Going to visit the Archipelago of La Maddalena? You’ll have to go through Palau
Palau, the only port to La Maddalena, is a small town in the North of Sardinia, who proudly keeps an important historical past. Homer, the poet, narrates about the arrival of Ulysses during a journey through a flowery land filled with fresh spring waters and dominated by a massive rock that had a shape of a bear. The symbol of Palau “Capo d’Orso” (Bear Rock) was also cited by Ptolemy in the 2nd Century AD.
Palau was once a residential area for the landowners. In occasion of the two world wars, the militaries, and the fortresses’ builders (specialized workers for the production of granite bricks that cover buildings) contributed to the growth of the inhabitants.
The commercial and tourist port represent the main hub for the famous excursions to La Maddalena city and the Archipelago. Palau has many gorgeous beaches, bays, and coves; it offers the opportunity to explore the coastline and at the same time the inland, the hills, and the beautiful Mediterranean brush, without excluding the archeology, megalithic rocks and breathtaking views.
This area developed in the mid-sixties, thanks to tourism. Today it’s a lively town, well organized to provide for the continuous requests of archipelago day tours and charters. Palau is also the starting station of the Green Train (Trenino Verde) which leaves from the local maritime train station, built in the thirties, and brings tourists to discover the town of Tempio, passing through suggestive areas of the inland. This small looking train is an engineering marvel: it was built with a narrow gauge in order to take on sharp turns and steeper hills, typical of the Sardinian territory.
In Palau, it’s also possible to visit the Fortress of Monte Altura, about 3 km out of the town. This is a military fortress built at the end of the 18th century. It’s a fantastic building made with maniacal accuracy for details, restored in the first years of 2000, offers a 360° view of the surrounding territory, and an amazing panorama that reaches all the way to the French mountains of Corsica.
Other fortresses, placed in strategic positions (not yet restored) are there to explore you must be very careful since they are dangerous playgrounds, filled with unstable walls, rusty pieces of metal and unmarked wells.
Palau is also filled with restaurants, pizzerias, takeaways, bars, and pubs and accommodates thousands of visitors every summer.
Porto Pollo is about 7 km North of Palau, on the road to Santa Teresa. Also known as Porto Puddu, it is a famous international spot for water sports like windsurf and kitesurf.
Thanks to its well-exposed position to the main winds coming from the North and West, the wind channels into the surrounding hills creating a pressure area that reinforces its speed, thus creating the perfect conditions. Porto Pollo became a natural training ground for all levels of skill.
This area is also particular thanks to its coastal sand dune system attached to the beaches, which creates a unique environment together with its crystal clear waters. It’s highly recommended to stop by. Restaurants, bars, hotels, parking, etc.. all services are available during the season.
On the East side of Palau lays the massive Bear Rock (Capo d’Orso), a granite monolith, sculpted by wind and rain, that found the shape of a bear overlooking the town and the canal between Palau and La Maddalena. Guided tours on the summit of the promontory are available every day during the season.
Maps, brochures, and general info are available at the local tourist office in Piazza Fresi, near the port. Opening hours are from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Opening hours of Capo d’Orso from 9:00 am to sunset. Closed in the winter.