This is the best well known town of the Ogliastra area, thanks partly to the presence of the commercial and tourist port and thanks also to its rather intriguing name: it derives from an Arabic word meaning 'fourteenth tower', for the Saracen tower which overlooks the seafront. Arbatax was born as a village of fishermen, many of whom came from the nearby island of Ponza, and it is from fishing that it earned its biggest fortunes, thanks to the significant variety of fish and crustaceans in the area.
Arbatax is placed on the headland of Bellavista, and is surrounded by a natural scenery of bays and inlets which make it completely unique and fascinating.
Starting from the Rocce Rosse (Red Rocks), famous throughout the world for their particular colour of porphyry, then the splendid Cala Moresca, on the eastern side of the town, and continuing towards the Telis, the Bay of Portofrailis and San Gemiliano - now residential areas built up using some interesting architecture - it is possible to admire different colours and landscapes, all both striking and enchanting.
Forty kilometres of coast in the wildest part of Sardinia, sheer cliffs dotted with coves and beaches that are the real jewels of the Mediterranean. One of the last natural paradises, where faunistic species such as, the Corsican seagull, the peregrine falcon, and the crested cormorant nest and live in harmony with the environment, a land that is jealously guarded by the custodians of the territory, the local shepherds whose flocks of goats graze free amid the mountains. Excursions aboard small motor boats for groups of approx 12 people.
Discover the charm of the Orosei coast, explore the creeks and coves on your pleasant outing, pausing along the way to swim in the most beautiful crystal-clear sea of the Mediterranean. See the Ogliastra islets, Pedra Longa, the water springs of Baus, the cave of the doves, the inlets of Porto Pedrosu and Portu Cuau (on the bottom of the latter is the wreck of the cargo boat Levante, which sank in the 1960s). During our mini-cruise we can stop at the splendid beaches of Cala Goloritzé, the Sorgenti beach, the Gabbiano beach and the beaches of Cala Mariolu and Cala Biriola. In addition we can visit the spectacular “Fico” cave, where the monk seal was last seen.
Tortolì, the most populated village in Ogliastra stands near Arbatax, the sea entrance to the whole region. The port and the third category airport allow for direct connection with the mainland.
The mainly flat territory is situated in a vast plain facing the sea.. Tortolì is one of the most renowned villages on the eastern coast, rich in citrus groves, characterised by the unique beauty of its coasts with plenty of peculiar reefs of red porphyry and white beaches, such as Lido di Orrì and Porto Frailis which definitely stand out for the whiteness of their sand and the limpidity of their waters.
Several tourist resorts, hotels and camping sites located in some of the most beautiful coves on the coast, can welcome a great number of tourists. Tortolì – Arbatax offer many essential services for the perfect holiday. The construction of the tourist port in Arbatax, thanks to its services, has widened the range of offers available to tourists and made it an important stopover for pleasure-trippers who cruise along the eastern coast.
In the territory of Tortolì there are also quite a few archaeological areas of great interest. The major ones are near the country churches of S. Salvatore, a temple surrounded by menhirs, domus de janas, giants’ tombs and nuraghi, and S.Lussorio, which is next to the ruins of a village dating back to the Roman era.
Along the streets one can find Su logo de s’iscultura, an open air contemporary art museum which displays works by artists such as Mauro Staccioli, Antonio Levolella, Umberto Mariani, Maria Lai, Ascanio Renda, Pietro Colella and Hietotiski Nagasawa.
The term that best suits Sardinia is perhaps “environments”. What in fact strikes the visitor most is the coexistence of different territories, each with its own geological aspect.
You can choose among many experiences to discover the peculiarities of the Sardinian environment: pleasant outdoor excursions in the woods and pine forests in national parks or scattered on the island are only a few examples.
If you are passionate or curious about the secrets of the underground, Sardinia is rich in caves and mines in part recovered and turned into museums to be admired. This land has often suffered from drought but has many unexpected water resources: you will find beneficial hot springs as spas and waterfalls and fresh mountain springs.
Many traditional dishes of Campidano are made with fish and sea fruits, prepared in various ways: on the grill, in pickling brine, marinate, as a soup or filled. Even meats, since the territory is quite variegated.
