Gola di Gorropu: visit the gorge without tourists and completely free!
Gola di Gorropu is also called the Grand Canyon of Europe and during our tour of Sardinia, I visited the gorge without other tourists and without paying. In this travel blog we are going to try to give you all the information about visiting Gola di Gorropu. This beautiful walk to the gorge is one of the highlights of your trip through Sardinia, and we have also included Gola di Gorropu in our travel blog on the most beautiful places in Sardinia.
Table of contents
Gola di Gorropu: what is the best base?
The most touristic spot closest to Gola di Gorropu is Cala Gonone. From here it is about another 30-minute drive to the beginning trail of the gorge.
In Cala Gonone, we slept for several days at hotel Esse Palmasera, which again is within walking distance of the port. From the port you can make a nice excursion to the beaches around Golfo di Orosei, which we also named in our two travel blogs on the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia and the most beautiful places of Sardinia.
At the hotel Esse Palmasera there is also a large swimming pool, which is kind of nice if you have done a long walk and you can relax for the rest of the day.
Gola di Gorropu: what walking routes do you all have?
To get to the Gola di Gorropu gorge, you actually have two paths you can hike on. The shortest path, but a bit tougher and the slightly longer easy path.
Heaviest route to Gola di Gorropu.
The most beautiful route is the toughest route and I also recommend it to everyone. If you have a reasonable level of fitness, this route is also great to walk there and back.
In total, there is about 700 meters of elevation gain, and on the way there, of course, you walk most of the trail downhill. This is obviously doable for anyone, and this is basically still walkable with kids.
The route is about 4 kilometers long. You sometimes have really beautiful views of the mountains and you walk along a path of stones and boulders. Very occasionally it is a thin path that you walk on and then of course if you are walking with kids you have to take them by the hand.
The way back is obviously a lot harder, since you are now walking uphill. This can be tough with small kids, but there is an option to drive the jeep the way back. Arranging a jeep can be done in the gorge itself.
Where is the beginning path of this route. I myself always use the super handy app maps.me and looked up bar Silana the day before and navigated myself there by car. At this bar, it’s all super clearly marked. There is a free parking lot with a lot of gravel where you can park your car and then the trail is well marked with a large sign.
I also used the app maps.me on my phone while walking (you can also use this app without internet) and had the walking distance, time and route to the gorge right away. Not that you really need to, because after the start sign there is really only one path down which you can walk. It’s so obvious that you really can’t go wrong.
Easiest route to Gola di Gorropu
The beginning trail of the easiest route seems to be difficult to find by car. The starting point is at the Sa Barva bridge and from here it is about a 6.5-kilometer walk to the entrance of the Gola di Gorropu gorge. The altitude difference is only 100 meters, so you walk quite flat.
However, this route is much less scenic. This is a shame, of course, because the route to the gorge is precisely also one of the highlights.
Also, there is no possibility of going back by jeep, because the jeep is only for the people of the toughest route and does not drive back to the Sa Barva bridge.
It is between 2 and 2.5 hours walk to the entrance, so if you have to do that there and back, this will take you between 4 and 5 hours.
Gola di Gorropu: what about the jeep?
So basically, you really don’t need the jeep if you have a bit of a condition. It just takes you a little longer. But if you have all day, that shouldn’t be a problem. You can order the jeep at the booth downstairs if you still like it. In high season, the jeep runs several times a day and the cost is 15 euros.
Gola di Gorropu: what is the gorge itself like?
The gorge is beautiful and consists of large stones. There is a route through the gorge and it consists of three sections marked by color. The trail starts with the green and that’s another easy stretch through the gorge.
With the color yellow, it already becomes a lot more scrambling over the stones and the red color is really for the professionals. Be aware that the stones are sometimes quite slippery and, especially with low-grip shoes, you can slip right off the stones.
Some water also flows at the entrance to the gorge. There you can cool off for a while!
In total, you should count about an hour to visit the gorge and take the necessary photos.
Gola di Gorropu: how did I walk the route myself
I left our hotel at 5 in the morning and then started driving the car. That was still a bit of a challenge, because you have to drive the winding roads of Sardinia in the dark, and I was not used to that myself.
I also came across some goats sleeping on the road along the way, which of course was a bit of a scare so in the dark. So be careful, because you’d rather not have a goat on your front.
At 5:30 I arrived at bar Silana and parked the car in the parking lot and started the route to Gola di Gorropu.
So the first part I was still walking in the dark, but that was no problem. You could see the trail well and the sun was already rising slightly. On the way out, it was still too dark for some points to take pictures, but I knew I was walking the same route on the way back anyway, so I could take plenty of pictures and videos then.
At a quarter to seven I reached the gorge and to my surprise there was no one to be seen. Since most people see Sardinia as a relaxation vacation anyway, I think most people like to sleep in first.
Since there was no one at the entrance, there was also no way to pay. I spent about an hour in the gorge and then cooled off in the water near the gorge. I felt a bit like the young man in the movie “into the wild” 😉.
Tip: So bring a swimsuit so you can cool off in the water in the gorge.
When I went back up the trail around eight o’clock, there was still no one down there. So I had the gap all to myself. As I walked back upstairs, I met the first tourists along the way at 8:30.
So if you really want to have the gorge to yourself, start hiking early. One advantage of the early hour is that it is also a lot less warm. It can be treacherous that if you start later you walk down first and when you have to walk back up by noon the temperature has risen dramatically.
In 1.5 hours I walked the path back up, and in the last section more tourists were already starting to descend the mountain (including some teenagers). By 9:30 I was at the car and back at the hotel by 10. Another advantage was that this left me with the whole day with my wife and baby daughter by the pool!
I found it an amazing experience to walk through this piece of nature by myself like this. The only drawback I found is that I was by myself and if I had fallen or something it could take a long time to get help. However, I did have normal cell phone coverage most of the time.
Only downside is that I kept having to take pictures with the self-timer, so the pictures are not super!
Gola di Gorropu: what all do you need to walk the trek?
Basically, you need mostly water and maybe some food. I myself carried 2 1.5-liter bottles and that was more than enough. I also had some cookies with me and did eat some of those, but that was more because I had already left home at 5 and had not had breakfast.
In addition, I don’t recommend walking the hike in flip-flops. You also really don’t need to wear heavy mountain boots, despite it being easier. I myself had sneakers on and that was fine. The only drawback was that I had no grip at all on the stones in the gorge and therefore sometimes slipped off the stones. Other than that, you don’t need much.
Gola di Gorropu: suitable for kids?
Yes, you can visit the gorge with kids by driving there and back by jeep. There is an agency that offers this. You then only have to walk about six kilometers flat yourself with your kids and so can admire the gorge. We only saw this option in retrospect, otherwise we might have considered visiting the gorge with our daughter.
The cost is then 25 euros per person. Information about this jeep excursion can be found here.
So, Gola di Gorropu is really a must-see and can be visited by almost everyone these days. Because of the many options, it is even possible to visit the gorge with kids. By the way, Gola Di Gorropu is not the only beautiful gorge in Europe. In Austria, for example, there is also a beautiful gorge: the Liechtensteinklamm.
In addition, you can do other beautiful hikes in Italy, such as a hike to Mount Etna on the neighboring island of Sicily. Read about this hike and other sights of this island in the travel blog sights in Sicily by a fellow blogger.