Baunei is a small mountain village in the Province of Ogliastra on the Italian island Sardinia, Italy. The village finds itself high in the mountains at 480 meters above sea level and faces south-west with a location approximately just north of Cagliari and about 11 kilometers north of Tortoli. Home to the popular seaside resort Santa Maria Navarrese, Baunei borders Dorgali, Lotzorai, Talana, Triei and Urzulei municipalities while the town itself has all the necessary facilities including shops, restaurants, banks and pharmacies. Tortoli is also close by where you can find a much larger shopping center. When driving through the town, make sure you watch out for the Il Golgo sign as this is the road that leads you high up into the mountains and to get truly great views. There are many places to eat real traditional Sardinian foods in the uplands of the Golgo. Other interesting places include the Grotta de Su Meraculu caves where you will find information about the guided tours available in town. The oldest evidence of human presence in this territory date back to the Neolithic and have been traced in the cave Cala Elune. According to the records, the first time that appears the name Baunei that was documented back to the 1313. Its name apparently derives from “Baun” which was the name of the castle that was built by the Dorias back in the sixth century. Later on, Baunei again reappears in 1358. This document registers a weak economy in a modest demographic reality. The town grew with the incorporation of the territories of the villages of Osono and Eltili. The county passed to be the Marquis in 1603 (Centelles family and then Osorio). In 1806 it was incorporated in the province Baunei Tortoli. It was then suppressed in 1857 when Environment Lanusei was created until 1927. That year it was established the province of di Nuoro. Baunei was part until the establishment of the Province of Ogliastra. It has been operational since 2005. It was then abolished in 2016 and merged again in the province of Nuoro. Among its cultural traditions, Baunei numbers the pletare a ritual that takes place on the night before a wedding. Here, the procession goes from the groom’s house to the future bride house carrying a stick and holding a lighted candle.
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Where to Stay in Baunei - Top Picks
Hotel Bia Maore
Hotel Bia Maore is a charming three-star hotel at the heart of the Gennargentu National Park, near the main square of Baunei. It is the ideal starting point for a vacation in east Sardinia and the perfect base from which to explore the famous beaches and coves on the Gulf of Orosei. Decorated with vibrant furnishings in a true Sardinian style, the rooms at Hotel Bia Maore are cozy and comfortable. There are eleven rooms; each one is decorated with elegant handmade furniture. Some rooms come with a small balcony and a panoramic terrace that opens up to the majestic views of either the Ogliastra Mountains or the Arbatax Bay. Furnished with modern amenities, the rooms at Hotel Bia Maore are further equipped with a private bathroom with shower, air conditioning and heating system, minibar, safe, and a free Wi-Fi. As for the food, every morning, a breakfast buffet is served for guests to enjoy and this consists of a wide assortment of local and international dishes, including delicious croissants and cappuccino. For guests traveling by car, private parking is available at no extra charge, and the hotel offers valet service for guests. Regarding activities in Baunei, the nearest beach is just a 10-minute drive away from the hotel, and there are outdoor activities that guests can take part in nearby, such as trekking, paragliding and mountain biking. The Arbatax harbor, which offers ferry connections to Genova, Fiumicino, and Civitavecchia, is only 22 kilometers away from the property.
Villa Janas is a three-bedroom apartment ideal for couples and families heading for a vacation in east Sardinia. Recently renovated in a typical Sardinian style, Villa Janas is the perfect base for a relaxing holiday while immersing yourself in the impressive atmosphere of Baunei. Regarding layout, the apartment has two bedrooms. One room has a queen bed and another bed for toddlers, while bedroom 2 has three single beds. These rooms are cleaned and sanitized before and after each stay to make your stay even more comfortable; the apartment is fitted with modern amenities, such as air conditioning and heating system, fan, dryer, hot water, iron, washer and Wi-Fi access. Each apartment is also equipped with a kitchenette and cooking facilities. Finally, there is also a veranda that opens to the beautiful views, and a perfect place to enjoy breakfast with the family. Meanwhile, for those who need to work while on holiday, there’s a laptop-friendly workspace available within the apartment. The apartments are set within the Gennargentu National Park, making it a perfect base for your vacation in Baunei. It’s only a 10-min drive from the nearest beach, and there’s also a path that leads to beautiful Cala Goloritze Beach. The property is also just a few steps away from some of the most beautiful tourist sites in east Sardinia. Several shops and restaurants are only about 300 meters away from the apartment.
Things to Do in Baunei
Explore the Grotta del Fico
The Grotta del Fico is an enchanting cave that should feature on top your list of things to do in Baunei. Upon reaching the cave, visitors are enshrouded with darkness as a tour guide takes them back 800 thousand years to the initial formation of the cave. Stalagmites, stalactites, and columns of unusual shapes, colors, and sizes enclose every corner of the cave. Within the cave, there is also a system of tunnels and footbridges which visitors can navigate to discover more of the cave. Interestingly, this winding route leads to majestic cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Orosei. Furthermore, there are also many charming coves in the area which can be reached via nearby hiking trails. You can explore the Grotta del Fico with an expert guide who can explain the history and significance of the cave and this is undoubtedly one of the unique things to do in Baunei.
