Secrets of Sardinia

Embark on a journey of Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean with some of the most fascinating documented history in the ancient world dating to the Nuragic era, astonishing beaches and coastlines, alluring heritage and wild hinterlands that allows you a different world away from mainland Italy. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience  Sardinia with its coastal charm & exciting heritage.

Enjoy stays in unique and boutique hotels

Experience exceptional wines and gourmet experiences

Enjoy an intimate Sardinian experience with local characters

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE OLBIA / THE COSTA SMERALDA / SAN PANTALEO

Arrive Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport as we begin our orientation of northeast Sardinia along the Costa Smeralda, an irresistible stretch of coastline adorned with some of the most beautiful towns, beaches and changing shades of blue and green sea. Make a stop at Porto Cervo, with its dreamlike emerald green waters, idyllic beaches. Visit the iconic Stella Maris Church in the town of Arzachena, designed by architect Michele Busiri Vici in the 1960s. 

Thereafter, retreat to the stunning village of San Pantaleo, surrounded by gigantic monolithic boulders and rocky landscapes in a magical setting that thrills the senses where we arrive at the spectacular Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property. 

Overnight: Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, San Pantaleo

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: SAN PANTALEO (EXCURSION OF THE MADDALENA ARCHIPELAGO)

We begin the day with a visit to the nearby Vigne Surrau wine estate, owned by the famed Demuro family where we explore the stunning grounds surrounded by more than 50 hectares of vineyards where we enjoy a tasting of its impeccable blend of tradition and innovation, sampling some of the most revered wines of Sardinia.

 

Thereafter, continue on to the port town of Palau where inviting views of the La Maddalena islands welcome us as we embark on a private boat excursion of the Maddalena archipelago blessed with rich fauna, endemic flora and wonderful beaches. Our first stop is on the island of Spargi, with its striking round shape it offers a glimpse of wild and uncontaminated nature with cliffs of granite sculptured by the wind. Savor seafood lunch onboard while admiring the spectacular views before we continue to the island of Santa Maria for a brief admiration of its crystal clear sea and sandy white beaches. 

Continue our sail to the natural pools on the island of Budelli where absolutely no visitor will leave without a dip in these mesmerizing emerald-green waters before returning to Palau where we disembark and return to Petra Segreta Resort & Spa. 

Overnight: Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, San Pantaleo

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 3: SAN PANTALEO / LANDS OF GALLURA / CASTELSARDO / ALGHERO 

We leave San Pantaleo today where a short drive arrives us at the Tomba dei Giganti "Giants' Tomb", a sacred Nuragic burial ground dating back to the Middle Bronze Age said to facilitate the journey into the afterlife. Continuing our drive across northern Sardinia, we stop at the impressive environments of Siddura Winery in the village of Luogosanto immersed in a valley surrounded by granite. Established in 2008, the winery has quickly garnered international awards for its intoxicating flavors harvested from its conducive terroir. 

Our journey then continues to the coastal town of Castelsardo, a colorful medieval civilization that rivals the villages of Cinque Terre for its aesthetics and beauty. Dominated by its fortress, Castelsardo is now a hive of activity sprawling with attractive settlements, artisans and marine indulgence. From here, we move inland stopping to admire the impressive architecture of the Basilica di Saccargia, with its signature black and white stonework Romanesque exterior providing an arresting sight to behold. 

Finally, we arrive in the medieval city of Alghero where we will spend the next few nights at the Hotel El Faro

Overnight: Hotel El Faro, Alghero

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4: ALGHERO

Begin the day exploring the medieval town of Alghero, dubbed "Little Barcelona" for its cultural and historical links with the Aragonese city that colonized it in the 14th and 15th centuries. One of Sardinia's most attractive towns for its striking yacht marina and fishing boats, its medieval walls encompassing cobbled lanes and its smart boutiques, enjoy an immersive experience of the old town while visiting its 16th Century Alghero Cathedral of St Mary and its museum where the former church of the Rosario holds an immaculate collection of sacred treasures, including paintings, Catalan silverware, wooden statues and crucifixes. No visit of Alghero is complete without a stroll along the stout girdle of its defensive city walls, taking in the views of the seven towers that dominate the old town. 

