Towering almost 1000m over the beaches of San Teodoro and Budoni on the east coast of Sardinia (Sardegna) Punta Maggiore is the highest summit of the Monte Nieddu mountain range. It is probably the best known mountain in Sardinia, due to its silhouette appearing prominently in many of the sundown pictures taken from the beaches.
That is exactly how I came to notice the mountain on my first day in Sardinia – looked out the window and saw this beautiful sunset emerging from behind the Monte Nieddu ridge. Of course I tried my luck with shooting pictures of the sundown but moreover got interested in climbing it. The mountain itself is far higher than its neighbours and therefore can be seen from all over the northern part of Sardinia. Moreover its summit offers views of the whole island – including the Gennargentu
, Monte Albo
and Monte Limbara
mountain ranges. Nevertheless views from the top of Sardinia's mountains are usually far from impressive since the whole island consists of a hilly high plain over which mountains just show their summits. Moreover the air is often very humid which makes for misty pictures.
The ascent itself, from the normal trailhead in the Monte Nieddu Forrest is steep and sometimes exposed. You cover some 700m of altitude in a three hour hike. Be prepared to be exposed to the sun most of the way – for summer ascents start very early – otherwise bring lots of water.
Sardinia can be reached either by plane or by ferry. The main ports are Porto Torres and Olbia in the north and Arbatax and Cagliari in the south. Airports are at Alghero and Olbia in the north as well as (again) Arbatax and Cagliari in the south. For exploring the northeastern part of the island where most of the mountains are the best entry point is Olbia, which is where most flights go anyway.
Approaching the mountain from Olbia airport
From the airport head east towards the coast. At the intersection with SS125 (coastal highway) turn south in the direction of San Teodoro. This road takes a while but offers you great views of the north faces of Isola Tavolara, which rise vertically up to 560m out of the sea.
At the village of Buddittogliu right after the viallge sign turn right onto a side road which takes you straight towards the mountain. At an intersection turn right (west) under the motorway bridge (with a fount to the left). The road ascends a hill, then crosses a valley on a bridge after which it turns into a forrest (gravel) road. Take this road for 10km and you’ll reach the entry gate of the Monte Nieddu Forest, turn left and a further 2km take you to the trailhead.