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The marvellous Emerald Coast - 05/11/2018

The northeast of Sardinia

santa maria

Embarkation ports on the Emerald Coast: from Cannigione to the modern Olbia Marina, the Emerald Coast offers a variety of bases to sail from.

The greatest advantage of Cannigione, located deep in the Gulf of Arzachena, just south of La Maddalena, is the town and the services it provides. There is no better place in the area to supply a boat.



Marina di Portisco.

Marina di Portisco

Porto Rotondo.

Porto Rotondo

Porto Cervo

Porto Cervo

Marina di Olbia

Marina di Olbia

Portisco is a wonderful recreational marina in the heart of the Emerald Coast, by Porto Rotondo. It holds a sizable charter fleet.

SATURDAY. Embarkation base, Marina di Portisco.

Located at the epicentre of the Emerald Coast, next to Porto Rotondo and Cala dei Sardi, this marina is part of a housing estate, which greatly limits the availability of services as it has only a small commercial area, with a hotel, the SIRENA, a couple of restaurants and a small supermarket – and a huge charter fleet…

For these reasons, it is advisable to make a list of supplies to order, book a transfer to the supermarket (5 kilometres away) or consider supplying the boat at another port (Canigionne, Santa Teresa Gallura or La Maddalena).

You can spend the first night at the Marina or sail out and anchor off any of the surrounding beaches. Wherever you fare on this coast there will be a good place to stay. In North of Portisco is the very well sheltered Cala di Volpe. It is always more pleasant to start the day in a cove than at a Marina's dock.

Cala di Volpe

Cala di Volpe


Two choices: North or South. If you spend the day towards the south, sail to the island of Tavolara to sleep anchored off its westernmost beach. The King of Tavolara awaits you there at his restaurant. The anchoring is well sheltered, but the strait between Tavolara and the Sardinian coast is shallow in some places, so keep a close eye on the nautical chart.

If anchoring overnight isn't to your liking (you would miss a great deal of this coast's charm), head North: sail to Caprera, the easternmost island, and enjoy its coves, such as Coticcio, or those in La Maddalena.

Cala Coticcio

Cala Coticcio

To spend the night, turn to La Maddalena, the capital of the park, in the south of the island of the same name. There are two docking options there, on either side of the enormous platform for the ferries that come and go tirelessly from Palau.

La Maddalena

La Maddalena

Cala Gaveta

Cala Gavetta.

Cala Mangiavolpe, on the eastern side. The private phone number of the person who tends the moorings is +39 347 7757960.

With its old town of narrow streets and good restaurants, this is a good place to stay on the first night. Fresh fish is sold by the fishermen themselves at the bottom Cala Gavetta.


Leave La Maddalena to enjoy a day of sailing around the archipelago: a good spot, perhaps the best known and most photographed, is the corner to which the islands of Santa Maria, Budelli




and Razzoli converge. But there are many other good coves and beaches.

Santa Maria

Santa Maria

To spend the night at port you would need to return to La Maddalena, the nearest, or head for the coast of Sardinia (Palau) or nearby Corsica (Bonifacio).


Bonifacio, Corsica

Bonifacio´s harbour.

Bonifacio's harbour


A good day to sail to the archipelago of LAVEZZI, located ten miles north off La Maddalena. It is a beautiful place, with fabulous coves of crystal-clear water. One does have to be very mindful of the depth sounder, however. Not a place to reach by night!


Lavezzi's archipelago.

If there is a bit of wind and staying in LAVEZZI becomes uncomfortable, we suggest sailing to South Corsica: around Isola Piana you will find good sheltered spots with amazing blue waters.

Isola piana.

Isola piana


Sailing from the south of Corsica to the north of Sardinia. The area around Capo Testa is breathtaking.

Santa Teresa Gallura, at the northernmost point of the island of Sardinia, is a very good place to spend the night. The port is long and narrow. Its fees are reasonable throughout the year.

Sta Teresa Galliura

Marina di Sta Teresa Galliura.

Upon arrival a couple of dinghies will receive you, take you to the dock and help you with the manoeuvre.

There is a good trattoria, IL ASSESINO, at the bottom of the port, as well as bars and a supermarket. Take a walk around the town in the morning, before leaving.


Sail from Santa Teresa to Cannigione, anchoring at Spargi, the remaining island to explore in the archipelago.

Cala Corsara

Cala Corsara

Spend the night in Cannigione, in the Gulf of Arzachena: This is an interesting little town to visit and get supplies.



The port is managed rather chaotically, and in Italy they seldom answer the radio. More commonly, a Zodiac boat will come out to meet you when you approach a port. In any case, here you will find a buoy field, which is a very good option at a good price. On the street running parallel to the seafront promenade, around 100 metres further inland, there are all kinds of shops to find supplies. They are open even on Sunday mornings. There is also a street market on Mondays.

When it comes to restaurants, avoid one called ENTRI FUERI BORDO, by the head of one of the docks: it's daylight robbery.

I can only point to one alternative option to lunch or dine, as I have only stayed there two nights: on the street that descends from the church to the seafront, there is a tavern by the name TAVOLA BLUE (+39 347 121 5328), which serves good food at a reasonable price. This must be a special place in Cannigione, as it is usually packed. It is advisable to book well in advance. Everyone eats there. They also have takeaway options, such as roast chicken, pasta or salads.

There is also the option of a couple of restaurants at the port.


Sail along the Emerald Coast back to Portisco. Don't miss Porto Cervo or Golfo Pevero, to admire the floating wonders that gather there every year. At the bottom of Golfo Pevero, there is a lovely beach with a restaurant to enjoy a last meal.

Golfo Pevero

Golfo Pevero

You must be at port  at around 17:00. Please remember to leave the boat with a full tank of fuel, and bear in mind there is always a queue at the petrol station, which is in the southern outer area of the Marina di Portisco.

Since these boats have low fuel consumption, it is a good idea to fill up at Santa Teresa or Cannigione.