10 days in Sardinia: the ultimate itinerary

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How to spend 9, 10 or 11 days in Sardinia?

You’re planning to visit Sardinia in 10 days?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your trip, I have prepared for you a 10 days itinerary in Sardinia. During your stay, you will discover the best places to visit in northern Sardinia such as the Costa Smeralda, Maddalena islands, Castelsardo or even the magnificent Gulf of Orosei

In addition to the must-see attractions, I will also give you all my best tips as well as a list of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in 9, 10 or 11 days in Sardinia?

1) Costa Smeralda / Porto Cervo (2 days)

To visit Sardinia in 10 days, the best is to arrive at Olbia airport, in the Northeastern part of the island.

If you didn’t come with your own car, the first things will be to get your rental car at the airport. Renting a car is for sure the best way to visit a good part of Sardinia in 10 days!

I personally always use Rentalcars.com website when I want to rent a car. It’s very easy to use and you can:

  • Compare prices between different car rental agencies in Sardinia an read reviews
  • Get a full protection insurance. You will get fully refunded in case of any damage or if your rental car is stolen during your 10 days itinerary in Sardinia. Tested and approved! They refunded me more than 1200 euros to date
  • Cancel or modify your booking for free.

If you already know your travel dates, you should book your car now to get the best deal. Click on the button below to compare rental car prices for a 9-10 days trip to Sardinia:

Once in your car, it will be time to leave Olbia, as there is nothing special to see there. So let’s head to the first stop of your 9-10 days stay in Sardinia: La Costa Smeralda, the fanciest coast of the island.

The coast stretches from the Gulf of Cugnana to the Gulf of Arzachena and is home to several renown coastal resorts: Porto Rotondo, Cannigione or Porto Cervo.

On the road between Olbia and Porto Cervo, you’ll start your holidays by gazing at stunning beaches and, why not, stop at one of them to take a dip. 

There are many beaches to choose from: Liscia Ruja beach, Capriccioli beach, Romazzino beach or the famous Principe beach. They are all amazing!

Afterwards, it will be time to go to Porto Cervo and spend the night there.

Principe beach Costa Smeralda
Principe beach, on the Costa Smeralda

For your 2nd day in Sardinia, you will start by visiting Porto Cervo, the capital of the Costa Smeralda.

This coastal resort is very popular among the jet set. Every summer, rich and famous people from all other the world moor their yacht in the marina and go shopping in the luxury boutiques. 

But don’t worry, even if the luxury boutiques are out of your budget, this small town is still worth a visit!

Beyond the beautiful beaches and luxurious vibe, the area is also famous for its archeological sites. You can go explore the surroundings of Arzachena (25min driving from Porto Cervo) and visit a few nuraghes and Giant’s graves.

In the same area, you will also find San Pantaleo, a typical Sardinian village. This authentic place also offers a beautiful view over the mountains and the region.

And to end the day in style, let’s go to the beach! You can either go to one close to Porto Cervo, or head to another seaside resort: Poltu QuatuCannigione or Baia Sardinia.

For more information about the Costa Smeralda, you should read my detailed article: The 10 Best things to do in the Costa Smeralda.

Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo, the capital of Costa Smeralda, in Sardinia

Where to stay on the Costa Smeralda

You get it, the Costa Smeralda is the most touristic and expensive place of Sardinia. There are many luxury hotels, so it’s really perfect if you’re looking for an upscale experience!

However, the best hotels are fully booked months in advance, so you should really book your accommodation as early as possible.

  • Residenza Capriccioli: Located just 3min walking from Cappricioli beach and 8km away from Porto Cervo. Studio and apartment with kitchenette and balcony/terrace starting from 100€ per night. Considering the area, it’s one of the cheapest accommodations available so book ahead of time! Strong points: walking distance to the beach, the swimming pools, great location. The best choice on the Costa Smeralda if you’re traveling on a budget!
  • Grand Hôtel Poltu Quatu: Located in Poltu Quatu, 12min away from the beach. Very spacious and bright double room, with traditional Sardinian furniture, starting from 190€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: the location, excellent breakfast, friendly staff. It’s my favorite on the Costa Smeralda for its amazing value for money!
  • Cervo Hotel,Costa Smeralda Resort: Located in Porto Cervo, 15min walking from the beach. This 5* hotel offers comfortable and warm double rooms, starting from 280€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: exceptional setting, staff always available, calm, nicely decorated. It’s my recommendation for a romantic stay on the Costa Smeralda!
  • Cala Di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel: Located in a natural setting, only 6 min walking from the beach. This luxury hotel on Costa Smeralda offers splendid double rooms with a view on the gardens or on Cala di Volpe bay, starting from 400€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: 5 stars service, the private beach, stunning setting, friendly staff. It’s the best choice for a luxury stay on the Costa Smeralda!

