Sardinia-discover the beauty of our island...
Stunning coastal waters, unforgettable beaches, traditions to be explored.
Referred to by the Greeks as the “happy city”, Olbia faces out over a gulf that includes the beautiful islands of Tavolara and Molara. Known globally as the site of the airport that affords access to the high-class resorts of the Costa Smeralda, the city itself is an important industrial and commercial centre, with tourist hubs such as Porto Rotondo and Portisco that are crucial for the wellbeing of the Sardinian economy.
There are numerous interesting archaeological sites in the area: the Riu Mulinu nuraghe (an ancient tower-shaped stone structure) near the hillside of Su Casteddu, which overlooks the Gulf of Olbia; the “giants’ tomb” of Su Monte de S’Aba; and the Sa Testa sacred well. Conquered by the Romans, the city retains its ancient baths and aqueduct (the last remaining intact example in Sardinia), as well as the typical Roman farm of S’Imbalconadu.
On the rocky promontory that faces out to sea, you will come across the Longosardo tower, erected in the 16th century (during the period of Aragonese domination); the vista from here encompasses both the bay of Porto Longone and, further back, the light cliffs that surround the Corsican city of Bonifacio. To the left, the coast leads down towards the beach of Rena Bianca, which comes to an end close to the island of Isola Monica, where there remain traces of an abandoned quarry. The important archaeological complex of Lu Brandali and the Longosardo tower are also worth of visit, as is Capo Testa, a rock connected to terra firma by a stretch of sand, which can be reached by taking a very panoramic trip across the bays of Colba and Santa Reparata. The lighthouse at Capo Testa is reached via quarries both ancient (the Romans chose this site to quarry the stone for the columns used in the Pantheon) and modern, with the fragrance of the Mediterranean maquis filling the air at all times.
Palau is situated in one of the most breathtaking branches of the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, opposite the island of La Maddalena. The town stands out for its coastline, which seems to have been artistically sculpted by nature, and is like no other anywhere in the world. The essential starting point for trips to the islands of the Maddalena archipelago, Palau owes it fortune to the Sassari-Tempio-Palau narrow-gauge railway. Life here revolves around the piers and moorings of the tourist harbour. The town’s name dates from the 14th century, when the local fisherfolk used the word “parago” (which morphed into “Parao”), to describe those places on the coast considered to be the safest and most sheltered from the wind. The promontory, like the whole of the Maddalena archipelago, has been known about since the time of the Greek geographer Ptolemy, who called the site “Arcti Promontorio” on his maps.
With Palau as your base, it is very much worth visiting the most renowned places along the coast. The promontory of Capo d’Orso culminates in a large rock, sculpted by the wind, which is reminiscent of the shape of a plantigrade (a mammal that walks on the soles of its feet). Punta Sardegna, which can be reached by taking the road that rises upwards towards Monte Altura before leading back down to the beach of Cala Trana, at the edge of the promontory, affords quite exceptional panoramic views, even if the constant expansion of the built-up area is rapidly compromising the natural beauty. The gun battery (Batteria) of Monte Altura is quite a sight, and is located in a scenic position that can be reached on the road that leads to Porto Raphael. The beauty of the beaches is complemented by the attractiveness of the small town. The nightlife here is particularly excellent.
This is a group of islands to the north-east of Sardinia, off the Costa Smeralda. The largest of these islands are LA MADDALENA (the only one of them to be inhabited), CAPRERA, SANTO STEFANO, SANTA MARIA, RAZZOLI, BUDELLI and SPARGI, though the smaller islands are also of great interest. The Archipelago is truly one of the last remaining Italian ecological paradises. Classified as a National Park since 1996, and strictly protected by laws intended to safeguard our environmental heritage, it is a geo-marine reserve that covers a total area (of land and sea) in excess of 12,000 hectares, with a full 110 miles of coastlines. The complex configuration of the coastline constitutes a large part of the archipelago’s beauty, with the delightful creeks and bays offering exquisite views. The combination of the ultra-white sand and the emerald-coloured water, together with the majestic cliffs and the striking, sculpture-like rock formations, all help to make the archipelago a spectacle that no visitor should miss.
Porto Cervo is a celebrated tourist resort whose name derives from its shape, which recalls the head of a deer. It is built around a natural harbour. Featuring an unusual style of architecture, this small tourist hotspot is criss-crossed by a maze of alleyways, arcades and stairways that converge in the central square, which is linked by means of a wooden bridge to the old port (Porto Vecchio) and is renowned for the presence of numerous designer boutiques. Porto Cervo faces out over the evocative bay, which is crowded out in the high season by luxury vessels and sailing boats.