Photo: M&G Expeditions
Trip Number: 12680A
Price: $3,575 (12-15)
$4,325 (or fewer)
Staff: Carol Marty
- Explore the beautiful and lesser known islands of Sardinia and
- Enjoy unforgettable Cala Luna (Sardinia) and swim in the blue water of the Mediterranean
- See the world along a hike high atop the cliffs of Bonifacio (Corsica)
- Lodging in inns, an agriturismo, and charming small hotels
- All meals featuring local fare, except one dinner at participants’
- All on-trip transportation, including bus, boat trips, ferry and all
This unforgettable hiking trip will take you across the wild Mediterranean
islands of Sardinia and Corsica through bio-diverse landscapes no longer found
anywhere else in Western Europe. Inhabited for thousands of years, both islands
have maintained a local identity and character due to the strong will of the
people and a wild interior that no foreign king could ever properly tame.
Shepherds, sailors, pirates, and farmers settled in deep, inaccessible canyons,
high on rocky cliffs or in the middle of isolated plains in circular, easily
defensible dwellings. During our hikes we will seek out the remnants of ancient
societies and worship systems that were created and lost over thousands of years.
Highlights of Sardinia:
• Sacred spring of Orune
• UNESCO World Heritage site of Su Nuraxi
• Bronze-age Karst village of Tiscali
• The "moon bay" of Cala Luna
• The spectacular island archipelago of Maddalena
Highlights of Corsica:
• The precipice town of Bonifacio
• UNESCO World Heritage site of Les Calanques de Piana
• A hiking segment of the world-famous GR20 trail
• The wild interior: Restonica and Tavignano valleys
• Mediterranean cruise from Corsica to Genoa
The leaders will make every reasonable effort to meet the goals outlined in
the itinerary. Please keep in mind that weather or other conditions beyond our
control may cause us to modify the itinerary in order to ensure the safety and
well-being of the group. Mileage and elevation gain are approximate and may
be adjusted based on the fitness level and experience of group members.
Photo: M&G Expeditions
Day 1: Cagliari to Dorgali
We meet in Cagliari mid-morning and then start our day with two of the most
important ancient ruins on the island of Sardinia. The first will be the UNESCO
World Heritage site of Su Nuraxi. The use of these beehive-like, pre-Christian
buildings still remains unknown, but most archaeologists agree they were used
as religious temples. The second site of the day will be the ancient spring
of Su Tempiesu. After a lovely picnic lunch here, we continue north to the Gulf
of Orosei, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Comprised of a
series of beaches, small inlets, cliffs, and rocky pinnacles that rise steeply
out of the sea, the coastline here is so wild we will visit it by boat. Overnight
Day 2: Dorgali/Cala Luna
Today we enjoy a scenic hike to Cala Luna, one of the most beautiful coves on
the island. Centuries-old junipers bent by the wind dot the steep limestone
walls and beautiful oleander and elder groves extend down to the beach. The
bays in Sardinia are often outlets to the sea for narrow gorges that the locals
call codule. We will make our way back by boat, stopping en route to explore
a few amazing sea caves. Overnight in Dorgali. (5 miles / 1,000-foot elevation
Photo: M&G Expeditions
Day 3: Dorgali/Supramonte
This morning we make our way into the wild Supramonte -- a vast mountain region
full of woods and lunar landscapes. The entire Supramonte massif is made up
of limestone rocks that date back 160-180 million years to the Jurassic period.
If trail maintenance permits, we will hike to Tiscali, a 4th-century (BC) village
built inside a majestic Karst hollow. It is believed that Tiscali was one of
the last bastions of ancient Sardinian resistance to the brutal invasion of
the Romans. Tonight we will enjoy sweet and sour wild boar roasted in front
of the fire -- one of the local specialties. Overnight in Dorgali. (8 miles
/ 2,500-foot elevation gain)
Day 4: La Maddalena Archipelago
This morning we enjoy a lovely drive north to the port town of Palau where we
stage our exploration of the Maddalena Archipelago. Created in 1996 to protect
the local flora and fauna, La Maddalena National Park is home to all kinds of
birdlife, including the Kestrel, the Peregrine falcon, the Common Buzzard, and
sea birds such as the European Shag, the Cory's Shearwater, and the Manx Shearwater.
