The ecosystems along the coastline are varied and go from beaches that close off saltwater ponds and swamps like Porto Taverna and the lagoon at Porto Brandinchi, two important spots where migrant birds can stop and pass the winter, to high limestone cliffs, like the Tavolara island, to rocky granite coasts like Molara.

Tavolara has some of the most interesting plants in all of northeast Sardinia. Over 460 different plant species have been found growing in its limestone soil, 34 of them, like cornflowers, are native to the region. Asperula deficiens, one of the rarest plants in the world, only grows here. In the interior of Molara you’ll find a series of small valleys with wooded areas with large chestnut trees, oaks, broom and wild olives.

The Marine Protected Area offers an abundant variety of underwater life that is a real naturalistic and touristic treasure. The rocky seabed at Tavolara has steep walls, landslides and caves; at Molara it has granite boulders and at Molarotto there is a predominantly sandy seabed with rocky outcrops. There are Posidonia meadows between Capo Ceraso, Spalmatore and Punta Pedrosu and in other areas you’ll find Cymodocea nodosa. The walls, pinnacles and

submarine landslides are covered in large red and yellow violescent sea-whip at just 20m depth. Along the seabed of the two larger islands you’ll find branches of false black coral  (Gerardia savaglia), and along the rocky shores of Molarotto you can find giant patellas. You may also spot red snappers, Mediterranean perch, bream, and cartilaginous fish like stingrays and Manta rays and crustaceans like mantis shrimp. In the caves created by the erosion of the granite rocks, called tafoni, you may see groupers, moray eels, conger fish and lobsters. Closer to sandbars you could find schools of greater amberjacks, barracuda and small tuna.

The Marine Protected Area is very popular with divers. The Secca del Papa, formed by a series of limestone pinnacles, is considered one of the best spots in the Med. At ”Occhio di Dio” and at “Secca del Fico” you can see false black coral. There are also 70 underwater archaeological sites in these waters.

The Marine Area Protected

The Marine Protected Area runs along the northwest coast of Sardinia from Capo Cesareo to Cala Finocchiaro and includes the islands Tavolara, Molara and Molarotto. Founded in 1997, it covers an area of 15.357 hectares, 529 of which are a zone A integral reserve, signalled by yellow delimitation buoys with signal lights and by yellow top marks on the shore.

In 2006, during the United Nation’s Barcelona Convention, this Marine Protected Area was granted ISO 14001environmental certification and has been designated a SPAMI (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance).

Useful Contacts

Consorzio di gestione
via Dante, 1 – 07026 Olbia
tel. 0789/52163
Sede operativa
via Porto Romano, 8 – Olbia
tel. 0789/203013 – 0789/204514
Capitaneria di Porto di Olbia
tel. 0789/26666