2 weeks in Northern Sardinia: what to do and see?
Do you want to visit Sardinia in two weeks ? Perfect, you are in the right place!
To help you plan your itinerary, we have put together a 2-week road trip in Northern Sardinia to avoid any of the places of interest and the most beautiful beaches to see on this beautiful island.
Follow our program from day to day to discover the Costa Smeralda , the Maddalena Archipelago , the island of Asinara, Alghero and much more!
For each step, you will also find our advice to do a lot of things during these 2 weeks of car tour in North Sardinia as well as our selection of the best accommodations.
So what to do and see in Northern Sardinia in two weeks?
Day 1-2: Costa Smeralda / Porto Cervo
For this 2-week itinerary in Sardinia, the most convenient is to land at Olbia airport, in the north-east of the island.
To visit Sardinia in 15 days, there is not really the choice if you want to see the most things, you will have to rent a car. I recommend you to use Rentalcars.com , the site I always use for my car rentals, whether in Sicily, Spain or even more distant destinations like Canada .
I explain why and what are the advantages of going through rentalcars at the end of the article, in the section “Rent a car in Sardinia for 2 weeks”.
After picking up your car, your two-week road trip to Sardinia begins with one of the most famous places, the Costa Smeralda. The Emerald Coast (in French) stretches for about 50 km, from the Gulf of Cugnana to the Gulf of Arzachena , to the seaside resort of Cannigione.
This side is known to be the most upscale of Northern Sardinia and you will understand better why it is full of luxury hotels and high-end shops . In July-August, the place welcomes all the international jet setcoming on vacation aboard their yacht and their sailboat. If you are there at this time, open your eyes and play the paparazzi! The best place to see them is around the marina of Porto Cervo .
For this first day in Sardinia, I suggest you go along the coast and reach the surroundings of the capital of Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo. As the city is only 40 minutes from Olbia, you can make a few stops on the road to enjoy beautiful beaches. Optional: Beach Liscia Ruja to Caprioccioli, Romazzino or beach del Principe.
Join your accommodation in Porto Cervo at the end of the day.
The next day, make a little tour to visit Porto Cervo, its marina and its shopping streets.
You can then take your car to go to the surroundings of Arzachena (still on the Costa Smeralda but more inland). The area is famous for sheltering several vestiges of the nuragic civilization, including the famous Sardinian nuraghes and tombs of giants. 25 minutes from Porto Cervo, the Nuraghe Prisgiona is the best known.
To see also the charming village of San Pantaleo and its panorama on the surrounding mountains.
To end the day in relaxation mode , enjoy one of the beaches of Porto Cervo or have a drink and do some shopping in one of the seaside resorts of the Costa Smeralda: Poltu Quatu, Canniogione, Baia Sardinia , yours to choose.
For more information on the Costa Smeralda, check out our article: What to do and see on the Costa Smeralda .
Spend a second night on the Costa Smeralda.
Staying on the Costa Smeralda
- Residenza Capriccioli: Just a 3-minute walk from the beach of the same name and 8 km from Porto Cervo. Studio and apartment with kitchenette and balcony or terrace from 100 € per night. For the Costa Smeralda, it is one of the cheapest accommodation you can find so book in advance! Most: access to the beach on foot, swimming pools, location.
- Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu : Located in Poltu Qautu and a 12-minute walk from the beach. Double room very spacious and bright, with typical Sardinian furniture from 190 € per night, breakfast included. Pros: location, excellent breakfast, nice staff. This is one of the best choices for accommodation on the Costa Smeralda, the value for money is exceptional!
- Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort : Located in Porto Cervo, a 15-minute walk from the beach. This 5 * establishment offers cozy and comfortable double rooms from 280 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the exceptional setting, the availability of staff, calm, the decor of the hotel. This is our recommendation for a romantic trip to the Costa Smeralda.
- Cala Di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel: Set in green surroundings, just a 6-minute walk from the beach. This luxury hotel offers superb double rooms overlooking the gardens or the bay of Cala di Volpe, from € 400 a night, breakfast included. Most: the benefits of an upscale hotel, the private beach, the beautiful setting, the friendliness of the staff. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Sardinia
Day 3-5: The archipelago of Maddalena
For this second leg of this 2-week trip to Northern Sardinia, I suggest you spend 3 days on the archipelago of Maddalena. Composed of 7 islands, all conditions are there to enjoy the beaches, do some hiking and even a boat trip.
