"Costa Smeralda Coast"

Sardinia is undoubtedly best known for limpid turquoise sea and exquisite beaches on the Costa Smeralda, but there are plenty of those elsewhere on the island to and for a fraction of the price. Food and wine are just as important here as well – the island is a designated ‘Blue Zone’, a region where the people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else on the planet.

But unless you’re a fan of the History Channel, you might not know that Sardinia is one of the most mysterious places on earth. The oldest landmass in Europe has archaeological sites, discovered in the 1970s, that date from between 1900 and 730 BC (Sardinia’s Stonehenge). Little is known about the Nuraghic civilisation, but there are over 7,000 stone fortresses (the oldest in Europe) around the island. Some of the giant statues created are over eight-feet tall, giving rise to Sardinia’s notion might have been a ‘Land of the Giants’.

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Marina di Portisco

Marina di Portisco is an enchanting but modern tourist port in the Gulf of Cugnana, in the middle of the Costa Smeralda, one of the most beautiful locations between Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia. Perfectly situated within the natural environment, the marina is well protected by a long outer breakwater jetty consisting of three sections and an inner jetty with a right-angled turn, and it has been awarded the European “Blue Flag” environmental certification every year since 1996 for the purity of its transparent waters and the pristine condition of the seabed. This is the ideal starting point for exploring the most evocative places on the island, either underwater or on the land. Thanks to the wide variety of facilities and comforts available at Marina di Portisco you can enjoy an extraordinary sailing holiday from here, in harmony with the rhythms of the sea and satisfying your every desire. Entirely built of Sardinian granite, with 589 berths of up to 90 meters in length and with water up to 10 meters deep by the quayside, Marina di Portisco is one of the few Italian ports that can accommodate superyachts with exceptionally deep draughts. Thanks to the efficient organization of the port, the high level of services, facilities and assistance on land, together with its very clean waters, which drastically reduce the costs of periodic careening, Marina di Portisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean.

The proximity of the marina to Olbia airport (20 minutes) and to a private heliport make it easily accessible at any time of the year.

 Address: Marina di Portisco S.p.A.
Strada Panoramica Costa Smeralda km 0,100

Phone: +39 0789.33520
VHF Channels:  09
Open:  All year
Max Length Berths:  90m
Number of Berths:  589

Marina Services:  Water assistance, fuel distribution and bunkering, garbage collection, equipment hire, diving assistance, weather forecasting, free wifi, courtesy car, security and video surveillance, pump out, reception, online delivery.

Marina di Portisco - The main charter base and larger than Marina di Olbia, a little further away around 20-30 minutes drive
Capo d'Orlando Marina - One of the largest marinas in Sicily and a major departure point for sailing the Aeolian Islands

Marina di Olbia

Marina di Portorosa is also identified as Porto di Portorosa or Portorosa Touristic Port and it is located in the third largest city on the island of Sicily, Messina. It is also known as the capital of the province with the same name and it represents a great attraction for all tourists who wish to visit a historically charged area that is strategically positioned next to the Strait of Messina. This marina specializes in tourism and pleases its guests thanks to its city’s complexity and the beauty of its natural surroundings. There are numerous religious sites, civil and military architectural points of interest, monuments and museums that are worth visiting while in the area. The Cathedral of Messina, the Church of the Annunziata dei Catalani, the Porta Grazia, the Fountain of Orion, etc., are all main landmarks with a long history and engaging stories. There are many eye-catching hotels to choose from such as the Royal Palace Hotel, the Grand Hotel Liberty, etc.

Address:Via dei 1000 is. 101 n° 243, 98123 Messina
Phone: +39 0941 874280
VHF Channels: 16
Open:  All year
Max Length Berths:  45m
Number of Berths:  100

Marina Services: Bar, Restaurant, Wifi, Water, Electricity, Dressing rooms, Security, Fuel station, Market, Shipyard, Sailing school, Crane, Laundry, Travellift, Ramp, Waste collection, Residual water collection, Bilge Collection,Rent car, Pharmacy

Recommended Routes

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The Weather

The prevailing winds are from the NW – especially when the mistral is blowing – many yachts intending to circumnavigate decide to go anti-clockwise when the significant exposure to the risk of strong headwinds is limited to the area between the Maddalena archipelago and the island of Asinara at the NW tip of Sardinia.

