A Perfect Road Trip Itinerary to See the Authentic Sardinia in 7 Days
Do you want to plan a road trip to Sardinia? Not sure what the best itinerary might be? Then you are in the right place. In this article, you will find an itinerary for northern and western Sardinia perfect for discovering the authentic Sardinia in just 7 days.
What we are talking about is a magical and mystical land. That same magic that you will find inside every sunset, immersed in the stormy sea, in the mistral that messes up your hair.
This land has touched the souls of Italian poets and musicians who sing its glories in their works.
I want to show you a different-than-usual, exciting Sardinia itinerary that will make you fall in love with this incredible land.
We start from Olbia and then go through the whole north and part of the west coast, not forgetting a few stops in the Sardinian hinterland.
So, without further introduction, let’s dive into this 7-day road trip in northern Sardinia.
This post has been written by Lisa, who is an Italian mom passionate about travel and writing. She has traveled extensively in Italy and tells about it on her sites Rome Travelogues and I’m Learning Italian.
PS – Useful Travel Resources to use while heading to Italy to experience the 7 Day Authentic Sardinia Road Trip –
- Book your Italy train tickets at Omio or Trainline
- Book your Rental Car in Italy on Discover Cars and RentalCars.com
- Book the best Sardinia Tours at GetYourGuide or Viator
- Book the best Culinary / Food Experiences in Italy on EatWith
- Book your Accommodation in Sardinia on Agoda or Booking.com
- Book the cheapest flights for your trip to Italy on Kiwi.com
- Get an eSIM by Airalo to stay connected and Save on Roaming Fees
- Sign up for a Priority Pass before flying to Italy, and enjoy free access to premium Airport Lounges.
- Sign up for a Travel Insurance to enjoy a hassle free vacation in Sardinia.
- The Best 7 Day Travel Itinerary – Sardinia, Italy
- Why organize a road trip to Sardinia?
- The perfect itinerary for a 7-day road trip in Sardinia
- Day 1: San Teodoro
- Day 2: San Pantaleo, Santa Teresa di Gallura, and the Capo Testa Lighthouse
- Day 3: Castelsardo and Stintino
- Day 4: Porto Palmas and Alghero
- Day 5: Bosa, Tinnura and Torre Argentina
- Day 6: Is Arutas and San Salvatore di Sinis
- Day 7: Orgosolo
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The Best 7 Day Travel Itinerary – Sardinia, Italy
Pin this 7 Day Sardinia Travel Itinerary featuring the Best Road Trip Itinerary
Why organize a road trip to Sardinia?
It is a travel experience that gives you absolute freedom, both in terms of schedule and travel, an experience to be had at least once in your life.
You will have the chance to thoroughly enjoy the beauty surrounding you, such as admiring the sunrise from your car or getting excited in front of a sunset in a secret place.
An on-the-road trip will allow you to quietly learn about the features of the Italians who inhabit this land, the Sardinians.
Sardinia is so dense with natural and archaeological beauty that a road trip is the best way to admire them all at your own pace.
Best time to visit Sardinia
Sardinia is the most beautiful region to visit in Italy in summer. It definitely tops the list of the most popular destinations for local tourism, so in July and August you may find the most famous resorts and beaches crowded.
Therefore try to visit in the months of May, June, September, and October if you want to go swimming. Winter is also a good time to visit Sardinia, which enjoys milder temperatures than northern and central Italy.
How to get to Sardinia
Before we begin our road trip around north Sardinia, we need to start with the basics.
There are two options for getting there: crossing by ferry or flying by plane. Choosing the first option, that is the ship, you will have the possibility to travel directly with your car or van.
The ports of departure, in this case, are Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, and Palermo. While returning from Sardinia: Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Porto Torres, Arbatax, and Cagliari.
As for the maritime companies, we find Sardinia and Corsica Ferries, Moby, Grimaldi, GNV, and Tirrenia.
The second option is to travel by air. In this case, the departure airports are Alghero -Fertilia, Cagliari – Elmas, Olbia – Costa Smeralda, and Tortolì – Arbatax.
After that, once you land, you can rely on a car rental company such as rentalcars or Discover Cars, while if you want to rent a van or a camper the best companies I recommend are: coolcampers to explore Sardinia with a vintage van, but also indiecampers, which deals with various models of recreational vehicles.
Also, don’t forget to check out this Italy Trip Planner, which has all the information required for planning the ultimate vacation in Italy. And if you like road trips, you might want to check out The Best Road Trips in Italy, as well. Who knows, you might very well end up ticking another road trip apart from this Sardinia Road Trip, on your trip to Italy.
