An enchanting trek through the wild beauty of Sardinia

6 March 2024
Written by
Ornella D'Alessio

between the mountain and the sea

You walk amidst beauty and awe suspended between high limestone walls and the best blue palette in the Mediterranean, and, step by step, you dominate that magnificent coastline of the Supramonte di Baunei that enchants anyone who approaches it. The original Selvaggio Blu route, traced by Peppino Cicalò and Mario Verin in the late 1980s, is a challenging trek of about forty kilometres, not for everyone. Secured abseiling, narrow ledges, overhanging passages and bivouacs in ancient sheepfolds make the experience unique both for the communion with nature and the personal challenge that one is required to overcome. There are iscalas and fustes (log ladders) made by the skilful hands of the shepherds who inhabited those areas for months at a time and needed ample grazing space, as sometimes the goats would go as far as the sea, passing through areas impossible for humans to reach. This is the reason why the shepherds had to invent solutions, using their ingenuity and what nature had to offer. These stairs made of intertwined juniper trunks enrich the experience, because in addition to the particularity of the structure, they tell the troubled history of the shepherds who inhabited these mountains for centuries. 

Cala Mariolu beach in Baunei, Sardinia, Italy

The height difference of Selvaggio Blu is not excessive, but the ruggedness of the terrain and the difficulty of orientation mean that the stages are never trivial. From its beginning, the trail was meticulously studied by the two mountaineers so as to find the easiest and at the same time most spectacular ridge trail between Pedra Longa and Cala Sisine, where for centuries only goats and a few shepherds have passed. It is a unique opportunity to live in the wilderness of this slice of Sardinia, which is almost never crowded, especially in winter and spring, with breathtaking views, unprecedented panoramas and the possibility of unforgettable physical and soulful experiences. It is one of the most difficult but most rewarding treks in the Mediterranean and it is always a good idea to be accompanied by an expert guide. It crosses gorges, the limestone and, in places, basaltic plateau, short wooded valleys and beautiful beaches where you can cool off, encountering centuries-old junipers, weathered rocks, caves and sheepfolds that are more inhabited here than in other areas (also thanks to the asphalt road connecting Baunei with the Golgo plateau). Over time, local guides have identified variants and alternative routes that are easier but guarantee that the most sensational viewpoints can be reached; stages have been added to share the shepherds’ real life, and some have even lengthened the itinerary in kilometres and days compared to the original hike that can be done in a week. «When we created this trek», says Mario Verin, a mountaineering photographer, «our objective was to communicate to the world the magnificence of this coastline to be discovered by having the rock on one side and the blue sea on the other, by recovering an old network of forgotten paths, partly swallowed up by the bush, impervious routes and the mule tracks once used by charcoal burners». 

The trek, which is not recommended for those suffering from vertigo, is usually divided into stages, which change according to the number and abilities of the participants, and everyone is free to do as many as they feel like and for as long as they have time. Among the various possibilities, one can also have one’s luggage carried from one stage to the next, and it is also possible to return by boat so as to have the pleasure of observing the route from the sea.

Dolomite Mountains, a dmc specialised on mountain and open air adventures, organises a trek on the Selvaggio Blu and its easier alternatives including the stay in the best hotels of the area.   

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