2) The Maddalena archipelago (3 days)

Next stop in your 10 days road trip in Sardinia: the Maddalena archipelago. 

The archipelago is made of 7 islands, all gorgeous and famous for their stunning beaches with turquoise crystal clear water.

From the Costa Smeralda, you will be able to reach Palau (40 minutes away by car), the departure point of the ferries going to La Maddalena.

There are several ferry companies to choose from, with frequent departures all day long. They all offer exactly the same service, so simply choose the schedule that will suit you the best!

It costs 40€ for 2 people and one car and the trip lasts 20 min.

The boat will take you to the main island of the archipelago: Maddalena island.

For your first day, you should drive around the island on the panoramic road and enjoy the landscape. There are a few nice viewpoints along the road, and, of course, you can stop at any beach along the way!

The most popular beaches are Bassa Trinita beach, di Monte di Rena beach, and Spalmatore beach, but my favorite one is Cappocchia du Purpu beach (“octopus head” in Italian).

It may not be a very attractive name, but with its big rocks and turquoise water, it looks a bit like the Seychelles! My advice: bring a good picnic for a perfect day!

Spend the night in one of the recommended accommodations below.

Ile de la Maddalena
Maddalena island, Capocchia du Purpu beach

Let’s continue your 9-10 days trip to Sardinia and go to Caprera island, the 2nd biggest of the Maddalena archipelago.

No need to take another ferry to get there, there’s a bridge connecting the two islands. 

Caprera is a wilder island and a great hiking destination. There are many beautiful beaches, and most of them are only accessible by boat or on foot.

I personally loved Cala Serena, Caprarese, Coticcio and Brigantina beach. If you’re lucky, you may even see some of the famous wild goats during one of your walk, so keep your eyes open!

2 spots on the island offers a beautiful 360° scenic view: the Teialone lookout tower and La Batteria Poggio Rasu Superiore. Definitely a great place to visit during your trip to Sardinia!

At the end of the day, head back to La Maddalena and spend another night there.

For your last day in La Maddalena, you should go on a 1-day boat trip to discover the other islands of the archipelago (only accessible by boat).

This excursion departs from the port of La Maddalena and will take you to amazing beaches and coves on Budelli, Santa Maria, Spargi and Razzoli island.

Tickets are 40€ per person, lunch included.

As these cruises are super popular, you need to book yours in advance by clicking here.

Spend one last night on Maddalena island.

If you want more information about La Maddalena, you should read my detailed article: The 10 best things to do in La Maddalena.

Where to stay in La Maddalena

  • AHR Residence Leonis La Maddalena: Located in the center of La Maddalena. Fully furnished spacious studio starting from 70€ per night. Strong points: the location (very close to the port and restaurants), fully equipped kitchen, high quality bedding.
  • Residenza Mordini: Located only 100 metes way from the Maddalena port. Comfortable and spacious double room starting from 110€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: warm welcome, quiet atmosphere, close to the city center, homemade breakfast. It’s my favorite place in Maddalena for its great value for money!
  • Residenza Marginetto: Located on the Northern part of the island, and just one minute walking from the beach. Holiday home with kitchen, living room, patio and barbecue starting from 110€ per night. Strong points: the very quiet location at the edge of the island, stunning surroundings, direct access to the beach. This is the best choice for relaxing holidays!
  • Grand Hotel Ma&Ma Resort: Located 100 meters away from the Punta Tegge beach. This luxury hotel, the only 5 stars of the island, offers splendid double rooms starting from 250€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: the pool, the spa, the very attentive staff, the proximity to the beach. It’s the best hotel for a luxury stay in the Maddalena archipelago!
Caprera
Caprera island

3) Capo Testa / Santa Teresa di Gallura (1 day)

Your 10 days tour in Northern Sardinia continues, and it’s now time to say goodbye to the Maddalena islands!

So first, take the ferry back to Palau

Once back in Palau, drive directly to Capo Testa, a peninsula located close to Santa Teresa di Gallura, 35 min driving away from Palau.

