North-west Sardinia is almost a microcosm of the island itself where stunning sun-kissed beaches and rugged coastline connect a series of enchanting villages. The coastline stretches for more than 2,000 kilometers, and although famous for beaches, you will also find endless hiking trails and ancient relics in between. Sardinia has glorious beaches and resorts, but there is an outdoor aspect to this island which is every bit as enjoyable. In the midst of this rugged coastline, you will discover an area known as Stintino. Indeed, this is a natural oasis with more white powdered beaches and typical Mediterranean climate, but an ancient Spanish tower is another defining characteristic of the region. Standing alone near a promontory known as Cape Falcone, the Torre della Pelosa is iconic in every way, and a photographers dream given its mysterious appearance. This promontory is a natural haven where peregrine falcons love nothing more than to enjoy the peace and isolation. Further out, Asinara Island strikes a beautiful sight with shimmering blue water surrounding every inlet while back on the mainland, La Pelosa beach is arguably the most famous beach in the region. This particular beach is empty in comparison with the beaches elsewhere in Sardinia and much more romantic regarding the setting. In many ways, this stunning beach is the main attraction which compels visitors to stay in the area and with majestic scenery in every direction, who could argue with their choice of places to stay in Sardinia. Stintino is a small fishing village and a very typical Sardinian town. First built back in 1885, the town is a focal piece for the fjord on which it stands and was originally established to cater for a hospital for lepers. Later, the place grew to become a significant fishing village with a group of fisherman creating a co-operative named “Communion of 45”. It was because of this group that the village became a town and this is also why visitors can find some incredibly old tuna traps which mark the beginning of the co-operative. In the center of the village, visitors can find some small restaurants and cafes while some excellent resorts make it easy to travel in between. In fact, Stintino is home to some of the most impressive hotels in north-west Sardinia with a wide variety regarding both price and standard. Seafood dominates the cuisine and includes an extensive list of shellfish, urchins, clams, and mussels. At the same time, restaurants offer every other staple you might wish to find such as pasta, pizza, and some delightful desserts. On the outskirts of town, Casaraccio is a pond which features a large number of bird species including larks, terms, and cormorants. This is the perfect base from which to explore the prementioned Asinara National Park which is a protected marine area just off the coast and a truly spectacular thing to do in the region. Indeed, these are popular attractions in Stintino, but there are many more to be uncovered in this enchanting pocket of Sardinia.
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Where to Stay in Stintino - Top Picks
Cala Rosa Club Hotel
Located in the Natural Park of Asinara, Sardinia, Cala Rosa Hotel is one of the most unique Stintino hotels you are likely to encounter. Built to look like a village, the hotel is ideal for anyone wanting a touch of privacy on their vacation, or even just somewhere a little bit special. Featuring a large garden surrounding each house, nature is truly on the doorstep here, and with more than 125 rooms, the Cala Rosa Hotel offers private entry, air conditioning, and comfortable and stylish rooms. Choose between the standard room, junior suite, the suite, or the superior suite, depending on your preferences. Every single room has been nicely decorated, and they come with a clean finish that gives the rooms a modern touch. Most hotels have one restaurant that their guests are free to dine in, but here is where Cala Rosa Hotel is a little different. This hotel has three restaurant rooms, meaning guests can eat wherever they please. Enjoy the buffet breakfast, another buffet at lunch time, and a barbecued meal for dinner that’s cooked right in front of you. With a nearby beach, a games playground, and an amusement room, guests with small children will be pleased to find that they can keep them occupied, whatever the weather is doing. Offering free WiFi, live music, and a swimming pool, the Cala Rosa Hotel is truly unique, throw in their child-minding service, and you have a hotel that is willing to go the extra mile for you.