Malloreddus: gnochetti (dumplings) of semolina (hard seed corn), generally handmade. This is one of the typical Sardinian “primi piatti” (first dishes). Usually served with tomato sauce and grated cheese (Fiore Sardo, Pecorino Sardo o Pecorino Romano), in the Campidano it is also flavored with: roasted fresh sausage, chopped onion and basil.
Spaghetti alla bottarga (fish eggs): bring the spaghetti to the boil, then pass them into a pan where had been warmed some olive oil with bottarga (dried mullet eggs). Pan-fry them for a minute and now they are ready to eat.
Spaghetti ai ricci (sea-urchins): savory version of spaghetti in tomato sauce, use sea-urchin fresh pulp roasted with olive oil and basil. The spaghetti have to be drained “al dente” , then pan-fry them with the sea-urchin and basil sauce.
Fregola: thick semolina usually handmade (with water and salt) made into small balls: tried in the hot oven for few minutes. The fregola can be combined with meat 's stock or with clams and garlic or fresh tomatoes, garlic and chopped onion.
Minestra di pesce (fish soup): the “cassòla” is a typical dish of Cagliari. Fry in a pan olive oil, garlic, chopped onion and parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, after about then minutes add the gutted and scaled fishes from the Golfo: position them according to their cooking time (preferred are normally eel, red/rose fish, grey mullet, black-tail, mullet, cuttlefish, octopus, mackerel, red mullet, crabs, magnosa). Then add a couple of cookwares of water, a little bit of white wine, depending on the quantity. Serve hot with typical anchovies tarts, traditionally eaten by sailors and fishermen that could not preserve bread for long time.
Minestra con casu axedu (suer cheese soup): meat's stock and pastina (tiny type of pasta, for example “stelline”, little stars). After the boiling, add pieces of casu axedu (suer cheese) melting in tasty strings.
Minestra di ceci e finocchi (chickpeas & fennel soup): leave chickpeas in salted water for a whole day, then peel and cook them adding pieces of fennel (preferably wild varieties), salt and ac hopped onion fried in olive oil. Some people add pastina ( tiny type of pasta ) and fresh tomato pulp.
Culurgiones: the Sardinian ravioli, called culingionis in other zones of Sardegna, are prepared with a dough of seed corn or flour, eggs, salt and olive oil and a filling of soft cheese or ricotta, chard or spinach, eggs, butter and saffron. All dressed in tomato sauce and grated Sardinian cheese. Very tasty is also the variation filled with potatoes, lard, fresh mint, onion and garlic chops.
Panàda di anguille (eels panada): puff pastry of flour and lard filled with tiny slices of marinate ell, garlic, sundried tomatoes and parsley. The lamb version is also tasty. Assemini, a little town near Cagliari, host a “panada festivale” in July.
Ricci di mare (sea-urchins) : during fishing authorized time, the sea-urchins ( called 'boga marì'in Algherese dialect) are ready to eat, you just need a knife and a teaspoon. The pulp varies in color from orange to purple red, tastes sweet and can be used as a sauce, for example to flavor spaghetti (look at Spaghetti ai ricci). Serve with white dry wine.
Burrìda: little slices of sea black-mouthed, boiled in salted water and marinated for about four hours in a particular tasty sauce (chop the black-mouthed liver together with nuts, garlic and parsley, fry it and flavor it with vinegar, cook using a low flame). It is better to serve cold, as a starter.
Sardine arrosto (rosted): the most traditional way to prepare sardines. This blue fish, very appreciated by Cagliaritans, has to be cleaned, spread on olive oil and grilled.The salt and the unmistakable aroma from the coal flame make it really tasty. Here is a variation for those living in a flat and whose can not use the traditional barbecue: fillets of oven-cooked sardines, dressed in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, parsley, garlic and basil chops, olive oil and lemon juice.
Pesci a scabecciu: a typical dish of Cagliari zone. Consist of cleaning the fishes (like mullet adapted to be fried) bread them in thin seed corn, fry them in a pan full of olive oil and once gilded, leave to marinate for one day in a sauce of oil, chopped garlic, (roasted) tomato pulp, salt and vinegar. The taste is strong, and it is often exalted by adding black olive chops and capers.
Còrdula: lamb intestine, carefully washed in both internal and interior side, it is then left in water and vinegar. Once dried, it is tied with a string and it is put on a grill on the flame. It is one of the most appreciated dish of Campidano, and also in other zone of Sardinia.