Hidden Treasures of Sardinia
Day 1 UK - Cagliari
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Cagliari. On arrival, we’ll transfer to our hotel.
Day 2 Cagliari
Cagliari: the best way to start your Sardinian adventure. The island’s capital city is golden-hued and tree-lined and everywhere you go there are traces of its rich past. Museums, Roman ruins, elegant palazzi and antique churches are just the beginning. Today, we’ll become acquainted with this fine city on a guided tour. Like many of Italy’s great cities, Cagliari has an extensive history dating back to the Phoenicians and has been influenced by the Romans and the French. Together, we’ll take in some of the highlights including the old city ramparts, the old town and the cathedral of Santa Maria. We’ll also stop by San Benedetto Market, where we’ll taste some local products. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure, interrupted only for an ice cream tasting at a local gelateria.
Day 3 Pula - Sant'Antioco
South of the city in Pula lies one of Sardinia’s most important archaeological sites. The ancient city of Nora is 3,000 years old and contains the remains of its Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman rulers. Once we’ve had our archaeological fill in Nora, we’ll set off along the scenic south coast to the volcanic island of Sant’Antioco. From the approach, the island is a huddle of colourful houses looking out onto Sardinia’s famously blue waters. Once inside, wide palm-lined avenues lead to spacious squares with Byzantine architecture. In the old town, the basilica and its catacombs is a real highlight. We’ll visit the Byssus Museum together, where we’ll see unique tapestries created using the ‘silk of the sea’.
Day 4 Barumini - Aymerich Park - Laconi - Oristano
Our busy day starts early this morning. Our first stop is Barumini, where a local guide will escort us on a tour of the Su Nuraxi complex of Nuraghi, stone structures unique to Sardinia that were created by an ancient Megalithic civilisation. This particular formation was discovered in 1950 and it represents a fine example of these distinctive constructions. We continue to Aymerich Park, a botanical paradise of rare plants. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll love wandering around this natural oasis discovering exotic plants, rare wild orchids and the ruins of medieval buildings. In nearby Laconi we’ll have some leisure time - maybe enjoy the charming Palazzo Aymerich, which hosts the Museum of Prehistoric Sardinian Statues. We end the day in Oristano, where we check into our next hotel.
Day 5 Tharros - Bosa - Alghero
This morning, we journey to the northern point of the Gulf of Oristano, where we’ll pass by the ruins of Tharros; a Carthaginian and Roman port originally built by the Phoenicians in the Middle Ages. The site enjoys a glorious position on the seafront of the Sinis Peninsula - a strategic advantage at the time. It’s fascinating to imagine the people who once lived here. By the afternoon, we will arrive in Bosa, one of Sardinia’s most beautiful towns. You’ll notice it from a distance before we even arrive; the rainbow houses stacked on a steep hillside are instantly recognisable. The town straddles the River Temo and cradles the ruins of Castle Serravalle. We’ll stop by the tiny museum-village of Tinnura, famous for the art of weaving, murals and Malvasia wine (don’t worry, we won’t leave without a tasting). Here, the streets are evocative with paved squares housing statues of Sardinian artists and colourful murals painted on houses, depicting the moments of traditional life. We arrive in Alghero and check into our hotel.
Day 6 Alghero
Sat prettily on the northwest seafront, the one-time Catalonian colony of Alghero is one of the island’s most beautiful medieval cities. The animated historic centre is a tight web of cobbled streets and Spanish-style piazzas, which slope towards the harbour and sweeping bay. There’s a buzzing atmosphere here; the restaurants are excellent and the beaches are sandy and inviting. We’ll enjoy a guided walk together, taking in Santa Maria Cathedral, San Francesco church and the tower of Porta Terra. This afternoon you can either explore the town further under your own steam, or join our optional boat trip to the Nettuno caves (Neptune’s grotto) in Capo Caccia - one of the largest marine caves in Italy and a Mediterranean gem.
Day 7 Castelsardo - Aggius - Golfo di Marinella
Today we leave Alghero behind and journey towards the famed Costa Smeralda. En route, we visit a real architectural gem: the Romantic-era Basilica di Saccargia. Its tall, dark bell tower looms above the surrounding countryside. This majestic structure has punctuated the plain of Saccargia since the 12th century and we’ll learn about the legends that surround it. We continue to the 13th-century Aragonese stronghold of Castelsardo. Imagine steep, winding streets leading up to rugged defensive towers and elderly women sitting in doorways weaving elaborate baskets. It’s little wonder it has been listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages. Then, in the Gallura region, we stop to stretch our legs in the deeply traditional village of Aggius. This small, picturesque village is a huddle of granite houses clustered around a historic centre. The village has a longstanding history as a hotbed for banditry and we’ll visit the Bandit Museum - all will be revealed! We arrive in Costa Smeralda later this afternoon and check into our hotel.
Day 8 Costa Smeralda
Named for its brilliant blue-green waters, Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) is the poster girl for the entire island. A jetsetter’s paradise, Porto Cervo is the glitzy heart of the coast; its marina is decorated with mega yachts and its beaches are dotted with celebrities and paparazzi. We stay just north of all the bustle and glamour, where the famously clear waters lap at the local sandy beaches. Dip your toes in and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re somewhere more tropical. This afternoon we board the Trenino Verde (Green Train) passing through some of the most spectacular unspoilt natural scenery the island has to offer, from Arzachena to Tempio Pausania. Enjoy some free time in the latter before we head to the glamorous village of Porto Cervo. Meander along the boutique-lined avenues and watch the yachts bobbing in the sparkling marina.
Day 9 Golfo di Marinella - Olbia - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.