Park Hotel Asinara
Located on a rocky hill just five hundred meters from the sea, the Park Hotel Asinara is perfectly located and a charming place to stay. One of the nicest hotels in Stintino, the Park Hotel Asinara has decorated each of its 30 rooms in a traditional Sardinian style, offering guests that Mediterranean touch they love. With a private garden, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and offering bicycle hire, the hotel is ideal if you are looking for a nicely decorated room, an excellent restaurant that serves Sardinian and Seafood dishes, without being too elaborate. The beauty of this hotel is just not the elegant simplicity with which it has been designed, but also what it offers each of its guests. At the reception, guests can arrange excursions around the island, and with a free shuttle straight to the beach, the hotel is the ideal destination for couples who don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Hotel Cala Reale
Recently renovated, and with a modern touch, the Hotel Cala Reale is approximately half a mile from the sea, while offering guests a room that meets all of their needs. Featuring a comfortable bed, a balcony, internet connection, and air conditioning to keep you cool on those hot Sardinian days, the rooms have that Mediterranean feel, without being too extravagant. With two swimming pools, you will not have any difficulty cooling off, and once you’ve had enough of the water, feel free to lounge by the pool and soak up the hot Sardinian sun. If you’re feeling slightly more energetic after your time by the pool, why not head to the tennis courts, and get a bit of exercise in before enjoying a trip to La Pelosa beach, which is just under 2 miles away. If you do not wish to walk to the beach, head to reception and organize a seat on the shuttle that will take you there and back again. With a buffet breakfast that offers guests everything they want, and rooms that are ideal for the whole family, or just the two of you, the Hotel Cala Reale is thought to be better value for money than many other hotels in the area.
Residence Le Vele
The Residence Le Vele is just a three-minute walk from the beach, offering beach-lovers the chance to enjoy their perfect vacation. Offering extra special rooms, this hotel has that touch of luxury you’re looking for. Guests can choose between a room for with a sea view, or a room with a garden, making your time in Sardinia very special. The rooms in the hotel are nicely decorated, without being over the top, and the privacy of your garden can make your vacation seem incredibly luxurious. Guests can also enjoy having access to a tennis court and a swimming pool, making their stay even more luxurious. With a kitchenette in all of the rooms, and thought to be the very best regarding value, the Residence Le Vele is well worth a visit.
Things to Do in Stintino
Go Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Asinara Island is part of a Marine protected region in the very Northwest of Sardinia. Although the island is popular to visit on boat trips, scuba diving and snorkeling are arguably two other exciting things to do in Stintino. That is to say, there are two sides to this spectacular region and one of them is underwater. When it comes to scuba gear and organization, the Asinara Scuba Diving Centre is one of the most reputable in the Sassari Province. The diving centre has knowledgeable guides with a professional approach and is often the subject of glowing feedback from enthusiastic divers who found their expectations surpassed. The coral and marine life in this part of the Mediterranean are plentiful, and once guests are in the midst of this colorful haven, there is little to do except take everything in. While scuba diving, in particular, can be a rather expensive activity, this is one of the more affordable things to do in Stintino but that being said, snorkeling is always an option which offers a similar perspective on the region. You may have encountered the town or surrounding hills, but the truth is, you have yet to see everything until you delve into the underwater world around Stintino and Asinara Island.
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Few experiences compare to watching dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. Many travelers are entirely unaware that this is an option in the region of north-west Sardinia. Futurismo Asinara is a trusted tour operator which offers tourists the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. In many ways, this is often a popular alternative for things to do in Stintino. After all, visitors are not always experienced when it comes to diving or comfortable with the idea of snorkeling and with this in mind, these boat trips provide an encounter with this beautiful side of Sardinia. Although never guaranteed, the success rates of actually finding the dolphins and whales are no less than impressive, and the group tours are suitable for all ages, individuals, couples, and groups. Families are most often attracted to this option which never fails to delight young children, but the attraction is as appealing to adults. The reviews speak for themselves, and if you fancy the prospect of escaping the towns and taking a refreshing insight into this pristine marine reserve, dolphin and whale watching in Stintino is undoubtedly worth considering during your holiday in Sardinia.
Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Conditions on the north-west coastline of Sardinia are favorable for diving but then almost perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing. In this respect, the breeze which brings respite to sunbathers on nearby beaches is conducive to these activities and people traveling from all over Europe to participate in this tiny pocket of Sardinia. However, you may not have a board or the right equipment when you arrive, and this is almost always the case for visitors. For this reason, the Windsurfing Center Stintino is the perfect place to pick up the right gear and grab some advice before you head out on the water. Maybe you have yet to enjoy this thrill in which case some professional kitesurfing instructors can take you out for the day. Whether you decide to go solo or with a guide, this is a truly spectacular place to go windsurfing or kitesurfing, and while they may pose a little too much “activity” to some, they offer an excellent opportunity to get out into the local area and be active. Both windsurfing and kitesurfing are some of the most exciting things to do in Stintino and experiences that you are unlikely to forget anytime soon.
