If you want to see the best of Sardinia in 10 days and are looking for a great road trip itinerary, you have arrived to the right place.
Sardinia is a great place to visit year-round, but it inevitably attracts lots of attention during the summer months, when travelers and locals alike get to enjoy the stunning beaches along with the beautiful villages and small towns.
Coming up with a good Sardinia itinerary is easier said than done. With its roughly 22000 square km, this is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean (the biggest being Sicily) and with a large mountain chain at its center and more mountains scattered throughout its surface, traveling from one place to another can actually take longer than expected.
That’s why, if you only have 10 days in Sardinia, it’s better to concentrate in a small, circumscribed area and explore that more in-depth.
Not sure where to start? Worry not! This post contains a carefully crafted itinerary, as researched and experienced first hand by a local.
Continue reading for the perfect itinerary for northern Sardinia.
A Fabulous 10 Days Sardinia Road Trip Itinerary
The following Sardinia itinerary is perfect for those who want to explore the north of the island – from the lovely Alghero and Bosa to the lively Santa Teresa di Gallura and the exclusive Costa Smeralda.
While it’s perfectly doable in 10 days, you can definitely add other destinations along the way if you have more time. I will make sure to point out places that can be easily added.
The best way to follow this itinerary is on a road-trip – so make sure to pick up your car or campervan vehicle as soon as you land. In any case, public transportation in Sardinia is still somewhat lacking, so you are better off with your own car.
GOOD TO KNOW: You can follow this itinerary the other way around!
Days 1 – 2 – 3: Alghero
Alghero is a beautiful small town on the north-western coast of Sardinia. This Catalan enclave (indeed, Catalan is the main language here) is perfect for a city break, with its beautiful bastion perfect for a sunset walk; the narrow alleys; the churches; the shopping opportunities, and the many good restaurants and bars.
At an easy drive from the city, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The most popular ones are Le Bombarde and the adjacent Lazzaretto – two small coves surrounded by a forest of Mediterranean pine trees home to very loud cicadas. Not far from these two beaches, in Porto Conte Nature Reserve, you will find Mugoni beach, a stretch of fine white sand from where you can enjoy views of Capo Caccia promontory.
Further from the city, at about 45 minutes drive, Rena Majore de la Nurra can be reached via a panoramic trail that offers stunning birds-eye views of the beach.
Argentiera, at about the same distance, is another beautiful small cove.
Alghero offers some of the best diving opportunities in Sardinia. The area around Capo Caccia and Neptune’s Caves are famous for that. Want more? The caves have some of the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites you’ll ever see. And Capo Caccia is known for some of the best sunsets in Sardinia. The views of Foradada island from there are breathtaking.
Where to stay and eat in Alghero
There is no shortage of good places to stay in Alghero. If you fancy something plain, Aigua is a nice guesthouse in the center of town.
The best food in Alghero is found at Nautilus, a fancy yet unpretentious restaurant right at the entrance of the walled city. Make sure to book in advance if you want a table on the terrace overlooking the harbor.
Day 4: Bosa
At just 40 minutes drive from Alghero, Bosa is often referred to as one of Italy’s prettiest villages. While many opt to go there just on a day trip, you should factor a night there to enjoy everything that it has to offer, and two if you wish to enjoy the natural sites nearby.
The most impressive sight in Bosa is the Malaspina Castle, which thanks to its location is a great vantage point for views of the city: you will see the Temo river flow through the colorful village and all the way to the sea. There isn’t much to the castle itself – just the defensive walls and a couple of watchtowers. But the chapel with its frescoes is worth seeing.
The nearby Cumpultittu is one of the most popular beaches in the area – keep in mind this is a rocky/stony cove that requires a short walk to get there. If you fancy something unique, head to Cani Malu (literally translated as “bad dog”) – a swimming hole in the midst of the whitest rock formations with fabulously clear waters. Avoid on windy or stormy days as it can be dangerous and make sure to wear rock shoes to get in the water, as there are a lot of sea-urchins.
Where to stay and eat in Bosa
Palazzo Pischedda is the best place to stay in town. The beautiful rooms have incredible views.
GOOD TO KNOW: Make sure to try Malvasia, Bosa’s most famous wine. It’s a sweet wine that is hard to find outside of Sardinia.
Hotel Mannu is one of the best restaurants in the area. You’d hardly give it a second look from the outside, but order their risotto and you’ll want to eat there again and again.
MORE TIME? Enjoy the beaches of Stintino such as La Pelosa, Pazzona, or Le Saline, and then hop on a ferry to spend a night in Asinara Island.
Days 6 and 7: Santa Teresa di Gallura via Castelsardo
Leave Bosa early to head to Santa Teresa di Gallura, the main town in an area that is famous for the production of Vermentino wine. You have two options to get there. The shortest way (around 2 hours and 20 minutes) goes via Tempio Pausania and follows a very windy road; the longest one (around 2 hours and 40 minutes drive) is a coastal road that is actually better and goes by the lovely village of Castelsardo, which similarly to Bosa has a hilltop castle. Make sure to pop in for a quick visit before you make your way to Santa Teresa.
