Orosei is one of the most fascinating spots to visit over your holidays in east Sardinia. A beautiful city in the Province of Nuoro in the Italan region of Sardinia, on the downstream of the Cedrino River giving the name to the Golfo di Orosei. It’s located about 140 kilometers north-east of Cagliari and 30 kilometers east of Nuoro. As per the recent census of 31 December 2004, it had a population of about 6,148 and covering an average area of about 90.4 square kilometers. It’s scenically positioned at the gulf’s northern most point. It’s also surrounded by marble quarries and fruit orchards making Orosei an unsung treasure. Orosei borders the Dorgali, Galtelli, Onifai and Siniscola municipalities. The place takes its name from the initials of Giorgio Dessena and Vincenzo Scancella, the fathers of the company owners and pioneers in Orosei marble extraction, an activity they began over 50 years ago. It’s composed of four individuals and a corporate group: Lucia Francesca, Maria Antonietta, Pier Paolo and Rosanna, all children of Giorgio Dessena. The area dates back to prehistoric time, although it’s in the Giudicati period from about 900 until 1420 that Orosei lived its highest development. During Pisa’s domination Orosei was the main center of Gallura’s Giudicato. In the old town, the Sant’Antonio Tower and the Parish Churches of San Giacomo and San Gavino are a clear reflection of the seventh century. Until some decades ago, its economy was mainly based on agriculture, but nowadays the travel and tourism industry and the quarried marble are the driving business of the area. The sea is obviously the strongest selling point. The beach holiday business is mainly associated to the unbeatable beaches and shores, their pure white sand and crystal-clear sea for your dream holidays. More than just a beach holiday paradise, Orosei historical heritage offers a delightful gastronomy too, to be enjoyed in the charm of its old town. It has natural monuments of rare beauty where climbing, hiking and trekking can go on excursions surrounded by a pristine nature. The village of Orosei will also give you the opportunity to discover the ancient culture of the island. There are many festivals and festivities in Orosei that may include the Festival of the Madonna Del Rimedio. This is the longest celebration lasting 18 days where the rite is repeated every year on the first week Friday of September. Sacred festivities and great banquets will liven up local traditions. One of the most popular festivities in Orosei town is the Fire of Sant’ Antonio Abate is that starts on January 16th and the protagonist is the big bonfire of bushes log in the center of the square of S. Antonio. The celebration concludes by offering visitors with traditional sweets. Easter is also greatly celebrated and originating from the Spanish culture taking place during the three processions respectively on Thursday, Friday and Easter morning in the central square Piazza del Popolo. The Rites of the Holy Week still maintain the elements that highlight the religiousness of the locals. Some of the other interesting festivities include the Festival of Santa Lucia which takes place twice a year. This is a rural celebration featuring folk songs and music using seashells as amulets.
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Where to Stay in Orosei - Top Picks
Club Hotel Marina Beach
Club Hotel Marina Beach is a beautiful resort conveniently located in Marina di Orosei, the municipal district of Orosei. This charming resort is just five minutes’ walk from the beautiful Su Barone Beach. Featuring a particularly inviting swimming pool and a village akin to a Moorish castle, Club Hotel Marina Beach is truly one of the most picturesque hotels in Orosei. As mentioned above, the swimming pool is a stand out feature of the hotel. Surrounded by palm trees, this pool is immense and often the subject of five-star feedback. However, there is also sports and fitness center at the hotel and two separate restaurants. Firstly, the Marina Centrale restaurant serves the most delectable Sardinian cuisines, while the Pagoda Restaurant offers the perfect setting for a romantic meal next to the pool. Furthermore, there is a bar service from which you can even request a lunch to be served on the nearby beach. All rooms at the resort are spacious, bright and elegantly furnished in a typical Sardinian fashion. Equipped with air conditioning system, these rooms are also equipped with amenities for disabled guests while the most popular rooms are the Standard Room or the more luxurious Prestige Room.
Hotel Maria Rosaria
Hotel Maria Rosaria is a beautiful hotel complex located at via Grazia Deledda, just a short distance from the town center of Orosei. The stunning beaches are also nearby, but then the garden and pool at this hotel leave little reason to leave. Hotel Maria Rosaria features an enormous garden with a swimming pool and playground, not to mention a great deal of space for relaxation. As for food, there is also a restaurant in the hotel, which serves the most delicate meat and seafood delicacies. However, this restaurant is best known for serving some of the most mouth-watering pizzas in town as well as several other local specialties. In this regard, you will find more than sixty rooms at Hotel Maria Rosaria, and each of these is furnished in the most elegant style. They are bright, spacious and accompanied by luxury while the window that opens up to the panoramic view is another example of what makes this hotel so appealing. All rooms are located on the first two floors of the building, and there are elevators for the guests’ convenience. Equipped with a private bathroom and shower, the rooms also have Wi-Fi access, a mini bar, telephone, writing desk and some rooms are equipped with a balcony. Aside from the swimming pool and restaurant, the hotel is equipped with all the amenities and facilities you would expect of a hotel in Orosei. That being said, the rooms are likely the highlight for most guests, and a central location ensures this is one of the more popular hotels in Orosei.
