Hidden Treasures of Sardinia
|Hidden Treasures of Sardinia
Circled by white sandy beaches and deep emerald waters, theres no denying Sardinia is a Mediterranean paradise. But dig a little deeper below the surface and youll discover theres also a treasure trove of cultural and archaeological gems to be admired. Explore ancient city ruins and medieval centres. Sip wine and taste local specialities at an authentic agriturismo. Dip your toes in crystal clear waters and take a train ride through unspoilt nature. Its true whats been said: Sardinia is different.
13 excursions and visits
Day 1 UK – Cagliari
Titans VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Cagliari. On arrival, well transfer to our hotel.
Day 2 Cagliari
Cagliari: the best way to start your Sardinian adventure. The islands capital city is golden-hued and tree-lined and everywhere you go there are traces of its rich past. Museums, Roman ruins, elegant palazzi and antique churches are just the beginning.
Today, well become acquainted with this fine city on a guided tour. Like many of Italys great cities, Cagliari has an extensive history dating back to the Phoenicians and has been influenced by the Romans and the French. Together, well take in some of the highlights including the old city ramparts, the old town and the cathedral of Santa Maria. Well also stop by San Benedetto Market, where well taste some local products.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure, interrupted only for an ice cream tasting at a local gelateria.
Day 3 Pula – Sant’Antioco
South of the city in Pula lies one of Sardinias most important archaeological sites. The ancient city of Nora is 3,000 years old and contains the remains of its Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman rulers. Once weve had our archaeological fill in Nora, well set off along the scenic south coast to the volcanic island of SantAntioco.
From the approach, the island is a huddle of colourful houses looking out onto Sardinias famously blue waters. Once inside, wide palm-lined avenues lead to spacious squares with Byzantine architecture. In the old town, the basilica and its catacombs is a real highlight. Well visit the Byssus Museum together, where well see unique tapestries created using the silk of the sea.
Day 4 Barumini – Aymerich Park – Laconi – Oristano
Our busy day starts early this morning. Our first stop is Barumini, where a local guide will escort us on a tour of the Su Nuraxi complex of Nuraghi, stone structures unique to Sardinia that were created by an ancient Megalithic civilisation. This particular formation was discovered in 1950 and it represents a fine example of these distinctive constructions.
We continue to Aymerich Park, a botanical paradise of rare plants. If youre the outdoorsy type, youll love wandering around this natural oasis discovering exotic plants, rare wild orchids and the ruins of medieval buildings. In nearby Laconi well have some leisure time – maybe enjoy the charming Palazzo Aymerich, which hosts the Museum of Prehistoric Sardinian Statues. We end the day in Oristano, where we check into our next hotel.
Day 5 Tharros – Bosa – Alghero
This morning, we journey to the northern point of the Gulf of Oristano, where well pass by the ruins of Tharros; a Carthaginian and Roman port originally built by the Phoenicians in the Middle Ages. The site enjoys a glorious position on the seafront of the Sinis Peninsula – a strategic advantage at the time. Its fascinating to imagine the people who once lived here.
By the afternoon, we will arrive in Bosa, one of Sardinias most beautiful towns. Youll notice it from a distance before we even arrive; the rainbow houses stacked on a steep hillside are instantly recognisable. The town straddles the River Temo and cradles the ruins of Castle Serravalle.
Well stop by the tiny museum-village of Tinnura, famous for the art of weaving, murals and Malvasia wine (dont worry, we wont leave without a tasting). Here, the streets are evocative with paved squares housing statues of Sardinian artists and colourful murals painted on houses, depicting the moments of traditional life. We arrive in Alghero and check into our hotel.
Day 6 Alghero
Sat prettily on the northwest seafront, the one-time Catalonian colony of Alghero is one of the islands most beautiful medieval cities. The animated historic centre is a tight web of cobbled streets and Spanish-style piazzas, which slope towards the harbour and sweeping bay. Theres a buzzing atmosphere here; the restaurants are excellent and the beaches are sandy and inviting. Well enjoy a guided walk together, taking in Santa Maria Cathedral, San Francesco church and the tower of Porta Terra.
This afternoon you can either explore the town further under your own steam, or join our optional boat trip to the Nettuno caves (Neptunes grotto) in Capo Caccia – one of the largest marine caves in Italy and a Mediterranean gem.
A special dinner awaits at an authentic agriturismo (farm), accompanied by some mirto (local liqueur), before a guided stargazing evening.
Day 7 Castelsardo – Aggius – Golfo di Marinella
Today we leave Alghero behind and journey towards the famed Costa Smeralda. En route, we visit a real architectural gem: the Romantic-era Basilica di Saccargia. Its tall, dark bell tower looms above the surrounding countryside. This majestic structure has punctuated the plain of Saccargia since the 12th century and well learn about the legends that surround it.
We continue to the 13th-century Aragonese stronghold of Castelsardo. Imagine steep, winding streets leading up to rugged defensive towers and elderly women sitting in doorways weaving elaborate baskets. Its little wonder it has been listed as one of Italys most beautiful villages.
Then, in the Gallura region, we stop to stretch our legs in the deeply traditional village of Aggius. This small, picturesque village is a huddle of granite houses clustered around a historic centre. The village has a longstanding history as a hotbed for banditry and well visit the Bandit Museum – all will be revealed!
We arrive in Costa Smeralda later this afternoon and check into our hotel.
Day 8 Costa Smeralda
Named for its brilliant blue-green waters, Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) is the poster girl for the entire island. A jetsetters paradise, Porto Cervo is the glitzy heart of the coast; its marina is decorated with mega yachts and its beaches are dotted with celebrities and paparazzi. We stay just north of all the bustle and glamour, where the famously clear waters lap at the local sandy beaches. Dip your toes in and youd be forgiven for thinking youre somewhere more tropical.
This afternoon we board the Trenino Verde (Green Train) passing through some of the most spectacular unspoilt natural scenery the island has to offer, from Arzachena to Tempio Pausania. Enjoy some free time in the latter before we head to the glamorous village of Porto Cervo. Meander along the boutique-lined avenues and watch the yachts bobbing in the sparkling marina.
Day 9 Golfo di Marinella – Olbia – UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.