A 15-day self-drive gourmet’s discovery of the second largest Mediterranean island.
Sardinia is most famous for its beaches, unique culture and diverse interior landscapes. There is however one other thing that Sardinia offers her guests and that is incredible cuisine. This itinerary has food and drinks focus as well as getting you to all the well known and hidden gems the island has to offer.
As well as exploring the local villages and beaches you will have unique Sardinian experiences like lunch with shepherds in the hills, exploring the coast by small boat, a visit to the Murals of Orgosolo as well as sampling some of the best of Sardinia’s artisan food and drink in the markets, dairies, olive groves and vineyards.
Welcome to Cagliari you can collect your rental car when you arrive at the airport and drive the short distance to your hotel.
Day at leisure
Today you discover Cagliari history and food on an amazing walking tour of the city.
Leave the bustling port behind and experience the timeless beauty of Castello, Cagliari’s unique historic district.
Stroll through the winding streets with your guide to learn about the city’s fascinating history and architecture, influenced by millennia of invasions and conquests. Take in views over the coastline, famous for its pink flamingos and get a real experience tasting different local delicacies in the small shops hidden in what once was the fishermen's district, just a few steps from the sea.
With quality and authenticity being the key ingredients of this experience, you will enjoy a unique path that winds along old churches, narrow streets and flower-decked balconies.
And we will be delighted to guide you through the different foods you will taste including Sardinia’s raw milk cheese, natural wine, cured meat prepared in accordance with local traditions, the real flavour of bread and fruit ice cream will engage your senses with their unique and special tastes.
Today after breakfast you will drive to Villasimius. This the best vacation spot in Sardinia’s south-eastern region: crystalline water, white beaches, glamorous lifestyles and fine food to meet your every wish.
The intense colours of the sea, the glimmering crystal-clear water, granite cliffs, enchanting coves, long stretches of beach, lagoons and verdant hills, some of them are the settings of TV ads and all of them are breathtaking.
Villasimius is the ‘pearl’ of the south, the kind of tourist resort every vacationer dreams of, with a population of less than 4,000 during winter that blossoms to several tens of thousands in summer.
Leisure time at your disposal.
Today after breakfast you will have free time to explore the beaches of Villasimius and the surrounding coast.
The coastline is graced with a crown of beaches interspersed with inlets and the Capo Carbonara promontory. We suggest you drive along the panoramic road starting at Capo Boi, the southernmost point of the protected Marine Area, are the wonderful beaches of Porto sa Ruxi, Campus and Campulongu, all blessed with gorgeous blue seas and white sandy beaches framed by Mediterranean brush.
Not far from town is the unusual Riso beach, remarkable for its rice-shaped sand. Past the modern-day tourist harbour, on the western side of Capo Carbonara, are inlets nestled between the cliffs, including Cala Caterina. On the eastern side are other breathtaking gems of the seashore, starting with Porto Giunco, and behind it the stagno di Notteri marshes where pink flamingos and other rare species of wild birds nest.
From high up on the promontory that looks out over it, home to an Aragonese tower built by Spaniards, is an amazing panorama with will linger in your mind, your heart and your photos forever: an endless field of shades of blue, two seas divided by a narrow strip of white sand that looks like powdered sugar.
Further north are the beaches of Simius and Traias, followed by Rio Trottu and Manunzas, that provide the backdrop for Punta Molentis, another ‘gem’ of Villasimius.
Today, after breakfast you will head to your next destination: Arbatax. Before reaching Arbatax, you will stop to visit the village of Orgosolo. With our guided tour you will discover the agro-pastoral tradition and the folklore of the village.
The town is located in the heart of the Barbagia sub-region, a territory renowned for the richness of its traditions, the strong character of its inhabitants, as well as its natural heritage and landscape.
Once hometown of many bandits, the village’s reputation of anarchy and revenge has now been replaced by the warm and hospitable character of its people. The history of Orgosolo is painted on its own walls: the so-called Murales attract crowds of visitors from all around the world every year.
After visiting the old town and its Murales, you will head towards the Supramonte. With an easy hike we will get Monte novo San Giovanni, from the top of which you will be able to enjoy a wonderful view over the whole Supramonte and the Gennargentu mountain chain.
Afterwards, your final destination: Su Pinnettu, the old sheepfold of the shepherds, such a structure can be found all around the mountains of the central-eastern part of Sardinia.
Here, immersed in a millenary forest, you will have the traditional lunch, sliced salami, cheese, boiled sheep, roasted piglet, Pane Carasatu – the typical Sardinian crispy bread, wine (Cannonau) and some of the best spirits of Sardinia, such as Mirto and Filu e Ferru. The food, including bread and wine, is made by the shepherds and their families.
At the end of the tour you will drive to Arbatax and then you will have free time at your disposal.
Today after breakfast you will have free time to explore or relax at the beach.
The territory of Arbatax is full of beaches not to be missed. The environmental peculiarities of this stretch of coast make some beaches a perfect destination for lovers of breathtaking landscapes.
