Tourists charged to visit Sardinia’s most beautiful beaches

Visitor numbers are now capped on five Sardinian beaches, with three introducing visitor fees

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 05 July 2022 09:57 BST
<p>Cala Coticcio bay, La Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia</p>

Cala Coticcio bay, La Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia

Tourists are now being charged to visit two of Italy’s most beautiful beaches, following new rules brought in by the authorities on the island of Sardinia.

From this summer, visitors to sought-after Cala Coticcio and Cala Brigantina - in the La Maddelena islands off Sardinia’s north coast - will have to pay €3 per person, per day just to enter the beaches.

As the islands are a national park, tourists already had to pay around €25 for a day-trip to see them by boat - the beach preservation charge will be an additional fee on top of the tour.

Sardinia’s authorities have also introduced a cap of 60 tourists per day on the two coves, in a bid to protect the islands’ pristine white shores and clear shallows from the damage and litter caused by overtourism.

Slots can be booked by travellers’ tour operator to the islands, but it is hoped that an app will be launched to make reserving a spot even easier. Anyone caught visiting the beaches without an official pre-booked tour and visitor slot will be prosecuted.

There is already a €1 fee to visit Cala Mariolu on Sardinia’s east coast, where only up to 550 people may visit per day.

Other beaches along the island’s east coast have also had their visitor numbers capped - albeit less dramatically.

Only 1,600 people may visit Cala Sisine per day, while Santa Maria Navarrese’s tourist numbers are capped at 1,300 per day.

Last summer the Maddelena islands hit the headlines after a local campaign group accused tourists of stealing “six tonnes” of sand from their shores during one year.

In 2020, a French tourist was fined €1,000 when airport security found 2kg of sand in a plastic bottle in his luggage.

As a result of the issue, tourists are now banned from stepping on to the Maddelenas’ Budelli Beach, also known as La Spiaggia Rosa - boats can linger in the bay but no one is allowed to access the sands. The same rule is being introduced on Spiaggia del Cavaliere on the island of Budelli.

Several countries have used the Covid pandemic to review access to their most beautiful and popular beaches, in a bid to combat overtourism.

Thailand’s Maya Beach - better known as “The Beach” of Nineties movie fame - reopened to visitors in January, but with swimming banned in the bay itself and only 375 visitors being able to enter per hour, during restricted opening times.

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