Hotel Anticos Palathos
Hotel Anticos Palathos is a beautiful four-star hotel in Orosei set in a medieval style palace at the center of the city. There are several beaches near the property, with a coastline that stretches for more than twenty kilometers. Furthermore, Orosei Marina is also within easy reach which makes the island very accessible. Surrounded by majestic views of both the mountains and sea, Hotel Anticos Palathos strikes the perfect balance between location and amenities. Within the property, you will find a courtyard, bar, and restaurant while free parking is also available for guests with a car. As for breakfast, you can also choose to have this indoors or outdoors where you can take in the scenic views while enjoying a healthy start to the morning. This breakfast spread consists of a wide variety of local and International dishes with a particularly nice selection of fruit. Regarding the rooms, there are several different kinds of accommodations available at the hotel, from Double, Superior, Junior, Deluxe, and Luxury. All rooms are spacious and bright, and others open up to the stunning outside views. Featuring traditional tiled floors with uniquely decorated ceilings, staying at the Hotel Anticos Palathos is like no other. Each room is also fitted with an air conditioning system, Wi-Fi connection, and a flat-screen TV. The private bathrooms are wide and spacious and come complete with toiletries, fresh towels, and a hairdryer. Overall, this is a delightful place to stay and the impressive views, meals, and rooms ensure Anticos Palathos is one of the most popular hotels in Orosei.
Albergo Diffuso Mannois
Albergo Diffuso Mannois is a traditionally styled hotel complex set at the center of the historic center of Orosei. The Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport is less than an hour away while the beautiful beaches of Olbia are within easy reach of the property. Featuring ancient stone buildings, staying at the hotel complex is a unique adventure in itself. To make every stay more comfortable, the hotel provides various amenities including a restaurant serving typical Sardinian breakfast and several International dishes. Breakfast often consists of homemade cakes, jams, and cheeses. Meanwhile, you will also find a bar service during reception hours while free parking is available for those who are taking their car with them. Altogether, there are a total of nineteen rooms at the Albergo Diffuso Mannois, with five different types of accommodations from which to choose. These rooms are spread out in three various structures within the complex – SA Turre, SA Corte and SA Dommo. Each of these rooms has been designed with comfort, luxury, and attention to detail. Beautiful cushions, drapery, and bedspreads, along with exquisite furnishings made of light wood, can be seen upon entering the room. Furthermore, every room is uniquely designed with a fusion of traditional and modern decorative elements. You will also find all the usual facilities including a private bathroom, minibar, and a flat-screen TV. It should also be mentioned that some of the rooms in Albergo Diffuso Mannois feature a balcony with gorgeous views and two rooms were specifically designed to accommodate disabled guests or guests with special needs.
Things to Do in Orosei
Visit Oasi Biderosa
When it comes to natural attractions in Sardinia, Oasi Biderosa is one of the most popular places to visit and certainly one of the best things to do in Orosei. Featuring a sublime stretch of coastline and stunning forest, this is also a pocket of the island in which wide open spaces are in abundance and time seems to stand still. As you may know, Orosei is a historical town in the north of Sardinia and home to many fine restaurants. At the same time, the ancient landmarks in the primitive center of Orosei can still feel a little bit busy, and many visitors want to venture in search of something a little more personal. With this in mind, Oasi Biderosa is the perfect escape and an opportunity to see the quiet and more enchanting side of the island. Characterized by pine forests with oaks and junipers, this beautiful haven is also an entry point for a magnificent beach with white powdered sands. Stretching alongside this forest, you will find no less than five charming coves, and each one offers a varying degree of privacy but with the same enchanting scenery. As you might expect, this is an opportunity to trek in the area too, for Oasi Biderosa consists of more than 850 hectares of protected forest. Furthermore, the favorable climate in this part of the Mediterranean ensures suitable weather for making the most of this natural paradise. As already mentioned, the pine forest and luscious vegetation are a known gateway for the beach at Biderosa, and this is indeed one of the finest in the region. Featuring white sands and crystalized water, the beach is naturally ideal for sunbathing and swimming, but in truth, this is just another string to the bow for this incredibly stunning oasis.
Explore the Churches of Orosei on Foot
Although most visitors to the island arrive in search of sun, sand, and relaxation; Sardinia is also home to an extremely rich history and quite a sophisticated culture. You can find ancient remnants or artistic creations at every turn, and this is often best evidenced in the many churches of Orosei. Taking a walk through this historical town is one of the best things to do in Orosei, and there are certainly enough churches to explore. Some are slightly more interesting than others, and Chiesa di San Giacomo Maggiore is in this particular category. Featuring an enchanting bell tower, the exterior is the perfect example of a Middle Age structure while inside, the wooden altar seems apt in the company of such an antiquated design. On the other hand, Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate is a slightly more unassuming church which is best known for some fascinating frescoes of Christ. There are many more churches to uncover such as Santa Maria e’ Mare and Nostra Signora delle Grazie. However, the contrast between the two churches above is an indication of what you can expect while exploring the local history and experiencing what is certainly one of the interesting things to do in Orosei.