During the year there is a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring and snowfalls in the highlands. The average temperature is between 11 to 17 °C (52 to 63 °F), with mild winters and warm summers on the coasts (9 to 11 °C (48 to 52 °F) in January, 23 to 26 °C (73 to 79 °F) in July), and cold winters and cool summers on the mountains (−2 to 4 °C (28 to 39 °F) in January, 16 to 20 °C (61 to 68 °F) in July).

Places To Visit


“Costa Smeralda Coast”

Lat/Long – 40.9062° N, 9.7133° E

Tavolara is a small island off the northeast coast of Sardinia, Italy. The island is a limestone massif 5 kilometres (3 miles) long and 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) wide, with steep cliffs except at its ends. Its highest point, Monte Cannone, is 565 metres (1,854 feet) above sea level. A cove and beach can be found at each end of the island, Spalmatore di Fuori at the northeast, and Spalmatore di Terra at the southwest. Currently, the island is inhabited by only a handful of families and has a small cemetery and summer restaurant. The water around the island is a popular spot for scuba diving.

In the south of the Golfo di Olbia is Isola Tavolara and Isola Molara. In the area between these islands and the coast of Sardinia are several spectacular anchorages. Isola Tavolara itself is a huge block of granite, a feature that makes a landmark for miles around.

The nearest sizable town is Olbia, and the small fishing village of Porto San Paolo is direct across a small strait. The islands of Molara and Molarotto are nearby.

The island and the surrounding waters are part of the Tavolara and Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Preserve created in 1997. The environmental protections placed on the park have added restrictions to the use of the area for tourism.

A natural column of rock on the island’s coast resembles a human figure and is known as “the Stone Sentry” or “Pope’s Rock. Other stone formations include “Ulysses’ Bow” (a natural arch) and the “Grotta del Papa” (a cave accessible by sea and boasting Neolithic cave paintings).

Porto Rotondo

 “Costa Smeralda Coast”

Lat / Long 41.0307° N, 9.5465° E

Porto Rotondo is located between the Gulf of Cugnana and the Gulf of Marinella, 13 kilometres north of Olbia. Together with Porto Cervo, the “capital” of the Emerald Coast, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Costa Smeralda.

Some of its beaches make up the crown to the Emerald Coast, and its marina offers a safe haven to over 600 boats of all sizes. The area surrounding Porto Rotondo is divided into three parts: Punta NuraghePunta Volpe, and Punta Lada.

At the heart of this charming village is the Piazzetta San Marco, a peaceful square where locals gather for conversation and tourists lounge in quaint cafe’s enjoying their morning coffee. Porto Rotondo is a small port with a big reputation and some of the most stunning scenery anywhere along the coastline. This unassuming village is home to one of the most authentic travel experiences in Sardinia which is largely due to the lesser number of tourists in comparison with some other well-known destinations.

 Named after the circular nature of the bay on which it was built, Porto Rotondo has a very unique appearance in that the port itself is almost entirely enclosed, while on the outer side of this sheltered bay, you can find the most idyllic beaches and a number of exclusive resorts in between.

The village is picturesque in every sense and most notable is the collage of colours of the surrounding area, from the reflection of the sun on the many expensive yachts docked in the harbour, the stunning white sandy beaches, the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean, to the green and luscious sporadic spaces. 

Isola di Mortorio

“La Maddalena Archipelago”

Lat / Long – 41.0755° N, 9.6030° E

The island of Mortorio is a privately owned and uninhabited island located in the north-east of Sardinia near Cala di Volpe, part of the archipelago of La Maddalena. Of granite formation and very indented coasts, it extends for an area of about 0.60 km² and with a mountainous aspect, it reaches the maximum altitude of 77 meters above sea level. Despite being located a few miles from the Costa Smeralda, the island is part of the municipality of Maddalena and the national park of the homonymous Archipelago.