Cala Brandinchi | Best beach in North Sardinia
The perfect itinerary for a 7-day road trip in Sardinia
- Day 1: San Teodoro
- Day two: San Pantaleo, Santa Teresa di Gallura, Capo Testa Lighthouse.
- Day three: Castelsardo and Stintino.
- Day four: Porto Palmas, Alghero, Capo Caccia/Grotte di Nettuno.
- Day five: Bosa, Tinnura, Torre Argentina.
- Day six: Is Arutas and San Salvatore di Sinis.
- Day seven: Orgosolo.
Day 1: San Teodoro
This itinerary for a 7-day road trip in Sardinia starts from Olbia. From here we head in the direction of San Teodoro, about a 30-45 minute drive.
On the first day after the trip by ferry, it’s good to proceed slowly and relax, so you’ll spend the day among wonderful beaches and swimming in crystal clear waters.
San Teodoro is a very touristy seaside resort during the summer. Here from June to September, the evening market takes place, including handicraft stalls, colours and clubs open until late at night.
After taking a tour of the town, it’s time to enjoy its beaches, the most beautiful in all of Sardinia. I recommend you visit one or more of these five, which are the closest and most reachable and perfect for children as well:
– La Cinta Beach is the first one located in the town of San Teodoro, the best known and also the most crowded during the summer period. Five kilometers of fine white sand, a shallow seabed that slopes slowly. Parking is charged at about 2 euros per hour.
– Isuledda Beach is located south of San Teodoro, about an 8-minute drive away.
This beach is part of the Tavolara Marine Protected Area. Fine sand, shallow waters, and more than crystal clear water.
Just behind it is a small lake that dries up in summer. Parking is totally free and is located near the beach.
– Capo Coda Cavallo Beach is 14 kilometers from the center, about 20 minutes by car.
The view along the road is lovely and the beach is quite narrow, alternating points of rocks, pebbles and sand.
The usually rougher sea at this spot is always crystal clear and almost heavenly. Parking costs about 1 euro per hour and is located near the beach from where a very small downhill walking path starts.
– Cala Brandinchi Beach is perhaps the most renowned after La Cinta. It is nicknamed “Little Tahiti” for its exotic beauty.
It is located 10 kilometers away by car, a 15-minute drive.
Crystal clear water, fine white sand. The seabed remains shallow for many meters and is rich in vegetation, so it is especially suitable for snorkelers.
Since the Summer of 2022 and only during the summer months, it has become limited access. To access the beach one must make reservations twenty-four hours in advance through www.santeodorospiagge.it at a cost of 2 euros per person.
Parking, unfortunately, has a very high cost: 2.50 euros per hour for cars and 5.00 per hour for vans/camper.
– Lu Impostu Beach is one kilometer long, and quite wide, with fine sand and a very shallow seabed. Behind it is the Catranzolu pond, the second largest in San Teodoro.
Like its “twin” Cala Brandinchi the ‘entrance is limited, so in case you go in the summer period follow the same booking directions as Cala Brandinchi.
For parking it is convenient to use the same as Cala Brandinchi given the proximity, otherwise, you can enter from the south side where there is some free parking just a five-minute walk away from the beach.
Valley of the Moon
Day 2: San Pantaleo, Santa Teresa di Gallura, and the Capo Testa Lighthouse
After a good dose of relaxation, it’s time to hit the road! From San Teodoro drive up to the small village of San Pantaleo, which is 40 minutes away. Once you’ve parked your car, enter the village slowly and unhurriedly.
You’ll find yourself in the heart of “Gallura“, which is the local name for referring to northeast Sardinia.
The little low houses one in a row to the other, the handicraft stores, the flowers that make it all the rage in spring and summer. This is one of the Sardinian jewels not to be missed.
You will find no more than fifteen establishments including trattorias, restaurants, and pizzerias. Sit outside and breathe in the real Sardinia and the peace of this place. Be careful, don’t forget that in August the onslaught of tourists is just around the corner!
After a rejuvenating breakfast, you take the car back and in less than an hour, you will find yourself in Santa Teresa di Gallura, a village of about 5,000 inhabitants. What I recommend you do is, of course, a tour of the village, until you get to Rena Bianca Beach right in the center of Santa Teresa.
After a few hours on the beach, go up to the Tower of Longosardo, which is right next door and is one of the most important monuments in Santa Teresa di Gallura. The tower dominates Rena Bianca Beach and is accessible for a modest fee of 2.50 euros, from its terrace you can enjoy a magnificent view. To climb up there is a small flight of steps and from up there you will see Corsica Island perfectly!
Option 2: Day trip to La Maddalena National Park
An alternative to Santa Teresa di Gallura is to reach Palau and visit the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park.
The archipelago includes 62 islands and islets of which two are inhabited: La Maddalena and Caprera.