Capo Testa is a former granite carry: there, you will find giant rock formations with surprising shapes! Located on the sea side, you’ll be able to walk around and take lots of nice pictures.

It’s a pretty big place so you can easily spend 2-3 hours there, especially if you decide to hike around and go see Cala Francese and Cala di l’ea. The hiking path starts left of Capo Testa lighthouse. 

In the afternoon, let’s keep it simple: relax and enjoy the beach!

I recommend you Zia Culumba beach, at the entrance of the peninsula: it’s an amazing beach with big rocks and shallow crystal clear water. If this beach is too busy, there’s also a path on the left side to walk along the sea and reach a few coves.

Capo Testa is without a doubt one of the best things to do during a 9-10 days itinerary in Sardinia!

Spend the night in Santa Tereas di Gallura, the closest town. The small city center is quite nice, with its main square filled with coffee shops and stores.

Where to stay in Capo Testa / Santa Teresa di Gallura

  • La Reggia Di Nausicaa: Located 10 min walking from Santa Teresa port. One bedroom apartment with a kitchenette starting from 55€ per night. Strong points: the swimming pool and friendly staff.
  • Villa Gandamar: Located 2km from the city center. Big and comfortable double room starting from 80€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: great breakfast, lovely atmosphere, very quiet. It’s my favorite hotel for its amazing value for money!
  • Hotel Corallaro: Located in Santa Teresa’s historical center, 2min from the beach. Modern double room starting from 140€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the swimming pool, close to the beach, very helpful staff. It’s the best choice for a romantic stay in Sardinia!
Capo Testa
Capo Testa, in Sardinia

4) Castelsardo (1 day)

Today, your 10 days trip to Sardinia will take you to Castelsardo, a seaside medieval town.

On the road, you should stop by the Costa Paradiso, about 45min driving south of Santa Teresa. Costa Paradiso is especially famous for Li Cossi beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. 

From the parking lot, you will need to take a short walk along the sea (10 minutes) to reach the beach.

After this refreshing stop, you can go back to your car and drive to Castelsardo, 50 minutes away.

Right before entering the village, don’t forget to stop by the Elephant rock, one of the island’s curiosities. As you’ve probably guessed, this rock is indeed shaped like an elephant with its trunk up.

Then, it will be time to visit the charming medieval village of Castelsardo. Wander in its narrow streets and discover its historical monuments: the cathedral and bell tower, Santa Maria church and the castle. 

If you want to visit the castle, you will have to pay a small entrance fee. Inside, you can visit the Museum of Mediterranean Weaving, the local craft. In Castelsardo, it’s actually pretty common to see basket makers working in the in the streets, in front of their small shops.

This village is quite touristy, with many coffee shops and gift shops. 

Spend the night in the surroundings of Castelsardo.

Where to stay in Castelsardo

  • La Roccia Dell’Elefante: Located 500m from the Elephant rock. Renovated and stylish double room with balcony starting from 60€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: amazing staff, great decoration, good breakfast.
  • Baga Baga: Located 2km away from Castelsardo and 10min walking from the beach. Spacious double room with sea view starting from 100€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: charming hotel, the location uphill, stunning view, friendly staff. It’s the best value for money in Castelsardo area!
  • Bajaloglia Resort: Located on a hill overlooking Castelsardo. Modern and bright double room starting from 250€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: amazing swimming pool, stunning view over Castelsardo, great service, generous breakfast with many options available. I recommend this hotel for a romantic and luxurious stay in Castelsardo!
Costa Paradiso
Costa Paradiso, in Sardinia

5) Gulf of Orosei / Supramonte (2 days)

The next stop of your 10 days road trip in Sardinia will be the Northeastern part of the island.

Today, you will visit villages and discover the beautiful landscapes of the Sardinian mountains. Your first stop will be Orgosolo, about 2h15 driving away from Castelsardo

This village is one of the most famous of the island thanks to its hundreds of “murals”, painted on the houses’ walls.

The paintings are usually about politics or international events. You’ll find most of them along Corso Repubblica and the adjacent streets.

There is no sign or explanations next to the paintings, so you should get an audio guide with a map (5€) at the tourist office to fully enjoy this tourist attraction.

Orgosolo
The murals of Orgosolo

After your visit of Orgosolo, take SP 22 road going through Oliena to reach Cala Gonone. This mountain road offers some stunning views over the mountain and valley, but brace yourself for all the turns! Allow about 1h drive.

