Except for shopping, the best sights lie outside Dorgali in a parklike countryside full of caves and prehistoric ruins. Some tours depart from Cala Gonone, site of most of the hotels.
The most popular and rewarding trip from Cala Gonone is to the Grotto del Bue Marino, "cave of the sea oxen," which once was the last refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal, survivor of the Ice Age. The grotto stretches for 4.8km (3 miles). The caves, reached only by boat in summer, can be visited every hour daily from 9am to 5pm. A 2-hour tour costs 16€ ($23) per person. For information call the tourist office .
Another popular tour is to the Gorropu Canyon Gorge, with its 400m (1,312-ft.) canyons and walls, the tallest and widest such canyon in Europe, although it's hardly the Grand Canyon of the American West. The vistas from the gorge's limestone boulders, with plenty of wildflowers and pink oleander, are some of the most panoramic in the area. Costing 35€ ($51), including lunch, jeep tours depart from the office of the Cooperative Ghivine at Via Lamarmora 69E in Dorghali (tel. 0784-96721). Two-hour tours depart daily 9am to 4pm.
Tiscali is a prehistoric Nuraghi village found in a cave lying on top of a mountain. The early settlers chose this remote setting to avoid invaders. Visit Tiscali only if you have extra time; for the best of Nuraghi ruins, take the tour to Serra Orrios Village . The Cooperative Ghivine also offers tours to Tiscali, costing 35€ ($51) with lunch. Entrance to the hidden village is an extra 5€ ($7.25) for adults or 2€ ($2.90) for children under 16. The 2-hour tour departs daily May to October 9am to 7pm (last tour at 5pm off season).
The largest Nuraghi settlement is Serra Orrios Village, lying 10km (6 1/4 miles) from Dorgahi and reached only by car. Take Route 129; it's signposted. The site includes the ruins of 70 prehistoric huts and two small megaron temples. Entrance to the village costs 6€ ($8.70) for adults and 2.50€ ($3.65) for children under 16. Guided visits are conducted on the hour daily 9am to noon and 4 to 6pm.
Finally, Ispinigolo Cave, reached along State Road No. 125 (it's signposted from Dorghali) boasts the longest stalagmite-stalactite column in Europe and the second longest on earth, measuring 38m (125 ft.) high. You take 280 steps down into the cave, taking in the stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. The entrance is 7€ ($10) for adults or 3.50€ ($5.10) for kids under 16. Guided visits are conducted hourly and daily from 9am to noon and 3 to 5pm, with later tours June to August if demand warrants. For more information, call Consorzio Atlantika at tel. 328-9729719.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.