Bicycling Sardinia - Alghero to Cagliari
The Italian island of Sardinia is renowned for its rich history, colorful handcrafts, and endless miles of undisturbed beaches. Our tour gives you a chance to discover this Mediterranean jewel that is often overlooked by American tourists. Spend 11 days exploring breathtaking coastal roads, pedaling ancient forests, and hiking to ruins that predate Roman civilization by more than 1,000 years - all while enjoying traditional Italian meals and wine. Other highlights are a visit to an excavated Roman town, a fabulous shepherds' barbecue, and swimming in pristine waters.
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Day 1: Tour begins in Alghero, Italy
Highlights: Seaside Alghero, Catalan & Gothic architecture
There are plenty of ways to get to Alghero including international air connections or by boat from Genoa to Porto Torres. Alghero was a Catalan outpost and has a dialect that is still a mix of Catalan and Italian. Our seaside hotel is a 15 minute walk from the historic town center. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and recommend an easy test ride before our special welcome dinner tonight.
Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D
Lodging: Hotel Carlos V
Day 2: Bicycle Alghero to Tresnuraghes
Highlights: Scenic coastal riding, the town of Bosa
We'll follow the coast south toward Bosa this morning. Take your time and enjoy the roller coaster ride this morning as the reality of this mountainous island sinks in - you're actually cycling suspended between the sea and mountains! Bosa is our first stop and we recommend you take time to explore this fascinating town before enjoying lunch here. A final climb through small coastal vineyards brings us to a plateau dotted with tiny traditional villages. Since Roman times, the Sardinians have never really lived by the sea as pirates and bad weather were more common at sea level.
Distance: 59 km (37 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Villa Asfodeli. September 26th departure will be at Villa Maison Tresnuraghes
Day 3: Bicycle to Cabras
Highlights: Two-night stay, traditional basket makers, olive oil visit
We remain inland today, visiting the towns of Flussío (famous for its home-made baskets) and Tinnura (famous for its murals) on our way to Cuglieri. After a visit to an olive oil press, which still makes olive oil from trees planted by Spanish noble families in the 16th Century, we'll fly downhill to a beautiful beach for a refreshing swim and lunch. A flat ride brings us to our hotel this afternoon.
Distance: 60 km (37 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Hotel Villa Canu
Day 4: Rest day, Roman ruins, optional ride to the beach
Highlights: Optional ride to the Roman ruins of Tharros, explore hidden beaches and bays
Today is a day off the bikes for those who prefer to relax. Or we'll offer an optional ride to the Phoenician and Roman ruins of Tharros on the coast, where you can enjoy a relaxing swim at the beach. Those with an urge for exploration can spend the entire day cycling to all the little bays and beaches along this wild coast. Your return ride will bring you by salt marshes inhabited by fish and pink flamingoes. Try some famous "bottarga" (fish roe) made in this area, either on pasta or on pizza!
Distance: your choice 0-44 km (0-27 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Villa Canu
Day 5: Bicycle into Sardinia's mountains to Tonara
Highlights: Mountain climbs, cork tree forests, "torrone" (nougat) and bellmaker visits
We head deep into Sardinia's interior today. Our route follows the Tirso River to Fordongianus, an important ancient Roman city, and then heads up to Samugheo, known for its knotted white woolen rugs. After lunch and/or a gelato stop in Samugheo, continue climbing to Atzara and Sorgono, where the summit (900+ meters or 2880 feet) awaits. Our destination is the small mountain town of Tonara, famous throughout Italy for its honey and egg-white "torrone" (nougat) and its artisanal bellmakers that help herders keep track of sheep, goats and cattle.
Distance: 85 km (53 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Belvedere 2
Day 6: Bicycle to Su Gologone
Highlights: Coastal mountains of Sardinia, resort hotel with pool, traditional masks of Mamoiada
We start the day with a well-earned downhill before climbing to the friendly town of Gavoi and our lunch stop in Mamoiada. We'll regroup for a brief visit to the traditional mask museum to learn about the haunting masks that dominate traditional festivals before continuing on through the center of Sardinia's historic "bandit" region, Orgosolo in the Gennargentu (silver) mountains. Our destination is the serene mountain resort hotel of Su Gologone, nestled under the imposing white limestone mountain Supramonte.
Distance: 85 km (53 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Su Gologone
Day 7: Hike to Nuragic Village
Highlights: Visit to prehistoric Nuragic village, shepherds' barbecue
Leave your cycling shoes behind today as we enjoy a hike to some of the ruins and rock dwellings of the ancient Nuragic civilization that once inhabited this area. After our hike, we'll share a barbecue in the mountains with local shepherds. An early return to our hotel allows for serious rest and relaxation at the swimming pool before dinner together.
Distance: No Cycling. Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Su Gologone
Day 8: Bicycle Su Gologone to Santa Maria
Highlights: Spectacular limestone mountains, rugs and olive oil of Dorgali
Hold on to your helmets! We go from 100 meters (328 feet) to 1,000 meters (3280 feet) and then back down to sea level as we cycle through some of the most spectacular limestone mountains in the Mediterranean basin. You'll want to stop in Dorgali to see the rugs, traditional gold filigree jewelry, and Sardinian ceramic designs before a long but gentle scenic climb brings us to the top of the pass. From there it's downhill to the beach in Santa Maria Navarrese and our home for the night.