Once in Cala Gonone, you should first go to the port, in order to book your boat trip to the Gulf of Orosei for the next day. As everyone comes to Cala Gonone to visit the Gulf of Orosei and its stunning beaches and coves, it’s really better to book it in advance!

Good to know: most of the beaches in the Gulf are only accessible by boat.

There are 3 ways to explore the Gulf:

  • A sailboat cruise, including lunch –  about 90€ per person
  • A zodiac cruise with a skipper operating the boat. They will stop in 2-3 coves – 40€ per person
  • Renting and driving a zodiac yourself – 120€ all included for the day, up to 6 people. No need to have a boat license.

As I like to be free to do what I want, I have rented a Zodiac. It’s in my opinion the best way to fully enjoy your day in the Gulf of Orosei! In addition, it’s very easy and super fun to drive the boat.

After you’ve booked your boat tour, you can end the afternoon at the beach. You should go to Cala Fuili, located 10min driving from the port. It’s the first cove of the gulf and it’s easily accessible on foot via a stairs next to the road.

Spend the night in the area.

Gulf of Orosei
Boat trip in the Gulf of Orosei

On the day after… it’s boat time! Enjoy your day at sea and relax on the most beautiful coves of Sardinia.

No matter if you have chosen the organized tour or if you rented a boat, here are the best beaches in the Gulf of Orosei:

  • Cala Luna
  • Cala Sisine
  • Cala Biriola
  • Cala Mariolu
  • Cala Gabbiani
  • Cala Goloritzé

If you’re doing a boat tour, you will also have the opportunity to visit Bue Marino caves. These caves are only accessible by boat, however, for safety reasons, you’re not allowed to go there if you have rented a boat.

I personally loved this day, I really had an amazing time on the boat! It’s for sure one of the best things to do during a 10 days trip to Sardinia.

Spend another night in Cala Gonone.

For more information about the Gulf of Orosei, you should read my article: How to visit the Gulf of Orosei?

Where to stay in the Gulf of Orosei area?

  • Hotel Bue Marino: Located just in front of Cala Gonone port. Bright and spacious double room with a garden/sea view starting from 65€ per night, breakfast for an additional 10€. Strong points: ideal location to go on a boat trip, the rooftop terrace with a jacuzzi, good breakfast.
  • Hotel la Playa: Located 5 min walk from the port and beach in Cala Gonone. Comfortable double room starting from 80€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: very friendly staff, generous breakfast, nice swimming pool.
  • Cala Luna: Located on the beach front, just a minute away from the sea. Bright and modern double room starting from 100€ per night. Strong points: nice overall atmosphere, stunning view from the terrace, warm welcome. It’s my favorite accommodation in Cala Gonone for its amazing value for money!
Le Golfe d'Orosei, vue d'en haut
The Gulf of Orosei, from above

6) Back to Olbia (1 day)

Today, you will need to head back to Olbia airport.

If you’re lucky and your flight is at the end of the day or on the day after, you can easily enjoy a few extra hours at the beach. 

From the Gulf of Orosei, it will take you around 1h30 to go to Olbia.

That’s the end of this 9-10 days itinerary in Northern Sardinia. Now that you know more about the best things to do in Sardinia for a 10 days stay, you’re ready to book your flight to Olbia!

Voyage Tips Advice

If you’re in Sardinia only for 9 days, remove one day in the Maddalena archipelago.

For a 11 days itinerary in Sardinia, I recommend spending one more day in the Gulf of Orosei. On that day, you can go hiking in the Gorropu Gorge, one of the most famous hike in Sardinia.

Where to stay in Olbia

  • Residenze del Centro: Located in the heart of Olbia. New, clean and modern apartment starting from 65€ per night, with an additional breakfast 10€. What I loved: high quality accommodation, helpful staff, good location.
  • Jazz Hotel: Located 2km away from the city center and 500m from the airport, Comfortable and modern double room starting from 100€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: modern design, friendly staff, the swimming pool. It’s the perfect hotel to stay at the end of your trip to Sardinia as it’s so close to the airport (10min on foot), but you don’t hear any plane noise! It’s my recommendation in Olbia for its amazing value for money!
  • Maison et charme hotel boutique: Located 100m away from the city center and 3km away from the airport. New and well decorated luxury suite, starting from 120€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: the decoration, the room is very comfortable, the owner is always available.

If you have any questions to organize your 10 days trip to Sardinia, you can ask me a question in the comments section located just below this article.

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10 days in Sardinia
10 days in Sardinia: the best itinerary
Vincent

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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