Geography of Sardinia

Geography of Sardinia
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 23,821 km². It is situated between 38° 51' and 41° 15' latitude north and 8° 8' and 9° 50' east longitude.
To the west of Sardinia is the Balearic Sea, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea; to Sardinia's east is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is also an element of the Mediterranean Sea.

The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 km long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast.

The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and the mainland of Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). Due to long erosion processes the island's highlands, formed of granite, schist, trachyte, basalt (called "jaras" or "gollei"), sandstone and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or "heels"), average at between 300 to 1,000 metres. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1,834 m), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m) running crosswise for 40 km (24.85 mi) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1057 metres), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1236 metres). The island's ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest.

A proportionate graph of Sardinian topography: 13.6% of the island is mountainous, 18.5% is flat, and 67.9% is hilly.

Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (93.83 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,149.54 mi) of the coastline.

The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. During the year there are approximately 135 days of sunshine, with a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring and snowfalls in the highlands. The average temperature is between 11 to 17 °C (52 to 63 °F). The Mistral from the northwest is the dominant wind on and off throughout the year, though it is most prevalent in winter and spring. It can blow quite strongly, but it is usually dry and cool and makes for a sailor's paradise.
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