Snorkeling in Sardinia: The top 5 locations

Here is our ranking of the most fascinating and spectacular places to snorkel in Sardinia. Characterized by very clean waters, transparent and captivating reflections, Sardinia offers many places where you can admire rocky and sandy bottoms full of colorful marine life. 

Our ranking includes Caprera, Cala Gonone, Asinara National Park ,Tavolara and Alghero. These have been put in order, starting with the most fascinating. However, it must be remembered that Sardinia has hundreds of paradisiacal places surrounded by nature, and therefore selecting only 5 was not easy.

Sardinia and its most fascinating snorkeling spots

During a snorkeling excursion in Sardinia a sailing boat stopped near a beach.

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and has a rectangular shape with the shortest sides of the rectangle being north and south and the two longest sides being east and west. Popular for summer holidays, the island has a total of 3 airports, 2 in the north and 1 in the south. Due to its growing popularity, the coloured coastline of Costa Smeralda has attracted an increasingly elite public over the years and made it an iconic site.

Snorkeling in Sardinia is one of the most popular activities because it allows you to fully enjoy its spectacular coastline, the purity of its sea and the large quantity of fish. Here are the best places to snorkel in Sardinia and how to get there.

On the east coast we find, not far from each other: Caprera, Cala Gonone and Golfo Aranci. To reach these three locations, it is recommended to land at Olbia airport. From there, the locations can be reached by car, Golfo Aranci in 30 minutes, Cala Gonone in 1 hour and 30 minutes and Caprera by boat from Palau, which can be reached in 50 minutes by car. 

Exactly on the opposite side, on the west coast, there is Alghero and the Asinara National Park. These two spots are easily reached by landing at Alghero airport.

1) Snorkeling in Caprera – Cala Coticcio

©Orso Diving Club Poltu Quatu

One of the most eye-cacthing snorkeling spots in Sardinia can certainly be foundin Cala Coticcio on the island of Caprera, part of the La Maddalena archipelago. Cala Coticcio, also nicknamed Tahiti, is characterized by fine white sand, emerald water, rich marine life and cliffs with pink hues. 

Arriving in Cala Coticcio by boat, you can admire a narrow stretch of sea surrounded on either side by small rocks and in front of you a sheltered beach of a few meters. The first few metres of sea after the beach are perfect for snorkeling. Although the water is not yet deep, the underwater world already manages to fascinate snorkelers. Underwater you can expect: large numbers of saddled seabream swimming around you, sea urchins and starfish, violescent sea-whip and dense colonies of yellow cluster anemone.

The most comfortable and fastest way to get to Cala Coticcio is by sea. Recommended is an excursion by boat with snorkeling. In this case, the guide will take you to stunning  on Caprera, and will also provide you with valuable information and the right equipment for snorkeling

2) Snorkeling in Cala Gonone

Some people are taking part in a snorkeling excursion in Cala Gonone.
©Dovesesto Cala Gonone

This stretch of Sardinian coast is characterized by breathtaking and famous caves. The most recommended are Grotta dei Cormorani, Grotta Azzurra and Grotta Turchese. Swimming and snorkeling in the caves of Cala Gonone is a very special activity and cannot be done everywhere. In the area you can also findCala Mariolu, a sensational snorkeling site, having a very shallow seabed that is also suitable for snorkeling for children

One of the highlights of beach Cala Mariolu is its intense and particular colours. A large rock in the middle of the sea divides the bay in two. Under the water, when you snorkel at Cala Mariolu you can observe, in addition to the typical saddled seabream, also garfish.

To admire these coastal and underwater wonders, we recommend a boat trip. On a day tour, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the area’s caves and beaches. The boat will stop where the snorkeling conditions are best. Don’t forget to bring your mask and fins to enjoy a true underwater show! 

3) Snorkeling in Asinara National Park

A panoramic view of some of the coves in the Asinara National Park where you can go on one of the most beautiful snorkeling excursions in Sardinia.

The Asinara National Park is a very special and unique place. For a long time, the island was used as a penitentiary facilityfor prisoners convicted of Mafia crimes or belonging to the Red Brigades. The prison was abandoned in 1998 and the area was soon declared a National Park. 

In order to preserve and protect the purity of the beaches and Mediterranean flora and fauna, there are some areas in the park that are considered to be of exceptional natural and environmental interest. Therefore, cannot be accessed by land or sea. Within this area is the fascinating Cala d’Arena, which can only be seen from a distance.

Cala Sabina, on the other hand, is very beautiful and accessible and is highly recommended for snorkeling enthusiasts. In addition to its heavenly colours with fine white sand and shallow, deep blue sea, it also offers a fascinating and rich marine life. 

The best way to visit the island of Asinara is with a boat trip. This way you avoid the various trekking routes that you have to take if you visit on foot and you can admire it in a more relaxed way. During a boat trip, snorkeling is possible thanks to the planned stops to dive in the most beautiful coves.

4) Snorkeling in Tavolara

A panoramic view of a beach at Tavolara, a good snorkeling spot in Sardinia.

The island of Tavolara is unique, not only because of its impressive history, but also because of its incredible nature. This small island in the north of Sardinia is named after the family that lived there in ancient times. Later it was inhabited by the Bertoleoni family, who proclaimed themselves the royal family of the smallest kingdom in the world – to this day, there is no evidence that the kingdom has been recognised. 

The island of Tavolara is now considered a Marine Protected Area. Here you can find vast expanses of Posidonia oceanica, also known as Neptune grass. The fish that inhabit these beds are Chromis chromis, Diplodus, Salema porgy, Mediterranean rainbow wrasse.

There are two particularly significant places to visit during a snorkelling trip to Tavolara: Tegghja Liscia and Forni da Calce. These two spots, located in the southern part of the island, offer exceptional biodiversity. At Tegghja Liscia it is possible to see, in addition to the fish mentioned above: Lipophrys trigloides, Paguro tubicolo e Thuridilla hopei. Ai Forni da Calce è possibile osservare Pagurus bernhardus, Buccino  e Microlipophrys canevae.

Not far from Tavolara, another fascinating snorkelling spot are the natural pools on the island of Molara

5) Snorkeling in Alghero

Two people enjoy snorkelling in Alghero.

Alghero is a city located on the northwest coast of Sardinia. In this area there are many beaches and areas that deserve to be seen from outside and under water. Thanks to the strategic position of the town of Alghero on the open sea, dolphin watching is a usual and fun activity.

Combining dolphin watching with snorkeling is certainly the best way to enjoy the coast. Due to the high presence of red coral (Corallium rubrum), the sea area near Alghero is called the Coral Riviera, which undoubtedly makes snorkeling an unforgettable adventure

There are numerous beaches in the area, the marine area of Capo Caccia, for example, is a spectacular place to observe corals and numerous fish of different species swimming around these colourful calcareous skeletons. 

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