Overnight in Palau/Maddalena. (5 miles / 800-foot elevation gain)
Day 5: Maddalena Archipelago or Northern Coast
Today we continue our exploration of the Maddalena Archipelago and/or explore
other beautiful areas on the northern end of Sardinia. One of today’s
highlights will be a lecture about the 4,000-mile migration of the rare Eleonora
falcon from Madagascar to Sardinia and Corsica. Overnight in Palau/Maddalena.
(6 miles / 800-foot elevation gain)
Photo: M&G Expeditions
Day 6: Bonifacio
This morning we continue north to Santa Teresa de Gallura, where we catch a
90-minute ferry to the amazing Corsican city of Bonifacio. The cliffs around
Bonifacio have been undercut by the ocean so that the city now sits on the very
lip of a precipice -- an amazing sight that will allow for a wonderful hike.
Overnight in Bonifacio. (5 miles / 450-foot elevation gain)
Day 7: Corte
Today we drive north into the famed mountains of Corsica, where we enjoy two
relaxing nights in the mountain town of Corte. Dominated by the Citadel perched
on its rocky outcrop, Corte lies at the mouth of the Restonica and Tavignano
valleys, an area that boasts stunning scenery and fantastic hikes. Overnight
in Corte. (4 miles / 1,500-foot elevation gain)
Day 8: Corte and the GR20
Going off the beaten path, we visit the wildest and most sparsely populated
region of the island. Near the small settlement of Vizzavona we will have the
opportunity to hike for awhile on the world-famous, cross-island GR20 trail.
After taking in the picturesque waterfalls of the Cascade des Anglais, we will
enjoy lunch in an extremely rural community. Overnight in Corte. (8 miles /
2,000-foot elevation gain)
Day 9: Porto and Les Calanques de Piana
We make our way to yet another UNESCO World Heritage site: "Les Calanques
de Piana." The pinnacles and ravines of the red granite "Calanches"
soar out of beautiful blue seas and are framed by the jagged peaks of Paglia
Orba. At sunset the rocks take on fantastic shapes and colours -- the petrified
creations of another world! Overnight near Piana/Porto. (6 miles / 1,500-foot
Day 10: Scandola
If weather and legal permits allow, we will go into the Scandola Nature Reserve.
Here we will find towering pinnacles and gnarled, claw-like outcrops of rock
that were formed by volcanic eruptions 250 million years ago. The colours of
the rock vary from charcoal grey to incandescent reds and rusty purples, which
strike a vivid contrast to the wild, green grasses and the cobalt blue of the
sea. Dolphins and seals thrive here and colonies of giant gulls and cormorants
inhabit the cliffs. Overnight near Piana/Porto. (6 miles / 1,000-foot elevation
Day 11: Bastia/Genoa
We enjoy a scenic drive to the northern port town of Bastia where we catch an
afternoon ferry journey to Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and
the ancient Maritime Queen of the Italian Riviera. Upon arrival, we check into
our hotel and make our way to a farewell dinner in an amazing setting overlooking
Europe’s largest historical center. The trip ends with an overnight in
In the morning, the trip officially ends after breakfast. We say our
goodbyes and return home with fond memories.
Photo: Carol Marty
We will meet at 10:30 a.m. at our meeting place in Cagliari, Sardinia on Sunday,
September 2. Cagliari is a short one-hour flight from Rome, or 1.5 hours from
Milan. Participants can overnight pre-trip in Rome or Milan, or in Cagliari.
The trip will end with a farewell dinner and an overnight in Genoa, Italy on
Wednesday, September 12 (with departures on Thursday, September 13). There is
an early-morning bus (6 a.m.) that takes people directly from Genoa to the Milan
airport -- it takes three hours and operates every day. You can also take the
train from Genoa to Milan airport (2.5 hours, connecting service). Or you can
take a flight from Genoa to Milan or Rome.