Visit Grotta di Ispinigoli
Just a short distance southwest of Orosei, Grotta di Ispinigoli provides the opportunity to explore some of the most enchanting caves in Europe. Furthermore, this is an affordable thing to do in Orosei with low entry prices and guided tours are on hand to educate visitors about the incredible history of these caves. Although photography is not allowed, the caves never fail to amaze visitors and the further you travel down on the spiral steps inside, the more magical the encounter becomes. In fact, Grotta di Ispinigoli is home to the largest stalagmite in Europe which is an incredible feat considering the variety of caves on the continent. At 38 meters, you can imagine just how long it took this stalagmite to form which is an indication of the ancient nature of the caves. The immense limestone columns are impressive, and the story behind their formation is just as engrossing. For a small fee, visitors can join an organized tour, and with so much to learn about the cave eco-system, this is certainly one of the unique things to do in Orosei.
Orosei Restaurants - Where to Eat
Su Barchile (Traditional Sardinian Food, Pizza)
When it comes to Sardinian food and gluten-free pizza, the Michelin star restaurant Su Barchile is arguably the best restaurant in Orosei. Located at the three-star hotel Su Barchile in the center of town, this is also quite a traditional venue where the decoration may be a little bland in places, but then the food more than makes up for the absence. As mentioned, this is a pizzeria style restaurant, and the gluten-free nature makes this a particularly popular eatery in the area. The menu also features a long line of typical Sardinian dishes such as ravioli, lamb and other succulent meats while the portions are suitably generous. As for the taste, the food at Su Barchile is often complimented for its sublime mix of flavors. Furthermore, you will find a range of delightful Italian wines here which are locally produced in the surrounding areas. Indeed, the decoration is simplistic and somewhat ordinary, but in many ways, this is what you might expect in such a small and traditional restaurant. Either way, the pizza is delicious, and even without the gluten free aspect, this is a restaurant in Orosei worth visiting.
Ristorante Pizzeria da Mario (Traditional Sardinian Food, Pizza)
As with most restaurants in Orosei, the food experience is nothing short of sublime at Ristorante da Mario. Furthermore, this is a very authentic and traditional restaurant with kitsch décor and friendly service. In many ways, this is also a microcosm of the most authentic and old-fashioned restaurants on the island. In fact, online restaurant reviews of Ristorante da Mario are consistently written with great enthusiasm, and feedback covers every aspect of the eatery. That is to say, from the simplistic and rustic design to the friendly staff and excellent array of food; you should find an experience worth seeking out. Concerning the food, seafood and pasta feature prominently on the menu while the presentation of dessert suggests meticulous preparation. On the other hand, this is obviously a restaurant which is suited to pizza lover, and in this respect, the range of topics and fresh nature of the pizza is undoubtedly a highlight. Although you should find a somewhat primitive venue at Ristorante Pizzeria Da Mario, the atmosphere is often one of the nicest in town. Moreover, this a local experience where traditional Sardinian cuisine and friendly hospitality can give guests an excellent insight into the beautiful culture in the region.
Bar Trattoria Manu (Seafood)
Located on a beautiful plaza at the center of town, this is the perfect restaurant in Orosei for people watching. In fact, the small outdoor terrace is covered in vines, and an exciting array of food makes this one of the most charming places to eat in town. At the same time, this is quite an affordable place to eat with generous portions and extremely friendly staff. Regarding the food, you will find seafood at every turn, but the antipasti are popular for starters and then tuna steak or pasta for the main course. Furthermore, you will find a level of presentation at Bar Trattoria Manu is a step above what you might find elsewhere in town. The location is superb, and the small gardens surrounding this eatery offer the perfect setting for lunch or dinner. That being said, many locals and tourists alike frequent this peaceful terrace for an afternoon drink on weekends, and overall, this is a charming yet small eatery which deserves the reputation for being the most popular restaurant on Piazza du Popolo.
How To Get To Orosei
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The nearest airport to Orosei is Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, located about 64 kilometers north of the village. To get to Orosei via the fastest route by car, just follow the Strada Statale 131 Diramazione Centrale Nuorese once you've left the airport. It’s a scenic drive, as this road gradually bends away from the mountains towards the coastline. Once you’ve reached the small seaside village of La Caletta, follow the Strada Provinciale 3 for a little while in the direction of Iscra E Voes. Continue south on the Strada Statale 125 in the direction of Orosei. The trip shouldn’t take you longer than about one hour and ten minutes.