the support Marmot Tours gave us was flawless
The Mediterranean Italian island of Sardinia is another paradise for cyclists featuring beautiful mountain scenery, fantastic weather conditions, white sandy beaches and vast, sparsely populated mountainous areas with almost traffic-free roads (and great tarmac!). We have put together this ‘Classic Cols’ style cycling holiday to showcase what the island has to offer and we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
This holiday is not just about the cycling and during the week you be immersed in the culture and have an opportunity taste the cuisine of the island. In addition we have designed this holiday with your comfort off the bike in mind, so at the end of your ride you can enjoy the ambiance of our 4 star hotels (most with pools and some with spa facilities).
Cycling in the mountains is never easy, but the gradients are generally kind so the Classic route of this tour is most probably the most leisurely of our offerings (average of 83km with 1530m ascent). Naturally if you do all the the optional extras then you will be suitably challenged (average of 116km with 2330m ascent). If you are after an even greater challenge but have your heart set on this island, then our Raid Sardinia holiday might be a good option.
It is important to us that you book the correct holiday so do download and read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation and travel…For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Departure Dates & Prices
Day 0: Travel Out
We offer included airport transfers from Cagliari Airport to the 4* Spa Resort Hotel of SaMuvara (1hr 45min). Situated up at 800m on the edge of Arritzo in the heart of the Gennargentu mountains, the hotel provides us with the perfect environment to start and end our holiday. There will be time to assemble your bikes or set up your hire bike before a briefing and dinner. For those arriving early, the afternoon can be spent relaxing by the pool, or there are several good rides that can be done from the hotel. Full travel and group airport transfer information can be found in our Trip Notes.
Day 1: Arritzo to Valico Strisali
Today’s ride is the perfect introduction to cycling in Sardinia. You circumnavigate the Gennargentu Massif on a series of quiet roads to Arcu Correboi (1246m). The views from here are spectacular and the descent on the ‘old road’ is an absolute gem. It was built to take trucks (which now go through a huge tunnel), so the gradients are constant, the corners are sweeping and it is virtually traffic free! On reaching the valley bottom you undulate through a sparse landscape of rock and ancient holm oak trees.
Your destination is the 4* Orlando Resort Hotel, nestled in the forest of the Santa Barbara National Park. With a fine kitchen, spa facilities and colourful building set around an extensive pool, you will be pleased to hear that we stay here for the the next two nights. Retiring gracefully to the lounger is an good option, but, as always, there is more cycling to be done and the Arzana loop will certainly test your legs.
Day 2: Tour of Monte Tonneri
The mountainous landscape to the West is your playground for today. Undulate your way around the craggy flanks of Monte Tonneri on a narrow road that was built, it seems, solely to please cyclists! A vast reservoir, vertical limestone cliffs, ancients forests, olive plantations and massif rock columns are all on the menu. Needless to say, there are a few cheeky little climbs towards to the end of the day to ensure you build up you appetite for another feast in the Orlando Resort.
Today’s optional extra takes you on an epic descent, almost to sea level, down the western side of the mighty Rio Flumendosa through several mountain hamlets. Given that your hotel is up at 900m, the only option is to dig deep and take on the 16km climb up the Eastern side of the valley. It is however, a stunning climb, through terraced plantations and vineyards.
Day 3: Valico Strisali to Cala Gonone
Your destination is the beach front hotel Bue Marino in Cala Gonone; a quiet coastal village once only accessible by sea. Luckily for you they bore a hole in the mountain and laid a fantastic series of hairpins, guaranteed to deliver you to the coast with a smile on your face.
Day 4: Cala Gonone to Bitti
You (optionally) kick off the ride by reacquainting yourself with the fantastic hairpins of yesterday evening, leaving the picturesque costal melais of Cala Gonone behind you as you climb. From here, undulate down onto the costal plains that lead you to Siniscola, situated at the foot of Monte Albo (820m), a massive white limestone ridge. The climb is ‘jaw dropping’, benefitting as it does from both mountain and sea views. Continue on this quiet and winding road before turning inland once again, ticking off the final few kms to the restaurant just over the summit.
Suitably fed and watered, you meander, with a downhill bias, into the picturesque pastoral village of Bitti, famous for its Tenores (and nothing to do with Little Britain!) and the fabulous boutique style 4* Hotel Sul Lithu. As always there are a few optional climbs for those wanting a bit more at the end of the day, making the most of the limestone ridge.
Day 5: Bitti to Lago Di Gúsana
Day 6: Lago Di Gúsana to Arritzo
For your final day on the island, it seems fitting to cycle up the highest surfaced road in Sardinia. Your destination is the refuge of Bruncu Spina (1570m) which is the islands only ski resort (more of a shed with couple of lifts!). Climbing directly from the hotel (650m), the forests give way to open moorland and you are rewarded with some spectacular views. The climb itself is full of character and although the gradients are generally kind there are a few short challenging sections (up to 12%). It is well worth the effort though and the descent is exquisite.
A short climb takes you back up the Arcu de Tascussi (1245m) for lunch. Here you have the option of heading directly to the Hotel SaMuvara where your adventure began or taking the long way home which includes a few more short climbs. Then it’s time for a party!
Day 7: Travel Home
All good things come to an end. We offer included airport transfers at scheduled times to transfer you back to Cagliari airport in the morning, full of memories of fantastic cycling holiday in Sardinia. Full travel advice (essential reading) can be found in our Trip Notes.