Santa Barbara mining route

From the sea of Sant’Antioco to the Marganai forest, from the Is Zuddas caves to the dunes of Piscinas, on foot or by bike, along the roads of the miners: what are these things that we are talking about? Of the Santa Barbara mining trail, a different and magical way to experience Sardinia.

  • Length : 498,7 km

  • Stages : 30

  • Maximum altitude : 815 m

Santa Barbara is the patron saint of miners and the common thread of the path: from Iglesias one proceeds on the paths beaten by miners, a path known from the Neolithic Age to the present day. Almost the entire trail is covered on paths, mule tracks, cart tracks and dirt driveways, while only a small part is made up of the streets of urban centres and extra-urban sections.
The maximum altitude is 815 metres and is located in the Marganai forest: in these points, it must be borne in mind that there may be differences in height, in any case not too demanding.
The climate in the south-western region of Sulcis-Iglesiente-Guspinese is mild even in the cold season, while in the summer months it can reach 40°.
The dry season runs from May to September and the rainy season from October to April, although this area is the one with the least rainfall. Snow is very rare and therefore does not constitute an obstacle for the journey along the Way.
The entire ring of the Santa Barbara mining trail starts and returns to Iglesias and is almost 500 km long: the route is divided into 30 stages, a subdivision made based on the difficulty of walking and the presence of accommodation facilities in the places that are crossed.
The average length of each stage is about 16 km, some are shorter to allow hikers time to visit the places of interest.
If a person is not interested in the visits, the organisation can be changed according to needs and pace, always and in any case concerning the availability of the accommodation facilities.

The stages

1 Iglesias ➔ Nebida 20.9
2 Nebida ➔ Masua 9.2
3 Masua ➔ Buggerru 18.8
4 Buggerru ➔ Portixeddu 9.5
5 Portixeddu ➔ Piscinas 16.2
6 Piscinas ➔ Montevecchio 18.7
7 Montevecchio ➔ Arbus 15.8
8 Arbus ➔ Perd’e Pibera 15.4
9 Perd’e Pibera ➔ Villacidro 15.6
10 Villacidro ➔ Monti Mannu 18.0
11 Monti Mannu ➔ Arenas 15.5
12 Arenas ➔ Su Mannau 13.4
13 Su Mannau ➔ St. Benedict 14.6
14 San Benedetto ➔ Case Marganai 7,3
15 Case Marganai ➔ Museums 16.4
16 Museums ➔ Orbai 17.6
17 Orbai ➔ Rosas 18.0
18 Rosas ➔ Nuxis 12.5
19 Nuxis ➔ Santadi 15.3
20 Santadi ➔ Is Zuddas 15.6
21 Is Zuddas ➔ Masainas 24.6
22 Masainas ➔ Candiani 19.3
23 Candiani ➔ Tratalias 24.0
24 Tratalias ➔ Sant’Antioco 16.9
25 Sant’Antioco ➔ Carbonia 23.4
26 Carbonia ➔ Nuraxi Figus 22.5
27 Nuraxi Figus ➔ Carloforte 11.4
28 Carloforte ➔ Portoscuso 18.8
29 Portoscuso ➔ Bacu Abis 18.8
30 Bacu Abis ➔ Iglesias 14.7

Responsible, sustainable or slow tourism is enjoying considerable success: an increasing number of people are choosing to travel in the off-peak season, to discover little-known destinations, on foot or by bike, “settling for” makeshift accommodation or scant places with few luxuries.
In the Santa Barbara mining journey, stops can be made in the posadas: accommodation facilities recovered from the existing heritage. We do not build from scratch, but we exploit what we have and in this particular case we are talking above all about places that belonged to the mining world. Thanks to the route, an alternative economy was born: it is estimated that each hiker stays at least a week, so other activities such as those related to catering or hiking can also benefit from his presence.

The Santa Barbara path is an adventure through disused mines, tunnels overlooking the rocks, ghost villages, ancient railways and breathtaking views: an unforgettable journey, where to get lost in the slow rhythm of nature.