The tops of the beautiful palisades that surround Porto Conte are covered in low Mediterranean shrubs, with bushes and thorny plants that grow bent over like cushions to resist the wind. Water has eroded the faces of the cliffs to shapes that look like arches and galleries. There are 8 grottoes above water level and a still unknown number of sea caves below water level. The most famous is the Grotto di Nettuno, a partially submerged cave with an underwater lake that is 130m long with stalactites and stalagmites that are up to 20m high. The cave can be reached by land down 656 steps carved in the rock called the “Escalada del Cabirol”. The sheer cliffs abutting the sea are the habitat for many birds including the large and very rare griffon vulture and the peregrine hawk.
The seabed has a huge meadow of Posidonia Oceanica sea grass whose leaves grow thickly in areas up to 35m deep. Along the area called Riviera del Corallo there are colonies of red coral at 40 to 50m depth. There are also red sea anemones, candelabra sponges (Axinella) and both stationary and migrant fish species. Those who like to scuba dive can’t miss the Grotta di Nereo: at almost 300m long it’s considered one of the largest in the Med.
The Marine Protected Area
Created in 2002, the Marine Protected Area is in the Nurra region north of Alghero, between Capo Galera and Punta delle Gessiere and covers an area of 2.631 hectares, 38 of which are in 2 zone A integral reserves.
This Marine Protected Area has a wide variety of natural ecosystems that range from underwater caves to Posidonia Oceanica meadows that start in the shallow waters off Porto Conte and extend for almost 600 hectares. The “A” zones of the Marine Protected Area are signalled by buoys on the water and topmarks on shore.
Comune di Alghero (Ente gestore)
via S. Anna, 40 – 07041 Alghero (SS)
Sede distaccata di Porto Conte
località Tramariglio – tel. 079/998548
Ufficio Circondariale Marittimo di Alghero
Porto Conte is a natural port that is about 3 miles long, an excellent place to get away from Mistral winds and to admire unusually varied landscapes. The bay is part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Caccia and has an access corridor in the middle of it that you can use to get to the two main mooring areas.
In Cala Tramariglio, to the west, you can drop anchor on the sandy seabed that is about 3-5m deep or you can tie up on floating pontoons. On the opposite side, on the southernmost tip of Cala Torre del Conte, you’ll find Marina di Porto Conte, with about 250 berths, water, electricity, fuel, a crane and launching slip. This marina is the best choice for getting out of southerly winds and access is through a dredged canal that is about 4m deep.