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Boat trips Asinara
- L'Island Asinara is an island located in the North West of Sardinia and is easily reached by boat from Stintino and Porto Torres
- It is part of aMarine Protected Area and that is why you can only get to know it thoroughly by catamaran or sailboat
- It is the second largest island in Sardinia and is known for its crystal clear sea and white donkeys
Tickets for boat trips to Asinara cost between 50 and 150 euros
The fee varies according to the duration of the excursion, the boat used, the port of departure, the seasonality and the services offered.
Prices are indicative and not binding. Select the type of excursion you prefer to know the official price.
Boat trips for the Asinara depart from Stintino, Porto Torres.
You can also find departures from Alghero and Bosa
Usually boat trips for the Asinara leave in the morning and return around 6pm.
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How to book
Online booking is a must, otherwise you risk not finding a place. Moreover, online prices are often lower.
Choose the yacht, motorboat or boat you prefer from the proposals, you can see at a glance the duration, rate and port of departure.
On the page of each activity you can see the then choose your departure date and enter your details. There is no need to print the ticket, you can simply show it from your smartphone on the day of embarkation.
At least 2-3 days in advance.
Boat trips to the Asinara are very popular. Especially in high season, you risk not finding a place if you book at the last second. For this reason, we suggest you book as early as possible.
Trips to Asinara are generally made:
- in a catamaran
The Asinara is part of a protected marine area, which is why motor boats have several restrictions.
The best way is therefore to choose a sailing boat or catamaran.
You will be refunded your ticket or asked to choose another date.
All boat trips require suitable marine weather conditions that can guarantee safe navigation.
For this reason, it is up to the captain - for the safety of his passengers and the vessel - to decide whether or not to carry out the excursion.
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Information on boat trips to Asinara
Asinara is an island rich in history and nature, so you can range in different areas during your visit to Asinara. You can choose from a variety of activities:
- Guided or independent nature walks,
- Historical visits to the prisons of Asinara;
- Snorkelling in the Asinara Marine Area;
- Scuba diving;
- Off-road excursions;
- Catamaran and sailing trips to the most beautiful bays in the Asinara;
- Tours by mountain bike, pedelec and electric car
The Asinara penitentiary was active since the early 1880s and then later decommissioned in 1998, making way for the Asinara National Park. The isolation of Asinara due to the presence of the prison for over a century has contributed to making it, on the one hand, a fascinating island shrouded in mystery, and at the same time, has favoured its preservation by making it a real natural heritage of inestimable value.
The transition from prison to National Park took place in the late 1990s and early 21st century. The Asinara Prison was permanently decommissioned in 1998, gradually making way for the Asinara National Park.
The Park Authority is very active on the island and the results of this protection regime are tangible. On the island, the rules of the Park and the Marine Protected Area are very much felt and respected.
Visiting the Asinara one can feel their presence and admire the result of the incredible conservation work that has been carried out. Many activities of a naturalistic and scientific nature, eco-friendly trips aimed at the preservation and discovery of the area are permitted, everything is well regulated. In the waters of Island Asinara, motorised navigation is only allowed in certain approach corridors, outside of which motorised propulsion is not permitted.
Walks are encouraged and well signposted, but be careful, there are portions of the territory that are not accessible because they are under a total protection regime where no transit is allowed.
It is possible to visit Asinara on horseback, rent an electric bicycle, hire an electric car and go trekking.
Always rely on a guide or choose an organised excursion to avoid bans or penalties.
In the area of Cala Reale is Farmasinara, a small shop where products made from herbs harvested on the island can be purchased. Farmasinara is a project carried out to study the natural resources of Island Asinara.
The shop in Cala Reale also has cosmetic products made from donkey milk. The donkey milk used for the cosmetics comes from Sardinian donkeys, not donkeys from Asinara because the donkeys on the island are protected. During your excursion to Asinara you can pass by the Farmasinara shop, a concentration of nature and beauty where you can find unique natural products.
La fauna of the Asinara is quite interesting, both in terms of introduced species and endemic species, which are therefore the subject of studies and conservation projects.
Specimens of the avifauna certainly worth mentioning include the Corsican gull, the common tern, the greater and lesser tern, the crested cormorant, the bird of storms, the peregrine falcon and the barn owl.
