Sardinians greet each other by saying, “A kent’annos” — “May you live to be a hundred.” Discover the landscapes that inspire these words on this incredible 12-day itinerary. Eat and drink your way through Sardinia's incredible food and heart-healthy red wine, walk alongside shepherds on rocky hillsides, and haggle for your lunch in bustling marketplaces. From stunning beaches to quiet towns this trip has it all.

Highlights

  • Explore secret coves and infinite golden sandy beaches
  • Discover the secrets of the mysterious Nuragic civilization
  • Indulge yourself on local wine and traditional Sardinian food
  • Visit lively and colorful Cagliari, a true Mediterran gem

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Olbia to Cala Gonone Cala Gonone
Day 2 Cala Luna Hike Cala Gonone
Day 3 A Day with Shepherds Oliena
Day 4 Oliena to Bosa Bosa
Day 5 Bosa to Cabras Cabras
Day 6 Cabras to Piscinas Portu Maga
Day 7 Piscinas to Carloforte Carloforte
Day 8 Carloforte Fishing Day Carloforte
Day 9 Carloforte to Chia Chia
Day 10 Chia to Cagliari Cagliari
Day 11 Discovering Cagliari Cagliari
Day 12 Departure from Cagliari-Elmas airport  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Olbia to Cala Gonone

 Cala Gonone and Gulf of Orosei
 Cala Gonone and Gulf of Orosei

Benvenuti in Sardegna! Arrive in Olbia, where you'll be met by the tour guide at the airport. Begin your trip with a drive up the beautiful coastline to Cala Gonone, a cozy little village nestled between the sea and steep mountains of Supramonte. Here, the imposing limestone cliffs dive straight into deep blue coves, creating secret inlets along the whole Orosei Gulf

Enjoy a glass of Vermentino wine as you enjoy this majestic view and prepare for the coming week. If there's time, head out for a walk to explore the area. Start with a visit to the scenic viewpoint, which overlooks the whole gulf. The Nuraghe Mannu castle which stands here is one of 7,000 ancient castles built 3,500 years ago by the Nuragic people. Celebrate your first night in Sardinia with dinner at a restaurant with a view. 

Day 2: Cala Luna Hike

Grotto Cala Luna
Grotto Cala Luna

Spend the day walking along some of the world's most beautiful beaches, starting with the gorgeous Cala Luna, which was created by the Codula Ilune Creek and is surrounded by hundreds of colorful oleander trees. This landscape has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, without villages or electricity to interrupt the beautiful natural landscapes. Traditionally, local shepherds spent months in the wild, taking care of their animals. 

Arrive at after an easy 3-hour hike Cala Luna and enjoy your first Sardinian picnic on the beach, then take a private boat ride along the coast to discover hidden coves and go swimming in the turquoise water. Afterward, the boat will take you back to Cala Gonone, dropping you off directly in front of a local gelateria—the perfect way to end today's excursion! 

Day 3: A Day with Shepherds

Shepherd's picnic
Shepherd's picnic

Today you will hike deep into the Lanaitto Valley to learn about the fascinating Bronze Age settlement of Tiscali, whose ruins are located inside a collapsed limestone cave.  For lunch meet up with the local shepherds for a picnic lunch. This is definitely a tour highlight and a chance to eat like the locals. Feast on pecorino cheese, tomatoes, peppers, salads, Sardinian salami, ham, pancetta and coppa, homemade bread, and the piece-de-resistance: a spit-roasted suckling pig. 

Tonight, stay at the Su Gologone hotel, which also houses a workshop for local craftsmen and artists who produce everything from textiles to jewelry. If you're lucky, catch a history lesson directly from the owner Signora Pasqua, or her daughter Giovanna. 

Day 4: Oliena to Bosa

Traditional Mamoiada masks
Traditional Mamoiada masks

Today you'll visit Barbagia, home to a passionate and incredibly welcoming people. Tour Orgosolo, learning about its colorful history through the murals which decorate the walls of the neighborhood houses. En route to Mamoiada travel through Cannonau vineyards and olive groves, passing by countless pastures dotted with sheep. 

The village of Mamoiada is home to the Mamuthone masks, Sardinia Carnival's mysterious masks. Enjoy a wine tasting at the Cantina Sedilesu winery and learn about the local Cannonau wine. Visit the Museo delle Maschere—the Carnival Mask Museum—to learn about ancient traditions of celebrating nature's cycles. 

Your final destination today is the laid-back village of Bosa, located an hour away, whose colorful houses spread across the sloping hillsides below a dominating medieval castle. In the evening hike up to the castle for ocean views, or walk along the beach. 

Day 5: Bosa to Cabras

Cooking lesson in Cabras
Cooking lesson in Cabras

Leave Bosa behind you today as you begin the gentle climb up the hills of Santa Maria del Mare, an Eden-like garden of Malvasia vineyards, olive groves, and orchards. Continue to Cuglieri to visit the Peddio olive oil mill and learn about the history of olive cultivation in Sardinia and how to recognize the perfect olive oil. 

