Cala Mariolu

Cala Mariolu - website
Gulf of Orosei

Welcome to Cala Mariolu was created to introduce you to one of the most beautiful corners of the Mediterranean sea. Cala Mariolu is a beach located in the Gulf of Orosei, on the central-eastern coast of Sardinia. We will show you the beauty of this small corner of land, its history and curiosities with photos and videos produced by us and shared by the visitors who spent here their holidays.

Cala Mariolu

Photo by Portolu Gisellu - Find a selection of his photographic works by clicking here 
Cala Mariolu info
Docking lane

FOR THOSE WHO RENT A RUBBER BOAT - Approach the docking lane at 3 knots. On the beach you will find the staff of "Baunei Product Club" who will assist you.

Mooring areas

Areas used for mooring boats through anchor (IMPORTANT FOR THOSE WHO RENT A RUBBER BOAT - do not tie the rubber boat to the buoys that surround the bathing area)

Natural aquarium

One of the most beautiful dives of your life .. The natural aquarium of Mariolu. Thousands of fish ... A perfect springboard for diving and many caves to explore on the south wall.

Cala Mariolu by sea

The beach of Cala Mariolu can be reached daily, from May to September, with departures from the ports of Cala Gonone, Santa Maria Navarrese, Arbatax, La Caletta and Orosei. The service is guaranteed by transport consortium and companies through vessels for passenger traffic, with capacities ranging from 100 to 300 people. Another option is to rent a boat (rubber dinghy or boat) with or without a skipper; the maximum capacity is 12 people for charter services and about 8 people for rental without a skipper. Cala Gonone is located in the center of the Gulf of Orosei and it's the favourite departure to visits the coves. In fact Cala Goloritzè, the farest beach from Cala Gonone, can be reached in about 40 minutes. During the journey you have the chance to admire or stop in all the most famous coves. However, if you want to trek to Mariolu, Cala Goloritzè or Biriola, Baunei and Santa Maria Navarrese are more suitable for the stay.

Recommended location for departures by sea

Cala Gonone (Dorgali)

Located in the centre of the Gulf of Orosei, the port of Cala Gonone has long been the only reference point for the tourist services of the gulf.
Cala Mariolu is about 11 miles from the port and it can be reached in 30 minutes at 20 knots speed. Cala Gonone is the ideal starting point to sail towards the coves, thanks to the reduced distances and to the usually favourable sea during the afternoon return. Starting from Cala Gonone you will have a complete overview of the coast of Baunei, through a succession of beauties extending from Cala Fuili to Cala Goloritzè.

a stay in Cala Gonone
  • Passenger transport service

  • Boat rentals with or without driver

  • Best view of the Gulf of Orosei and possibility to visit the entire coast of Baunei during a trip to Cala Mariolu

  • Over 50 years of experience in tourism services and a wide choice of hotels and restaurants

  • Diving, snorkeling, trekking, biking, climbing throughout the area

Recommended place for departures by sea or visits by land with return by sea

Santa Maria Navarrese (Baunei)

Santa Maria Navarrese is the touristic hamlet of Baunei, that manages over a third of the Gulf of Orosei (from Capo Monte Santo to Cala Luna). The southern part of the Gulf is also called Costa di Baunei. In Santa Maria Navarrese you will find excellent vessels for passenger traffic and charter boats (some of them with lunch on board). The port is about 12 miles from Cala Mariolu , reachable in 35 minutes at 20 knots speed. Baunei is undoubtedly the ideal place where spend your holidays if you want to reach the coves by foot; many of the trekking routes have been lately secured by the municipality.

  • Passenger transport service
  • Boat rentals with or without driver
  • Best starting point for trekking to Sisine, Biriola, Mariolu and Goloritzè

  • Diving, snorkeling, trekking, biking, climbing throughout the area
  • Diving, snorkeling, trekking, biking, climbing in tutto il territorio



The original toponym

"People of Sardinia ... people of navigators" ... not so true, or at least in the recent past it wasn't really like that. The coastal depopulation, from the Middle Ages and the malaria that persisted in the river stretches until the middle of the 20th century, has meant that the fish economy has never caught on in central Sardinia until the arrival in the post-war of numerous families originating from Ponza . Fishing, especially of lobsters, boomed in the Gulf of Orosei until the 1970s. It has been gradually replaced by the tourist services present in Cala Gonone since the 1950s. The high cliffs of the coast did not have land access points easily passable if not through the long canyons of the Rio Ilune, and of the Rio Sisine.
For this reason many of the caves and beaches of the southern part of the Gulf of Orosei were unknown to most and their names and their meanings have been lost over time. The original nomenclature has disappeared further with the advent of tourism. Cala Mariolu and Cala Gabbiani are separated from the promontory of Punta Ispuligi and their shoreline has the same morphological composition. The white calcareous grit of the two beaches gives meaning to the original toponym "Ispuligidenie" (snow fleas). The quantity of characteristic pebbles varies from year to year depending on the autumn and winter storms and can be found both in the southern part of Ispuligidenie (Cala Gabbiani) and in the northern part (Cala Mariolu)

