1 Week Itinerary in North of Sardinia
Visiting Sardinia in 1 week is too short but you can focus on the north or the south of the island.
We have just returned from a 1 week northern Sardinia itinerary and we loved it!
The north of the island is magnificent, the coastline is dotted with beaches, each one more beautiful than the other, the interior of the land is mountainous with a few villages of character.
To help you organize your stay, here is my feedback and my guide to visiting northern Sardinia in 1 week:
What to do in northern Sardinia? Where to stay? What are the most beautiful beaches?
Road trip in northern Sardinia
To visit the north of Sardinia in 1 week, you have to rent a car. The roads are generally in good condition. Here are a few things to know:
- There are quite a few mountain roads in the center of the country, so driving times are a little longer than the times generally indicated on maps.
- Choose a small car because the streets in the city centers (like La Maddalena) are quite narrow and it will also be easier to park.
- The access paths to some beaches are not tarred and sometimes very uneven.
- Take full insurance for car rental online when booking, rental companies do not always have a very good reputation in Sardinia.
- Make sure you have a credit card and not a debit card, otherwise the rental companies will force you to pay for quite expensive additional insurance on site (even if you had taken out full insurance).
- Don’t be surprised, since covid, car rental prices have unfortunately increased a lot (x2, x3).
Visit the north of Sardinia in 1 week: my itinerary
As I told you above, there are many places to see in northern Sardinia. We haven’t seen them all, that was not the idea!
We preferred to have a fairly cool rhythm, to enjoy the places, the islands, the beaches, without chaining them. So we focused on what really seemed to us to be unmissable.
Day 1: Maddalena Archipelago – La Maddalena
We arrived the night before at Olbia airport. We picked up our rental car and headed to Palau about 40/50 minutes north of the island to take the ferry to the Maddalena Islands.
The crossing lasts about 15min and is provided by 2 companies: Delcomar and Maddalena Lines (departures every hour even at night, every 1/2 hour in season and peak times). You can buy the ticket directly at the port, it is not necessary to book.
The Maddalena archipelago is a real paradise to visit absolutely in the north of Sardinia. It is made up of 7 islands and about sixty rocky islets. Only the island of La Maddalena is accessible by ferry.
So we were there as soon as we woke up for this first day. We took the panoramic road of about twenty kilometers to go around the island of La Maddelena in search of the most beautiful beaches.
In the program :
- Punta di Tegge beach
- French Cove and Carlotto Cove
- Lower Trinity
- Monti da Rena beach
- Goldfinch beach
- Cala Spalmatore
- Capocchia of the purple
Finally, do not forget to visit the center of La Maddelena, which is very cute with its maze of alleys and flowery stairs. At the end of the day it is ideal because it is very lively.
For dinner, avoid Place Umberto 1 and its restaurants, it’s very touristy and not the most charming area. Go instead to the side of the small port Cala Gavetta.
Accommodation in the Maddalena
For the first 2 nights, we chose the AHR Leonis Residence La Maddalena hotel : a very nice central location for going out to a restaurant in the evening while being very quiet.
It has great ratings on Booking, honestly I expected better, it’s a bit old! But the value for money remains correct. Count 80€ per night → Check the hotel and availability!
→ See available accommodation in La Maddalena here!
Day 2: Maddalena Archipelago – La Caprera
The next day we went to discover the island of Caprera which is connected to La Maddalena by a bridge. The island of La Caprera is magnificent, perhaps even more so than La Maddalena. It is wild, there is hardly any construction and it is covered with pine forests. Again, the best is to go around to see the most beautiful beaches.
In the program :
- Cala Garibaldi
- Cala Serena
- Cala Coticcio : please note that access is prohibited without a guide now
- Shipwreck Beach
- Cala Andreani
It is possible to climb to the top of Monte Tejalone to have a 360° view of the archipelago. There are also several hiking trails in the heart of the pine forests.
Accommodation in Maddalena
After 2 nights at the AHR Leonis Residence hotel , we repacked our bags to discover a much nicer hotel.
We had an event to celebrate so we had booked 2 nights at the MA&MA, the 5* hotel on the island for pleasure. And it was really really cool!
The rooms, the breakfast, the swimming pool in the middle of the granite rocks, the spa… Everything was perfect. The location is further from the center but there is a great pizzeria next door and a magnificent sunset spot on the beach just below with a small atmospheric bar… Count 200€ per night
→ Check the hotel and availability!
Day 3: Maddalena Archipelago – boat trip
On the third day, we had planned to take a boat trip to explore the other islands of the archipelago that are only accessible this way: Spargi, Santo Stefano, Budelli, Santa Maria and Razzolli which hide incredible beaches!
Unfortunately the weather was very overcast and we preferred to cancel. We took advantage of our wonderful hotel and went back to our favorite beaches. But under a radiant sun, I have no doubt that this is an excursion to put on the program!!
FYI, we had booked this one: 1-day cruise in the La Maddalena archipelago (price €49).
It is also possible to visit the Maddalena Islands by yourself, by renting a boat (with skipper if you do not have a permit). This is the option that offers the most freedom!
