Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are in Sardinia and are far enough off the beaten path that lucky travelers will find them still pristine and not crowded. The marina in Santa Maria Navarrese is the starting point for all day excursions along the coast of Baunei through the Gulf of Orosei. Several different companies offer trips. This time we chose the aptly named Fuori Rotta (off the route or off the beaten path). The company operates two small motor yachts that are able to stop at the otherwise inaccessible calas or coves. Our boat was the 24 meters long Federica, which offered a large sitting area up top for sunning and viewing the amazing coastline.
Our first stop was at Cala Biriola where the combination of white pebbles and crystal clear aquamarine sea produced a dazzling effect that seemed like an ocean in a fairy tale.
The crew offered us beach umbrellas as we debarked to enjoy an hour of swimming and snorkeling. After another 20 minutes of sailing we stopped at the equally beautiful Cala Mariolu for more time on a beach with only our 20 fellow passengers. Back on board we were greeted with a choice of either alcoholic or non-alcoholic aperol spritzes, a very popular summer drink in Italy. Lunch was the Sardinian signature dish of fregola (an orzo-like pasta) with mussels and large shrimp in their shells. Bottles of Sardinian white wine were placed on each table.
Last stop of the day was at The Cave of the Fico (fig).
The boat stopped right at the bottom of a long staircase to the cave, 7 meters above sea level. A guide leads visitors on a tour across footbridges into the deep recesses of the massive cavern filled with stalagmites and stalactites, as well as siphons leading back to the sea. It could have been the site for a pirate's treasure chest and made a perfect last stop to a day of adventure off the beaten path in Sardinia.