It’s an untouched paradise, surrounded by rocks above and below water making for some beautiful snorkelling and swimming, offering three isolated and secluded bays frequented in summer by many day trips and small to medium sized yachts.

Many birds nest on the island, protected and safeguarded by the International Park of the Strait of Bonifacio, of which the island belongs is a member.

In the eighteenth century, human and material remains were discovered dating back to a naval battle between the inhabitants of Pisa and those of Gene, during a war to secure domination of N Sardinia.

Porto Cervo

“Costa Smeralda Coast”

Lat/Long – 41.1315° N, 9.5357° E

The name (Cervo means ‘stag’ in Italian) comes from the branching shape of the inlet, which resembles the tines of a stag’s antlers.

The foundations for Porto Cervo were laid in the 1960s, when a consortium led by the then Aga Khan began the development of the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) along the enchanting NE coast of Sardinia. The original development, now known as Porto Vecchio, is at the SE end of the inlet. Further into the inlet on the NW side is the newer harbour, which incorporates the exclusive Costa Smeralda Yacht Club and a luxury hotel and villa development.

Be prepared to blow your cruising budget if you moor here for long – or alternatively anchor in the sandy cove to the north of the breakwater (get there early as there’s not much room to swing).  The inlet is well sheltered and only easterlies (which are fortunately rare) might give a problem to yachts in the anchorage.

The inlet of Porto Cervo can be hard to spot as you sail along the coast, but there is generally a substantial amount of traffic coming in and out to guide you. There are dangerous shoals along the coast to the north and yachts should keep well off if approaching from this direction.

The main dock is the expensive (in-season) Marina di Porto Cervo in the upper part of the inlet at Marina Village.   Alternatively, you can investigate Marina dell’Orso which is part of the Poltu Quatu hotel complex.

It’s possible for just 2-3 yachts to anchor in the small cove at the entrance to the inlet, although the swinging room is very limited. Anchor in 5.0 – 6.0 metres. The holding is good in sand.



“La Maddalena Archipelago”

Lat/Long – 41.2069° N, 9.4617° E

Porto Palma is one of the most beautiful anchorages in the whole archipelago. It is situated at the southern end of Caprera island, it is sheltered from all directions except south and offers idyllic mooring in turquoise water on the clean white sand.  The best anchorage is on the eastern side of the bay in 5.0 – 9.0 metres. Some buoys installed by the park.
The Centro Velico Caprera (tel. 0789.738529) operates from a jetty at the head of the bay and by anchoring here you are away from the busy sailing regattas that fill the bay during the summer months.

Cala Coticcio is a butterfly-shaped inlet lying on the east side of Caprera island. It is open to the south but sheltered from all other directions. Both bays are very popular during the season and the beaches are buoyed off for swimming to prevent crews going ashore from anchored boats.
Anchor in 5.0 – 10.0 metres on sand and rock. The anchorage would probably become uncomfortable and even tenable in strong winds from S round to SE.

Cala Napoletana is a small, west-facing inlet tucked inside the headland at the northern extremity of Caprera island. It is normally partly closed to pleasure craft during the summer on account of buoyed-off areas for swimming.
However, it is still possible to anchor in 4.0 -5.0 metres on sand and rock outside the buoyed areas. Shelter in the bay is no more than reasonable and winds from NW round to S would probably cause problems.

Cala Garibaldi is the principal anchorage of the island of Caprera. Situated on the west coast of the island, north of the causeway connecting it to Isola Maddalena, it is a natural inlet protected from all directions except north.

There are three small islets in the bay which rejoice in the name of Isole Italiani and the best anchorage is to the SE of the southernmost island in 3.0 – 4.0 metres on the sand. Beware of the numerous underwater and above water rocks in the bay, especially closer into the shore.