Cala Gabbiani

Once a friend, on his return from "nomadic" three months in South America, he said to me "I'm going kayaking to spend the night in the Gulf" ... He left early in the morning and decided to spend the night at "Cala Gabbiani ".. The next day, when I came back, I asked him how the night had gone ..." Cool ... "he replied ..." but the seagulls were having a beach party and I think I was their dinner ... I slept in the kayak with a towel up to my ears " Taken from," the tales of Francesco Z. "
So many mornings I happened to see an unusual presence of seagulls in the southern part of Ispuligidenie but never (until my friend's night) I had paid particular attention to this fact. Much fresh water flows from the central wall of Cala Gabbiani. Depending on the year, it is possible to see the entrance of the long cave inside the cliff at the innermost end, where fresh water can be found. However, we do not recommend going inside because the ceiling is unsafe.

Forno del pane - Cala Mariolu the time of the charcoal burners

The economic partnership between inland and coastal areas has been consolidated since the early twentieth century with the arrival of the charcoal burners from Tuscany, which produced charcoal and stowed it in large vessels. In addition to numerous traces of charcoal kilns, it is possible to find the ruins of coal deposits along the coast. The life of the charcoal burners was difficult and they remained along the coast and away from home for several months. Just above Cala Mariolu it is possible to see an oven for cooking food that had been built around 1950. The Baunei administration renovated it in 2013 and can be seen in the final stretch of the walk that leads to the beach.

Pesci a Cala Mariolu

An open sea aquarium

There are points in the Gulf of Orosei that are particularly rich in fish. Numerous specimens of "Sparidae", have a preference for the waters in front of the northern part of the beach of Cala Mariolu. You can swim among them, even a short distance from the shore. They are so used to the presence of man that they come to eat bread directly from your hands. Try it!


Swimming in Cala Mariolu you will notice certain points where the water temperature drops considerably (even by 10 degrees). In these cases you are surely swimming over a freshwater spring. The karstic resurgences in the Gulf of Orosei are many. The water comes right from the heart of the marine Supramonte and, when the rains are more abundant, you can notice some real freshwater volcanoes at depths greater than 10 meters. The presence of fresh water mixed with salt water creates the turquoise colors typical of the waters of the Gulf of Orosei.


You can spend the whole day in Cala Mariolu

In case you want to spend the whole day in Cala Mariolu, the rental of an inflatable boat piloted by you is the most suitable solution. Charter services and traffic boats generally do no more than two hours on the beach . The alternatives are taxi services but the cost is generally equivalent to renting a dinghy. The rental of a dinghy is the best solution if you want to spend more time in Cala Mariolu

What is the best time to visit the beach?

The best time to visit Cala Mariolu and the beaches of the Gulf of Orosei is from mid-June to early July thanks to the pleasant water temperature and the length of the days. In spring the water may still be cold and in autumn the beach goes "in the shade" from 15:00. In high season the number of people is greater and could affect the experience. A limit has been imposed on the number of people on the beach since summer 2018

When can we not go there?

Cala Mariolu can be reached by land all year round (with due physical preparation) . Services by sea usually start before Easter and end around mid-October. The conditions of the sea for which it is not advisable to approach are those with waves from the northeast or from the east. With the backwash, landing operations are difficult (especially for smaller vessels).

Is the beach always sunny?

The beach of Cala Mariolu reaches its maximum sunshine during the summer solstice on June 21st when it is possible to sunbathe until 4.30pm. The shadow will always come first as the days pass (with a slight difference between the period closest to the vernal equinox compared to the autumnal one). The sun disappears behind the mountains as early as the middle of the afternoon. This applies to all the coves of the southern part of the Gulf of Orosei except those of Cala Sisine and Cala Luna

Can you fish?

Sport fishing is prohibited less than 500 meters from the shore at Cala Mariolu and in the entire area from the Ziu Santoru beach to Capo Monte Santo

Are there beach services?

The mooring assistance service managed by the product club "Costa di Baunei" is present in Cala Mariolu during the whole summer period.
On the beach it is present in the months from mid-June to mid-September, a small kiosk with bar products (fresh drinks, sandwiches and ice cream). Fans of snorkeling and diving can take advantage of the diving service (also suitable for those in their first experience).

Is it the most beautiful beach in the Gulf of Orosei?

The feedback of the people that I accompanied in the Gulf of Orosei as a driver in more than ten years, would make Mariolu win the goal of the most beautiful beach in the Gulf of Orosei. I can personally say that there are corners of the coast and "Secret Places" that are the same as beauty. Mariolu, however, contains many peculiarities of the gulf in a few hundred meters of coastline. The limestone grit shaped by the waves .. the diving area for those looking for fun ... a multitude of fish and creeks for lovers snorkeling .. The silence broken only by the sound of crows and hawks (ok ... this is true in the low season months). It is also to consider that the experience for those coming in May / June or September / October is completely different from those visiting the beach in high season. Sometimes in August it is preferable to pause at lunch time in nearby Cala Gabbiani.

Discover the "Secret Places" of the Gulf of Orosei.
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