Thereafter, we head over to the protected area of Capo Caccia - part of the huge Porto Conte park ecosystem, lauded as a priceless natural heritage, embellished by the fossil-rich limestone and rare plants growing on the steep cliffs. Explore the spectacular Grotta di Nettuno "Neptune's Grotto", one of the largest marine caves in Italy formed over 2 million years ago by the explosive power of erosion. Be impressed with its stunning chambers adorned with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites that reach the highness of 20 metres. 

Overnight: Hotel El Faro, Alghero

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: ALGHERO / NURAGIC SITES OF SASSARI / BOSA / SAN VERO MILIS

Leaving Alghero today, we head inland to the Nuragic sites of Sassari. En route, we make a stop to admire the Benedictine monastery of San Pietro di Sorres in the village of Borutta with its impressive Pisan-Romanesque style adorned by its striking black and white columns in the interior. A special arrangements allows us to listen in to the gorgeous Gregorian chants by the community of monks residing in the monastery. A short drive later, we arrive at the incredible Nuragic site of Santu Antine, one of the largest ancient megalithic edifices in Sardinia built during the Middle Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The name of the nuraghe has been given in honour of the popular Saint Constantine, in fact Antine in Sardic, the late roman emperor who made the Christian faith a state religion. Not far away is the Nuraghe Oes, just 800m away, which composed of one main tower and a basement – similar to a bastion – with two smaller towers; it shows peculiar features both in the internal and the external shape. 

We then make our drive south and back to the cost to the colorful town of Bosa, characterized by typical colorful houses in pastel colors, the wrought-iron balconies, the narrow alleys of the old town, providing an enchanting atmosphere in a setting befitting it one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Get lost amongst the Sa Costa district, a maze of narrow streets and rainbow colored houses nestled just under the Castle of Serravalle before we continue further south to arrive in the village of San Vero Milis in the agricultural domain of Oristano Province where we check in at the lovely Is Benas Country Lodge

Overnight: Is Benas Country Lodge, San Vero Milis

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: SAN VERO MILIS (EXCURSION OF THE SINIS PENINSULA & ORISTANO)

We enjoy the day in the beautiful protected area of the Sinis Peninsula dotted with charming seaside towns and stunning beaches. A scenic drive arrives us at the Chiesa di San Giovanni di Sinis, built in the 6th Century using blocks of sandstone from the ruins of Tharros. A short drive away, we visit the ancient Phoenician-Roman ruins of Tharros, first founded in the 8th Century. Thereafter, we visit the Ittica Cabras, a factory that produces the traditional "bottarga" mullet roe where mullets are fished in the summer, extracting the roe to be salted with sea salt before drying in cool chambers. We enjoy a demonstration of the the making process and tasting. Next, enjoy lunch at the charming La Peschiera di Mar'e Pontis Restaurant, set in the lagoons of Cabras where we sit down to sample local cuisine and bottarga pasta, a recommended delicacy of the region. 

We spend the second half of the day visiting the old historical heart of Oristano, a city steeped in history and traditions and was once the capital of the giudicato of Arborea, the most enduring of the four kingdoms represented by the Four Moors on Sardinia's flag. Enjoy a tour of the old town with its impressive squares, architecture and churches while getting some tasting of sumptuous Vernaccia wine, a sherry-liked fortified wine uniquely-produced only in this region.  

