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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
One thing you’ll notice once you spend a holiday in Sardinia, is that wherever you go, whatever time of the year, you can be sure to find some local celebration with country festivals, wine & food tastings, parades, and popular dances and chants in traditional costumes. Traditions run strong in Sardinia, and yearly celebrations like Carnival and Easter are astounding and unique events. In autumn, the central region of the island, known as Barbagia, hosts the renowned ‘Autunno in Barbagia’ hospitality festival where the prettiest country manors open up their doors so that everyone can visit and enjoy their lovely homes.
Thanks to its mild year-round climate, Sardinia is a perfect place to spend the holidays, particularly off-season; not only is it possible to bath in the sea from April to November, but in spring and autumn the majestic landscapes of Sardinia explode with colours and scents. So trekking is a very popular way to fully immerse yourself in nature, with hikes delving into forests, and along lakes, dunes (the Piscinas complex), and mountains (Gennargentu). Canyoning is also a widely-practiced sport in Sardinia, especially near the Barbagia region, where the 400-metre deep Su Gorropu limestone gorges are among the deepest canyons in Europe.
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.