What to do in northern Sardinia from Alghero to Olbia

Tour along northern coast of Sardinia

Did you book your holidays in northern Sardinia? So you are probably planning your travel itinerary. Here we propose a tour from west to east of the island to suggest some things to do from Alghero to Olbia, up to the Emerald Coast and Porto Cervo, or vice versa.

We selected different kinds of attractions: beaches and sea caves, nuraghi and charming old town centres. It may take from 1 weekend until 2 weeks depending on how much time you decide to spend for each attraction. We recommend you to travel by car. In fact, the tour includes several stages not easily accessible by bus or train. If you do not want to use the car, you should visit the websites of local bus companies, Trenitalia and ARST, the regional transport company.

What to do in Alghero

Tour of AlgheroIt is easy to get to Alghero. You can arrive at its airport or by ferry-boat from Porto Torres. This town, capital of the Riviera del Corallo, owes its peculiarity to the Aragonese domination. This explains because Catalan is the local dialect and Alghero is named Barceloneta.

The visit of Alghero includes:

  • tour of its old town centre;
  • a naturalistic hike along its coast;
  • tour of its archaeological sites.

First of all, you must visit the town to admire its architecture, result of many artistic influences. Things to see in the old town centre of Alghero: the Catalan-Gothic church of San Francesco and the cloister, the town centre with its numerous Gothic buildings, the ramparts. In 2002 Capo Caccia and Isola Piana were established as a protected marine area which also includes Porto Conte and Punta Giglio. Do not miss the tour of Neptune’s Grotto. The Grotto can be reached either by boat or on foot through the 656 steps of the Escala of Cabirol. Finally we suggest the nuragic complex Palmavera, the necropolis of Santu Pedru and Anghelu Ruju.

What to do from Alghero to Stintino

The peninsula of Stintino in the gulf of Asinara is about 50 km away from Alghero and it takes 1 hour by car. Along this route you can visit Argentiera. This place is very stunning both for its mining village, an example of industrial archaeology, and for its sea bottom. Stintino is known for its beaches. The most popular and thus crowded is the Pelosa. You can take a ferry-boat from its pier to visit the protected marine park of the island of Asinara with its white donkeys, the prison into disuse and many other amazing places.

Two routes to arrive to Olbia and the Emerald Coast

From Stintino, Porto Torres you can reach Olbia either by travelling along the coast or to the inland of Sardinia.

The route along northern coast of Sardinia

If you choose to continue along northern coast of Sardinia, the next stop is Castelsardo. The little town, very well preserved, is known because it is located on a rock from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view overlooking Corsica. You have absolutely to visit Doria castle with its ramparts and the village with its many elegant buildings and churches.

From Castelsardo you have to continue along Costa Paradiso and get to Gallura. Before you arrive to Santa Teresa di Gallura, you can make a stop at Isola Rossa and Badesi. The first, part of Trinità d’Aglientu, is a tourist location known for its beautiful beaches, its reef and a Spanish tower. Santa Teresa di Gallura is a popular destination for holiday-makers. Its streets are crowded in summer. Around there are some of the most beautiful beaches of northern Sardinia as Rena Bianca. You have also to visit the cliff of Capo Testa with its lighthouse, the archaeological complex of Lu Brandali and Longonsardo tower. Continuing east you come to Palau. In the country of Palau, surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub, there are both archaeological sites such as the tombs of the giants and charming beaches like Le Saline, Porto Pollo, Capo d’Orso.

From Palau it is very easy to arrive to La Maddalena archipelago which includes Caprera, La Maddalena, Santo Stefano, Spargi and Budelli. Caprera is known because Garibaldi (a protagonist of Italian history during the 19th century) lived there many years. Indeed on this island there is the Compendio Garibaldino. The most famous location of Capresa is Cala Coticcio, a beach of white sand and turquoise sea. The whole area is part of the geomarine national park of the archipelago of La Maddalena established in 1994. You can choose among many types of excursions to visit it.

The route inland from Sassari to Tempio Pausania

If you choose the inland tour of Sardinia, the next stop is Sassari. Sassari is one of the most important city of this island. Among the attractions to visit we suggest: the Duomo, Piazza Italia, Sanna Archaeological Museum and the archaeological complex of Monte Accoddi. The city has several important traditions due to its history. If you choose to visit it during summer, on 14 August, there is the Festha Manna also named Faradda di li Candareri. Finally you can venture into Logudoro area to explore some neighboring towns such as Thiesi and Ozieri.

From Logudoro you go to Gallura by driving along the country road SS 672 towards Tempio Pausania. Tempio is full of attractions. This place is known for its cork oaks and vineyards. Indeed fine wines such as Vermentino and Moscato are typical of this area. Tempio is also famous for the thermal waters and Mount Limbara.

Last stop in Olbia and the Emerald Coast

Houses to buy and rent in Porto Cervo for the holidaysIf you continue along northern coast of Sardinia, or you prefer Sassari and its surrounding area, you can easily reach Olbia. This city is very important for the economy of Sardinia. It is one of the main access roads to the island thanks to the port and the airport. It also has a history that dates back to Neolithic times and some significant monuments. For example, San Simplicio church is one of the most important Roman sites of Sardinia.

From Olbia you can visit Arzachena, Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo. We are talking about places known all over the world. The most stunning attractions are some beaches: Piccolo and Grande Pevero, Pedra Bianca, Cala Liscia Ruja. But the whole area of the Emerald Coast is worthy of interest. Its villas, ports, squares have been designed since the early 60’s by famous architects following strict criteria and a unique style.


This itinerary can also be travelled from Olbia to Alghero. Especially if you arrive in Sardinia by car. The Isola Bianca port in Olbia is connected to Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia by Moby, Tirrenia and Grimaldi Lines. If you choose to spend some days in the Emerald Coast and Porto Cervo and you are looking for exclusive homes to buy or rent, you can contact ImmobilSarda.


This post is also available in: Italian