On land the Asinara island is covered in typical Mediterranean plant species like mastic trees, wild olives and euphorbia, while on the northernmost tip of the island there is a small forest of Mediterranean oak. There are about thirty species that are native to the island and the area around Sardinia and Corsica like Centaurea horrida, Limonium acutifolium and Limonium laetum.
The underwater seascape is varied and diverse. The western side of the island, called
“mare di fuori”, has a rocky coastline where there have been many landslides in the past. The eastern side is shallow with a sandy bottom with a large meadow of Posidonia. There you can find Pinna nobilis fan mussels and spot rare seahorses. On the seaside rocks you can find patellas that can have a diameter of up to 10 cm.
At over 70m depth you’ll find rare deep water kelp (Laminaria rodriguezii), a paleoendemism in the Mediterranean. There are several sites for scuba diving where you can spot fish like groupers even in waters that are not very deep. Cala Tumbarino and Punta Salippi are on the western side of the island and Punta Trabuccato is on the east. At Stintino you can organise a fishing tour with the local fishermen and have your catch prepared by locals when you get back to port.
The Marine Protected Area
The Marine Protected Area stretches for about 17km north/south and has four mountains. The Asinara is off the northwest coast of Sardinia, in front of the Stintino peninsula.
The Asinara was a prison until 1998 and this has kept its natural habitat intact. Declared a national park in 1997, the Asinara has been a Marine Protected Area since 2002. Its area covers 10.732 hectares, of which 577 are divided between 3 zone A integral reserves, signalled with yellow buoys with signal lights on the water and yellow topmarks on shore.
Ente Parco nazionale dell’Asinara
via Iosto, 7 – 07046 Porto Torres (SS)
Palazzo Reale, Cala Reale, Isola dell’Asinara
Capitaneria di Porto
There are mooring buoys at Cala Reale, Punta Trabuccato, Cala del Bianco and Cala D’Oliva for sailing boats and at Fornell for motorboats.
The western side of the island, with cliffs that can be up to200m high, is almost impossible to reach by sea. Through the “Passaggio dei Fornelli” the body of water from Punta Salippi to Punta Barbarossa that separates Asinara from Sardinia, you may only navigate at 3 knots or less. After Punta Negra you may want to visit the deep-water fjord of Stintino, on the Sardinian coast. There you’ll find mooring buoys, water and electricity.