The island of Asinara is a unique place in the Mediterranean. It is an island that makes you feel a totally wild and primitive nature. The connection with the sea, the land, and the animals that inhabit the island is an experience almost impossible to recreate elsewhere.
This is a large island, 51km2, so your visit must be planned in advance if you want to go on your own, depending on what we want to do since there are no roads, and walking through it is not easy since there is no Where to guard against the inclement weather. Another option is to hire an agency with everything organized where we can choose what type of visit we want to make.
The island of Asinara is located a few kilometers from the mainland and Stintino, just in front of the famous beach of La Pelosa.
The island was inhabited by some families of fishermen coming from Liguria and remained for decades under the government of the Duchy of Asinara established by the king Vittorio Emanuele I in favor of the Marquess of Sassari Don Antonio Manca Amat.
In 1836 the territory was again under the direct control of the State and in 1885 families, about 50, were forced to leave the island that became an agricultural colony and Lazaretto to isolate the terminally ill and prevent epidemics .
In 1997 it becomes the National Park of Asinara and only since 1999, when the maximum security prison that there was to posterirori stopped working, the island was open to the public.
Due to its isolation, the island has an exceptional natural value.
In Asinara, because of the scarcity of fresh water, trees are rare and shrub vegetation predominates. We highly recommend visiting the island in spring, when the vegetation is in all its splendor. There are only three sandy beaches all over the island, all three on the east coast.
The island is home to a population of wild albino asses (Equus asinus var. Albina) and it is believed that the island takes its name from them. We will also find other animals such as goats, wild boar, mouflons and above all wild horses that will leave us most surprised to see them running and neighing in herds behind us while we are sunbathing on a paradisiacal beach. Sirs!! This is something indescribable! It is a unique experience that makes us connect with the wild nature and makes all the effort to reach the island worthwhile.
Asinara is currently uninhabited, except for one person, the sculptor Enrico Mereu who has resided on the island for 30 years. Enrico, ex-guard of the old prison of the island until he retired, decided to continue residing in this place becoming a sculptor of merit and to which everyone calls “the sculptor of Asinara”. Enrico practices the sculpture on the trunks torn by the storms and that can be found in the beaches of the island. His studio is located in the town of Cala d’Oliva to the north of the island. Tel. 340 6101578 – www.loscultoredellasinara.it
Without a doubt Asinara will deserve several entries in our blog, since it is a very special place and there is plenty to explain and many activities to do: hiking, diving, cycling, jeep tours, visit to the turtle recovery center of the island , Etc. even simple snorkeling on the surface with a mask, it makes up for everything: the fish are many and very large. Fornelli and Cala Reale are the main landing points: Fornelli is the closest part to the mainland and is in front of Stintino, while Cala Reale is in the center of the island and must be reached by ferry. From Fornelli to Cala Reale or vice versa, you can choose to take an internal transport bus, which goes around the island and is the gateway to the north and Cala d’Oliva.
For those who are interested in Cala d’Oliva there is a diving center run by very clever boys who organize various excursions and dives in the most beautiful areas of the island. Their website is: http://www.caladolivadiving.com/
In the official website of the park there are several options to visit the island. Here we provide the links to download the pdf in Italian:
On this occasion, we will relate how it was our experience, totally on our own, to go and enjoy a day at the beach.
The first thing is to get transportation to the island. We chose the Nautical Center Isola d’Ercole which is located in the Porticciolo Ancora Club (located on the road from the village of Stintino to Pelosa beach) to the right facing the sea. It is a small port with parking area.
There we were taken to Asinara in a nice tour with their boat to the port of Fornelli (area where the prison is located) and then come to pick us up in the afternoon. Our “captain” was very nice and on the way back took us at full speed enjoying a perfect end to our “wild” day.
VERY IMPORTANT: We have to take with us everything we need: umbrella, water, food, sun protection, medicines (especially those who are allergic to insect bites and asthmatics) etc, since there is NOTHING on the island and we depend on our own provisions.
Once you get to Asinara, we have a coffee in the small bar that is next to the visitors center, and from there we take the shortest route (about 20 min walking) to reach a paradise, a wild and solitary beach where to enjoy a special day.
To take this road, you have to look towards the interior, where the old jail is and turn left and follow a small dirt road to the coast, and more or less we can follow to a great plain that we will have to cross.
At some point the road disappears but it is a matter of going south, always towards the coast, keeping the sea to our left. The path can be done perfectly with children, because it has no difficulty, it is all flat, as long as you take into account the heat, therefore avoid the hours of maximum sunshine.
The beach to which we are going would be located just in front of the Pelosa, but there is another small island, called Isola Piana, that covers us but that makes us discover another Spanish tower that from the Pelosa had escaped us 😉
Situation of this beach: https://www.google.es/maps/Spiaggia Asinara
Within its transparent waters, snorkelers will find plenty of marine life. So do not forget the goggles and the tube for snorkeling.
Once there, it is very important to plant our parasol well so as not to suffer a sunshine and avoid flying if the wind rises, and enjoy a wild beach day where we are most likely to be the only people in the place.
Tourist comment: Remember to start returning from the beach with enough time in advance of the agreed time for our pick up by the boat, because some residents usually appear that distract us on the way …
Remember that the animals on the island are wild and therefore, it is better not to disturb them, especially the horses when they are with their young. The groups are numerous. They let themselves be photographed closely, but always keep a safe distance. The struggles between horses we could see were as fast and aggressive.
Also respect the cormorants on the beaches while they are fishing. If we are patient, they always offer us a nice show. And finally, pick up anything we have brought with us and apply good environmental practices throughout the island.
When returning, always keep the sea on the right:
Location of the island: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Asinara