Distance: 75 km (47 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Nicoletta
Day 9: Bicycle Santa Maria to Costa Rei
Highlights: Wild countryside
Today's ride is long, but with gently rolling terrain through the villages of Bari Sardo, Tertenìa, Villaputzu and Muravera. The scenery is bucolic with views of the mountain range that separates the valley we are riding through from the sea. We'll enjoy glimpses of the Tyrrhenian Sea toward the end of the ride, one of the two seas that flank mainland Italy (the other is the Adriatic Sea between Croatia and Italy).
Distance: 113 km (70 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Il Vascello
Day 10: Bicycle Costa Rei to southern coast of Sardinia
Highlights: Coastal riding, Villasimius, Cagliari
We cycle to the south coast of Sardinia near one of the most famous beaches in Cagliari. We recommend stopping in Villasimius for a midmorning cappuccino and cornetto, a great ice cream, or just to have a walk on the famous beach. We'll pedal into Cagliari to our hotel for our final evening and dinner together.
Distance: 74 km (46 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Regina Margherita.
Day 11: Tour ends in Cagliari, Italy
After breakfast, we'll say goodbye. If time allows stay a few extra days in this Mediterranean paradise.
HighlightsQuiet country roads, Spectacular mountain vistas, Great food, great coastal bicycle rides, Traditions dating back to pre-Roman times
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights, 7 dinners with wine, 1 lunch & 10 breakfasts plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Arrive/DepartAlghero Airport (AHO) / Cagliari-Elmas Airport (CAG)
Total Distance518 - 562 km (320 - 347 miles)
Daily DistanceDaily average 65 - 70 km (40 - 43 miles)
Rating401 Rolling terrain along the coast with more challenging climbs as we cross the island from west to east.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes May 17-27, 2015 $4895 $650 4 More to Guarantee the Departure Book it Sep 26-Oct 6, 2015 $4895 $650 Guaranteed to Go Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Bicycling the Mediterranean: Corsica and Sardinia
The Mediterranean is on of the most attractive vacation destinations, and its islands are renowned to be amongst the finest bicycling locations on the planet.
Italy Trip Planner
Read up on country customs, transportation information, culinary specialites, and more!
We've traveled enough and loaded enough luggage to have some useful suggestions to help you pack.
Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?
Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.
ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.
- Rick's suggestions for cycling maps of Italy
- Shopping Tips
A Pearl in the Mediterranean
Crossing Sardinia: An article by Gregg Bleakney in Adventure Cycling Magazine
Authentic Italian Food
Lonely Planet writes about expectations on meals in Italy: it may be different than you make at home, but you will be impressed nevertheless!
Joe Friel - Cycling past 50
This book contains a wealth of information for the over fifty rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become a better cyclist at the same time.
Pasta for Dinner
A simple and tasty pasta for an Italian-themed meal as you plan your trip to ride bikes in Italy.
Sardinian Malloreddus Pasta Recipe
Malloreddus alla Campidanese is a holiday specialty; here's a recipe from a Sardinian chef.
Two Wheeled View by Traveler Rod Harris
Rod Harris joined us for the May 2013 Sardinia ride and wrote a fabulous blog along the way.
- Bicycling the Mediterranean: Corsica and Sardinia
Challenging but very "doable"cycling. Great mix of rural and urban experience. Beautiful Mediterranean weather. Very interesting cultural exposure.Gordon B., Calgary, Alberta
Sardinia is my favorite tour. I loved the cycling, natural beauty, and the rich history and culture of the region.Mary Ann D., Pleasonton, CA
Loved this trip. Each day there was an activity or experience to look forward to. I think it was our best so far.Kathy E., Clarksburg, Ontario
Unbelievable! Doing both Corsica and Sardinia back to back was the trip of a life time.Bruce T., Thornbury, Ontario
What was your favorite experience on this trip? It is hard to pick one thing. The scenery was great, the bell maker, rug weaver, basket weaver, olive press guys, ... the barber!!! Our off the bike trek to the Nuragi ruins. Food was wonderful! Great group of riders and tour leaders.Kay F., Ft Collins, CO
This tour offered challenging rides, beautiful scenery and offered excellent cultural information about Sardinia. The new titanium bikes were great, the hotels exceeded expectations and the food was wonderful!Alice C., Lake Jackson, TX
Bikes were wonderful! Never had such a great bike furnished by a tour company. Beautiful scenery, great tour leaders, lots of fun. One of the best tours I have been onMarion C., Lake Jackson, TX
It was amazing to do Cycling Corsica and Sardinia back to back. The riding in Corsica is second to none with its wild beauty and then to do Sardinia where even the mountains seem polished. There is such a contrast in these two islands that are so close together. This trip was without a doubt at the top of our list as the most fabulous trips we have done, which now number 17 in Europe.Sharon M., Vancouver, BC, Canada
Everything was 100% - the usual ExperiencePlus! experience. You always do it so well and the attention to detail is second to none. Bravo.Jane C. & Jeff H., Lucca, Italy
Another great trip from Experience Plus! Roll on the next one!Heather B., Kirkcaldy, Scotland
This trip was the best ever; and I give it a 15!!Stu W., Boulder, CO
The riding in Sardinia was awesome. The quality of the roads was great, with good climbs and marvelous descents. The routes were just beautiful.Steve M.
Dear ExperiencePlus!Terri & Jay R.
What a wonderful surprise! After a long day of biking in Sardinia, we checked into our room at Su Gologne and discovered a wonderful basket filled with delicious treats from you all. Thank you for making our honeymoon extra special. We truly enjoyed the bike tour. Jay and I are planning next year's tour. Thanks again!
Menlo Park, CA
Dear Rick,Phil B.
The staff far exceeded all my expectations. From my experiences they set the standard for excellence. They were always there to help, to guide, and most of all, to make the customer feel special. Looking forward to our next trip.