To reach the islands, you have to take the ferry to Palau , a 40-minute drive from Costa Smeralda. Several companies offer the journey for a cost of about 40 € return for 2 people and a car . Departure every half hour for a crossing of 20 minutes. You will land on the main island of the archipelago: La Maddalena, in the city of the same name (At least it’s easy to remember!).
Visit the Maddalena by car is very good on a day by taking the scenic road from the sea which offers splendid views and allows you to stop swimming whenever you want. The most famous beaches are Bassa Trinita, Monte di Rena and Spalmatore .
But my preference goes without question to the beach of Capoccia du Purpu, beautiful with its turquoise water and huge rocks.
Spend the night in one of the hotels I selected for you.
To continue this 2-week tour in Northern Sardinia, today go to visit the island of Caprera, near the Maddalena and connected by a bridge that you can borrow by car. La Caprera has a more wild and authentic side than the Maddalena. Most beaches are only accessible by a short hike.
I recommend Cala Serena, Caprarese, Coticcio and Brigantina.
After swimming, do not forget to visit the viewpoint of Teialone Tower or Poggio Rasu fortification . The 2 places allow to admire a 360 ° panorama on the archipelago.
Sleep a second night on the Maddalena.
On the third and last day on the archipelago, I recommend you to make a boat trip, to discover the other islands of Maddalena. The latter being only accessible by boat , this is the only way to go see them.
The excursions depart from the port of Maddalena and last all day during which you will see the islands of Budelli, Santa Maria, Spargi and Razzoli. For 40 € per person, lunch is included and you can swim in coves. These excursions are very popular, I recommend you to book early just here.
Third and last night on the Maddalena.
Find our complete guide to visit the Maddalena: Things to do absolutely on the archipelago of Maddalena.
To stay on the island of Maddalena
- AHR Residence Leonis La Maddalena: Located in the center of Maddalena. Fully equipped studio, large and functional from 70 € per night. Most: the situation 2 steps from restaurants and the port, the kitchen, the quality of bedding.
- Residenza Mordini: Located just 100 meters from the port of La Maddalena. Comfortable, spacious and well insulated double room from 110 € per night, breakfast included. The most: excellent hospitality, calm, the proximity of the center, the homemade breakfast. This is our favorite for its price / performance ratio at La Maddalena.
- Residenza Marginetto: Located just 1 minute walk from the beach and all the way to the north of the island. Holiday house with kitchen, sitting area, patio, barbecue from 110 € per night. Most: the situation at the end of the island and therefore the calm, the beautiful environment, access to the beach direct. This is a big favorite for its location, ideal for a relaxing holiday!
- Grand Hotel Ma & Ma Resort: Located 100 meters from Punta Tegge Beach. This luxury hotel, the only 5 * on the island offers superb double rooms very well decorated from 250 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the pool, the Spa, the attentive staff, close to the beach. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay on the archipelago of Maddalena.
Day 6: Capo Testa / Santa Teresa di Gallura
Today leave the islands of La Maddalena and continue your 2 week stay in Sardinia by car to the northernmost point of the island.
Take the ferry in the opposite direction and from Palau, go towards Santa Teresa du Gallura and especially Capo Testa. It is a 35-minute drive.
A former granite quarry, the place is known to be very photogenic with all its huge rocks with improbable shapes right on the sea. The place is ideal for a walk and even a hike to discover some of the most beautiful coves of the island.
You can for example, on the left of the lighthouse of Capo Testa, reach the Cala Francese and further south, the Cala di Ea.
In the afternoon, I recommend you to enjoy the nearby beaches including the Spiaggia Zia Culumba with its shallow and translucent water. You can also walk nearby to explore the small coves and of course swim!
Capo Testa and its surroundings are some of the must-see places on a 2-week road trip in Northern Sardinia.
Spend the night in the city of Santa Teresa di Gallura, very charming with its square and its many cafes and restaurants.
Accommodation around Capo Testa / Santa Teresa di Gallura
- La Reggia Di Nausicaa: Located 10 minutes walk from the port of Santa Teresa. Apartment with 1 bedroom and kitchenette from 55 € per night. The most: the pool and the warm welcome.
- Villa Gandamar: Located 2 km from the city center. Large and comfortable double room from 80 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the super breakfast, the pleasant surroundings, the calm. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio.
