One of the joys of being lucky enough to do a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants trip, with no real forward planning, is discovering real gems, off the tourist track. After staying at Le Dune on the western coast of Sardinia, we headed north, thinking that we’d already hit the jack-pot and that anything else subsequently, would be a poor imitation. However, we’d briefly forgotten we were in Italy – and that around every corner, if you look, there are always gems. And, here’s another we found.
About 3kms inland from the small northern beach of Rena Majore is Agriturismo Saltara. 3km from a beach may not seem that far, but this is rural Sardinia – full of winding roads and very few road signs, so take our advice. If you ever decide to stay here, or in this region, just be prepared to drive and drive and drive – you’ll eventually hit upon a sign, hidden behind foliage, or so old that it’s virtually impossible to read. Or, as with many signs in Italy, just simply pointing in the wrong direction 😉 But, the destination is always worth the arguments in the car. And Saltara is no exception.
Still a working farm, Agriturismo Saltara is steeped in family history. The walls are adorned with amazing photographs and artefacts and you get a real sense of what eeking out an existence in rural Sardinia must have been like – and, not too long ago, either.
The accommodation is just beautiful. Set away from the main building are a number of small wooden cabin/bungalow/chalets, all hidden away by lush foliage. Each has a little sun terrace. The interior of our double was just lovely – dark walnut furniture, a big & comfy four poster, a good sized fridge, air con, a large bathroom with walk-in shower – and wi-fi. Strong wi-fi, at that. A real bonus 🙂
The agriturismo for us, was just a bit too far from the nearest town – Santa Teresa Gallura – for eating out. Neither of us wanted to drive so we opted to eat in at the restaurant, both nights we stayed here. We quickly realised it’s actually a real destination restaurant, well renowned with locals, and on the both evenings, was packed. People, it seems, will travel a fair distance to eat here. And, we now know why! ALL food, if not produced on the land itself, is as locally sourced as possible and all cooked freshly – most of it, right in front of you. As you might imagine, meat is king – but, there is plenty of choice too for non-meat eaters. We ate the most amazing food and drank the most beautiful wine over the duration of our stay, and in late September it was still warm enough to eat outdoors.
As we’ve now become used to, Italian breakfasts are usually on the stunning side of spectacular – and again, Saltara is no exception. Thankfully, this buffet breakfast (all cakes, pastries & breads made freshly each morning) is a mix of savoury and sweet, so we were able to begin the day without being on a total sugar-induced high…
The grounds of Saltara are utterly exquisite. Nature has completely taken over around the wooden chalets and this provides a real sense of privacy. Ancient trees, spectacular foliage and beautiful plants and flowers, along with running streams and the occasional sighting of the farm animals, again add to the sense that you are completely isolated. It also helps that cars are parked well away from the main buildings, so there is always a sense of peace & quiet. There is a small heated swimming pool, summer house and an area for lounging – but to be honest, the small terrace outside our chalet was more than perfect.
The beach at Rena Majore – if you want isolation – is just another factor that makes Saltara perfect. Even on quite a blowy, grey Sardinian day, we couldn’t have wished for better…