The archipelago is a natural paradise that should be seen at least once in a lifetime.
Private boat tours depart from Palau daily. Some, like this one, include lunch. Tours last a full day.
Capo Testa Lighthouse
The afternoon is coming to an end and so, where to see a breathtaking sunset from a truly impressive place? About this there is no doubt: the Capo Testa Lighthouse. It is just over four kilometers away, less than ten minutes by car, and is the perfect place to enjoy this natural spectacle.
The mistral that blows hard, the small animals, which if you have a little luck, you can meet on your way.
The lighthouse also overlooks the Valley of the Moon, a place teeming with energy, where some people who follow a lifestyle, as they say, ” hippie,” still live.
This is Capo Testa. History, magic, strong vibes and a Sardinia that will know how to envelop you in all its magnificence.
Day 3: Castelsardo and Stintino
From the area of Santa Teresa di Gallura you go further and further south, in about an hour you will find yourself in the medieval village of Castelsardo, which perched on a large promontory overlooking the sea is another little Sardinian jewel, named for all intents and purposes one of the most beautiful villages in Sardinia and Italy.
I recommend that you start your visit with Doria Castle, the pearl of Castelsardo. It can be visited all year round, and inside is currently the Museum of Mediterranean Interweaving where you can admire true Sardinian craftsmanship including dwarf palm baskets, hand woven with skill and passion by the women of the village.
From the castle, you can also enjoy a breathtaking view, which at night manages to be even more impressive.
Continue walking through the historic center, and you will find many Sardinian craft stores with typical handmade baskets, and you may often come across some local ladies sitting outside their homes working on making these baskets.
An authentic little village, the wicker baskets resting on the stone steps, the small tables of the locals along the alleys, and an explosion of colors from the flowers peeping from balconies. This is a place that will pay you back for the long uphill walk!
Leaving Castelsardo and proceeding in the direction of Sedini, you will encounter after a few minutes the Elephant Rock, a large boulder of volcanic rock rolled down the valley, which the weathering has shaped into something that looks just like that of an elephant. Its special feature is that inside are two Domus de Janas, or “fairy houses,” ancient burial places of the Nuragic civilization.
After lunch, we hit the road again, this time to the northwestern tip of Sardinia, and after an hour’s drive, we get to Stintino for a totally relaxing afternoon.
Here, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia, but I recommend going straight to La Pelosa Beach. Crystal clear water, very shallow for several meters, with fine white sand. You will feel like you have arrived in paradise!
In fact to preserve its ecosystem this beach has become a closed number. Exclusively from June 1 to September 30 it is accessible only by reservation on the website lapelosastintino.it.
Beyond the reservation, it is mandatory to have a mat to lay under your towel. As for parking, the advice is to arrive very early in order to find a spot more easily. It is also possible to pay with the EasyPark app so the actual minutes will be counted.
Be sure not to miss the sunset from the beach, it will be truly unforgettable!
Day 4: Porto Palmas and Alghero
From Stintino you proceed to the heart of the Argentiera Coast, where you will arrive after less than half an hour’s drive, precisely at the beach of Porto Palmas. The beach is located just after the small town of Palmadula, in the municipality of Sassari.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Argentiera. The sand is coarse-grained mixed with white pebbles, the sea is clear and varies from emerald green to blue and turquoise, while the seabed becomes deep after a few meters from the shore. It is a perfect place for diving enthusiasts.
Parking is free and I recommend that you follow the dirt road that runs along the beach, and follow the vans/camper that you will see positioned along the way (beware of the unpaved road), because from up there you can enjoy an incredible view of the whole area, but above all, it is the sunset that is the real highlight of this place.
In the afternoon you continue to descend towards Alghero, and after about 40 minutes of driving, you have reached your destination.
The whole area is rich in history, culture, and archaeology. The visit certainly begins in the historic center, among souvenir stores, typical restaurants, and craft stores selling red coral jewelry, a peculiarity of the area.
In fact, right in Alghero on Via XX Settembre at number 8 is the Coral Museum, where inside is told the story of the Mediterranean Sea and coral. This is because the entire coastline is known as the Coral Riviera.
Walk along the ramparts of Alghero, and then enter the Cathedral of Santa Maria from the main entrance in Piazza Duomo.
There would be so much to say, in Alghero you never stop discovering and exploring, but time is running out and there are other places waiting for you!
But, if you need a break, a perfect stop is definitely the various city beaches: from Lido San Giovanni to Lido di Alghero to the beach of Maria Pia, you are spoiled for choice. If you still have time left, you can take the car and in a few minutes go to Le Bombarde or Lazzaretto beaches.