- Hotel Corallaro: Located in the historic center of Santa Teresa, 2 minutes from the beach. Double room decorated in the marine style but very modern from 140 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the pool, the proximity of the beach, the staff very helpful and efficient. This is our recommendation for a romantic road trip in Sardinia.
Day 7: Castelsardo
For the fourth leg of this 15-day itinerary in Northern Sardinia, take your car and descend a little to the south, towards Costa Paradiso , a 45-minute drive away.
Costa Paradiso is known for the beach of Li Cossi, many consider it one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia. Once parked your car, a path of ten minutes on foot allows access. The walk to the beach is really nice and has been well appointed. You can of course enjoy swimming.
Then take the road to go to Castelsardo. From Costa Paradiso, you will take about 50 minutes.
Before arriving at Casltelsardo, you will come across one of Sardinia’s most famous sights, the Elephant Rock. As its name suggests this big rock in the shape of an elephant with the trunk. Photo stop compulsory!
You can then visit Castelsardo, a charming medieval village where it is good to walk. There are several places of interest to see including the cathedral and the campanile, the chiesa di Santa Maria and the castle. The latter houses a museum dedicated to basketry, an art very practiced in the region. Many grannies demonstrate in the streets of Castelsardo and sell small baskets and woven objects.
Castelsardo is a classic stop on a 2-week trip to Northern Sardinia, so it’s quite touristy and has a lot of souvenir shops and cafes.
Stay overnight in Castelsardo.
To stay in Castelsardo
- The Roccia Dell’Elefante: Located 500 meters from the Elephant Rock. Double room with balcony, brand new and tastefully decorated from 60 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the lovely staff, the decor of the rooms, the good breakfast.
- Baga Baga: Located 2 km from Castelsardo and 10 minutes walk from the beach. Spacious double room with sea view from € 100, breakfast included. The most: the charm of the hotel, the situation on the hill, the sublime view, the attentive staff. This is the best value for money near Castelsardo!
- Bajaloglia Resort: Situated on a hill overlooking Castelsardo. Bright, modern and design double room from 250 €, breakfast included. The most: the superb swimming pool, the magnificent view of Castelsardo, the attentions of the staff, the rich and varied breakfast. This is our recommendation for a romantic and luxury stay in Castelsardo!
Day 8-9: Stintino
The next day, for this other stage of this road trip in Sardinia of 2 weeks, I propose a day of total relaxation to the beach. And not just any, but the beach of Sardinia that many guides refer to as being the most beautiful on the island.
So, a little idea of where I bring you?
I want to talk about the beach of Pelosa. You have already seen it on the internet and even on many postcards, it is a must for holidays in Sardinia.
Good by cons I prefer to warn you right away, you will not be alone. The beach is very busy even out of season. To park, you will find parking spaces all along, they are all paid and do not forget to put the parking meter because police officers are ubiquitous and draw quickly fines.
To settle on the sand, do not forget to plan a mat to put between the sand and the towel, it is obligatory and for that too, you will be supervised and reprimanded by the rangers if you do not do it. If you do not have one, a street vendor will be happy to provide you with one.
You can also remedy the problem by renting deckchairs and benefit from the privatized part of the beach.
Now it’s time to enjoy turquoise water and fine sand, in this little corner of paradise in Sardinia.
I recommend you spend the night in the vicinity of Stintino, the most convenient for the program of the next day.
The next day, I suggest you visit the island of Asinara, a protected nature reserve because of the fauna and flora that lives there and in particular the famous albino donkeys of Sardinia. This is one of the essential things to do during a two-week stay in Northern Sardinia.
Access to the island is regulated . Only 4 * 4 tour operators are allowed as a car. You will need to take the boat that goes there without your car. The departure is from the port of Stintino . There is only one departure per day around 9am , so I recommend booking your place the day before arriving at Pelosa beach for example.
To visit the island, only 3 solutions:
- Jeep tour with guide that lasts all day until the departure of the boat
- the ride on the small train, you will also be taken care of all day
- Bicycle rental, the only way to visit the island independently. At this time take your picnic, there is only one tourist restaurant on the Asinara. And be vigilant for the time of the return of the boat, at the risk of spending a night under the stars!
