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Approximately 35km and 15 nautical miles from Porto Torres, you will find the historical and picturesque medieval village of Castelsardo, which overlooks the Asinara Gulf.

struttura porto castelsardo

The port of Castelsardo is not well protected from mistral, which can be problematic when approaching the port. Mooring manoevures may be difficult due to grecale and tramontana.

During Summer some moorings are reserved solely for transit. The port of Castelsardo provides all necessary ammenities and services such as water, electricity, fuel, supermarket etc.

The village is situated in a promontory close to the sea and the port, and can be reached by walking along the main street. The historical centre is surrounded by large, defensive walls. Its narrow streets are characterised by steep slopes and descents, filled with unique restaurants and craft shops.

The castle, which was built by the Doria family in the XII century, dominates the city’s landscape. Nowadays, the castle is home to the Museo dell’Intreccio Mediterraneo, which is dedicated to traditional artisan craftwork such as the weaving of baskets and other everyday utensils.

The Cathedral of Sant’antonio Abate dates back to the XVI Century. It was built overlooking the sea. Its unique, breathtaking views make it one of the most impressive churches in Sardinia. Castelsardo belongs to the club I borghi più belli d'Italia.

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Porto Torres is located on the Gulf of Asinara. It is the largest port in the North of Sardinia, and is divided into three sectors: commercial, industrial and tourist. It is a great base for those who wish to visit the north west of the island, thanks to its proximity to Stintino (30 km), Castelsardo (35 km) and Alghero (37 km).

It is 10 nautical miles from Stintino, and approximately 15 from Castelardo. The coast along the Gulf of Asinara is particularly exposed to the mistral and there are no coves or places to anchor, apart from the mentioned ports of Stintino, Porto Torres, Castelsardo and Isola Rossa.

In the Turritan port there is a marina with berths for transit. All necessary amenities are available, such as water, electricity, fuel etc. It is necessary to pay close attention when entering and exiting the port, due to the transit of various ferries.

The city centre is a few minutes from the quay. There you can access all of the main services: bars, restaurants, supermarket, banks, pharmacies, etc.

There are many sites of historical and cultural interest that can be visited in the city: the Antiquarium Turritano and the Archaeological Park, The Romanesque Basilica of San Gavino, the Waterfront and the little churches of Balai, the Aragonese Tower, the Necropolis of Via Libio e quella fuori città di su Crucifissu Mannu



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Stintino is a picturesque tourist village located on the North West tip of Sardinia, opposite the Island of Asinara.

Originally a fishing village, it was founded in 1885 by 45 families who lived on the island, after they were made to give up their lands for the construction of the Jail and the Lazaretto. These families settled on a tongue of land between two natural fjords, now recognised as Stintino and its 2 ports.

struttura dei porti di stintino

Portu Mannu is the larger port; it has approximately 350 berths run by different managers. Available services include: water, electricity and fuel. You can drop anchor in the first large outer harbour.

Portu Minore is the smallest port, it is exposed to the wind of levanter and the seabed is not particularly high.

Reaching the town centre with a small stroll is easy from any berth, as the two ports are located within the centre of the village. To the North coast, towards the beach of La Pelosa, there is also a small private marina, which is located just in front of the Island of Asinara: the "Porticciolo dell'Ancora".

The roadstead of La Pelosa is a natural swimming pool, situated close to the homonymous beach and to the South of the small Isola Piana. In the summer it is the destination of many boats that, thanks to its sandy sea floor, can easily and in safely drop anchor. When strong winds from the north-west and north-east blow, mooring becomes difficult due to the fast-moving waves. Here the sea is unique with its spectacular colours. For boats with a considerable draft, it is advisable not to get too close to the tower of La Pelosa, because the seabed does not exceed 1.30 m.

As an alternative to the Rada dei Fornelli, you can drop anchor in the small cove in the east of the Isola Piana, which is well sheltered from the western sector winds. You should pay close attention to the sealing of the still, as the seabed is not uniformly sandy. The town (whose name derives from the sardinian "s isthintinu", the gut, from the name given to the narrow fjord on which it lies) was built between two natural inlets in which there are the two small ports. With a lovely walk on the seafront C. Colombo, you can find restaurants, handcraft shops and local products.

The walk through the streets of the town is an extension of the visit to the village of Cala d'Oliva dell'Asinara of which Stintino follows the layout.

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The Asinara Island is a National Park and Marine Protected Area. Those who want to visit the Asinara Island by boat should familiarise themselves with the restrictions for navigation in its waters.

As it is not possible to anchor along the east coast and Fornelli, several buoy fields have been prepared.

From south to north, the buoy fields are:

  • Fornelli
  • Cala Reale
  • Cala Barche Napoletane
  • Cala Ponte Bianco
  • Cala d’Oliva

To reserve the buoys, it is necessary to contact the Agency Cormorano Marina manager, tel +39 079 512290 or +39 348 6913528.

