Arbatax (Italian pronunciation: [ˈarbataks]) is the largest hamlet (frazione) of Tortolì, Sardinia, in Italy. With almost 5,000 inhabitants, it is also the third largest town in its province (Ogliastra) by population, after Lanusei municipality (5,700) and Tortolì proper (5,300).
The origin of the name Arbatax is uncertain; according to tradition it derived from the Arabic for "14th Tower" and refers, probably, to the nearby watchtower built by the Spaniards to protect the territory from the incursion of Arab pirates.
The founders of Arbatax were Campanian fishermen from the island of Ponza, located in Lazio, close to the coast of the Italian Peninsula.
The location assumed importance in the 1960s after the construction of the main Sardinian paper mill.
The town is situated by the Tyrrhenian Sea, 5 km west of Tortolì.
The port is used by ferries from Civitavecchia and is also monopolized by the marine construction company Intermare, which builds gas rigs and vessels. The marina is one of the cheapest in Sardinia.
The town is connected to Lanusei and Cagliari by a narrow gauge railway, today used for touristic purposes, owned by Ferrovie della Sardegna.
The closest airport is the Tortolì Airport, about 4 km from the town.
Today, the economy is focused on tourism and industry. Arbatax is home to a factory dedicated to the building of oil platforms, controlled by the Italian oil and gas industry contractor Saipem. Mussels are farmed in the nearby lagoon and fresh fish are on sale from the fishing cooperative. The red rocks are a tourist attraction.