Visit the Tuna Fishing Museum of Stintino
Located on Via Lepanto 36, in front of the old harbour, The Tuna Fishing Museum of Stintino (Museo della Tonnara di Stintino) tells the story of the traditions and rites of tuna fishing practiced in the Gulf of Asinara until the last century. It teaches visitors about the schools of tuna fish that follow the currents of the Mediterranean Sea, about crews which patiently wait for their coming, and about the network system that intercepts the passage of the tunas. The museum allows visitors to picture the lives of the fishermen who fished and prepared tunas with great effort and tenacity. A series of videos in Italian, with English subtitles, rebuild the history of the Tonnara Saline, Stintino, and Asinara. Multimedia screens display vintage images, rich in charms and rituals that exhibit intense and passionate local testimonies. On display are the traditional tools used in the Tonnara Saline, as well as documents, diaries, newspaper archives, vintage clothes and reproductions of tuna fishing boats.
Stintino Restaurants - Where to Eat
Agriturismo Depalmas (Traditional Sardinian Food)
When you think of local experiences and rural escapes in Sardinia, this restaurant in Stintino offers a little bit of everything and more. The restaurant is family owned and situated on a farm while the cuisine is some of the finest in the region. Agriturismo Depalmas is located outside of Stintino in a tranquil spot which makes it feel like visiting a friends house rather than a restaurant. Although Agriturismo Depalmas has a capacity for up to eighty guests, this is very much a small venue which is neatly decorated in a truly traditional Sardinian style. Each room has a very “homely” feel to it, and with family members there to welcome guests, there is a warm atmosphere to accompany the occasion. A farm surrounds the restaurant which certainly adds to the ambiance, but regarding the food, this also means that every meal consists of only the freshest ingredients. The menu is predominantly local cuisine with traditional Sardinian meals throughout. As you might expect, the farm location makes suckling pig a particular favorite while certain specialties such as the gnochetti never fail to impress. At the same time, there is seafood on offer and just about every variety on the island to wet the appetite of guests. From this moment onward, it is often just a case of choosing the most impressive wines.
Ristorante Silvestrino (Seafood, Traditional Sardinian Food)
As far as value is concerned, Ristorante Silvestrino is one of the best restaurants in Stintino. Located in the hotel of the same name, this is also an eatery with high standards and a menu which offers a wide range of seafood and local cuisine. Location is usually one of the most attractive characteristics of a restaurant, and Ristorante Silvestrino provides scintillating views in this respect. Décor is quite simple on the interior but comfortable at the same time, and this is almost symbolic of the cuisine that follows. In terms of the food experience, expectations are often surpassed on the starters, for antipasto offers the freshest and delightful taste for the appetite. As always, this features a selection of meats and cheeses. On the other hand, the two different types of pasta are hugely popular, and the roast potatoes with pork are arguably the most sought after on the menu. However, dessert is also the subject of online reviews, and the Sarda dessert consists of pastry with cheese and a stream of honey on top. Overall, this is a smartly designed and comfortable restaurant in Stintino with friendly staff. If you find yourself exploring the beaches for the day, this is also a great place to take in the view with lunch or an evening meal. Either way, you should be pleasantly surprised.
Lu Fanali (Seafood, Italian Food, Pizza)
Lu Fanali is a restaurant in Stintino with sea views and all the most popular dishes you might hope to find on a menu in Sardinia. Although the interior is bright and spacious, the terrace is a great place to enjoy lunch or an evening meal while the friendly staff is often the subject of compliments in online reviews. As with many restaurants in the area, this is also a great place to sample some seafood, but at the same time, the pizza and pasta are popular for a good reason. In fact, there is no one dish on the menu that stands above the rest, and you should find flavor at every turn from the grilled shrimps to the culurgiones and local ravioli. Lu Fanali is popular with people passing through town but most especially groups and families. For this reason, you should find this is quite a busy restaurant in Stintino but certainly one that lives up to the expectations of most visitors. Whether you need a fast bite or want to enjoy the slow pace of life, Lu Fanali offers both sides to visitors and affordable prices to accompany them.
How To Get To Stintino
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The nearest airport to Stintino is Aeroporto di Alghero-Fertilia, located about 46 kilometers south of the village. To get to Stintino by car, head north on the Strada Provinciale 42 in the direction of Porto Torres once you’ve left the airport. Once you’ve reached Porto Torres, head west on the Strada Provinciale 57. This will lead you to Pozzo San Nicola, where you’ll have to head north on the Strada Provinciale 34 in the direction of Stintino. The total trip shouldn’t take longer than 40 minutes.