Holidays in Isola Rossa are not only characterised by white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. This is also a strategic starting point for visiting the most beautiful locations in northern Sardinia.
What you must not miss:
Castelsardo (29 km)
This medieval town rises up on a hill over the sea, from where there is a beautiful view, and is ideal for taking romantic walks through the picturesque ancient lanes as the sun begins to set. The remains of the town fortifications and castle dating back to the 12th century which were built by the Doria family have been preserved here. You can visit the Museum of Basket-Making in the historical centre or relax in one of the excellent restaurants or bars. Don’t forget to take a photo of the rock which is reminiscent of an elephant (Roccia dell´Elefante) which can be found on the road into Castelsardo.
Aggius (27 km)
This old stone-built town is nestled in suggestive countryside known as Valle della Luna (Lunar Landscape) full of huge smoothed granite boulders, craggy stones and cork oaks. You can visit the Museum of Bandits and the Ethnographic Museum in the historical centre.
Tempio Pausania (33 km)
The capital and cultural centre of the Gallura region lies at the foot of Monte Limbara (1359 m) and is a fine example of traditional Gallurese architecture, for which use of grey granite is typical.
Together with Olbia, it is the administrative centre of the whole Olbia-Tempio province. This mountain town was already a very important centre during the Nuragic period. As proof of this, you will find several important monuments in the surrounding area such as Nuraghe Maiori, Nuraghe Polcu or La Tomba dei Giganti (Tomb of the Giants) “Pascaredda”.
Casteldoria spa (Terme di Casteldoria 22km)
This natural lake with hot springs is a popular destination, in particular if the weather is bad because it is well protected from the weather. On the banks, you will find black thermal mud which you rub on your body and leave to take effectJ The thermal springs originate at a depth of 2,000-3,000 metres and bubble up to the surface of the earth at a temperature of 65 – 78°C. Entry is free of charge. If you prefer covered thermal swimming pools with whirlpool massage baths, follow signs with Piscine Termali di Casteldoria in the town of Viddalba. The spa offers wellness, fitness and a rehabilitation centre. There is a swimming pool here (25 m) with thermal water with a temperature of 27°C. Entry is subject to a fee.
Santa Teresa di Gallura e Capo Testa (48 km)
This important tourist port ensures a daily connection between Sardinia and Corsica which are only 12 km apart. Take a walk through the historical centre all the way to the end of the town where the Aragon watch tower Torre di Longosardo dating back to the 16th century rises up into the sky. A unique and unforgettable view will open up for you from here over the whole of the Bocche di Bonifaccio straits which are dominated by Corsica. And also of the beautiful Rena Bianca beach with its white sand and crystal clear water which is only a few minutes’ walk away. We recommend that nature lovers visit Capo Testa (a peninsular near Santa Teresa di Gallura). This enchanting place, which is truly one of a kind, boasts majestic granite crags which have been smoothed by the wind over the centuries.
Palau e Capo d’Orso (61 km)
The Palau port ensures a connection with La Maddalena and Caprera islands (a ferry goes there every 10 minutes). Pleasure cruisers sail from here every day to the archipelago of the La Maddalena national park. The famous “Bear Rock” (Roccia dell’Orso) rises up into the sky a mere 5 minutes from Palau. The rock shaped like a bear is visible from a long way away and this is why it was used in the past as a landmark by sailors. You can now reach this along a nature trail (entry costs 2 euros).
Costa Smeralda, Arzachena and Porto Cervo (85 km)
The renowned Costa Smeralda region is popular among VIPs and celebrities from all over the world. It is a 20 km coastal strip full of beautiful coves, bays, beaches and islets. The most famous centre is Porto Cervo (“Port Stag”), where the boats and yachts of the wealthy from all over the world lay anchor. If you are a fan of history, stop off in the town of Arzachena which is surrounded by numerous archaeological monuments (the nuraghes and the Tomb of the Giants).
Alghero, Capo Caccia and Neptune’s Grotto (96 km)
This picturesque port is also known as Little Barcelona and the remains of the Spanish occupation can be found here to this very day. Catalan is still spoken among the local inhabitants. Alghero is famous for its red coral which was until recently retrieved in the surrounding area. The historical centre is surrounded by old fortifications which served as a defensive system for the city for centuries. If you take a walk on the walls, a beautiful view will open up for you of Capo Caccia where the famous Neptune’s Grotto is located. You can visit the cave by boat which sets out every day directly from Alghero or you can drive to Capo Caccia (approx. 15 minutes’ drive) and descend to the cave via the famous 654 steps carved into the cliff.
Nuraghe Palmavera (96 km)
The complex of nuraghes at Palmavera lies on the main road between Alghero and Capo Caccia and is the most important archaeological monument in northern Sardinia. Nuraghes are peculiar to Sardinia. They are circular tower-like structures made from blocks (with no cement) which stand alone or in groups and whose age is estimated to be about three and a half thousand years. You will find about seven thousand of them on the island.
Stintino, Asinara National Park (90 km)
A popular tourist location, in particular due to its amazingly beautiful “La Pelosa” beach with fine white sand and colours of the sea reminiscent of the Caribbean. Stintino and Porto Torres are the ideal starting point for trips into the national park and the island of the same name Asinara with an area of 52 km2. A further 10,000 hectares of surrounding sea with beautiful beaches also fall within the sphere of protection of this park.
Sassari (60 km)
The second largest city in Sardinia and the administrative centre of the province of the same name. Recommended not only for shopping. You can visit the beautiful Piazza Italia square, the Baroque house or Sanna Museum.