And so, we arrived again today at sunset time, so what better place than Capo Caccia to admire it in all its beauty? A promontory almost 170 meters high where Neptune’s Caves are located, a must-see!
Bosa | Beach town in Sardinia
Day 5: Bosa, Tinnura and Torre Argentina
We continue our itinerary by driving along the Alghero-Bosa coastal road, one of the most scenic roads in all of Sardinia, which for 45 kilometers offers breathtaking views.
In less than an hour, we arrive in Bosa, a pretty village, the most colorful in all of Sardinia, named one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Italy. Here not to be missed is definitely the Malaspina Castle, the historic district is accessible only on foot, walking through its alleys, colorful houses and cats that move undisturbed through the streets of the village, lost in the colors that distinguish this unique place.
For a break, you’ll just need to go to Bosa Marina, which is a few minutes away from the village, where you’ll find a great beach, with fine, clear sand, clear water with shallow, sandy bottoms, absolutely suitable for families with children.
Now, let’s move just 10 minutes by car where you will find Tinnura, a true hidden gem of Sardinia, a place I highly recommend to immerse yourself in authentic Sardinia. Known as the City of Art, Tinnura is a place far removed from mass tourism.
About 20 years ago, thanks to a redevelopment project, murals were created depicting the Sardinian rural life of the past, making this small town an open-air museum. You will find them everywhere on the facades of houses and it will be fun to look for them, like a little treasure hunt.
To end this day, I’ll tell you a little secret that only locals or those who own a van/camper know, one of the most picturesque places to watch the sunset is in Torre Argentina, the GPS coordinates of the exact place are 40° 19′ 19.2″ N, 8° 26′ 44.34″ E.
This is a private parking lot directly on the cliffs of Torre Argentina, near Bosa, a place that is mainly used as an overnight stop for those with a van or camper. From this spot, you can see the most incredible sunset over the sea in all of Sardinia, don’t miss it!
Sand of Is Arutas Beach, Sardinia
Day 6: Is Arutas and San Salvatore di Sinis
We have almost reached the end of this road trip in Sardinia, a journey that has taken you to discover a part of this magical land. There are other wonderful places waiting to be discovered!
Let’s go further and further down the west coast, until we arrive after a little more than an hour’s drive in the surroundings of Cabras, precisely at the beach of Is Arutas, in the Province of Oristano.
Is Arutas is known as the beach of grains of rice, because its sandy shore is formed by small grains of quartz that really look like little grains of rice that with their shades give such a light color to the beach, almost white, that it makes it very similar to an exotic paradise!
It is unique, which is why it turns out to be one of the best-known and most frequented in the summertime. It is located in the protected area of Sinis, the seabed is deep from the shore and the water goes from deep green to a deep blue. Paid parking is located around the beach, with a daily fee of 10 euros.
In the afternoon, I recommend you visit a very special place that is a 12-minute drive away. I am talking about San Salvatore di Sinis, a small medieval town.
You’ll see a group of dwellings called “Cumbessias,” the church in the center of the village, and a totally surreal atmosphere reminiscent of New Mexico landscapes. In the decades between 1960 and 1990, it was a movie set for various films in the spaghetti western genre, finding yourself here will make you feel like a protagonist in those movies we watched as children!
It is also called the “Ghost Town” because to this day it is almost completely uninhabited, except for the first weekend of September because thanks to the Corsa degli Scalzi, a traditional religious celebration in honor of Saint San Salvatore, it comes completely alive again.
The sunset seen from this small village, in the most authentic Sardinian hinterland will be something to add to the list of the most beautiful moments to remember.
Day 7: Orgosolo
And here we are on the last day of this incredible trip, the melancholy has arrived but I am sure that in just seven days your eyes will have been filled with so much beauty that Sardinia will have entered your heart.
This land is not only paradisiacal beaches and places crowded by mass tourism but also a collection of a thousand facets and to really appreciate it, what you can do is just to go deeper and deeper into its hinterland.
Although today is departure day, there is still time to see a place nestled in the heart of Barbagia, in the Province of Nuoro. In about an hour and a half’s drive, you will find yourself in Orgosolo, at the foot of Supramonte, known as the “village of murals.”
Orgosolo encompasses history, legend, tradition, and art. Famous for the hundreds of murals that decorate the walls of houses throughout the town and is also known for standing out in struggles against the abuse of power by the powerful. Over the years, these signs of strength and rebellion have become the hallmarks of Orgosolo.
These paintings tell of the world as seen from Sardinia, expressing anger and denunciation of injustice. They exude culture, popular struggles, discontent, and social justice.
At this point, I think Orgosolo is the perfect place to end this road trip that in seven days has taken you to discover the real and authentic Sardinia.
Let me know your thoughts about this 7-day road trip in Sardinia, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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