If you are reading this post you will probably have the same questions we had. And the main one is: Is it worth the hike? And my answer is yes.
There are plenty of great beaches in La Maddalena, but this one is special. It is calm and relaxing, and had a special kind of vibe. Swimming from Cala Cotticio to the other beach (or other area of the same beach) was one of our favourite moments of the trip.
I hope the information below helps.
How to get there?
Palau is the town where the ferry to La Maddalena departs from. It is quite small and the port is very easy to find, so the journey is super fast and convenient, even during high season. It takes only 15 minutes to cross and the price is per car and per person. We were two with a small car and we paid €35 with return.
There are two companies selling tickets: Delcomar and Maddalena Lines. The former seems to be much better, it is the one we used and we had no problems at all. We bought the tickets in advanced but you can also buy on board. Actually, if you buy in advanced you do not get a time, you only book for a specific day. You then just head to the port and drive to the ferry.
Trail and difficulty
In terms of difficulty, I would consider it moderate. It starts easy and flat, and there some areas at the end where you may need both hands free. I was with a bag and a umbrella and I had no problem, but it is better if you don’t bring too much stuff.
The total length is 1.6 km (0.99 miles) and it takes between 30 and 45 minutes. It starts at 98 metres (321 ft) of altitude and descends to 4 metres (13 ft).
The trail is not always obvious, although it would be hard to miss it. There are points painted in some rocks, and most of the time there are other people around, so you won’t get lost.
You will find mostly flat and open areas, and some other areas with more vegetation. There is little to no shade so be careful with the sun.
The most difficult part is the one on the picture above. There is a steep decline which involves scrambling down some improvised stairs on the rocks. You may need to pass your stuff to someone to free both of your hands. Once you pass it, the rest is easy.
There are nice views along the way, although the sea it is far away most of the times. Just after this decline you will see the sea on your left, but there is only a rocky beach, not suitable for swiming nor staying. The beatiful beach is yet to come.
In terms of parking, most people leave the car on the side of the road as close to the trail entrance as possible. Just bear in mind that the car should not be over the road at all, and you may even get fined. An alternative is to leave it next to the “Fortezza”, a fort nearby with parking spaces.
So after walking for 30 or 45 minutes, and maybe suffering the heat and the sun, you will finally arrive at Cala Coticcio, one of the best beaches in La Maddalena.
As you can see in the pictures above, the “cove beach” (Cala) is quite small. I would say is no more than 30 or 40 metres wide. It is surrounded by rocks, so there is a limited space for umbrellas. There are always yatches and boats near by, as it is easier to reach by the sea. It is a perfect spot if it is not too crowded.
It is also very calm and relaxing, as it is protected by the cliffs. There is plenty of space to swim as well.
One of our favourite moments of the trip to Norther Sardinia was here. We swam from Cala Cotticio to the other beach (or other section of the beach), which is on the left. On the way we passed in the middle of some other rocks, with plenty of fish below us and a few spots to dive, and we went all the way to the sandy area to rest, and then come back. This was really a moment for us.
What should I bring?
- Trainers: the hike is not super difficult, but you occasionally need to jump or squeeze between rocks. In one or two parts you will probably need both hands as well. Flip flops are not ideal, and people say sometimes you are not allored to enter the trail if you are wearing them.
- Water: depending on the season the weather can be very hot. So one or two bottles per person at least. There are no shops near by so better to go prepare water upfront.
- Camera: of course you will want to take pictures.
- Food: snacks and/or fruits can be a good option as well, especially if you are planning to spend some time on the beach.
- Dry clothes and/or towel: you may want to consider this as well. Probably having some dry clothes in the car is a good idea.
- Water shoes/sandals: it is not that important as the beach is sandy. You can also climb some of the rocks barefoot. However; some people would like to use them anyway.
- We stayed in The Maddalena for one night and two days, but it deserves more time. I can recommend a bed and breakfast called Antica Fonte 3. It is not very close to the port and the town centre but offers great views and more importantly, their hosts are great cooks. So you should book a dinner, which cost €35 and comprises a full Italian dinner -and experience-.
- Visit our “Best beaches in Northern Sardinia” post to find more information about beaches in this beautiful Italian island.