Sardinia is renowned for its beautiful beaches and some of the most sensational are found in the east of the island around the small town of Villasimius. Our top discovery was Porto Giunco Beach about four kilometres from Villasimius. We have travelled the world in search of great beaches and certainly Porto Giunco would be right up there with the best. In fact, Porto Giunco could easily take its place in the top ten beaches of the world. The water is so amazingly blue and clean that it is like looking through glass, the sand is powdery, white and soft. This is all set against a backdrop of sand dunes, rugged boulders and wild hills. It’s truly a masterpiece.
Along this beautiful stretch of sand are several areas set aside for private use by hotels like the Pullman Timi Ama. The Porto Giunco end of the beach however is by far the best and most popular with the general public. There is a cute little restaurant that makes great salads, a place to hire snorkels and flippers and it is certainly the most sheltered part of the whole beach. Sun beds and an umbrella are 15€ for the day, a private cabana with hammock is 25€ and Luca our very friendly lifesaver/sun bed man helped us select the right place a little away from the families with children. The beach is very ‘straight’ but of course there is still plenty to look at. If you don’t want to pay the ridiculous prices for a sunbed and umbrella there are plenty of areas to set up your own gear free of charge.
Behind the sand dunes there is a saltwater lake Timi Ama, where we were told you can often see pink flamingos. While we were around they must have taken a short break as there were none to been seen. According to one local there are so many pink flamingos at certain times of the year, such as Spring, they have been known to wander through the sunbathers on the beach.
Other beaches in the Villasimius area with an intoxicating blend of blue, clear water and white sands are Cala Pira, just off the road to Costa Rei, opposite the island of Serpentara, and Campulongu beach facing west and best for gorgeous sunsets. The only hint of a gay beach we found was at Mari Pintau about half way between Cagliari and Villasimius. Park off the road at the top where the sign indicates the beach below. Mari Pintau is very beautiful but the beach is made up of small rocks which are hard on the feet getting in and out of the water. For the gay section head for the far right where you will find the nude sunbathers. However, you will need to take your own umbrella and chairs as there is no equipment for hire in the nude area.
Just down the road from Campulongu Beach is where we stayed at Hotel Le Anfore (http://www.hotelleanfore.com/bookingvillasimius/en). This four and half star hotel has an older two storey section and a brand new bungalow arrangement. During our time there we stayed in both sections of the hotel and the rooms were modern, well appointed, not luxurious but quite comfortable. The hotel has a casual feel, a bit like staying on a ranch. It is located a couple of kilometres out of Villasimius and is surrounded by beautiful gardens, hills and a has a stunning new swimming pool that is very well maintained. The hotel has arguably the best restaurant in the area which features open air dining and is very popular with locals. The menu includes many traditional Italian favourites, a wide selection of seafood and Sardinian specialties. Hotel guests receive a 10% discount when they eat in house. Even in late September we found the hotel and restaurant to be fully booked each night, so perhaps organise your stay here before leaving home.
In this part of Sardinia you will need to hire a car. Driving up the coast road from Cagliari to Villasimius took us about ninety minutes and it was very narrow and winding (full of switchbacks) but generally the traffic moves slowly, except for the odd testosterone head who thinks he is the next Fangio. Once in Villasimius you need a car to get out to the various beaches. The whole area is natural beauty at its best and a great place to unwind, relax and take a few days to chill out on some on the best beaches in the world.
When we wrote this article, having visited in September, the temperature was perfect and there were only a few crowded days. In July and August the whole place is hugely popular, so be warned.
Our adventure east from Poetto to Villasimius was well worth the effort. We loved exploring the many beautiful beaches, bays and rocky outcrops we encountered. We spent four days here in total but we could have easily stayed for longer. Don’t miss this very beautiful part of Sardinia.