Every now and again one happens upon a beach that will be used as a benchmark against which to compare others one is yet to discover. One such is Cumpultitu, on the west coast of Sardinia, between the towns of Alghero and Bosa. The coastal road between these two towns is worth driving even if you are not planning to stop for a swim.
You will be treated to a scenic route that cuts dramatically into the mountainside, sheer cliffs dropping into the sea below. The driver really needs to concentrate but the passengers can drink in the memorable vistas. Along the road you will notice cars parked in unlikely places, high up on the cliffs. We came to realise that this indicated a wonderful beach somewhere below.
We first came upon photographs of the beautiful cove of Cumpultitu on postcards but could not find it on a map. I asked about its whereabouts at a newsagents and was pointed in the right direction.The following day we squeezed our car in amongst those parked along the road and found an old rusted gate leading to a path of sorts through dense scrub.
The kids enjoyed scampering down the steep cliff while the adults balanced the umbrellas, cooler box, snorkeling gear, towels, books and everything else needed for a day out at the beach. The beach is very small, a crescent of soft sand surrounded by rocks to both sides and a mountainside behind.
Be warned – there are no facilities here at all. Which is all part of the beauty of the place. On the first visit I only brought a few snacks, but by our fourth trip down the hill, I had learned to stock up.
This is not a beach for those with babies, although one intrepid couple did make it down with an infant in a papoose. It is also inaccessible to those unstable on their feet. As such it is probably self-limiting.
The water is so crystalline that you see your feet as clearly as if you were standing in the bath. The sea is warm too so you can spend hours floating about, snorkeling or playing water volleyball. There are some beautiful and intriguing rock formations on the sand and a couple of tiny caves amongst the rocks should you wish to explore.
Sardinia is reknowned for its beautiful beaches and coves. The sea is said to be the cleanest in Italy which was reassuring especially as we had previously encountered sewage floating in the water when we swam off the mainland. Unappetising to say the least. In Sardinia, the worst thing in the water was a jellyfish.
As with many of the best travel finds, Cumpultitu is worth the extra effort. The walk up the steep hill is not the easiest end to a beach day – but I suspect it will be some time before we find a lovelier spot.