Published On: Mon, Jul 8th, 2024
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Italian beach ranked the world’s second best is ‘a wild hidden gem’ | Travel News | Travel

Ranked the second-best beach in the world in 2024, after Trunk Bay in the US Virgin Islands, Cala Mariolu can be found on the eastern coast of Sardinia.

The secluded cove is enclosed by a tall, rugged coastline that borders the azure waters and white pebble shore. Plus, there’s lush greenery all around.

Cala Mariolu is loved for its natural beauty and is popular among hikers seeking to capture breathtaking views from above, but it can become extremely crowded in the summer months.

With average temperatures warming to 19C in May and climbing up to 26C in August, Sardinia enjoys 18C heat well into October, making it an attractive destination for global travellers throughout the year.

Tourists flock to the rugged coastline at the height of summer, so even with a capacity of just 650 people, the spot can feel very busy at certain times of the day.

According to Sardinian travel blogger, Claudi Tavani, it’s best to visit Cala Mariolu as early as possible. She suggested that those travelling by boat should aim to arrive no later than 8.30am to be able to “admire it when it’s still empty”. 

There are boat tours that set off at 7am from other parts of Sardinia and arrive at Cala Mariolu by 8.30 before everyone arrives. She said that on a recent visit, she took a boat departing from Arbatax run by local operator Helios Turismo which was “wonderful”, and enabled the group to enjoy a full half hour with “literally nobody around”.

Alternative routes to the beach include private charter boats or a challenging hike down to the rocky coastline, which is said to be one of the best hiking routes on the island.

The 6km trail starts in Località Piredda, in the Golgo Plateau, about a 45-minute drive from Baunei.

For those seeking a quiet day on the beach, Tripadvisor reviews suggest visiting later in the year, around September. One person described the spot as “a must-see in life”.

Their review read: “You will never forget this uncontaminated, wild, hidden gem of Sardinia. Colours change from the pink-cream beach to the light blue and green of the deep clear water. This is true natural beauty and wilderness at its best. I visited it in September and it wasn’t too busy of people, giving you the opportunity to enjoy it in full. Something you will keep with you for life.”

A second visitor wrote: “We accessed this beach by boat as we hired a boat for the day. This beach was definitely the prettiest of the ones we saw. The water is crystal clear and the rocks make it look pretty. However, it is such a busy beach. I recommend getting here really early in the morning just to enjoy it for yourself. You need to pay One Euro per person to enter the beach, they are not overly strict on this though. It’s definitely worth visiting this beach though!”

It should be noted that Cala Mariolu does not have a lifeguard and the water gets very deep very quickly. But, as the beach is nicely sheltered from the wind, currents are minimal, so it’s a safe place to swim and snorkel – you can even visit several small nearby caves just a quick swim away.

When it comes to the weather in Cala Mariolu, temperatures peak at average highs of 30C in July and August but remain warm in September (highs of 27C), October (highs of 22C) and even slightly in November (highs of 17C), though rainfall is more frequent.

Direct flights are available from London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham to Sardinia, according to Skyscanner.

Cagliari is the cheapest airport, with direct flights from £51. Alghero prices start from £52 and flights to Olbia from £55.

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