There is a jetty at the southern end of the bay which can be used for embarking/disembarking crew but it is forbidden to moor there. With strong northerlies, Port Palma offers better security.

Cala Stagnali lies on the western side of Caprera island, about one mile south of the causeway between Maddalena and Caprera islands. Entrance is from the north avoiding the shallows between the rocky islet to starboard and the adjacent coast.

This cove is rather shallow, the depths there are about 3.0 metres, and really suitable only for small or shallow draught yachts. Shelter here is good from all directions except N, NW and W.

The jetty at the head of the bay was built for military purposes for the garrisons on the island and it is used these days by fishermen and boaters.

The buildings of the hamlet Stagnali ashore are dating back to the beginning of the 20th century were used for military in the past. Today they house the Center of Environmental Education of La Maddalena Park.
Cala Portese (Due Mari) lies on the SE side of the island. The approach is straightforward and it is exposed from NE-E. There have been mooring buoys and a buoyed swimming area but in late June 2013, there were neither.
However, the Polizia required anchoring > 100m from the shore. There has also been a ‘gelati’ RIB operating in the cala during the summer. Much weed but with sand patches, very busy during the day but most visitors leaves in time to return to their marina berth.

Restricted icon Punta Rossa – Isola della Pecora 41°10.280’N, 009°28.932’E
Warning: Restricted zone. Navigation, anchoring, etc. is prohibited there.

La Maddalena

“La Maddalena Archipelago”

Lat/Long: 41.2166° N, 9.4047° E

The Maddalena archipelago, which takes its name from the principal island, La Maddalena, is a group of seven islands lying on the southern side of the Strait of Bonifacio between Corsica and Sardinia. National park status protects the islands from unsympathetic development and the beautiful sandy coves and cobalt blue waters surrounding the islands make them one of the most idyllic cruising grounds to be found anywhere in the Mediterranean.

The island of Maddalena has a small, 130 berth marina, Marina Cala Gavetta, but the principal pleasure of a visit to the islands is the wonderful and largely unspoilt anchorages.

Porto Turistico di La Maddalena is a municipal marina in the Cala Gavetta, the principal harbour of the archipelago on Isola Maddalena. The harbour has three floating pontoons which welcome yachts up to 12 metres (although larger yachts up to 15 metres and more have moored here without difficulty). Larger yachts, however, usually tie up on the eastern quay inside the breakwater. Depths in the harbour range from 3.0 to 6.0 metres.

Water and electricity on the pontoons. Toilets/showers in the building next to the pontoons. Slipway. Good chandlery in the town. Two hours are free.

Call on VHF channel 74. Telephone: +39 (0)789 730121 or, hours: 08.00-20.00.

Warning: beware when entering of ferries passing en route to the commercial docks.

All pleasure craft visiting the Maddalena archipelago are required to purchase a permit from the National Park Authority.

Permits are available for: 1 day, 7 days, 15 days, 30 days and 120 days. The permits can be bought from the park authorities, at some ports and from the authorised travel agencies. Alternatively, a permit can be online with 5% discount via the Permit System.

If arriving without a permit, the (very diligent) park staff will charge the normal fee due with surcharge of an extra 40%, so it is wise to make this purchase in advance.

Cala Spalmatore is a lovely (but extremely popular) natural inlet at the NE end of Isola Maddalena, which is sheltered in all except NE and E winds.

There is a long concrete pier at the SW end, the outer end of which can be used by 15-20 yachts on anchor moor. Depths here range from 1.5 to 4.0 metres. A substantial charge is made. Warning: There are submerged rocks towards the root of the pier, so care is needed when mooring.

Yachts may also pick up one of the 20 mooring buoys that have been installed for visitors, for which an equally substantial charge is made. Depths at the buoys are from 2.0 to 8.0 metres. Maximum length 30 metres.

During high season, visiting yachts are requested to call the mooring staff on VHF channel 74 in advance of arrival to be assigned a berth.

