About Castelsardo

Castelsardo, nestled along the rugged coastline of Sardinia, Italy, is a town steeped in history and charm. It is located northeast of Sassari, on the promontory of the Gulf of Asinara. According to the “Borghi più Belli d’Italia” guide, it is one of the seven Sardinian Royal Cities.

The town is dominated by the castle which was built behind the order of the Doria family of Genoa back in the 12th century. In the mid-15th century, Castelsardo fell to the Aragonese people, and the name of the fortress changed.

Here are some peculiarities that make Castelsardo unique:

  1. Medieval Citadel: One of the most striking features of Castelsardo is its medieval citadel, perched atop a steep hill overlooking the sea. The winding cobblestone streets and ancient stone walls of the citadel offer visitors a glimpse into the town’s rich history.
  2. Elephant Rock: One of the most iconic landmarks of Castelsardo is the massive rock formation known as “Elephant Rock” (Roccia dell’Elefante). Shaped like an elephant, this natural wonder is a popular spot for tourists and photographers alike.
  3. Craftsmanship: Castelsardo is renowned for its traditional craftsmanship, particularly its intricate handwoven baskets made from local dwarf palm leaves. These baskets, known as “corbule,” are not only beautiful works of art but also an important part of the town’s cultural heritage.
  4. Festival of Sant’Antonio Abate: Each year in January, Castelsardo hosts the Festival of Sant’Antonio Abate, a lively celebration featuring bonfires, traditional music, and the famous “arrosticini” (skewered lamb) grilled over open flames. This festival is a testament to the town’s strong sense of community and religious traditions.
  5. Museo dell’Intreccio Mediterraneo: This unique museum is dedicated to the art of weaving and showcases a collection of traditional Sardinian textiles, including the intricate baskets made in Castelsardo. Visitors can learn about the history and techniques of weaving while admiring beautiful examples of this ancient craft.
  6. Seafood Cuisine: Being a coastal town, Castelsardo boasts a rich culinary tradition focused on fresh seafood. Visitors can savor delicious dishes like “fregola ai frutti di mare” (Sardinian pasta with seafood), “bottarga” (cured fish roe), and “zuppa gallurese” (a hearty bread and cheese soup).
  7. Views of the Gulf of Asinara: Castelsardo offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Asinara, with its crystal-clear waters and rugged coastline. Whether you’re strolling through the town’s narrow streets or enjoying a meal at a seaside restaurant, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

These peculiarities contribute to the unique character and allure of Castelsardo, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking history, culture, and natural beauty.

Trips and local events

Like any coastal city, Castelsardo and its surroundings also offer wonderful outdoor activities. In fact, from the port you can leave for some spectacular areas for diving and snorkeling, there will also be the opportunity to do tourism fishing, sport fishing and surfing in certain areas. By land you can go from horseback riding, passing through beautiful bicycle rides and arriving at the magnificent coastal trekking to discover the red rocks (and their particular shapes) and natural pools. The whole area is frighteningly beautiful and interesting both from a landscape and a geological point of view.

One of the closest beaches is Padraladda, which represents the local beach and you will be sure to find some elderly people with deckchairs and umbrellas reading a newspaper at 8 in the morning. In addition to this, there is Lu Bagnu, a cream-colored sand and rocky walls with Mediterranean scrub will be a perfect contour to the blue sea. In the area and a few kilometers away also Cala Ostina and Li Junchi, the beach of Badesi.

These beaches just mentioned are not the only ones, on the contrary, they are the most popular. Below you will see a sequence of remote beaches that can be reached by car or by trekking and which are located near Castelsardo. Don’t forget us travel planners we encourage the discovery of remote and off-the-beaten-track areas, but not only that, we also recommend choosing a beach based on the weather conditions (may or may not be exposed to winds), based on the kind of travelers (perhaps if you are a family I would prefer to recommend a beach with services rather than a remote one that can be reached after 50 minutes of trekking) and at your needs and passions. Choosing our service will be fundamental, before and during your vacation. Enjoy the show.

There are several typical local dishes that we can recommend and one thing is sure, they are all fish-based dishes as Castelsardo is traditionally a fishing village. Not only what to see then but also what to eat in this beautiful village. Started by the queen of the table, the lobster that is served here in the Aragonese style, a very tasty dish in which the crustacean is seasoned with a creamy sauce based on garlic, oil, lemon, parsley, capers and hard-boiled eggs. Another highly prized typical dish is the Sa Cassola di Castelsardo, which is a mixed fish soup from the Gulf of Asinara. A couple of interesting and typical first courses of the area are the squid ink risotto and spaghetti with sea urchins (which can only be found fresh in winter and spring).

Local traditions

North Sardinia is rich in traditions, customs, and festivals that reflect the island’s unique cultural heritage. Here are some local traditions you might encounter in this region are:

  1. Sardinian Language and Music: Sardinia has its own distinct language, Sardo, which varies slightly from region to region. In the north, you might hear variations such as Gallurese and Logudorese. Traditional Sardinian music, characterized by haunting polyphonic singing and the use of traditional instruments like the launeddas (a type of woodwind instrument), is also an integral part of local culture.
  2. Festivals and Religious Celebrations: Throughout the year, various festivals and religious celebrations take place in towns and villages across North Sardinia. These events often include processions, traditional music and dance performances, and elaborate feasts. One example is the Feast of San Simplicio, celebrated in Olbia with religious processions, street performances, and fireworks.
  3. Shepherding Traditions: Sardinia has a long history of shepherding, and this tradition is still alive in the north of the island. You might see shepherds tending to their flocks of sheep or goats in the countryside, and traditional sheepdog trials, known as “Ardia di San Costantino,” are held in various villages, showcasing the skill of both the shepherds and their dogs.
  4. Craftsmanship: Sardinia is known for its traditional crafts, including weaving, pottery, and knife-making. In the north, you might visit workshops where artisans create beautiful textiles, ceramics, and knives using age-old techniques passed down through generations.
  5. Cuisine and Wine: Sardinian cuisine is hearty and flavorful, with an emphasis on local ingredients such as lamb, pork, seafood, and wild herbs. In the north, you might sample dishes like “porceddu” (roast suckling pig), “malloreddus” (Sardinian gnocchi), and “pane carasau” (thin, crisp flatbread). Sardinia is also known for its excellent wines, including Vermentino and Cannonau, which pair perfectly with the island’s cuisine.
  6. Traditional Dress: While traditional Sardinian dress is not as commonly worn in daily life today, you may still see locals donning traditional attire during festivals and special occasions. Women might wear colorful embroidered dresses known as “faldas” or “giponeddas,” while men might wear dark trousers, a white shirt, and a vest or jacket adorned with intricate embroidery.

These are just a few examples of the rich tapestry of traditions that characterize North Sardinia, offering visitors a glimpse into the island’s vibrant cultural heritage.

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