Overnight: Is Benas Country Lodge, San Vero Milis

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 7: SAN VERO MILIS (INTO THE HEART OF ANCIENT SARDINIA) / GERGEI

Leaving the Is Benas Country Lodge today, we head inland into the heart of ancient Sardinia. Our first stop of the day will be the Trajan's Forum Roman bath complex in Fordongianus, founded in the late Republican era, on the initiative of Emperor Trajan, as a trading post between the communities of the interior and the ‘Romanised’ populations of the Gulf of Oristano. The Romans also built an especially imposing bath complex here on account of the presence of natural springs at a temperature of 56°C year round, still today used for thermal baths and mud treatments. Next, we head to the undisputed highlight of the journey, the UNESCO-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini, an archaeological complex whose most ancient traces are date back to around the 1,500 BC. We will begin from the village, where you will see various types of housing structures, the round ones, with a central courtyard, that go back to the nuragic period, and the rectangular ones, that belong to the punic-roman period. 

 

Finally, we retreat to the charming and nostalgic Domu Antiga, in the sleepy village of Gergei that captures the romance of a bygone era. Hop onto a special Ape Calessino "tuk tuk" to explore the surroundings of the village and countryside and thereafter, enjoy a cooking class series where you will learn all about the artisanal skills of Sardinian cuisine. 

Overnight: Domu Antiga, Gergei

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

THE BREAK BETWEEN THE NORTH & THE SOUTH

From here, you have the choice for the southern route to Cagliari or the northern route to Nuoro. 

NORTHERN ROUTE:

DAY 8: GERGEI / ULASSAI / MAMOIADA / SU GOLOGONE

We leave Gergei today for a brief visit of the beautiful village of Ulassai, surrounded by rocky formations called "tacchi" and for being an thriving village for the arts before we make our journey into the town of Mamoiada, steeped in deep-rooted traditions and the mysterious Mask Carnival of the "Mamuthones" and the "Issohadores". The Mamuthones wear black sheep leather, carrying heavy bells on their back, and wearing, on the faces, black masks, of pearwood, showing a tragic expression. The Issohadores wear a hat called 'berritta', a red waistcoat, shirt and white trousers, a bandolier of bronze bells, shawl, woolen gaiters and, finally, a rope. 

A Beyond X Boundaries Exclusive Experience (DATES TO BE ADVISED ANNUALLY)

In season, an opportunity of a lifetime to revel in the MamuMask Festival where we enjoy an insight into the origins of the festival, join the locals in interactive participation and a behind the scenes look at the process of putting on the attire, a laborious affair. 

From Mamoiada, we arriving at the stunning Experience Hotel Su Gologone, blessed with the commanding views of the Supramonte Highlands where you will spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Experience Hotel Su Gologone, Su Gologone

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9: SU GOLOGONE 

Enjoy another day at the Experience Hotel Su Gologone where you can enjoy a range of activities depending on your interests and pursuits. Consider a visit to the hidden hamlet village of Tiscali in the Lainattu Valley for some of the most incredible hikes in Sardinia, excursion of the Supramonte mountains by land rover or visiting the mural town of Orgosolo. The day is flexible to soak in the ancient countryside atmosphere of the region. Perhaps you may sample traditional culinary of the mountain folks in particularly to the preparation of suckling pigs - a tradition of the Supramonte mountains. 

Overnight: Experience Hotel Su Gologone, Su Gologone

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: SU GOLOGONE / DEPARTURE OLBIA

We leave the magical environments of Su Gologone for a pleasant drive to Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport for your departure flight to Milan or Rome where you may continue your discovery of Italy or homeward bound. 

Meals: Breakfast

SOUTHERN ROUTE:

DAY 8: GERGEI / CAGLIARI / FORTE VILLAGE

We leave Gergei today for a pleasant drive south to Cagliari, the cosmopolitan capital of Sardinia at the heart of the Gulf of Angels, founded by the Phoenicians under the name of Karalis. Embark on a walking tour with its charming medieval center and Gothic churches. Visit the fortified quarter of the Il Castello district with well-preserved remnants of the Middle Ages that overlooks the the city and its monuments of rare beauty: the Medieval Rampart of Saint Remy, the Elephant and Saint Pancras Towers, and Saint Mary’s Cathedral, situated in the beautiful Piazza Palazzo that is also site of the Palazzo Regio. We then visit the impressive Roman Amphitheatre, the only Roman theatre in the world that is carved out from a natural bedrock built between the 1st and 2nd Century AD. 