Hiking to Pedra Longa
Hiking to Pedra Longa is one of the most exciting activities in Baunei. As you may know, the name means “tall stone” and this natural monument is known for a rocky seashore, where the color of the water changes as a result of the light reflecting from the sun. In fact, this is also the perfect place for swimming or snorkeling as the water is calm and incredibly clear. Towering 130 meters above sea level, Pedra Longa is a remarkable sight. The rock face is said to be a prominent point among sailors as it can be seen from several kilometers away. You can access Pedra Longa by car, and it is located at the exit to the Sardinian Eastern highway at km 153, in the south of Baunei. At this point, there is be a small road that will lead to a short uphill stretch and will soon take you to the foot of the peak of Pedra Longa in only a few minutes. For those who are adventurous enough and would prefer to hike, you can even reach Pedra Longa on foot from Santa Maria via a footpath near the Bellavista Hotel. Although this is one of the most iconic things to do in Baunei, Pedra Longa is also a very cultural experience where the history behind this attraction is just as impressive as the actual monument.
Explore the Area with the Trenino Supramonte
The province of Ogliastra is dominated by mountains, and “Golgo” refers to a plateau in the Baunei Hinterland which is often the subject of interest for visitors. Starting at the Piazza Independence in Baunei, the Trenino Supramonte is a road train which offers spectacular views as it travels up to the peak of this plateau. As you might expect, riding this charming train is one of the most popular things to do in Baunei for families with children and provides unrivaled views of the landscape as well as the Gulf of Arbatax. Traveling on the BiaMaore, the train is often engulfed by beautiful Mediterranean vegetation and Olm oak trees. Furthermore, visitors can stop to encounter basalt pools and an iconic three hundred meter pit known as Su Sterru. Later, the tour guide also takes guests inside a famous church to uncover some beautiful architecture and local history. Finally, there are charming huts to visit which mark the home of the shepherds who have inhabited the region for hundreds of years. The “Rock Mask” is usually the highlight of the tour as this mysterious rock face features an ancient ladder and some of the most breathtaking views in the region. Without a doubt, hopping on the Trenino Supramonte is one of the best things to do in Baunei.
Baunei Restaurants - Where to Eat
Trattoria Pedra Longa (Seafood, Pizza)
Located just a short distance from town, this restaurant in Baunei is an excellent example of an eatery which makes the most of both local specialties and seafood delicacies. You will find an excellent selection of wines, attentive staff and a truly relaxing atmosphere to enjoy either lunch or dinner. The sublime view is the stand out feature of Trattoria Pedra Longa where ocean vistas are accompanied by friendly staff and excellent cuisine. The surrounding mountains are just as striking, and guests are most often left in awe of the location alone. As for the immediate surroundings, the luscious confines makes for a relaxing experience and the perfect oasis for hungry hikers who choose to explore the nearby hiking trails. Regarding cost, this may not be the cheapest of restaurants in Sardinia, but it is by no means ultra expensive and a genuine reflection of the overall experience. Whether you opt for the grilled fish, calamari fritti or mussels, the result is most often an experience with fresh ingredients and wholesome food. With this in mind, Trattoria Pedra Longa has a reputation for being one of the most impressive restaurants in Baunei.
Punto di Ristoro Uttolo (Traditional Sardinian Food)
Many guests refer to Punto di Ristoro Uttolo as a very authentic restaurant in Baunei with a particular focus on local meats and produce. Whether you decide to sample the goat's cheese or honey sebadas, the menu seems to cater to all tastes with clams, mussels, and several fish-based items also accounting for an impressive selection of seafood. Featuring a large outdoor terrace, this is indeed a restaurant which knows how to please guests as this welcoming and spacious ambiance is typical of the setting which the locals seem to enjoy. Although the restaurant is also popular with group celebrations and banquets, this is a rather quiet environment for the most part, and the staff is always welcoming in spite of the lack of English you might find. In the case that you might be passing through Baunei, Punto di Ristoro Uttolo is still a safe bet for sampling some local delicacies, and with fair prices and so much space to drink in the surroundings, you can understand why tourists are always quick to leave glowing online feedback and reviews. When it comes to authenticity, price, and taste, Punto di Ristoro Uttolo lives up to expectations at every turn and leaves a feeling you will not be forgetting anytime soon.
How To Get To Baunei
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The nearest airport to Baunei is Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, located about 106 kilometers south of the village. To get to Baunei via the fastest route by car, just head south on the Strada Statale 131 and Strada Statale 125 after you’ve exited the airport area. You’ll pass the larger villages of San Teodoro and Budoni. Once you’re near Siniscola, keep following the scenic road along the mountains. After 68 kilometers, take the Strada Provinciale 38, then continue on the SS 125 near Dorgali, which will guide you all the way to Baunei. With the usual traffic, the drive shouldn’t be longer than two hours.