Accommodations and Food
We will be staying in charming small inns and hotels, and an agriturismo (a
countryside inn). Lodging is double-occupancy with private baths. Singles will
be assigned a roommate. If the accommodations have a single room available and
you prefer a single room, there will be an extra charge. You must inform the
leader well in advance if you wish the single supplement option. In the agriturismo,
couples may be sharing a cottage and bathroom with another couple or singles,
but will have a separate bedroom.
All meals are included except one dinner, when we will have the choice of exploring
various restaurants at our own expense. The Slow Food Movement started in Italy,
and we will enjoy locally grown, farm-fresh and fresh-caught food and local
Photo: Carol Marty
While several of the hikes on this trip are easy to moderate (especially those
that take us to well-known archaeological sites), there are also hikes that
are moderately strenuous. Hikes range from approximately 4 to 8 miles, with
elevation gains up to 2,500 feet. This itinerary has been designed so that hikers
of various levels can participate. We will describe each hiking itinerary (elevation
and condition of trail) beforehand so that every trip participant can make an
informed decision about whether or not to participate. Options will be available
for anyone who is not feeling up to any given hike. As with all trips, the better
shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trip.
Equipment and Clothing
A detailed equipment list will be sent to each participant. Plan to bring
good and well-broken-in hiking boots, summer/fall clothes for hiking, and a
day pack with water bottle, first-aid kit, sunscreen, and raingear. Hiking poles
- Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People
Who've Lived the Longest. National Geographic Society, 2008.
- Honore, Carl. In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed.
Harper Collins, 2004.
- Heatherington, Tracey. Wild Sardinia: Indigeneity & the Gobal Dreamtimes
of Environmentalism. University of Washington Press, 2010.
- Lawrence, D. H. Sea and Sardinia. Penguin Books, 1997.
- Anderson, Neil. The Lead Goat Veered Off. Cycle Logic Press, 2004.
- Bouldrey, Brian. Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica. Terrace
Books, University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.
- Carrington, Dorothy. Granite Island: A Portrait of Corsica. Penguin
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about
conservation and sustainability of resources both locally and globally. Our
work, which is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, encourages
grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants to understand
the parallels between environmental concerns at home and abroad.
Our Italian guides are ardent conservationists and cultural preservationists
of their special area. They are eager to talk with Sierra Club members about
their efforts to develop sustainable eco-tourism and educate locals in the value
of preserving both the natural and cultural heritage of their country.
Photo: Carol Marty
Some of our focus will be on exploring the sustainable lifestyle of these ancient
cultures, including the Slow Food Movement and 'Blue Zones.' Sardinia is one
of five identified Blue Zones in the world -- locations where a significant
number of habitants live active lives past 100. In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed
up with National Geographic and hired the world’s best longevity researchers
to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better. In
these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater
than in the United States. After identifying the world’s Blue Zones, Buettner
and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify
lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the
lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared specific characteristics. We will
share some of the lessons from the world’s longest-living people to create
environments of health.
We will also explore and enjoy several national parks and nature preserves
during our trip. Created in 1996 to protect the local flora and fauna, La Maddalena
National Park is home to all kinds of birdlife, including the Kestrel, the Peregrine
falcon, the Common Buzzard, and sea birds such as the European Shag, Cory's
Shearwater and Manx Shearwater. A highlight will be a lecture about the 4,000-mile
migration of the rare Eleonora falcon from Madagascar to Sardinia and Corsica.
We will also visit Scandola Nature Reserve, where we will find towering pinnacles
and gnarled, claw-like outcrops of rock that were formed by volcanic eruptions
250 million years ago. Dolphins and seals thrive here and colonies of giant
gulls and cormorants inhabit the cliffs.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Having spent some of her formative years living overseas, Carol Marty enjoys sharing her appreciation for other cultures and the outdoors in the hope that we can all be responsible global citizens. She is happiest when engaging in activities in the outdoors, from hiking to kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, or snorkeling. Carol led national Sierra Club trips for 10 years in the Caribbean and California, and four years ago she began leading trips in Italy. Carol has traveled in 23 countries and has lived in many parts of the United States as well as in Peru and Mexico. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, where she enjoys kayaking the rivers off the Chesapeake Bay.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips