Its name means ‘happy’, and that’s how you’ll feel when the lively town of Olbia is the first to welcome you to the treasures of Sardinia: the second you step off the plane or boat, the rapturous fragrance of Mediterranean scrub will revive your senses and make you feel brand new. And that’s just the start of what you’re going to experience on this extraordinary island: the harsh and magical landscape with its wind-sculpted red rocks, the charm of ancient herdsmen traditions, the luxurious lifestyle of the Costa Smeralda jet-set, not to mention emerald green crystalline waters like you won’t find anywhere else in Europe.
Main City Rome
Surface 376.10 km²
Phi Beach is the perfect spot for an open-air laid-back party night in Olbia. The Costa Smeralda is notorious for being ultra-posh and ‘invite only’. However, some of its most celebrated luxury joints and nightclubs seem to have lost some of their appeal recently. Since the secret of charm is always attitude and personality, it’s easy to see why Phi Beach– Lounge Bar & Disco Club in Baja Sardinia – has rapidly become one of the coolest places to spend the night dancing on the seashore under the stars, in a totally relaxed and easygoing atmosphere where you’ll find very different kinds of people, but all having a blast.
On weekends, Olbia locals drive 8 km south until they reach Murta Maria on the coastal road, turn left and 1 km further they pull into Porto Istana, a heavenly beach whose shore varies from rocky to grainy to ultra-fine white sands, the translucent waters undulating from emerald to turquoise to deep blue. No you’re not in paradise. The only thing that clues you in to this fact is that there aren’t any palm trees. Bathing here when it’s not too crowded is almost a mystical experience. Just don’t expect your friends to believe you didn’t Photoshop the pictures.
Olbia’s surroundings are especially interesting, as the archaeological remains bear witness to the presence of ancient civilizations on the island. Among the ruins from the Neolithic age, some of the most important are the Cabu Abbas nuraghic complexes (known as Riu Mulinu), the Tomb of Giants of Su Monte and S’Ape, mysterious megalithic constructions dating back as far as 1800 to 1100 BC, the nearby Castle of Pedres, a hilltop fortress from 200 BC that dominates Olbia Bay, and the Holy Well of Sa Testa (800-600 BC), just 5 km outside Olbia, easily accessible from the panoramic road to Golfo Aranci.