Northeast Sardinia: Costa Smeralda & La Maddalena

This part of Sardinia is the most touristic part; the rich and famous come here to stay in one of the many resorts along the beautiful coast. Just before I went here, I saw on Instagram that Ricky Martin enjoyed his holiday here, I just missed him…….

Olbia

Olbia is capital of the this Northwest region and has one of the tree airports. My Transavia flight landed here at night, so drove directly with my rented car to my accommodation City Garden Guest House in a quiet neighborhood. Perfect for the first night, with a good breakfast and comfortable rooms and super helpful Roberto!! I did not visit the city centre the next day, was so excited to see the famous coast of Costa Smeralda. With a map with local tips and mini cabrio, full stomach I was ready to go!

Costa Smeralda

I like to explore and drive around without a specific destination and that is exactly what I did here. Followed the coast and started at Lido di Pittolungu. I was amazed by the beauty of the coastline; mountains in the background, the blue and turquoise waters and the sailing boats sailing across the ocean. I felt so happy, very good first impression so far!!! I stopped at Spiaggia Bianca for a little photostop and heading to Golfo Aranci afterwards. Busy beach full with local people, it was a Sunday… A must stop is Spiaggia Marinelle, this view is unreal. The green, blue mountains in the back, judge for yourself…..

I followed the coast all the way up to Porto Cervo, same story again; amazed by almost every corner. I had lunch at the real Italian restaurant La Briciola. This modern Italian restaurant is packed with local Italian people and that says enough! My first Sardinian lunch was seafood Spaghetti; smiling from ear to ear!

My accommodation for this night was an Agriturismo. A farm based accommodation, most of the time including dinner options. My Agriturismo Saltara is located in a remote area (10 km off the SP90 via a dirt road) in Santa Teresa di Gallura. It was difficult to find, I had to use the coordinates in my navigation to get there. But ones there, it was serene. After the long drive I really calmed down besides and in the pool.

Walked through the garden where you have a nice view over the unique landscape. The restaurant of Saltara is very good, with good service and nice atmosphere. I definitely recommend this place if you like to relax and want to have a good meal. The breakfast the next day is splendid.

Arcipelago di La Maddalena

From Saltara I drove to the kitespot called Porto Pollo. I noticed a lot of wind here in Sardinia, so perfect for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Porto Pollo is known for the stiff breezes and crystalline waters including a dune landscape with nice beach houses where you can get your lunch and/or drink. You can rent the equipment for all the different wind water sports here, including kayak and SUPs.

Around 10:30AM I arrived in Palau and walked around in the harbor, where all you can find all the stalls that sell the tours to the Maddalena islands. I could make a last minute booking for 11:00AM for 70 EUR including lunch with 4 other persons. Lucky me!! We boarded a brand new rubber boat; the captain and a buddy did a good job to make it an unforgettable trip.

We did four swimming stops that day. We left Palau to Porto Rafael, then we stopped in a bay that was protected by the wind.We swam for a while and back on the boat, lunch was served. Cheese, bread, tomatoes, meat and wine of course!! After passing Punta Sardegna we navigated to Isola Budelli. Here we spotted the Spiaggia Rosa; Pink beach. This beach is not accessible and well protected but we had a distant glimpse.

We went a bit further around the corner to Spiaggia del Cavaliere. Very busy with other boats, but we found a quite spot where we swam in the clear blue waters. In the distance we could see the French island Corsica and other islands.

Off to the next island; Isola Spargi. We had two stops here, one was perfect with white dunes which we climbed and walked to the next beach and swam back to the boat. I am enjoying this trip so much. I could not believe this is Europe, nice temperatures water is warm, ocean is so blue and white sandy beaches; almost comparable to Panama…..only without the many palm trees.

Tip: Bring your underwater camera with you!! Unfortunately I don’t have a drone yet, but that would have given perfect pictures! This picture is taken with a Go Pro Hero 3, taken out of the case after a swim and walk up the dune. 

Last swim and stop at Cala Corsara, again an amazing spot. Snorkeled to the big rock in the middle of the bay and was smiling all the time. What a day!! On the way back to Palau we stopped at Isola Santo Stefano and saw La Maddalena town on the main island. Wind was strong and we were getting chilly and tired of the full day on the water. I highly recommend you to book a boat tour to explore these stunning islands in this archipelago with picture perfect beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters.

Arzachena

After this great tour, I headed to my next accommodation B&B Lu Pastruccialeddu in Arzachena. I booked this 80 EUR per night B&B directly via the email and my room was so cute. It was a typical stone farmstead with a nice pool and one of the best breakfasts I had in my whole trip.

After after freshening up I drove to the Agriturismo Rena for dinner. This place was recommend by the B&B and I was seated at an big Italian family table. This was so nice, felt so welcome with all the friendly Italians. My Spanish came in handy! The food was so good and I had a whole meal; primi, secundi, dulce, wine and coffee with cookies for only 25 EUR. I had no choice I ate what was served, which was great.

The next morning more food; the delicious breakfast of B&B. Then it was time to make a walk through the area to get some exercise and burn some calories.

The walk was not too long unfortunately, because I had a long day of driving ahead of me to Dorgali. But this is not a punishment, at all; the coastal route passes the beaches Cala Brandinchi (Little Tahiti) and Lu Imposstu; which are worth to stop for a while.

Tip: Keep looking in your rear-view mirror, you see the most amazing views behind you.

What an amazing beaches has Sardinia, I could not get enough of it and this is only day tree….. Are you planning to go to Golfo di Orosei, click here.

Grazie mille!! 

 

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