It looks like that anchorage is prohibited in the bay by the La Maddalena port authorities: Ordinanza n. 39/05 – Divieto di ancoraggio in località Spalmatore, La Maddalena (OT) (no source found).

Cala Capo Ferrari (Stagno Torto on some charts) is fringed with rocks. Anchor at 6 m, good holding, protection from mistral. At the E inlet (Stagno Torto proper) there is a private club with berths suitable motor boats only.

Cala Francese offers no protection from the prevailing westerly winds. Anchor at 4-5 m of sand and rocks.  At the SE corner of the bay, there is an abandoned granite quarry, further south is located an abandoned fortress of Batteria Nido D’Aquila.


“La Maddalena Archipelago”

Lat/Long -41.2830° N, 9.3534° E

Budelli is an island in the Maddalena archipelago, near the Strait of Bonifacio in northern Sardinia, Italy. It is one of the seven islands that comprise Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park.

Budelli is located several hundred metres south of Razzoli and Santa Maria islands. It has a surface of 1.6 square kilometres (0.62 sq mi) and an overall coastal span of 12.3 kilometres (7.6 mi). The highest point is Monte Budello, at 87 metres (285 ft).

In antiquity, the Romans used the island. More recently, it was the site of some of the filming for Red Desert, released in 1964. For decades, the island had a series of private owners.

Budelli is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea, especially renowned for its Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach), on the southeastern shoreline, which owes its colour to microscopic fragments of corals and shells, such as Miriapora truncata and Miniacina miniacea, and was featured in Antonioni’s 1964 film Il deserto rosso (The Red Desert). Budelli is one of four uninhabited islands in the Maddalena archipelago, the others being Caprera, Spargi, and Razzoli. However, since 1989 the island’s permanent caretaker has been Mauro Morandi, who took over from a married couple.



Lat/Long – 41.3872° N, 9.1593° E

The inlet of Bonifacio in Corsica is one of the most spectacular natural harbours in the Mediterranean. Situated at the head of a deep fjord, the berths are protected from winds coming from any quarter.

Bonifacio is the closest harbour to the Italian island of Sardinia and is an enjoyable place to wait for the winds to die down before crossing the Strait of Bonifacio.  The islands of the Lavezzi archipelago (Iles Lavezzi) are about six miles east of Bonifacio  It’s worth warning you, however, that the French part of the Strait of Bonifacio (including Lavezzi archipelago) is proclaimed a natural reserve, Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio. Marine activities in the reserve including fishing, navigation, anchoring are regulated by the authorities.

The Strait of Bonifacio is one of the windiest places in the western Mediterranean, regularly experiencing nearly gale force winds whenever the prevailing winds are much above force 4/5.  With anything east or west in the winds (which is most of the time), the winds are funnelled through the gap between Corsica and Sardinia and the seas whipped up into an unpleasant short swell.  Consequently, the harbour is often filled with yachts waiting for a clear passage across the Strait or round to Porto-Vecchio.

Bonifacio is surrounded by steep limestone cliffs and the entrance is not easy to spot when arriving from the west.  However, the old town on the promontory protecting the harbour is very conspicuous, as is the lighthouse of La Madonneta on a spit at the eastern side of the inlet.

The anchorages at the Bay of Bonifacio are regulated by the port authorities;  Calanque de la Catena has organised mooring: monohull 25 €, multihull 50 € and at Calanque de l’Arinellaanchoring is prohibited.

W of the Bay of Bonifacio there are several dinghy docks available E of the fuel station in the Bonifacio marina. Tenders can be tied up and left freely, as the tenders from the organized mooring from Calanque de la Catena leave their dinghies at the same locations.

Cala di Paragnanu is beautiful fjord-like cove. Pay attention to the rocks along the coast. Anchor at the NE head of the cove and at the small inlet at the N.

Anse du Fazzio is possible to anchor at 2-5m and take a line ashore. The cove is very popular among the tripper boats. A branch of Les Glénans — a famous French sailing school is operating at the SE inlet of the cove.