After lunch, enjoy a scenic 2-hour hike over the Sinis peninsula coastline along the cliffs of Su Tingiosu, an easy hike with breathtaking views of the blue ocean at your feet. Reach the incredible white quartz beaches of Mari Ermi and Is Aruttas, then continue to the town of Tharros to enjoy lunch by the sea. This town was once Phoenician, but then came under Roman control. 

Before dinner stop in the Cabras Museum to see one of the area's most important discoveries, the mysterious statues of “Giganti di Monte Prama”. Enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif followed by dinner on the hotel terrace, overlooking the cathedral façade and sunset on the water. 

Day 6: Cabras to Piscinas

Wheat fields in Marmilla
Wheat fields in Marmilla

Sardinia is located at the center of the Tyrhennian Sea and has been an appealing target for many civilizations which discovered its shores. However, very few were able to settle its vast and fertile landscapes, which were long inhabited by the Nuragic people. Drive for an hour along the Marmilla hills, a rolling and peaceful landscape, to visit Sardinia's most important archaeological site, the UNESCO heritage site of Su Nuraxi, located in Barumini. This stone castle is the most representative of Sardinia's Nuraghes. 

Later head back to the ocean on an hour-long drive and explore the wild Costa Verde, a wild and remote region of the island. See the Piscina Sand Dunes and their unique Mediterranean juniper trees, then spend the night in a former mineral warehouse-turned-charming hotel. 

Day 7: Piscinas to Carloforte

The "Pan di Zucchero" rock
The "Pan di Zucchero" rock

 

Spend the morning driving along the southwest Sardinian coast, an area with a history of mining, including ancient Romans who came here to extract silver and copper from the earth. Stop at the nicest balcony over the west coast, the stunning the viewpoint over the Pan di Zucchero cliffside in Nebida with views of the endless golden beach of Portixeddu

After the gorgeous 2.5-hour drive reach Carloforte, the pretty (and only) village on the San Pietro Island. Since 1783 the island has been home to a community of Ligurian fishermen from the African Island of Tabarka, off the Tunisian coast. As the ferry approaches the port you'll notice a distinctive architecture that more closely resembles the villages of Cinque Terre than Sardinia. 

Today the local population relies heavily on fishing, especially lobsters and tuna, as well as local handicrafts. The natural beauty and relatively quiet atmosphere make Carloforte one of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean. 

Spend the afternoon exploring the town and island, from the small beaches to the lookout point of Capo Sandalo. Enjoy a dinner of tuna, olives, and Italian wine. 

Day 8: Carloforte fishing day

Clear Carloforte water
Clear Carloforte water

Spend your day on a fishing boat discovering the wild coastline and learning about the island's ancient tradition of fishing for red tuna, who cross the Straits of Gibraltar to reproduce. Enjoy the many small sandy beaches tucked into red and black basalt cliffs, then have a picnic lunch aboard the boat using the day's catch—it doesn't get much fresher than that! 

Go for a refreshing swim under the basalt cliffs, then return back to town. 

Day 9: Carloforte to Chia

Capo Spartivento
Capo Spartivento

Leave Carloforte behind and arrive in Calasetta, a small village on Sant'Antioco Island. Along the drive south you'll see vineyards full of the stubborn Carignano grapes, which grow fantastically in the sandy soil and produce some of the island's best wines. 

Reach the rural village of Tratalias and visit the ancient Roman Pisan church, then go hiking along the coast to the stunning beaches of Chia and Tuarredda. The area's pristine nature, deep blue water, and beautiful trail suspended over the coast make the route one of the week's best adventures. Rest at the secluded coves along the way before reaching the Capo Spartivento lighthouse at the end of the 3-hour hike.  

Day 10: Chia to Cagliari

Nora beach
Nora beach

 

In the morning visit the town of Nora which sits on a peninsula near a flamingo colony. Explore the local area on foot, then enjoy a fresh lunch. Afterward, head to Cagliari, the island's capital (insider tip—drop the 'g' to pronounce it 'Caliari' as the locals do). 

The town is the quintessential Mediterranean gem, divided into four old districts and ruled by a single Castello. Walk through the lively Marina district to see the area's vibrant melting pot of cultures, then go shopping in the elegant streets of the Villanova District. Return to the Stampace neighborhood for a seafood dinner. 

Day 11: Discovering Cagliari

San Benedetto market
San Benedetto market

Cagliari has a lot to offer and you'll see the area's highlights during your stay. Start with a visit to the bustling San Benedetto Market, an explosion of sounds, smells, and busy vendors vying for your attention. Later walk to the top of the Devil's Saddle, Cagliari's main landmark, for views of the town, Poetto beach, and the surrounding lagoons with their resident flamingos. End your final evening with a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 12: Departure from Cagliari-Elmas airport

Ciao Cagliari!
Ciao Cagliari!

The Cagliari Airport is close to town, so you'll have plenty of time for a relaxing breakfast and a stroll through town. Connect to the airport and your return flight home. Grazie Amici!

Map

Map of Authentic Sardinia Drive & Hike - 12 days
Map of Authentic Sardinia Drive & Hike - 12 days