Thereafter, we have time for a stroll in the local markets and the marina area before continuing to the impressive environments of the Forte Village, nestled among 47 hectares of beautiful gardens along a white sand beach on the sunny south coast of Sardinia  for check in where we will spend the next 2 nights at the Villa del Parco

Overnight: Villa del Parco, Forte Village

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9: FORTE VILLAGE

We begin our exploration today of the magical south of Sardinia beginning with the Necropolis of Montessu dotted with "Domus de Janas" fairies houses and "Su Congianu" ancient graves of more than 40 tombs, of various shapes and sizes. Discovered in the 1970’s, the tombs are spread out over the southern slopes of Sa Pranedda in a natural amphitheater which offers fabulous views of the countryside. Various excavations have been carried out and the dates of the tombs range from the Recent Neolithic (3,400-2,800 BC) through the early bronze age. 

Thereafter, we continue to the UNESCO-protected site of Porto Flavia - built in 1924 as a mineral production hub in the west cost of Sardinian Sulcis area. Learn about how a special crew of miners expert in explosives and rock climbing was assembled. They worked in shifts, day and night, to complete the excavations in record time, resulting in probably the most beautiful mine in the world. From here, a short drive takes us to the small seaside town of Buggerru, renowned for its sumptuous seafood and an opportunity to taste some of the most spectacular sea urchin in season. 

After lunch, we return back to Forte Village where en route, we visit the impressive archaeological site of the Ruins of Nora, an extraordinary example of a city of Punic and Roman times overlooking the homonymous beach. Visit its extensive open air museum with Roman roads, amphitheater with 20 terraces, aqueducts, necropolis, etc. – one civilization overlaying the next, beginning in the 8th Century BC.

Overnight: Villa del Parco, Forte Village

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: FORTE VILLAGE / DEPARTURE CAGLIARI

We leave Forte Village today for a pleasant drive to Cagliari Elmas Airport for your departure flight to Milan or Rome where you may continue your discovery of Italy or homeward bound. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Tucked away in the hills of San Pantaleo, Petra Segreta Resort & Spa offers 5 star accommodation and cuisine immersed in Sardinia’s rugged countryside. The cottages that host the 25 rooms and suites of this exquisite Relais & Chateaux hotel reflect the tradition style of rural dwellings in the Gallura region, 

Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, San Pantaleo

On the crystal clear sea surrounding Capo Caccia, a Sardinia’s oasis paradise, immersed in the natural reserve of Porto Conte, which extends over more than 12,000 acres, Hotel El Faro is a luxury resort that combines breath-taking views with exclusive hospitality services. 

Hotel El Faro, Alghero

Is Benas Country Lodge is one of the most intimate retreats in Sardinia set in lavish walled gardens within the Sinis Peninsula Protected Natural area - home to vast lagoons with flocks of flamingos, extensive dunes and unspoiled beaches. 

Is Benas Country Lodge, San Vero Milis

Escape to the rustic and nostalgic village of Gergei to the Domu Antiga "historic house" in Sardinian language. Enjoy a stay with a 1800s vibe and warm traditional hospitality where you get to immerse in traditional food produce, countryside life. 

Domu Antiga, Gergei

NORTHERN ROUTE:

Experience Hotel Su Gologone, Su Gologone

Hotel Su Gologone lies between red geraniums, blue sky, hydrangea, bougainvillea and fig. Everything about this hotel is an ode to tradition, art, culture of Sardinia. All details communicate the authenticity of this land: the decorations and materials are Sardinians, in its purest sense. 

SOUTHERN ROUTE:

Discover the delightful Villa del Parco & Spa, a boutique hotel nestled in a private corner of the lush gardens of the Forte Village on the beautiful south coast of Sardinia. Villa del Parco offers stunning bedrooms, bungalows and stunning villas in the peaceful, fragrant surroundings. 

Villa del Parco, Forte Village

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