Whatever you choose, you will necessarily go through the old prison of the island (opened since the 1st World War and closed in 1998 to the creation of the protected area), will make a picnic by the sea and will be able to observe the fauna and Flora. You will not be able to swim because the beaches are also protected.
Take the boat back and spend a second night in Stintino.
To stay in Stintino
- Hotel Cala Reale: Located in the bay of Asinara, next to the pier for the island. Double room comfortable and clean from 65 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the huge pool, very nice staff, the proximity of the beach of Pelosa.
- Hotel Silvestrino: Located 5 minutes drive from the Pelosa. Spacious and bright double room from 90 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the calm, the excellent location, the smiling staff, the restaurant and its good Sardinian cuisine.
- Park Hotel Asinara: Located 10 minutes walk from the city center of Stintino. Double room with terrace overlooking the garden and the sea from 100 € per night, breakfast included. Pros: excellent breakfast taken on the terrace with sea view, the free shuttle to the Pelosa, the friendly staff. This is our favorite for its price / performance ratio in Stintino.
Day 10-12: Alghero
We continue this road trip of two weeks in Sardinia , joining Alghero, 1 hour drive.
In the morning program, visit the historic center of this pretty medieval village by the sea. No precise road map, just walk random alleys to discover the cathedral of Santa Maria with its bell tower, the church Saint Michel or that of Sainte-Barbe.
During your walk, you will not miss to see (especially you ladies!) The many shops selling red coral jewelry.This is one of the specialties of the region and if you are interested, you can visit the Coral Museum of Alghero.
Then continue the walk along the lungomare to the beach of Lido San Giovanni where you can swim.
At the end of the day, join the ramparts and fortifications of Alghero to watch the sunset before taking an aperitif and dinner.
Sleep in one of the lodgings that I propose to you soon after.
For the second day in Alghero, opt for the discovery of the Neptune Caves, one of the most popular tours. And yes, to visit Sardinia in two weeks is also to take a tour in the bowels of the earth.
If you do not feel like taking the car back, boat trips make it possible to reach the caves whose entrance is at sea level. They leave daily from the port of Alghero . For 15 €, we will take you, we will wait for you and we will take you back to Alghero. You must pay in addition to the entrance of the caves.
If you go by car, allow 35 minutes to reach the top of the caves and parking. You will then have to descend the 654 steps dug on the cliffs to reach the entrance. Pretty impressive even if you do not have dizziness in general. The caves can be visited only every hour with a guide, plan your schedule so you do not have to wait half an hour before your next visit!
After the visit, go up the stairs (yes I know it’s hard) and enjoy your afternoon to survey Capo Caccia and the regional park of Porto Conte (the caves are part of it). There are several marked trails for hiking.
And after all these efforts, the comfort by a swim on the beach of Porto Ferro! She has a wild side that I liked a lot.
Go back to sleep in Alghero.
The next day, go visit Bosa, south of Alghero .
In the same genre as Castelsardo, this city is emblematic of Sardinia. With its colorful riverside houses and castle perched on the hill, the place is really pretty.
To see in Bosa:
- Ponte Vecchio, connecting the modern part to the old town
- Corso Vittorio Emanuele with its souvenir shops and restaurants
- The Cathedral dell’Immacolata
- The Casa Deriu museum where you can admire a collection of lace and embroidery, typical of Bosa
- Castle Serravalle or Malaspina: accessible by stairs from the old town, it allows you to admire the panorama of all Bosa and the surroundings
On the return to Alghero, you can swim on the beaches of Compultittu or S’Abba Drucche.
Have a last night in Alghero.
For more details on the region of Alghero, see our dedicated article: What to do and see in Alghero and its surroundings.
To stay in Alghero
- B & B Summertime: Located 10 minutes walk from the old town. New and modern double room from 60 € per night, breakfast included. The most: warm hosts, excellent breakfast based on fresh produce, impeccable cleanliness.
- Hotel Sa Cheya Relais & Spa: Located 5 km from Alghero. Spacious and comfortable double room from 120 € per night, breakfast 15 €. Most: the pool, tennis courts, very pleasant and quiet, the quality of breakfast. This is our heart stroke for its benefit / price ratio.
- Villa Las Tronas Hotel & SPA: Located 10 minutes walk from the historic center of Alghero. This luxury hotel offers double rooms of old style from 250 € per night, breakfast included. The plus: the pool with views, the environment and the ideal location, the competent staff.