Close to Arbatax there is the beach of Rocce Rosse. This peculiar Martian-looking beach, conferred on it by the imposing red porphyry rocks, is a real jewel of Sardinia. The reddish cliffs make this beach the favourite destination for more experienced divers and give an intense emerald colour by contrast to the waters.
Almost inside the inhabited centre of Arbatax and behind the rocks of Rocce Rosse is Cala Moresca, also protected by the peculiar reddish rocks that alternate with white granite boulders.
It is possible to access the beach through a concrete staircase between the rocks and the vegetation.
Leisure time at your disposal.
Today, after breakfast you will head to your next destination: Costa Smeralda.
The Costa Smeralda is a magical mix of sun, sea, music and glee that you'll find hard to resist.
Located on Sardinia's northeastern coast between the Gulfs of Arzachena and Cugnana, the Costa Smerald or Emerald Coast owes its name to its particular hue of sea and to the chromatic variations of its transparent waters that wash up on the labyrinth of granite rocks to form enchanting scenes and panoramas.
The Costa Smeralda is synonymous with dream-like beaches, isolated coves and inlets, and gently-changing shades of blue and green sea.
This extraordinary panorama is dotted with homes hidden behind rocks shaped by the wind and Mediterranean plant life, as well as with numerous villas, golf courses and touristic ports in perfect harmony with the environmental setting.
Add the region's unique history and culture, ancient traditions and a bubbling-over nightlife that lives in the fashionable nightspots, intimate restaurants, bars and shops of Porto Cervo.
Glitzy and colourful Porto Cervo is a haven for the international jet-set and a mooring-spot for numerous oversized yachts.
Another highly sought-out destination is that of Porto Rotondo, facing the wide, open Gulf of Cucagna and populated by lush villas, charming piazzas and the gorgeous variety that Mother Nature has so generously bestowed.
Food and Drink Tuk Tuk Experience
Taste the authentic flavours of Sardinia in a fun and alternative way by boarding a Tuk Tuk and explore in the Olbia vineyards.
You experienced our guides will accompany you through the local vineyards and ancient cellars where you will learn how the wine is produced and of course get to sample the wines accompanied by local dishes and specialities.
Today, after breakfast you will head to your next destination: Alghero. Before reaching Alghero, you will stop to Palau for an amazing panoramic boat tour.
You will explore the stunning La Maddalena Archipelago by boat that includes a visit to each island in the gorgeous archipelago, with many opportunities for swim breaks. Enjoy the pristine scenery of this protected area with sandy beaches, emerald water and ruggedly beautiful islands.
We leave Palau and cruise towards the wonderful island of Spargi. We leave the island of Spargi and go along the coast towards the island of Budelli for a photographic stop of the famous Pink Beach "Spiaggia Rosa". We then enter the natural swimming pool of Porto Della Madonna where the emerald colour of the water will take your breath away.
We then head on to the island of Santa Maria for our next beach stop, once again you can easily get off the boat with your things to sunbathe, have a swim or go on a lovely walk to the old lighthouse on the island.
At the end of the tour, you will drive to Alghero and then you will have free time at your disposal.
Today, after breakfast, a gastronomic tour experience awaits you. Sardinia is known primarily for its spectacular beaches, but this island also produces excellent wine, cheese and olive oil.
Sample these local specialities for yourself during this guided tasting at a boutique winery set inside the Porto Conte Natural Reserve.
Learn about the native grapes and olive tree varieties while tasting a number of wines paired with cheese and sausage and end with a tasting of extra-virgin olive oil.
Your guide will explain the history of the territory and the farm, about different Sardinian grapes and Olive trees before the tasting of wines paired with different kind of pecorino cheese and traditional sausage and olive oils.
Today, after breakfast you will head to your next destination: Oristano. Before reaching Oristano, you will stop to visit the colourful village of Bosa.
Bosa is a fabulous village where history and modernity come together generating curiosity and fascination. The Old Village, also known as Sa Costa, lies around the Serravalle Castle, built by the Malaspinas between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Easily accessible on foot, it will reward you by showing you the charm of the town from a scenic location that will remain forever in your memory.
Bosa Marina is instead the beach resort most loved by tourists according to Blue Guide 2015, which gives it a record 5 sails including it among the places with the most beautiful sea. The poetic Lungotemo promenade with the Ponte Vecchio and the beaches of S'Abba Druche, Portu Managu, Turas and Cumpoltitu make it one of the most renowned places for natural beauty.
Bosa is also a place of great culinary and craftsmanship tradition that welcomes you with a fine glass of Malvasia.
You will find many churches and monuments in the Village. Spend a little time at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the town's Cathedral, featuring beautiful frescoes.
Within the walls of Serravalle castle stands the church of Our Lady de Sos Regnos Altos, embellished with a set of frescoes dating back to 1370. The Romanesque church of San Pietro Extramuros stands a short distance from the village, in the rural locality of Calmedia. Make sure to take a stroll in the medieval district of Sa Costa and take pictures of Sa Funtana Manna, a nineteenth-century monument made of red trachyte.
