The territory of Dorgali and Cala Gonone is characterized by the action exercised by the water on the limestone of the marine and alpine karst supramonte. In both environments, water has built kilometers of tunnels, caves and grottoes, with imperious fascinating stalactites and stalagmites.
Read MoreThe human presence in these cavities is testified by the numerous nuragic and pre-nuragic finds preserved in the archaeological museums of Dorgali and of Cagliari. Thanks to these finds, we can assume that the caves were used as a shelter, and for religious rites in pre-nuragic age attributable to the "Culture of Ozieri". This old religion worshipped the nature in all its manifestations: sources of water, rain and forests.
The caves were chosed for the cult of dead: forms of artificial "burial " as the "Domus de Janas", present in other areas of Sardinia, were partially replaced in the territory of the Supramonte from the natural cavities.
Many shards of pottery had been found in the caves, demonstrating the ancient human presence. The cave of "Sos Sirios" is certainly among the most suggestive to visit. It is located above the Codula Ilune, is not particularly big, but rich in finds from the nuragic period.
For the beauty of their concretions, enhanced by artificial lighting, the grottoes of Ispinigoli and o f the Bue Marino are a must see for those who visit Cala Gonone. The first is a land grotto containing a one of the highest stalagmites in Europe, 38 meters high. The Bue Marino grotto is part of a karst system that extends for 70 km in the heart of the Supramonte. Not yet fully explored, it was made famous in the 70s for the presence of a colony of monk seals, who loved the darkness of tunnels during the weaning period of their pups. Going south in the Gulf of Orosei you can also visit the sea Cave of Fico in Baunei. You can require a visit during a sea charter excursion.
Contact the expert guides to discover the sea caves
Contact the diving activities to explore the underwater caves
Diving and speleo-diving
Contact the expert guides to discover the caves in Supramonte mountain range
Trekking and hiking
"Bue Marino" Grotto
The Bue Marino grotto has currently ascertained a total area of 70 km. It is divided into three branches, two of which can be visited following an artificially illuminated route. The northern branch is open to visitors since the 50s and is also accessible by land through the path of Cala Fuili (if you arrive via hiking it's better to book a visit in advance).
The southern branch was opened to the public in the 80's the tour explores it for about 800 meters.
The name of the cave comes from how shepherds called the Monk Seal (On Oe Marinu), present in the waters of the Gulf of Orosei until the '70s. The seal used the beaches within the karst system for weaning her puppies. The cave was also used by human beings in the pre-Nuragic era. At the entrance you can still admire petroglyphs on the rock symbolizing "The Sun Dance" and due to the Cult of Ozieri. How to visit the Grotto: you can choose the charter cruises that leave from the Cala Gonone harbour or get there by renting a boat.
For the latter option, remember that visiting hours is only in the afternoon. Throughout the period from April to October, the visit is guaranteed until 3 pm.
During July and August you can make the visit at 4 pm too. As for the ferries are tours at 9, 10, 11am 3pm 4pm. In August at 12am, 1pm and 5pm too.
Ticket: €8,00 full | reduced €4,00 - (excluding boat ticket)
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The Ispinigoli is a karst Grotto located in the Supramonte of Dorgali, on the slopes of Mount S'Ospile. The grotto hidden inside a 38 meters high stalagmite, which connects the ceiling with the floor of the cave itself. Ispiningoli doesn't mean "thorn in the throat" as is sometimes erroneously quoted. The term was simply originated from the name of the neighboring village. The great room has a depth of 35 meters and the base, where goes the visiting path, is occupied by boulders originated by the evolutionary geo process.
Another peculiarity of this cave is the so-called Abyss of the Virgins, a sinkhole about 60 meters deep linking the Ispinigoli Grotto with the San Giovanni Su Anzu Grotto. The name of the Abyss of the Virgins comes from the fact that, according to legend, it was a place where the ancient Phoenician made human sacrifices. Jewelry and human bones have been found inside the abyss, but archaeologists explain them as simple burials from the Nuragic Era.
"San Giovanni Su Anzu" Cave
In the San Giovanni Su Anzu Grotto runs an underground river that is connected to the Ispinigoli Grotto. The river also feeds the thermal baths nearby the Grotto, that are open to the public.
Near the cave is also the church of San Giovanni Battista where the film director Salvatore Mereu from Dorgali, shot scenes of the film "Three-Step Dance" winner of the David di Donatello in 2004. A few dozen meters from the entrance of the cave a dam was built, creating a several hundred meters long lake.
Ticket: The Grotto is closed.
Opened to the public in August 2003, Grotta del Fico is located in the sea area belonging to the territory of Baunei in Ogliastra. Easily accessible from Cala Gonone with charter trips from the harbour, is like the Bue Marino considered one of the most beautiful and important grottoes in Sardinia.
The exploration of the Grotta del Fico has now come to 1800 meters but is not yet concluded. Inside the Grotta del Fico , the priest Fureddu of Baunei, lived in close contact with the monk seal for days, uncovering the mysteries of this animal and describing its habits for the first time.
Ticket: €8,00 full | reduced €4,00 - (excluding boat ticket to reach Grotta del Fico)
For info and reservation visit www.grottadelfico.it
"Sos Sirios" Cave
The "Sos Sirios" cave overlooks the dorgalese side of Codula Iluna. It is very interesting for the beautiful concretions and for the presence of some vessels dating back to the Nuraghic period. A beautiful trekking departing from the fold of Buchiarta can take you to the Sos Sirios cave.
We recommend to anyone wishing to visit this cave to have the utmost respect for the nature and for the nuragic relics, shielded in the cave for thousand years.
The Grotta Nuova is indicated with this nomenclature in IGM maps and is also known as cave "Toddeitto".
It can be reached by footpath from Cala Fuili to Cala Luna. The way is recognizable by the presence of a large tree trunk curved juniper that crosses the path. Bypassed the latter after 80 meters on the right (proceeding south towards Cala Luna) is the detour to the cave.
An iron staircase enters the cave and leads 10m underground. The cave is not equipped and has some sinkholes. Access beyond the initial atrium is recommended only to experts equipped with flashlights. Thanks to the light, you can admire the spectacle of limestone and quartzite that glow when illuminated.