Less than an hour by bus or car from Cagliari and Sardinia's celebrated coastline, the Monti dei Setti Fratelli show a completely different side to this beautiful Mediterranean island.
Lush, forested slopes laced with a network of footpaths afford stunning views over scenes straight out of rainforest documentaries. There are walks and hikes for all abilities, and ample shade prevents the threat of heat exhaustion. A refreshing break from sunbathing.
Monti dei Setti Fratelli National Park, between Cagliari and Muravera in south-eastern Sardinia.
Orosei is a pleasant small town on the eastern coast of Sardinia and worth a visit for its shady squares, old churches and winding old town alleyways.
In medieval times it was a prosperous port but over the centuries the river silted up and left it marooned 3km from the sea.
You should definitely take a look at the church of Sant'Antonio off Piazza Sant'Antonio. It dates from the 15th century and is set in a courtyard with a square stone Pisan tower and small dwellings where pilgrims and travellers once stayed.
The church interior has been modernised but there are some colourful medieval frescos on the walls which have been preserved and in front of the altar you can see the old painted tiled floor which is a couple of feet below the current floor level.
Chiesa Sant'Antonio, Piazza Sant'Antonio, Orosei
You can see my photos and description of the church on
If you're visiting the eastern coast of Sardinia and fancy a change from the crowded beaches of the coast in high season, swimming in river pools is a tranquil alternative.
We found a wonderful cool pool to swim in on the way to the well known gorge of Gola di Gorroppu.
You drive from Dorgali towards Gola di Gorroppu and park the car when the track runs out, then cross the footbridge and walk on the right of the river in the direction of the gorge.
After about 15 minutes, the path forks - the right fork will lead you past a barrier into the national park and on towards the gorge, the left fork leads you downhill towards the river, where you can find big boulders and deep river pools to swim in.
After fighting our way through the crowded beaches in August it made a refreshing change, but sadly we didn't quite make the gorge which is a sight in itself.
On the way back, just short of the Dorgali road, you might like to stop for a drink or meal at the hotel Sant'Elene which serves Sardinian specialities and has a terrace with an amazing view over the valley.
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