You can navigate in peace and stay on site as long as you want! It can also be an economical option if you are more than one. For this, I advise you to use the Click and boat platform.
Day 4: Capo Testa
For the second stage of this roadtrip in northern Sardinia, we headed for the Capo Testa peninsula . We left La Maddalena with a heavy heart, we really loved the atmosphere on the islands and the beauty of the landscapes but Capo Testa immediately lifted our spirits Capo Testa is a peninsula covered with magnificent granite rocks.
The landscapes are superb and so exotic! It feels a little over the moon in places. There are several hiking trails in the middle of the rocks and very beautiful beaches and rocky coves.
Arriving on the peninsula, there are first some beaches, quite touristy, such as the Spiaggia Rena di Ponente (white sand, turquoise water and beach bar restaurant) or the Spiaggia Zia Culumba (magnificent rocks and shallow water ).
But I advise you above all to go to the end of the peninsula, at the level of the lighthouse. You will find a belvedere and several paths starting in the middle of the rocks sculpted by the wind. There are 2 absolutely stunning coves: Cala Francese and Cala Spinosa.
Not far away, there is also the Valley of the Moon to see where other coves are hidden among the granite blocks.
Accommodation in Castelsardo:
For this second stage of our road trip in northern Sardinia, we chose to sleep in Castelsardo, at the Baga Baga hotel. We stayed here for the remaining 3 nights of our stay.
It is top notch, the rooms are comfortable and have a magnificent view of the sea and the perched village of Castelsardo. There is also a swimming pool and a very good restaurant on site.
Opt for suites that are upstairs for a better view. Count 110€ per night → Check the hotel and availability !
→ See available accommodation in Castelsardo here!
Day 5: Costa Paradiso and Castelsardo
In the morning we took the road to the Costa Paradiso, it takes about 1 hour. Another magnificent coast lined with beautiful beaches and coves in the middle of rocks and cliffs!
Sardinia definitely surprises us with so much beauty! In the program :
- La Sorgente site : on the right, you can take a small coastal path which overlooks the coast and the rocks.
- Spiaggia Li Baietti : a pretty rocky cove with translucent water.
- The cove of Li Cossi : the best known and certainly the most beautiful. It is reached by a nice path without difficulty of about 10/15 min from the car park. Possibility to rent kayaks on site.
At the end of the day, we visited the village of Castelsardo.
Clinging to a rocky outcrop, it has a little air of the villages of the Cinque Terre! He is really charming. Stroll randomly through its alleys, visit the castle and why not the museum of basketry.
The views of the coast from the village are magnificent! For the sunset, I recommend the view sunset lounge bar (which is aptly named ).
Day 6: La Pelosa
We continue our discovery of northern Sardinia with one of the most beautiful beaches in the country : La Pelosa. And, indeed, its reputation is deserved! It’s an amazing place!!
It is a large expanse of white sand that descends to water with a thousand shades of blue! There is very little bottom for tens of meters, which further accentuates the lagoon effect! Opposite a small island with a Genoese tower, the decor is amazing!
The place is very touristy and the beach quickly gets crowded! To limit the number of visitors and protect the beach, access is now regulated. You have to book your day online ( link here, price €3) and guards check at the entrance and during the day on the beach.
The beach mat is also mandatory to put your towel on the sand. Street vendors offer them at the entrance but at exorbitant prices so remember to buy some before!
Otherwise, it is possible to rent deckchairs and parasols for the day. It is clearly the most beautiful beach we have seen in northern Sardinia but not necessarily our favorite because of its overcrowding.
We spent the day there. But there are other things to see nearby such as the Porto Conte natural park or the city of Alghero.
Day 7: Costa Smeralda
For this last day in northern Sardinia, we went back down towards Olbia airport. Our flight being at the end of the day, we took the opportunity to make a few stops on the Costa Smeralda.
The Emerald Coast, literally, lives up to its name! We followed the scenic coastal road which offers magnificent views of the beaches and coves with turquoise water. We stopped at Liscia Ruja and Rena Bianca beach .
It’s pretty, the beaches are very beautiful, a bit like everything else that we had seen during our stay in the end. On the other hand, it is very touristy and very expensive! This confirms the choice we made when planning the route not to spend more time there.
To give you an idea, a large part of the beaches are “private” with around a hundred deckchairs and parasols installed on them waiting for tourists to come and take a nap for the modest sum of €60 a day.
The dishes in the bars and beach restaurants are overpriced. It’s a bit like the Saint Trop of Sardinia! A day is nice, but more is not really our thing.
When to Visit Northern Sardinia?
To enjoy the seaside joys of Sardinia, the ideal is to visit the island in May, June and September, October. The sun is shining and the water temperature is pleasant.
On the other hand, if you can avoid July / August, it is better because the beaches have the reputation of being overcrowded and the prices soar.
The rest of the year, the climate is relatively mild with 300 days of sunshine per year!
How Long to Visit Northern Sardinia?
1 week is a comfortable time to visit northern Sardinia! You will have time to browse the spots mentioned without rushing! In any case, I advise you to stay at least 5 days on the island.
If you have any questions about this 1 week itinerary in Northern Sardinia or advice, do not hesitate to leave a comment!
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