The National Park and Punta Giglio
Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte (Regional Natural Park of Porto Conte) was founded in 1999, covers fifty thousand hectares of coast and hinterland of Alghero. The territory is mostly flat and includes 60 kilometres of the shore: sandy beaches alternate with steep cliffs.
Overall, it contains 35 identified species of mammals and 150 of birds. Besides beaches, calas and hiking trails, the park hosts a number of grottas, being Grotta di Nettuno the most popular one.
Punta Giglio is a limestone promontory which together with Capo Caccia encloses the bay of Porto Conte. Its name relates to the presence of numerous lily plants and it is included in the territory of the Capo Caccia Marine Protected Area – Isola Piana.
Because of the strategic dominant position between Porto Conte and Alghero, it was an important anti-aircraft base of the army during WWII, of which the structures with barracks, platforms for positioning anti-aircraft guns, casemates and explosives storage still exist, built with local limestone and camouflaged from the view from the sea.
How to get there?
By car is the easiest way. It’s only 15 minutes if you are staying in Alghero. The entrance has enough parking space, and it is called Parcheggio Punta Giglio.
Parking is free, and the entrance to the park costs €6 per person. Additionally, electric bicycles are available for rent.
If you don’t have a car, the bus company A.R.S.T has created various routes connecting the town of Alghero to the main tourist attractions located in the surrounding territory. Timetables for both buses and trains are available online here.
Trails and difficulty
The map in the picture above, which is at the entrance to the park, contains the main path (road) and all the footpaths. You will also be given a paper map when you pay the entrance fee.
The key to understanding the map is that the grey line is the read that goes from the entrance to Punta Giglio. From that road you can either take the yellow and green paths, and from the latter, you can take the red and the blue. So all the paths are the following:
- Grey: this is actually the main road which goes from the entrance to Punta Giglio.
- Yellow: path to Punta Giglio, passing by Cala Bramassa.
- Green: path to Monte Rededu and Port Agre. It can be taken from 2 different points on the main road.
- Red: path to Monte Pedrosu and Maristella Villate, where an exit gate is available. It can be taken from the green path or the exit gate.
- Blue: path to Port Agre (and the sea!). It can be taken from the green path.
All paths are low to medium difficulty. The easiest is the main road, as it’s flat without obstacles. The yellow one is beautiful, alternating shade, sun, calas and picnic breaks. The last part is steep and rocky (see picture below).
The most common hiking is to go up using the main road, which is easier, and take yellow one in the way back, following the sea and taking the worst parts downhill. We did the opposite actually, but we enjoyed it anyway. This should take less than 3 hours.
The signs are clear and the path are well marked and easy to follow, you won’t have any problems finding your way around.
For more information you can have a look at this file or visit one of the following websites:
If you prefer to hire a private tour, the following two can be good alternatives:
What should I bring?
- Trainers: the hike is not difficult, but you occasionally need to jump or squeeze between rocks. Flip flops are not ideal.
- Water: depending on the season the weather can be very hot. So one or two bottles per person at least.
- Camera/phone: of course you will want to take pictures.
- Water shoes/sandals: this could also be essential, but only if you plan to swim in one of the calas. If you don’t mind rocky beaches/rivers, you don’t need them.
- Food: snacks and/or fruits can be a good option as well. There are a bunch of picnic breaks along the way, with tables and benches.
- Dry clothes and/or towel: you may want to consider this as well if you are staying for long or are planning to swim. Probably having some dry clothes in the car is a good idea.
The map below shows the easiest and most direct path, which is actually a road, from the entrance to Punta Giglio.
The footpaths are shown in the pictures of the section above.