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bei Capo Testa, Sardegna (Italia)
Hike with a lot of scrambling around the superb Capo Testa peninsula. Highlights are the magnificent granite cliffs and fascinating rock formations, the various small coves, the descent through a valley strewn with large boulders to Cala Grande, and the great views of the coast and across the Strait of Bonifacio to Corsica. All the scrambling makes the hike relatively difficult and slow, but you do not require any technical skills to negotiate the rocks. On the day I did this hike there was a strong wind, with a wild sea splashing onto the rocks, adding extra visual pleasure.
The hike starts on a parking directly after having passed the dam from the mainland. You cross the road, have a look at the Rena di Ponente beach, and then enter an unpaved road west (there is a pedestrian entrance next to the gate). You walk towards a park with holiday homes, which you have to cross (see waypoint gate) to get to a coastal path taking you along the south coast. Soon, the path is interspersed with rocks and you find your way using the cairns and short stretches of recognizable paths for orientation along the south coast towards Li Graniti. Here the trail takes you inland up to a pass at about 50 m. From here you have to scramble down across rocks and large boulders to the beach at Cala Grande without a clear path. Near the beach, getting close to the Valle della Luna you will see some human shelters in the rocks as well as (makeshift) tents. In this area, hippies took up residence in the sixties, and some of their successors and cave-dwellers still live here in caves and tents. At the end of the Valle della Luna, there was a totem pole, sitting in front of the Cala dell’Indiano (or Cala di l'Ea). From here you go north along the coast towards the old and new lighthouse. In the valley before you ascend towards the old lighthouse is another cove, Cala Francese. On the ridge near the lighthouse you can see a viewpoint on granite rocks a bit further north. You go up this viewpoint and then continue further towards the northern point of the peninsula. You then walk along Cala Spinosa towards the asphalt road, but you turn right shortly before the parking lot to have a view of both the lighthouses. Coming back to the parking lot you walk along the asphalt until you get to the entrance of a sea-side restaurant. Here you can go down to the beach by taking an opening in the fence to the right and take a small trail through the bushes ending up at a beach. Here you can go further, with a small risk of getting your feet wet and you end up at a gate to another holiday residence with a sign ‘forbidden entry’. Here (see waypoint “Ingresso Vietato”) you can turn back to the road or scramble your way around the residence. Back on the road you follow it for 500 m, turn left on a minor asphalt road between holiday homes, choose a small trail down at the end until you get to another trail along the coast. Here, you will find some other coves and rocks until Punta Acuta. Past Punta Acuta you will get to a larger beach and a small harbour. You follow this beach (Spiaggia Zia Culumba), and then the rocky coast back to the parking lot..
You can find something to eat and drink at the waypoint ‘Small Path to Coast’ and on the beach Spiaggia Zia Culumba (the latter not open when I was there). This hike is largely the same as hike 6 in the Dutch book "Sardinië. De mooiste kust- en bergwandelingen" by W. Iwersen and E v.d. Wetering (Rother Wandelgidsen).
This is the location of the old lighthouse.
This is where the cala dell'Indiano beach is at the end of the Valle della Luna. Also called Cala di l'Ea.
Small cove close to the Valle della Luna.
Cove at the foot of the ridge on which the old lighthouse is.
Beach at the end of the descent on boulders and rocks.
Cove on the north side of the peninsula.
Here the coastal path starts from the holiday village.
This is where the descent between boulders to Cala Grande starts.
Here starts another trail along the coast on the eastern side of the peninsula.
There is a gate here to a holiday village. The walking guide indicated to go through here, but the gate was closed. I tried to find another path around the village, but did not see one. Next to the gate you can step across a low wall which gives access to the road through the village and gives access to the coastal path beyond the village. I suspect the gate is open in summer.
Here there is a gate to a park with holiday houses with forbidden entrance signs. Possibly open in summer. You can either scramble around the holiday park or go back to the road near the restaurant. There are other tracks on wikiloc which seem to pass by the holiday park (http://nl.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=9495392), but I did not see a path when I was there. Possibly you can scramble your way around it.
A hill with granite rocks.
You approach the north side of Capo Testa with waves beating the granite rocks.
There is a boardwalk to a seaside restaurant with wooden fences around it. Directly at the entrance there is a gap in the fence which you can go through and accces a small path down to Cala Spinosa. The path goes across rocks to a small beach. You can go further stepping across stones on the edge of the water to another path which takes you to a gate (private property). There you have to go back or scramble your way around the private property.
Beach on the south side of the dam to the peninsula.
Beach on the east side of the peninsula facing the Baia di San Reparata
Totem Pole at the end of the Valle della Luna
Here is the Valle dell Luna between ridges with peculiar rock formations. In the valley you will find cavedwellers and tents of people living in the valley as well as a totem pole
Excellent viewpoint with views of Corsica, the lighthouses and the surrounding rock formations. There are stairs hewed in the rocks to the viewpoint. The viewpoint is surrounded by a wall of stones in concrete.