Bosa is also famous for its Carnival, known as Karrasegare. The "S'Attitidu" procession features a group of black masks lamenting theatrically while holding a doll in their arms, symbolizing the newly born holiday.
At the end of the tour you will drive to Oristano and then you will have free time at your disposal.
Today you will have free time to explore Oristano. Is considered the main city in the central-western part of Sardinia is an ideal gateway leading into a territory filled with natural beauty and represents the noble heart of the Island, with its monuments and its rich history.
The role of Oristano has been that of a protagonist in Sardinia's history: from the 11th century, the town centre started to be embellished with palaces, fortifications, towers and religious buildings.
In the spotlight, there is the majestic Tower of Saint Christopher - also know and the Tower of Mariano - and the Monument of the Giudicessa Eleonora (1881), who promoted the Carta de Logu, one of the first codes of law written in Europe.
Also worthy of a visit is the Antiquarium Arborense museum, located inside Palazzo Parpaglia, where you will admire artefacts from the excavations of Tharros, and the churches of San Francesco, in Neoclassical style, Santa Chiara, a rare example of Gothic style on the Island, and the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (built in 1130).
We suggest that after a day of admiring the monuments you take a lunch consisting of malloreddus with sausage and, for dessert, mustazzolus, before a walk along the Torregrande, Oristano's fabulous beach.
In the bordering territories, you will find the splendid beaches of the marine area of the Sinis peninsula, with grains of quartz (Mari Ermi, Is Arutas and Maimoni) and fine sand (san Giovanni), the limestone promontories and the beautiful beaches near Putzu Idu and, further north, the evocative natural monument of s’Archittu.
The territory around Oristano is characterized by numerous lagoons, among which those of Cabras and Santa Giusta, the habitat of numerous rare bird species.
The wetlands represent one of the area's resources: the fishing industry, along with the confectionery industry, wine-growing sectors and excellent artisan ceramics, wood and wrought iron, all represent not only the basis of the local economy but are also attractions for visitors.
Today, after breakfast you will head to your next destination: Cagliari. At your arrival you will have an amazing Italian cooking class experience.
Italian cuisine is a patchwork of local specialities, and sampling these traditional dishes is fundamental to understanding each city or region. Explore the flavours of Sardinia with this hands-on cooking experience and learn how to make one of the island’s most unique dishes: culurgiones. These fresh pasta dumplings are fashioned by hand and tricky to close, so celebrate your new skill with dinner featuring your culurgiones paired with wine.
Once upon a time, Sardinian's Mothers used to cook all day the hand-made pasta called "Culurgiones", making pasta together while tomato sauce and the potato start to boil.
We want to share this ancient tradition, for one day getting hands-on help preparing a Sunday lunch or dinner. We use only durum wheat flour from Sardinian producers and all the ingredient are from the local area (potatoes, mint, cheese).
We set up the table and after that we are ready to lunch or dinner, with a glass of local wine, some appetizers and our culurgiones.
Today after breakfast you visit the Archaeological site of Su Nuraxi and the Acquafredda castle. One of Sardinia’s top attractions, the UNESCO– listed site of Su Nuraxi dates back to the Bronze age.
On this tour, travel 3,500 years back in time to the Nuragic period and visit this archaeological complex with your guide. Explore the courthouse, housing complex, and meeting hut, and see how life played out during the pre-Roman period.
Enjoy a private guided tour from your Cagliari hotel, and visit surrounding sites of interest such as the Giara plateau, the Giants' Tomb, and the medieval palace.
Once arrived, we will visit the imposing nuraghe "Su Nuraxi" and its village: an archaeological complex whose most ancient traces are date back to around the 1500 b.c. We will begin from the village, where you will see various types of housing structures, the round ones, with a central courtyard, that go back to the nuragic period, and the rectangular ones, that belong to the punic-roman period.
Noteworthy are a central courthouse with a spa environment perhaps home to a domestic cult, and the big meeting hut. Then, we will enter the real nuraghe, that can be reached by an iron ladder which leads to a tiny entry, placed at 7 metres of height.
There we will visit the central tower, called “mastio”, that originally measured 20 metres in height, and the 4 side towers. The whole of the 5 towers makes a housing complex that, for its grandeur, reminds us of a medieval castle. After the visit to su Nuraxi, you will head to the Acquafredda Castle.
Enjoy a scenic drive to the ruins of the castle and follow your guide up the trail to explore its abandoned village, fortress, and church.
Relax over a glass of wine and traditional Sardinian food while enjoying the view, then head down through a spectacular cave set at the foot of the castle. After the tour there is an option of a scenic route of the south coast with wine tasting. Your private driver will take you to discover wonderful places along the scenic route on the coast. You will also stop in a typical cellar for a tasting of local wines.
After breakfast at your hotel, it is time to say “Arriverderci” to Sardinia! You will drive to Cagliari Airport, where you drop off the rental car in time to board your flight home.
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