Castelsardo to Stintino - Springtime Spin in Sardinia 2019 - CycleBlaze

May 30, 2019

Castelsardo to Stintino

The wind died overnight and we woke to glorious sunshine and blue skies. The flags outside our room that had been straight out for the past two days, were hanging limp and still. After holing up for a day, we’re juiced up and ready to roll out the plan for riding the west coast of Sardinia. We have been following the route (gpx files) of a fellow cycle tourist at https://italy-cycling-guide.info/ and his advice if you only have a week to cycle in Sardinia, is to ride the west coast.

The small fishing boats were on their way out to fetch their daily catch by the time we drew back the curtains. The sea that was frothing and foaming yesterday was flat as a pancake today.

The weather has turned — it’s time to go fishing.
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The ride started with a climb out of the harbour at Castelsardo, presenting yet another beautiful view of Lu Bagnu, next door to Castelsardo.

Lu Bagnu beach, next to Castelsardo.
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The morning ride took us along the coast on a road that undulated over the sandy coastal dunes, covered in pines and junipers. There were plenty of campsites, small resorts and beach access points along the way. The water is still too cold for the locals. I think they are actually waiting for the temperatures on land to reach the 30’s and then they’ll be in like a shot.

At Spiaggia della Marina de Sorco.
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Looking back in the direction of Castelsardo.
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As we neared Porto Torres the dunes diminished and we were riding along a bike path above the deeply indented sandstone cliffs. The colours of the water have been accentuated all day because of the sunshine, but it stuns me every time I see the incredible aquamarine colours as I peer over the edge.

Approaching Porto Torres.
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Sandstone cliffs near Porto Torres.
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Along the Porto Torres bike path.
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Bike Fridays were working really well, even on a Thursday.
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Patty Barron😂 so glad to hear this! Not just one-day wonders in the biking department! It would be an awfully long walk around the country! 🤣
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2 years ago

We were planning on stopping in Porto Torres for a coffee break and a cute little coffee shop popped up at the perfect time. We sipped our cappucinos as the huge Mediterraneo car ferry docked in the harbour. These ferries serve ports in Spain, France and Italy and judging by size, they are built to take on some very rough crossings.

Mediterranea car ferry
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We scooted through the port before the ferry released its load of cars. On the way out of town we passed a significant archaeological site, the remains of the Roman town that was established by Julius Cesar. It was called Turris Libyssonis and was linked by road to Cagliari. The population left in the 11th century for an unknown reason and re-located about 15km inland from here. 

Mini columns from the Roman era.
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I can’t describe what it’s like to be here and walk on the structures built by a sophisticated civilization so very long ago. For starters, how do you build a bridge out of massive boulders like this? They also built an aqueduct here as ‘taking the waters’ was important to the wealthy Romans.

Roman stone bridge near Porto Torres.
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Porto Torres is situated on the Golfo Asinara and has had more than its share of industrial development which is now defunct and sits, abandoned on the shore of the beautiful gulf. We couldn’t take pictures of the eyesores that at one time employed the locals. Today, it’s another story entirely as the unreclaimed sites, which were built after the second world war, have polluted the environment with devastating consequences for the locals. There are ongoing initiatives to restore the site and develop green projects here, but these are controversial and are still in progress.

Big solar farm on the peninsula, near Porto Torres.
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After Porto Torres, we headed for Stintino which is about as far west as one can travel in Sardinia. It sits at the tip of a peninsula of rolling farmland and beyond it sits the undeveloped island of Asinara.

Three wind turbines on the Stintino peninsula.
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Meadow of flowers beneath the turbine.
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Terrain on a perfect cycle touring day.
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Patty BarronWow! Amazing road... still thinking of/comparing to Sicilia! 😲
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2 years ago
These yellow flowers brighten up the roadside.
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We were making very good headway today with a light breeze behind us. It really was a perfect day of cycle touring. Halfway to Stintino, we noticed a large group of gulls circling and suspected there was a garbage dump nearby. It turned out to be a waste facility but instead of garbage, it appeared that they were compressing plastic waste into pallets, stacking them in layers and covering them over. My takeaway is I that have to continue to reduce my personal consumption of plastics.

Plastic is being covered over, not recycled.
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Patty BarronYikes! 😢😖
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2 years ago

We came upon a stark white beach and had to head over to see it up close. 

Playing in the sand...I mean stones.
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Patty Barronokay, so all that seaweed looks suspiciously like the masses of sargassum that is inundating the Caribbean! 😥
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2 years ago
Grains were like arborio rice.
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The whitest beach ever.
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Patty Barronbeautiful beach! white sand/pebbles, with dark brown/grey sargassum! Looks identical to what we experienced in the Yucatan.
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2 years ago
The brown stuff is seaweed and it’s on most of the beaches we’ve seen.
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Me, shimmying along the plank so I didn’t slip into the muck.
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Stintino is a small village with two little harbours and is known for its tuna fishing history. At first I was hesitant to see the museum but I concluded it would give me some context and perspective to this chapter of local history. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when we showed up within the hours they were supposedly open. 

Stintino harbour.
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View over island of Asinara and La Pelosa beach. Asinara is the home of a herd of about 100 indigenous albino donkeys.
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We had chosen a nice hotel with a gorgeous pool. By now, we were ready for an afternoon snooze so we checked in, tucked the bikes in the hotel’s laundry room and hit the pillows.

Pool at our hotel.
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Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 694 km (431 miles)

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Rachael AndersonGlad to hear the winds finally improved for you. Looks like you had a great day of cycling.
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2 years ago
Patty BarronSuch beautiful scenery & gorgeous beaches you are seeing!
All the photos with explanations; so enjoyable to read, as we follow your trip! 👌🙌
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2 years ago