American in Italy, italy, nature, travel, tuscany, Uncategorized

Why you should visit Stintino and Isola dell’Asinara

best beach in sardinia

When I first thought about visiting Sardinia, I never imagined beaches or water like this. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be beautiful. After all Italy’s second biggest island after Sicily is well known as a very popular vacation spot during the summer and even home to some of the famous ‘bunga bunga’ parties held by Berlusconi.

When we made our August plans to visit Alghero and Capo Caccia, we also wanted to visit the famous La Pelosa beach on the north-western tip of the island and hopefully a stop at Isola dell’Asinara – a famous island hosting a former prison and oddly enough, wild albino donkeys.

After a hour and a half windy drive, we made our way to Stintino and then to La Pelosa beach a little later than originally planned. We were warned to arrive as early as possible in order to find space on its beautiful white beaches and clear-as-the-caribbean water. Somehow we were able to easily find {expensive – think 2 euros an hour} parking and walked along the sidewalk to discover this beach-lovers gem.

sardinia1 stintino sardinia stintino sardinia

Yep, this beach was almost too amazing for words. I was in awe of just how clear the water was and at such a depth! This was the first time I had ever seen water like this – As soon as we found a spot on the beach, we pretty much booked it into the water, which is colder than it looks but so very beautiful. It really felt like the Italian Caribbean. Honestly I thought it wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be from conversations with friends who have visited, even if we went on a Saturday. Score!

stintino sardinia

Next stop was hopping on a catamaran boat for a tour of the Isola dell’Asinara {which in Italian means quite literally inhabited by donkeys}. I had a kick out of the wikipedia entry stating the population of the island was 1 man. And a bunch of wild albino donkeys. Right!


The island was a former prison and now a wildlife and nature reserve, prisoners and staff being the only habitats of the island for over 100 years. The maximum security prison also housed famous characters such as infamous Mafia boss, Totò Rina. We toured the grounds and even spotted one of the donkeys from afar, I suppose they didn’t appreciate visitors to their island.

prison isola di asinari isola di asinari

The boat tour also stopped on an edge of the island so we could snorkel and swim in a private spot. Despite the deep waters, you could see quite clearly to the bottom with so many fish and fauna visible. We swam to an isolated beach to enjoy what untouched nature these lucky donkeys get to see on a daily basis. Lucky asses. 😉

If you get the chance to rent a car during your stay in Alghero – I highly recommend taking a day trip to this part of the island. For me, it was an unforgettable experience swimming in such a gorgeous location. 

Getting to Stintino or La Pelosa beach where we were located in best served by car. It is about a 51 min (54.3 km) drive via the SP42.

Getting to the Island of Asinara has to be done by boat, we were especially happy to have taken a catamaran which held a small group of passengers and we were able to visit the island and swim in nearby preserved beaches. Prices can range from 30 – 60 euros per person for a few hours, here is one link to a company that regularly does this trip, and here is another.

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20 Comment

  1. Rachel
    17.09.2013 at 10:44

    You should visit the Blue Lagoon in Malta! It’s AMAZING!

    1. ggnitaly84
      17.09.2013 at 10:58

      I have always wanted to visit Malta, might need to put this trip (finally) in the cards next year!

      1. Rachel
        20.09.2013 at 8:23

        Malta is a pretty special place! Be sure to visit Mdina and Gozo, too!

    2. shecomesfromboston
      17.09.2013 at 23:00

      Agreed! Also Paradise Bay! Basically all the beaches in Malta are wonderful.

      1. Rachel
        20.09.2013 at 8:23

        It’s so true…

  2. Jennifer Avventura
    17.09.2013 at 11:39

    Great post and photos! I’m so happy you had a great time here and loved the water at La Pelosa. I hope to make it over to Asinara sometime this month.

    1. ggnitaly84
      17.09.2013 at 11:41

      If you get the chance to go snorkeling there – do it! and take some pictures of the albino donkeys, I couldn’t get close enough to. darn!

      1. Jennifer Avventura
        17.09.2013 at 11:44

        I’m all over the donkeys and snorkeling that the latter may have to wait for warmer temps. It’s gotten pretty cool here and fast!

        1. ggnitaly84
          17.09.2013 at 11:49

          here too 🙁 – aka it’s rain season!

  3. Jennifer Avventura
    17.09.2013 at 11:41

    Reblogged this on My Sardinian Life and commented:
    A fabulous post by one of my favourite bloggers in Italy. I hope you enjoy and if you’re ever in Sardinia make sure La Pelosa and Asinara Island are on your to-do list.

  4. bakeritalia
    17.09.2013 at 16:17

    Wow! Photos say it all- awesome

  5. This AmerItalian Life
    17.09.2013 at 17:35

    Amazing!!! Every picture could be a postcard!

  6. Paul
    17.09.2013 at 19:20

    I guess us locals don’t really appreciate the beauty of our island (if you live there all your life, you kind of take it for granted) until “foreigners” visit and leave such a beautiful review. Thank you for reminding me why I love my island even from as far as Canada……

    1. ggnitaly84
      17.09.2013 at 19:42

      I could say the same thing about my home town in Texas. Sardinia for me was an incredible experience, really it has to be one of the best places to go for a beach holiday plus.. the dessert seadas is making me drool right now!

  7. Gil
    18.09.2013 at 8:58

    Great posts with your beautiful photos to boot! I never realized that Sardinia was bigger than Sicily. Thanks for teaching me something…

    1. ggnitaly84
      18.09.2013 at 9:31


    2. ggnitaly84
      18.09.2013 at 9:33

      actually Sicily is bigger than Sardinia (my bad). It’s the second largest island in the Meditteranean sea

  8. Alecia
    19.05.2015 at 14:11

    My husband and I are going to Sardinia next week. We are so excited!! What company did you use for the boat trip to Isola dell’Asinara? Was it an all day excursion, of just half day?? Thanks! 🙂

    1. GirlInFlorence
      19.05.2015 at 17:56

      Hello Alecia, I don’t remember the exact name but we certainly used one to do a half-day on a catamaran boat. You can definitely email a few different ones, I added links to the post since you asked this question!

Comments are closed.