miners.
- The ghost town of Ingurtosu: This is a village that was built around the mines and was once inhabited by thousands of workers and their families. It had schools, churches, shops, cinemas, and even a hospital. However, after the mines closed, it was gradually abandoned and left to decay. Today it is a fascinating place to explore and see how time has stopped there.
- The nuraghe of Barumini: This is an archaeological site that dates back to the Bronze Age (around 1500 BC) and is one of the most important and best preserved in Sardinia. It consists of a complex of stone towers and walls that were used as a fortress, a temple, and a village by the ancient Nuragic civilization. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for anyone interested in the prehistoric culture of Sardinia.
Where to stay
If you want to spend more than one day at the Dunes of Piscinas, you have a few options for accommodation. The most convenient and comfortable one is the Hotel Le Dune Piscinas, which is located right on the beach and offers rooms and suites with sea views, a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool, and a spa. The hotel is built in harmony with the environment and uses renewable energy sources. It is also the only hotel in the area that has direct access to the dunes.
Another option is to stay at one of the agriturismi (farmhouses) that are scattered around the countryside and offer rustic rooms, homemade food, and local products. Some of the most popular ones are Agriturismo La Quercia, Agriturismo Rocce Bianche, and Agriturismo Su Trabi. These are ideal places to experience the authentic and traditional lifestyle of Sardinia.
Finally, if you are looking for a more adventurous and budget-friendly option, you can also camp at the Camping Nurapolis, which is located near the beach of Narbolia, about 20 kilometers from the dunes. The camping offers pitches for tents, caravans, and campers, as well as bungalows and mobile homes. It also has a restaurant, a bar, a supermarket, and a playground.
The Dunes of Piscinas are a unique and unforgettable destination that will make you feel like you are in a different continent. They are a natural wonder that showcases the beauty and diversity of Sardinia, as well as its history and culture. They are a place where you can enjoy nature, adventure, relaxation, and discovery. They are a place that you will never forget.
So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to the Dunes of Piscinas now and get ready to experience one of the most amazing places in Italy!