Santa Teresa di Gallura is home to some of the prettiest beaches in the north of Sardinia. You won’t have to go far from town to enjoy a day basking in the sun: Rena Bianca, the urban beach, is at 5 minutes walk from the town center.
Rena Maiore is a quick drive outside of town. It’s a beautiful, sandy beach with clear waters. You will find a large parking lot (beware it is not free) and one kiosk on its eastern side.
If you don’t mind the short hike, the tiny Cala Spinosa is a stunning cove with clear waters.
You will find it on the way to Capo Testa (which is a perfect sunset spot). Parking there is a bit of an issue, but you may want to try your luck.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: One of the most popular sunset spots in the area along with Capo Testa is Valle della Luna. If you decide to go there, beware this is a nudist beach where many decide to camp (unauthorized camping).
GOOD TO KNOW: From the tourist harbor of Santa Teresa di Gallura you can take boat trips to the islands of Corsica (Isola Piana and Lavezzi) and the ferry to Corsica.
Where to stay and eat in Santa Teresa di Gallura
Hotel Canne Al Vento is located just outside the center of town. It has nice, comfortable rooms and offers a very filling breakfast.
The best restaurant in town is by far Da Thomas. Expect to spend at least €60 for a meal of delicious fish and seafood – the octopus is a must-try.
Day 9: Maddalena Archipelago
Palau is an easy 30 minutes drive from Santa Teresa di Gallura, and the perfect starting point for boat trips around Maddalena Archipelago. This is one of the most beautiful places you can hope to visit in your life, with stunning pink beaches such as the protected Budelli, and the small coves of Caprera Island such as Cala Napoletana.
This catamaran tour stops at the nicest places.
Once you get off the boat, head to Baja Sardinia – it’s just a 30 minutes drive.
MORE TIME? Why not spend a night or two in La Maddalena and enjoy more of its beaches? You can also visit Garibaldi (Italian hero of the 19th century) in Caprera.
Days 9 and 10: The beaches of Costa Smeralda
The getaway of the rich and famous, Costa Smeralda is probably the most famous place to visit in Sardinia, though locals will generally agree that it’s the least Sardinian place on the island. Yet, if you are here – why not? The beaches are gorgeous, the fine dining opportunities infinite, and there is no shortage of good (albeit expensive) accommodation options.
Baja Sardinia is a good starting point to explore the area, as it’s outside the hustle and bustle (and the most expensive places) but a quick enough drive.
Among the beaches you should visit there are Capriccioli, Grande and Piccolo Pevero, Spiaggia del Principe, and Romazzino. Keep in mind they get incredibly crowded, so head out nice and early for a good spot, or plan your visit around lunchtime, when many leave to go to lunch.
Make sure to also visit the nearby Porto Cervo, home to a luxury shopping mall and where the most luxurious yachts you’ll ever see are docked. The nearby Porto Rotondo is just as beautiful and only slightly more low key.
HIDDEN GEM: Fancy seeing a place not many know about? Head to Porto San Rafael.
SUNSET SPOT: The best sunset spot in the area is Phi Beach, at a mere 3 minutes drive from Baja Sardinia. Book a table in advance for fantastic drinks with a view.
From Baja Sardinia, it is a 40 minutes drive to Olbia Costa Smeralda international airport, from where you can fly back to mainland Italy for your connecting flight, or directly to your final destination.
MORE TIME? Head to the lovely San Teodoro. It’s the perfect base to enjoy the gorgeous local beaches such as Cala Brandinchi, and for boat trips to Tavolara or Molara island.
Where to stay and eat in Baja Sardinia
CelesteDiMare is a nice, family-managed bed and breakfast with just a handful of rooms curated in all details.
There are many good restaurants in Baja Sardinia. The most acclaimed one is Punta Baja – a combination of a perfect location, good service, and delicious food make it a favorite of both locals and tourists.
How To Get To Sardinia
For the purpose of this itinerary, you are better off flying into Alghero Fertilia international airport and out of Olbia Costa Smeralda international airport. Both are connected to Italy and other European countries by main and budget airlines.
Depending on where you are coming from you will have to catch a connecting flight via Rome Fiumicino or via Milan airport.
Both airports also offer seasonal charter flights to extra-EU countries such as Israel.
And then, of course, you can also get to Sardinia by ferry boat or private yacht. The choice is yours!
Claudia Tavani is a former human rights lawyer with a passion for traveling. Born and raised in Sardinia, she has recently launched Strictly Sardinia with the idea of filling in the gap of the often missing information about the island, which she believes is the most beautiful in the world. You can also follow her on Instagram here.