Is Cala Gonone Worth Visiting? Activities, Maps, Surroundings
Cala Gonone is located in the province of Nuoro, in the eastern part of Sardinia where it is quieter and there are less things to do than in other areas. Of course in the area there is the Aquarium, but as a whole, is Cala Gonone worth visiting? To give you an overview:
Cala Gonone is a beautiful, tiny seaside town with several things to do in and around the area. There is the Cala Gonone Aquarium, many stunning beaches including Cala Goloritze, archaeological ruins, a few museums, several caves to explore, an adventure park, a Little Green Train with organised tours and the opportunity to hike or go canyoning in the area.
So now I’m going to give you some more detailed information about the activities.
Sardinia Activities Map
Here is a map featured in the article: things to do with kids in Sardinia, to give you a quick overview. Cala Gonone is right where the orange 5 dot is, exactly where the Aquarium is located.
If we zoom into the area, you can see some more activities. The activities may not necessarily good for young kids in particular. However this is just to show you what there is the location.
Cala Gonone Aquarium
The Cala Gonone Aquarium is set in a beautiful location along the coast. It is not a large aquarium by any means. The aquarium area excluding the reception and café is around 20 meters by 30 meters and contains 24 different fish tanks.
For what it is, some people find it expensive. However it is a nice aquarium and in fact well rated, with small and larger tanks to hold all sorts of different species of fish.
You will get to see:
- Jelly fish
- Sting Rays
- Clown fish like Nemo
- Star fish
- Sea horses
- Sea Anemones
- And more
The aquarium is well laid out with different ecosystems, but mostly focuses on Mediterranean fish. However, as you can see from the bullet list above, there are also some species of tropical fish.
If you are interested in visiting, you can book tickets for the aquarium here.
There are some beautiful sandy beaches in and around the Cala Gonone area:
- Spiaggia Centrale di Cala Gonone – in Cala Gonone
- Spiaggia di Sos Dorroles – in Cala Gonone
- Spiaggia di Palmasera – in Cala Gonone
- Spiaggia di Cartoe
- Osala Beach
- Spiaggia Osalla di Orosei
- Spiaggia di Cala Fuili
- Cala Luna
- Cala Goloritze
Some of these beaches are more accessible than others. So you may need to plan when going to some of the beaches listed here. Not only transportation wise, but you will also need to take basics like food and drink with you and shade.
Moreover if you have young kids in tow, some of them are not ideal to venture to. This is because their waters get deep very quickly. One of these beaches is Cala Goloritze, so we suggest you go if your kids are able to swim well on their own.
Cala Goloritze is one of the best beaches, hence why it is featured on our best beaches in Sardinia list. It is one of the most photographed beaches in Sardinia for its stunning beauty. Here is a picture of Cala Goloritze to judge for yourself:
It does take around an hour and a half to get to Cala Goloritze by car, making it is a little further out than other beaches. Additionally you have around 3.5km hike downhill from the Porteddu parking area. Alternatively you can opt to visit Cala Goloritz by boat, with this comprehensive tour of the area which is a bit more expensive than driving there, but makes it easier to get to. Having said that if you have the time, and do not mind spending the money, it is totally worthwhile.
The beaches at Cala Gonone itself are great because you do not have to travel far. However there are nicer beaches like Spiaggia di Cartoe and Osalla Beach just a little further north.
Museums and Archaeological Remains
If you are interested in history, you will be pleased to know there are 4 things you can look forward to:
- Archaeological complex of Nuraghe Arvu
- S’Abba Frisca
- Archeological Museum of Dorgali
- Salvatore Fancello Museum
The archaeological complex of Nuraghe Arvu is located here in the outskirts of Cala Gonone. It is a definite highlight for any history buff. This complex is one of the largest nuragic settlements along the coast of Sardinia which once had more than 100 huts.
S’Abba Frisca is an open air museum spread across 3 hectares of parkland. It has 15 different museum areas with 4500 items on display showcasing how life was back in the day. There is also a park in the area and farm which is great especially for kids. Additionally you can sample some genuine Sardinian food typical of the area. Here is the S’Abba Frisca website if you are interested in visiting.
The Archeological Museum of Dorgali is a small museum that showcases 3000 years of Sardinian history. It has 170 meters squared of space with 52 different displays in 3 different rooms. Here is the website of the Museum.
The Salvatore Fancello Museum features works of the artist by that name. Salvatore Fancello lived between 1916 and 1941 and was a well known painter, sculpture and ceramicist. If you would like to see his artworks you can visit the website here.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this feature, there are also other activities in Cala Gonone and the province of Nuoro:
- Sardegna Avventura Park – an adventure park
- The little Green train that departs from Arbatax
- Hiking and Canyoning
Here are the websites for Sardegna Avventura Park and the little green train if you are interested. There are also many caves in Sardinia that you can visit. 7 caves are in province of Nuoro, but 3 in particular are close to Cala Gonone:
- Grotta di Ispinigoli, inland cave
- Grotte del Bue Marino, coastal cave
- Grotta del Miracolo, inland cave
One thing you should note is that you need to take care if you choose to take young kids to any caves. The ones further inland have quite a lot of stairs you need to scale down. Some others like the Grotte del Blue Marino you need to access by boat with an organised tour. I mentioned this tour further up that comprises the Grotte del Bue Marino and several other beaches including Cala Goloritze which is definitely worthwhile, especially considering the price.
You can also go on a hike around the area of Cala Gonone. It is a beautiful area, whether you stay on the coast or inland, there are many hiking trails.
Additionally you could opt to go canyoning for 3 hours if you are feeling adventurous. You will get some good exercise and rewarded with some astounding panoramic views in this excursion of the Codula Fuili canyon. However you should note that this activitiy is not suitable for kids under 12 years of age.
Alternatively you can opt for a cruise on a small boat around the Cala Gonone area or some off-roading. In this case you might want to have a look at GetYourGuide for full list of suggestions for Cala Gonone.
How to Get to Cala Gonone
If you are using public transport you firstly will need to catch a train to Nuoro. After that, you will need to catch a bus costing €2 to €4 that takes around 1 hour and a quarter to do the last leg of the 38km journey to Cala Gonone. If you are travelling by car, you will have at least a couple of hours drive from the furthest points in Sardinia.
Distance and Travel Time to Cala Gonone from other Cities
The travel time from each of these locations are the routes that take the least amount of time.
|Departure Location||Distance||Travel Time|
|Cagliari||226km||2hr 45 minutes|
|Santa Teresa Gallura||166km||2 hrs 30 minutes|
|Sassari||144kms||2hrs 15 minutes|
If you would like more information, here is a handy article on how to get around Sardinia. It has all the information you need on public transport, as well as information on other options on getting around.