Day 13-14: Gulf of Orosei
For this penultimate stage of your 2-week Sardinian route by car, I suggest you to explore the mountains of Sardinia.
From Alghero, cross the island from West to East to reach Orgosolo, the most famous mountain village in Sardinia . If the name does not tell you anything, you must have seen photos of the village and more specifically of its murals, paintings made directly on the walls of houses .
The specificity is that there are hundreds distributed mainly along Corso Repubblica and in the adjacent streets.
They are intended to convey political messages or recount important international events such as the World Trade Center attacks. As there is no explanatory panel, if you want to discover the history of murals, I advise you to rent an audioguide with a map to locate you.
Then join the surroundings of Cala Gonone . For this, take the SP 22 road, connecting Orgosolo to Oliena . It offers nice points of view. Good by cons it is a mountain road so it turns a lot! From Orgosolo to Cala Gonone, plan an hour’s drive.
Spend the night around Cala Gonone.
The next day, I suggest you spend a day at sea to discover the coves of the Gulf of Orosei , all known for their exceptional beauty.
3 options are possible to visit the Gulf of Orosei (in any case, the departure takes place from the port of Cala Gonone)
- A sailboat cruise for a day with lunch and stops swimming for about € 90
- A zodiac ride with driver of a day also with stops swimming also for 40 € per person
- Rent a zodiac to drive yourself for € 120 (no matter how many people you are). This is what we chose because we do not like the schedules imposed.
In the Gulf of Orosei, do not miss it:
- Cala Luna
- Cala Sisine
- Cala Biriola
- Cala Mariolu
- Cala Gabbiani
- Cala Goloritzé
If there is only one boat trip on your 15-day trip to Northern Sardinia, this is it! I loved it.
Stay overnight in Cala Gonone.
To stay near the Gulf of Orosei
- Hotel Bue Marino: Located right in front of the port of Cala Gonone, super convenient for the boat trip. Double room spacious and bright sea or garden view from 65 € per night, breakfast 10 €. Pros: the location to take the boat, the roof terrace with jacuzzi, the good breakfast.
- Hotel la Playa: Located 5 minutes walk from the port and Cala Gonone beach. Nice and comfortable double room from 80 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the very friendly staff, the rich breakfast, the pool.
- Cala Luna: Located by the sea, 1 minute walk from the beach. Modern and bright double room from 100 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the pleasant setting, the magnificent view from the terrace, the warm welcome. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio in Cala Gonone.
Day 15: Return to Olbia
And here you are, you are almost at the end of your two weeks of road trip in Northern Sardinia.
It will be necessary to think of returning to Olbia for your flight of return . From Cala Gonone, the shortest route takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the airport, but if you take off at the end of the day, you can take the road to Olbia . So you can swim one last time before the end of the holidays.
And if your plane takes off the next morning early, I have put some suggestions of accommodation to know where to sleep in Olbia.
To stay in Olbia
- The Residenze del Centro: Located in the heart of Olbia. Brand new, clean and modern apartment from 65 € per night, breakfast 10 €. Most: the quality of housing, the attentive staff, the geographical situation.
- Jazz Hotel: Located 2 km from the city center and 500 meters from the airport. Contemporary and comfortable double room from 100 € per night, breakfast included. Most: modern design, friendly and smiling staff, swimming pool. It is the ideal hotel at the end of the stay in Sardinia because of its proximity to the airport (10 minutes walk) and no problem of noise, everything is very well soundproofed. This is our recommendation for its benefit / price ratio in Olbia.
- House and boutique boutique hotel: Located 100 meters from the center and 3 km from the airport. Luxury suite, very well decorated and brand new from 120 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the decor and comfort of the rooms, the availability of the owner.
Rent a car in Sardinia
To visit Sardinia in 2 weeks, it is imperative to rent a car.
For this, I advise you to use the Rentalcars.com site . I always go through this site for my car rentals (Sicily, Spain, Malta etc ..) and this for several reasons:
- Easily compare the rates of all car rental companies.
- Benefit from the comprehensive insurance coverage that insures you a refund of any damage and amount in case of accident or theft
- Ability to cancel for free or just change rental dates
- For the guarantee of the best price: if you find cheaper elsewhere for a similar car, Rentalcars will refund you the difference!
And you, what did you plan to see during your 2-week road trip to Northern Sardinia?
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