In this map you can see the limitations of the Marine Protected Area.

For any further information, please visit the website of the Parco Nazionale dell'Asinara

First, it is essential to examine the limitations concerning the Marine Protected Area, which are of 3 levels: zone A, zone B, zone C.

Zone A: Integral reserve > Access and any type of activity is not allowed

Zone B: General reserve > Engine navigation is forbidden (also for tenders, except under special circumstances). Sailing, rowing or using electric units is allowed. The use of watercraft is forbidden. No fishing. No anchoring. Mooring in buoy fields is permitted, however they must be booked and paid for. Bathing, snorkelling, and diving with a guide are allowed.

Zone C: partial reserve > Anchoring, fishing and the use of watercraft are prohibited. Sailing, rowing, engine navigation, bathing, snorkelling, and diving with a guide are allowed. Mooring in buoy fields is permitted. The only buoy field inside Area C is Fornelli.

The coasts are very jagged, and the territory is mostly mountainous. The west side has steep, rocky slopes. The east side is low and rocky, with beaches located in Fornelli, Sant'andrea, Cala Reale, Trabuccato, Punta Sabina and Cala Arena.

On the east side you will find the village of Cala d'oliva, a quaint village of small white houses where the agents of the penitentiary police and their families lived during the years that the prison was in operation.

To the south, you will find the port of Cala Reale, where there are remains of what was originally a Lazzaretto (a place of recovery for ship’s crew members that were suffering from infectious diseases). This area was also used as a royal residence for the Savoy. The territory is mostly rocky, and the vegetation is composed of shrubs of the Mediterranean Maquis: mastic, wild olive, spurge and juniper. There is a forest of oaks, located in the locality of Elighe Mannu.

The fauna has changed a lot in recent decades. Historical sources document the presence of important species such as the mouflon, the sardinian deer, the hedgehog, the sardinian hare, the wild boar, the monk seal and the osprey. There are also cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses. A unique species is the white donkey of Asinara: this species is characterized by the white colour of the mantle, which is a form of albinism.

Currently, there are approximately 120 species living on the island. The bird species of the island have been studied for over 15 years with census and tracking to study their migratory flow.

The discovery of many Domus de Janas (houses of fairies) shows that the island has been inhabited since the Proto-Nuragic era. It is also certain that the island was inhabited by the Romans, due to the presence of the nearby colony of Turris Libissonis, today's Porto Torres. Archaeologists have found numerous fragments of tiles and amphorae, and, recently, a short distance from the coast in the bay of Cala Reale, a relic of the roman era, which is visible to a few meters of depth. Towards the middle of the XVIII, families of fishermen and shepherds, coming from Liguria, Piemonte and Greece, settled on the island. In 1842 the island became part of the new Municipality of Porto Torres. However, in 1885, when the Italian government decided to establish the Lazzaretto and the agricultural penal colony, Asinara was expropriated.

Some of the inhabitants, forced to leave the island, settled in the countryside surrounding Porto Torres, while others founded the village of Stintino. In the early seventies, in Fornelli, the government built the maximum-security Prison, which housed members of the mafia, Red Brigades and other people linked to organized crime. In 1997 the prison closed and Asinara became a National Park.

Asinara National Park

When the prison was closed, the government established a National Park on the island. There are several ways to visit it:

  • Renting a bike
  • Booking a guided tour in a Jeep
  • Renting an electric car (for two people)
  • Using the shuttle bus
  • Using the tourist train (the train departs from and returns to Fornelli. It only makes one tour per day and is useful for tourists who come daily with the tourist boats)
  • For more info, go to the site:

In Asinara island you will find many small buildings where people working in the prison used to live. Many of these buildings have begun to deteriorate. There are also two large buildings, the prisons of Fornelli and Cala d'oliva.

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Sailing along the coast to the north, 23 miles from Capo Caccia, you will reach the tip of Capo Falcone. The coast is characterized by high cliffs overlooking the sea.

During the navigation you can admire Isola della Foradada and the Isola Piana. You will then find the beach of Torre del Porticciolo and the large beach of Porto Ferro. The beaches are bordered by two towers: In the north Torre Negra, and to the south Torre Rossa. In this point the seabed is sandy and allows for good anchorage.Past Porto Ferro, you will find Argentiera, Capo Mannu and Isola dei Porri.

When you reach Capo Falcone, passing between Isola Piana and Asinara, through the passage of Fornelli, you can enter the Golfo dell'Asinara. This route allows you to avoid the circumnavigation of the Asinara to the north, reducing your trip by 20 miles. This crossing must be done carefully as depths are very low.

It is advisable to travel during the day, only when there are good weather conditions and using vessels with minimal draft. You will need to follow the alignments of the pairs of seamarks. Seamarks are pillars with black and white stripes, positioned on the south coast of the island.

An additional passage is between the Isola Piana and the rock-cliffs of the Torre della Pelosa, though this is only recommended for vessels with minimum draft.

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