Plunge into the wild yet romantic beauty of south-western Sardinia and cycle beside empty beaches and sandunes in total freedom and at your own pace. The terrain is rugged in parts, with high cliffs ascending from the coast, interspersed with long sandy beaches, grass covered dunes and breathtaking views. The ride commences through the fascinating Sinis wetlands, home to colonies of pink flamingos, white quartz beaches and the Phoenician ruins of Tharros. At Costa Verde you'll encounter some of the wildest scenery on the island before pedalling on to some of the highest sand dunes in Europe, many up to 50m high. Your self guided cycling journey will also take you to the fascinating abandoned mines of Acquaresi and Planusartu, the golden beaches of Portixeddu and the impressive Pan di Zucchero cliffs before descending to Fontanamare. The trip concludes with sensational cycling along the beautiful Costa del Sud, with its gleaming white beaches, and a visit to an ancient Phoenician settlement.
This tour is graded moderate (grade 3) with daily cycling distances between 40 and 57km (25 and 35.5mi). There are 3 mainly flat easy stages, 2 undulating stages and 1 stage that is more hilly. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. It is considered suitable for cyclists with a good level of fitness. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.
Make you own way to Cabras or San Salvatore, where you will meet with our local representative for an explanation of the route and bike delivery (this is at 5pm on Saturdays only). If you can’t arrive before this time all information will be left for you. (If you arrive on a day other than Saturday then everything will be left awaiting your arrival). Overnight in a 3* hotel on a small country estate on the Sinis Peninsula near a splendid lagoon which is sometimes home to flamingos.
This is an easy first day cycling through the flat coastal plains of the Sinis wetlands. The salt ponds around the Gulf are home to thousands of pink flamingos in season and a wealth of other birdlife, so bring your binoculars. You are also likely to spot the locals fishing for mullet or bass from traditional grass Fassone boats. Circling the lake to Riola Sardo you return to the coast at Mari Ermi and the spectacular white quartz beach of Is Arutas. A short trip down the peninsula to San Giovanni Sinis brings you to the Phoenician ruins of Tharros, with a history of inhabitation stretching back almost 2,500 years. Wine production here is mainly a sherry-like Vernaccia and you may be able to visit a cellar on the way. Overnight in San Salvatore/Cabras.
To avoid the suburbs of Oristano, there is an included transfer by road to Arborea. From here you will cycle to Piscinas through the natural beauty spots of the Costa Verde, which has some of the wildest scenery on the island. Firstly there is a flat 12km/7.5mi section across reclaimed farmland to the colourful fishing village of Marceddi. Rice, soft fruit and vegetables are grown here for the “cucine” (kitchens) of the island. From here the route becomes more undulating with low hills and sand dunes over 50m/164ft high - the highest in Europe – skirting the beach. It is possible to be collected here (on request only) and driven up into the hills for a night at Arbus, or you could take the more hilly but spectacular inland route directly to the village by bike. Overnight in Arbus in an agriturismo or family run hotel.
This is the toughest day - but there is some glorious scenery to compensate! You start on an undulating 12km/7.5mi terrain crossing the Arbus highland to then take a spectacular 5km descent dropping down to the Mannu River and the golden beaches around Portixeddu. To the left is the massif of Monte Linas, with the Costa Verde and heather covered sand dunes away to the right. After the unfortunately named town of Buggerru and the Planusartu and Acquaresi mines is the charming Cala Domestica Bay. After the limestone cliffs of Pan di Zucchero, you arrive at Nebida with its the old ore mill, nestling in the varied colours of the Mediterranean bush. Overnight in Nebida in a small cosy 'locanda'.
A beautiful descent to Fontanamare followed by an undulating coastal ride to Portoscuso. Here board a ferry (at own expense) to Carloforte on Isola di San Pietro. There is time for a short tour round the island, exploring sandy coves and rocky headlands with tiny hamlets, before taking another ferry to the equally unspoilt Sant'Antioco. Note that it is not possible to book the ferry in advance. Overnight near Calasetta in a charming seaside hotel with an award-winning restaurant, very lovely rooms and a swimming pool.
A morning to laze by the pool or explore the coast nearby, or for a short cycle to explore the island's coves and beaches, green meadows (or golden in the summer!) and little villages. After a visit to Sant'Antioco, cross back to the mainland to visit the Pisan sanctuary at Tratalias – one of the most important monuments from the Romanesque period. From here you follow the shoreline of Lake Monte Pranu and through the rolling plains of Sulcis. Rugged mountains once again rise up to your left. You reach your hotel just before the beach at Sant'Anna Arresi. Nearby are the bright white beaches of Porto Pino, backed by dunes and Aleppo pinewoods. Overnight in Sant'Anna Arresi in a nice 3* hotel with all the usual features: small bar, restaurant and well appointed rooms. It also has a swimming pool and the cuisine is outstanding (Signora makes her own ravioli).
This is the longest day by distance, but the countryside is gentle over the rugged coastal plains of the Costa del Sud. This is a wild, remote and beautiful region of Mediterranean bush, coastal pools, gleaming white beaches and imposing cliffs. Cape Malfatano boasts a 16th century tower, while at Capo Teulada the spectacular cliffs rise from a translucent sea. A short detour leads to the beautiful beach of Su Giudeu in Chia, while at Pula there is the important Phoenician city of Nora. Overnight in hotel located in the centre of Pula.
Trip concludes after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share