Below is a detailed itinerary of the 13 day Hidden Italy visit to Sardinia.
Our exploration of Sardinia starts with two nights in the capital Cagliari, a buzzy but relaxed port that DH Lawrence likened to Jerusalem, “a strange and rather wonderful city”. We stay in a classic 4-star hotel on the edge of the old town, a short walk from the harbour and the castle. Dinner will be at a fine seafood restaurant nearby. (Dinner)
We will be taken on a guided walk through the historical centre of Cagliari, including a visit to its extraordinary archaeological museum and finishing with a light lunch on the bastions with spectacular views over the city and the surrounding coast. The evening is free. (Lunch)
Today we drive south, past lagoons filled with pink flamingos, around some of the most pristine and beautiful coastline in Europe. On the way we will stop for a lovely walk along the coast, picking up tracts of a Roman road before finishing at a beach classified as one of the ten best beaches on the island. (5 kms, 1.5 hrs, Grade 1)
We drive to the area of Iglesias-Carbonia, stopping at coastal town for a short stroll to a look-out where we have sensational views of the multi-coloured cliffs along the coast. From here we continue north to our hotel, a comfortable 3-star hotel in a beautiful positino on a mountain side with wonderful views of the coastline.
A short 5-minute drive takes us to the bay where we start our scenic coastal walk through Mediterranean macchia above cliffs and clear blue sea. We arrive at a white sandy beach surrounded by untouched and unspoilt landscape. There is plenty of time for a swim and lunch before returning to our base on an interior path through farmlands (12 kms, 4 hours). Lunch and dinner included.
To today we drive for 30 minutes into the surrounding mountains for a walk following an undulating looping trail which takes us out through a narrow valley and then back following a ridge before descending to the well-preserved remains of a Phoenician/Roman temple, standing alone in a green valley. (12 kms, 3.5 hrs, Grade 3) After a picnic lunch, we’ll visit the Medieval town of Iglesias before heading back to our base, where we'll have dinner. (Lunch and dinner)
Today we leave the island, cross back to the mainland and drive across the plains to visit one of the most extraordinary Bronze Age sites in Sardinia, a 4000 year-old citadel recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
From here we drive up through the spectacular Gennargentu Mountains, stopping for lunch, before crossing through the Supramonte, a rugged range of limestone mountains which until 20 years ago were Sardinia’s ‘badlands’, an infamous hideout for the islands now extinct bandits.
Along the way, we stop at the little town of Atzara, the centre of Sardinia. We will have lunch and wine tasting at a family run vineyard which hosts the oldest vines in Sardinia (part of a preservation project of adoption sponsored by Holland). We will stay for the next four days in one of Sardinia’s most celebrated hotel, a 60-year country house in the heart of the walking country. Dinner is at our base. (Lunch/dinner)
Today we will be picked up from the hotel by two jeeps by local guide Fabrizio and his colleagues and driven up to the mountains above the town, the Supramonte, which is the north tip of the Gennargentu range. Starting at 1200 metres, we will walk to the highest peak Punta Corrasi, 1463 metres, to enjoy the spectacular views over half of Sardinia, where we’ll have a delicious picnic lunch of local produce, before heading back to the base. (6 kms, 3 hrs, Grade 2, it is possible to shorten this walk). (Lunch/dinner)
Today we get back into two jeeps with Fabrizio for a remarkable day exploring the heartland of Sardinia: rugged mountains, isolated villages and ancient traditions. This will include visits to the famous murals of Orgosolo (a bandit stronghold not that long ago); lunch with some local shepherds and a visit to fascinating local museum. (Lunch/dinner)
This morning Fabrizio will take us on one of the area’s classic walks heading up a long valley behind our hotel, before climbing up to Mt Tiscali, a ridge where the remains of two prehistoric settlements are hidden in a huge limestone cavern – a completely stunning and unexpected sight. (6.5 kms, 3 hrs, Grade 3) – there is a less challenging option, walking through forest on the floor of the valley. After a barbeque lunch, we’ll head back to our hotel, time for a swim in the pool. (Lunch/dinner)
This morning we leave the mountains behind us and head north to one of the most celebrated bits of coastline in Europe, the Costa Smeralda, which has been a ‘jetset’ destination since it was developed by the Aga Khan in the 1960s, driving to our base for the next three days, a lovely resort on a quiet bay overlooking the coast. Dinner will be at the hotel’s terrace restaurant. (Dinner)
Today we visit the nieghbouring Costa Smeralda, taking a loop walk that starts and finishes at a lovely village, the oldest in the area. The walk takes us through oak forest, under granite towers, with breath-taking views over the coast (6 kms, 2.5 hrs, Grade 2). After lunch we return to our base. Dinner is at the hotel.
As a finale, we will enjoy a day relaxing on the hotel’s two yachts, crossing the bay to explore the small archipelago that makes up the northern tip of Sardinia, including visiting an exquisite small bay with a beautiful beach that the locals nickname ‘Jamaica’ for its transparent water and brilliant white sand. After a quick dip, lunch will be served on board. In the evening we will have dinner at the hotel’s nearby agriturismo. (Lunch/dinner)
After breakfast, we’ll transfer you to nearby Olbia an hour's drive away which has an airport (arriving at 10.00) and a port with ferries back to mainland Italy: to Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno (Tuscany) and Civitavecchia (Rome).
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Sardinia in spring: 13 days / 12 nights
1 May to 13 May, 2020
The 2019 tour is fully booked.
Tour Size7 to 15 people
Single supplement $850 (double room for single use)
•12 nights accommodation (see the itinerary for details) in 4-star boutique hotels
•All breakfast, and all lunches and dinners (wine included) listed in the itinerary
•All land and sea transfers during the tours
•All taxes and service charges at the hotels and restaurants
•All paid admissions during the tour
•7 guided walks
•Services of a full-time professional tour guide
Sardinia walking tour: Cagliari to the Costa Smeralda FAQs
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It was wonderful! Your attention to detail was so good and everything fell into place. The walks were beautiful, wonderful scenery - wildflowers, dry stone walls, vines and olives and the first appearance of the next village, absolutely stunning.
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