The terrestrial and amphibious fauna includes several exponents of the common tortoise, Sardinian discoglossus, emerald toad, mouflon, Sardinian hare, hedgehog, wild boar, goat and of course the donkey.
On Asinara there is the Sardinian donkey, which has a grey coat, and the white donkey, the albino variation, whose origins have not yet been clearly identified. The most widely accepted hypotheses regarding the origin of the albino variation are 3:
- importation from egypt;
- arrival aboard a probably French vessel;
- native origin by derivation from grey specimens.
It is certainly known that it is a hereditary alteration that causes the white colouring of the coat and the pink colouring of the skin. The iris is partially pigmented pink, generally not red. White donkeys are smaller than their grey colleagues, photophobic and rather delicate.
In the Cala Reale compendium is theSea Observatory with the Centro Recupero Animali Marini (Marine Animals Recovery Centre), where every year many specimens of Caretta caretta, the typical Mediterranean sea turtle, are rescued.
There are also two other species of sea turtle that transit and sometimes nest in the Mediterranean Sea:
- Dermochelis coriacea or lute turtle;
- Chelonia midas or green turtle.
These specimens often need care because they are injured during human fishing and boating activities. The centre takes care of their care and subsequent reintroduction into the wild.
Snorkelling at Asinara offers many surprises. The species present are not surprising for their rarity but rather for their size. In a few metres of water it is possible to admire groupers, eagle rays, salps, bream and barracuda. For scuba divers and free divers, a scuba dive at Asinara is definitely a must: an extraordinary spectacle at giant size that is not easily forgotten.
If you want to spend several days at Asinara to do different types of excursions and explore the island to the fullest, the best way is to sleep in a bed and breakfast or hostel at Asinara. There are some interesting accommodation options on the island. The hostel SognAsinara overlooks Cala d'Oliva and has large dormitories in a building of the prison system. Also in Cala d'Oliva is the Locanda del Parco, a recently renovated, smaller and more exclusive B&B.
The island Asinara from the late 1800s to the late 1900s was very famous for being the site of an important penal colony. During this troubled time period, figures belonging to both the Brigate Rosse and the Anonima Sequestri and the Cosa Nostra mafia gangs were detained on the island.
Among the prisoners infamous in the Italian chronicle are Salvatore 'Toto' Riina, Raffaele Cutolo, Leoluca Bagarella, Matteo Boe; the latter infamous for having escaped from the Asinara in 1986 aboard a dinghy. In its more than 100 years of operation, only one convict managed to escape; this record has given Asinara the nickname of the Italian Alcatraz. Some of the buildings of the prison regime can now be visited, including the museum in the Central Branch at Cala D'Oliva: a leap into recent history that opens one's eyes to many aspects that are often unknown or overlooked.
The prison regime on the island ranged from the agricultural penal colony to the so-called hard prison regime, including the 41BIS special. In the penal colony, inmates could work and move around in partial autonomy as this regime allowed a certain amount of freedom and sociability. On Asinara there was also the hard prison regime for particularly heinous crimes or mafia offences. The buildings that were used for this regime cannot currently be visited because they are covered by state secrecy.
Of course, there are several prison branches on the island. All the settlements at Asinara were used - and often created - by the prison system for the penal colony and the maximum security prison. In Cala d'Oliva at the Central Branch there is a recently opened museum where one can see the cells, common areas and work areas.
Is it possible to visit the house at Asinara where Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone were hosted?
In Cala d'Oliva you can see the house - former guest quarters - where the two judges stayed in the summer of 1985. For security reasons, the two magistrates and their families were urgently transferred from Palermo to Alghero and taken to Asinara where they wrote part of the sentences of the Maxi Trial. This event is recounted in the film Era D'Estate, filmed precisely at Asinara. Generally it is not possible to enter the 'red brick house by the sea', however, the visit from the outside is very impressive.
Asinara is a very famous and well-known island, hosting many tourists and visitors every year. It is important to book excursions online as places are limited and without a reservation you may not find availability. A video on Asinara which well describes the historical, cultural, educational and naturalistic activities on the island and The Changing of the Guard - Journey through Asinara. The video is very substantial, lasting about 27 minutes. You can watch the video before your holiday on Asinara to prepare yourself, or you can watch it after you have made an excursion to the Island to savour the places you have visited.
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