To a 19th century traveller who set out to explore this unknown island, from afar Sardinia appeared to be "a blue palette floatting on the sea". This same sensation is perceived today when observing the Sardinian coasts from the sea: an emerald green, tangled mass ot thickets and trees just slightly veined by the dark brown mountain tops, directly bordering the sea. Sardinia, a frontier and "outpost", is also an area animated by communications, travels, and commerce.
Sardinia has almost 1,850 kilometers of coastline which is one fourth of the entire coastal development in Italy. For this reason from time immemorial the island was easily reached by sea and frequented by various peoples from the Mediterranean who colonized, dominated, and transformed Sardinia.
Today this same coastal wealth consisting of gulfs and deep inlets, cliffs and splendid beaches, bays and hidden lagoons, as well as an incredible border ot different-sized isles, represents one of the most important successes in Sardinia's tourism sector. Each year the beautiful colors and transparent, uncontaminated sea draw throngs ot pleasure boaters wanting to test their "sea dog" abilities. Having recognized that the development ot this type of tourism is beneficial to the entire island, Sardinia has effected a series ot public investments to improve the already existing structures or create new, modern facilities. In fact, the region has sought to create a network ot harbors and havens suitable for nautical tourism, offering crews and boats the best type ot assistance.
The plans already realized bave brought about the creation of private docks as well as a network of well-equipped facilities that let the pleasure boater circumnavigate the entire island with relatively short, easily travelled distances between one harbor and another. The entire Sardinian coast merits a visit; better still, an arrival by sea. The northern coast is famous for its chic VIP locations.
From the minor isles of the La Maddalena archipelago to the Santa Teresa beaches, the Costa Smeralda, the Gulf of the Oranges, Olbia, and Saint Teodoro, this entire area is a succession of enchanting sites culminating in the extraordinary panorama ot the Tavolara and Molara isles.
On the other hand, whoever prefers doking in a more natural, untouched atmosphere can head towards the coastline on the Gulf of Orosei, bordered by one of the largest virgin forests in Europe.
With its towering chalk cliffs, grottos, and secluded beaches, this section of Sardinia and its pure, crystal-clear sea rich in colors and hues makes the boater arriving here feel almost like an explorer. Likewise, another adventurous exploration can be made along the western coasts ot Sardinia. Here the region is mountainous to the north and south where mountain chains and mineral ore formations loom up along the seashore creating lofty, steep coastal areas of breath-taking beauty. Instead, the central areas as well as the Gulf of Cagliari are less mountainous and contain serene lagoon vistas, dunes, and coastal marsh lands inhabited by myriad varieties of birds and marine animals.
A good navigator who travels along the Sardinian coasts must know the winds very well, especially the mistral which often effects the practicability of Sardinia' s seas. Even though the mistrall usually blows from the north, in the Straits of Bonifacio it always blows from the west. Moreover, near the capes and along most of the eastern coast it causes violent gusts that come from every direction. Thus, to assure for a serene, safe navigation, one must always take into account the rapid change in weather conditions which Sardinia and all of the Mediterranean islands are subject.
And finaly, one must remember that large tracts of the sea facing the Sardinian coasts are closed to navigation due to the permanent bases in Cape Frasca, near Cape Teulada, or in front of the Quirra "Salto". Therefore, before starting off for a cruise, one should obtain information with the harbor master's offices. Moreover, the facilities and equipment present in the various harbors or docks can satisfy all the different needs of those who have chosen Sardinia tor their boating vacations.