It’s not hard to see why Sardinia is the Italians’ favourite holiday escape. Its stunning beaches and lush hinterland combine in just the right balance to create magic. For those visiting the gorgeous capital of Cagliari, its status as Sardinia’s capital of culture is upheld by a host of attractions that tell the story of its Roman, Carthaginian, Spanish and Byzantine past, and the city’s extraordinary beauty is the cream of its delicious cannoli.
But Sardinia’s attractions are certainly not limited to its capital. On the 3.5-hour transfer from the airport at Olbia to Cagliari, you’ll pass a host of natural and cultural attractions that you might not even have known about. We can’t have that, so listen up…
1. San Teodoro
Within 20 minutes of leaving the airport at Olbia, you’ll pass by the glamorous town of San Teodoro. Its jewel-coloured waters and long white beaches hold irresistible appeal for holidaymakers, and it really is picture-perfect. It’s a popular place with young people in search of nightlife, but it’s also a wonderful place to simply get back to nature.
La Cinta beach is one of the longest on the entire island and is a perfect place to go snorkelling against the backdrop of the pretty island of Tavarola. There’s all manner of water sports and a host of excellent restaurants overlooking the ocean. It’s hard not to relax…
For those who want to explore more of the town’s natural beauty, the lagoon (which backs on to La Cinta beach) is a haven for birdlife, particularly the pink flamingos who spend their days wading in the shallows looking for small fish and posing for tourists’ photographs. It’s a lovely place to spend a few hours and get up close to nature in the most relaxing way.
Recommended Visit Time: If you want to explore the nature reserve of the lagoon, plan to spend a whole day here so there’s time to laze on the beach and have lunch as well!
An hour past San Teodoro on the route to Cagliari, you’ll pass by the hilltop town of Nuoro, set against the dramatic silhouette of Monte Ortobene and absolutely steeped in culture. It’s become somewhat of a symbol to the Sardinians as a centre of arts and is renowned as the birthplace of the Nobel Prize winning writer, Grazia Deledda.
The diverse landscape that surrounds Nuoro is a nature lover’s delight, with deep valleys, wide plateaus and a stunning coastline that includes some of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Aside from the natural attractions, the town lends itself to a casual exploration of its history and culture through the excellent Museum of Life and Popular Traditions.
A short distance out of town, the fascinating Cave of Ispinigoli is well worth the journey to see Italy’s highest stalactite-stalagmite, which stretches 38 metres from the roof to the floor of the cave.
Recommended Visit Time: A couple of hours are enough to explore the town, but set aside a little more if you’re visiting the caves (and you should!).
Closer to Cagliari (a little over an hour away) is the lovely town of Oristano, which is renowned for its elegant architecture and cultured ambience. The town has a charming old-world feel about it and is set in a landscape of sublime and very accessible natural beauty.
There are numerous archaeological sites within easy distance of the town, and those with an interest in history will be well-rewarded. In the town itself, the Santa Maria Assunta actually dates back to the thirteenth century, and the Tower of Mariano, Piazza Eleonara and the quirky Alborense Antique Museum fill in some of the historical gaps.
There are several parks where you can take in the wildlife and woodlands of the mountains through easy hikes and walks, with Monte Arci Regional Park and the coastal Mal di Ventre Island Marine Park being the most popular with tourists.
Recommended Visit Time: Oristano is a delightful place to spend a day exploring the surrounding sites and lunching in one of its charmingly authentic restaurants.
Just 45 minutes from Cagliari, Villacidro is an idyllic village surrounded by olive groves and pine forests. Its unspoiled landscape makes it a very popular area for hikers and walkers, and the national park of Monti Mannu is easily accessible via trails, offering something to suit every level of fitness.
Villacidro is also the perfect place from which to explore the breathtaking waterfalls of the Medio Campidano region. This beautiful area is home to the highest waterfalls on the island and its astonishing natural beauty is one of Sardinia’s biggest drawcards. The three most famous waterfalls are the triple 60m drops of the Rio Coxinas, the 45m Piscina Irgas and the 70m Muru Mannu. To describe this area as spectacular is to sell it short – for nature lovers, it’s an absolute dream come true.
Recommended Visit Time: You’ll need an entire day to explore the parks and waterfalls around Villacidro. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy a memorable escape into nature.
From Olbia to Cagliari
The entire island of Sardinia is exploding with natural beauty and the picturesque transfer from Olbia to Cagliari is a mini tour in itself. Keep your eyes open and see if you can get some local tips from your driver in order to make the most of this island’s treasures.
About Shuttle Direct
If you need to book an airport transfer to get you from Olbia to Cagliari, Shuttle Direct is ready and at your service. We’re the most trusted provider of ground transport throughout Europe and North Africa and our range of convenient shared and private services means that, whatever your budget, we can get you wherever you need to go in style. Our online booking system makes it easy to get your travel plans sorted before you leave home.
NB. This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Olbia to Cagliari does not include stops to these destinations.