Raid Sardinia

Sardinia

  • Raid Sardinia Challenge: A spectacular route with quiet roads, wild & unspoilt mountainous heartland, and stunning coastlines
  • 6 days on the bike, with 900km and 16,100m of ascent, averaging 150 km and 2500 – 3000 m of climbing/day
  • The Coast of Ogliastra and Gulf of Orosei,  the Gennargentu Massif, the karstic landscape of Supramonte, the forests of Barbagia, the granite boulders of Monte Ortobene and Monte Limbara, the ancient forests in the Mountains of Goceano, and the stunning coastal road from Alghero to Bosa
  • Climbs including the island’s top peaks of Monte Bruncu Spina/Punta La Marmora (1557 m), Monte Limbara (1338 m), and the breath-taking coastal views en route to Passo di Genna Silana (1008 m) and Cala Gonone
  • Comfortable and friendly  3 and 4* hotels with delicious Sardinian cuisine
  • All evening meals & wine included
  • 2 customised support vans with attentive, and proactive guides who love a laugh
  • Experienced and passionate service from Marmot Tours

Days on the bike

6 days

I'm still buzzing from a fantastic holiday in all respects.  The attention to little details and all the behind the scenes organisation was wonderful.

C Seavell

Introduction

The island of Sardinia is a perfect place for a Raid Challenge.  It is still little known in the world of road cycling but we have no idea why!  Not only is it incredibly easy on the eye, with a network of quiet roads allowing us to probe the remotest areas of the island but it also has a great professional cycling history: it’s the birthplace of Astana’s Fabio Aru winner of the Vuelta a Espana 2015, so evidently served him well as a training ground, plus was a haunt for professional cyclists in the 1960’s and 70’s; Eddy Merckx won in the Giro di Sardegna a number of times.

Sardinia features beautiful mountain scenery, pristine countryside, fantastic weather conditions, white sandy beaches and vast, sparsely populated mountainous areas with almost traffic-free roads. Its unspoilt rugged and wild heartland and stunning coastal roads makes the perfect location for a challenging new cycling Raid route created for our Marmot Tours clients.

You will discover that the ascents and descents to its flat-topped mountains match in challenge, interest and beauty,  the most popular of climbs in the Dolomites or other mountain ranges of Europe.

We have designed a challenging route starting in the South East Coast near Cagliari and taking you on to discover the most varied Mediterranean landscapes, touching on all the highest mountains of the island.  From the rocky peaks and deep canyons of the karstic formations of Ogliastra and Supramonte in the Gennargentu Massif, to the huge granite boulders of Monte Ortobene and Monte Limbara, you will traverse ancient archeological sites, pasture lands and quiet mountain villages in the island’s wild and solitary interior before reaching the stunning West coastal road near Alghero and finishing in Bosa Marina.

For more information on the holiday please see our Trip Notes and 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

2018

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Apr
30th Apr - 7th May
£1250.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
May
14th May - 21st May
£1250.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
Oct
1st Oct - 8th Oct
£1300.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Travel out

We offer included airport transfers at scheduled times from Cagliari Airport (CAG) in the south of the island to our 4* start hotel with swimming pool and private beach, just 30mins east of Cagliari.

 

Full travel advice and airport transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.

Meet your guides, assemble bikes, enjoy the hotel facilities, eat a delicious dinner and get ready for the start of your Raid!

Day 1: Cagliari to Sadali (160km with 2000m ascent)

You start your Raid undulating around the stunning SE coast road to Villasimius, your first control spot and a good place for a coffee. From here the road meanders through a rugged landscape dotted with olive and eucalyptus trees, with their wonderful scent. After 90km you meet the river Flumendosa, which you follow into the mountains on a good road through constantly changing and spectacular scenery. Your destination is the mountain settlement of Sadali, where Veronica and Battista offer us a warm welcome in their charming Albergo hotel with incredible views from the terrace.

Day 2: Sadali to Lago di Gusana (144km with 3000m ascent)

As the stats suggest, today you explore the mountainous interior of the Western side of the Gennargentu National Park. Road cycling doesn’t get much better than this: empty roads with good surfaces, huge views and remote villages. It is however a challenging ride, taking in the Válico sa Casa (1042m) and the Válico S’Isca de sa Mela (920m) as well as the Arcu de Tascussi (1245m) with its welcome café. The main event of the day is yet to come: the climb up to the refuge of Bruncu Spina (1570m). This is the highest surfaced road on the island and the refuge serves the islands only ski lift. From here it is down hill all the way to our 4* hotel with swimming pool on the shore of the Lagi Di Gúsana, just west of Fonni.

Day 3: Cala Gonone (138km with 2300m ascent)

You start the day by climbing gently into the heart of the mountains on the ‘old road’ to Arcu Correboi (1246m). This lines us up nicely for a fantastic descent over the Válico Strisaili (893m) and down to the coastal plain. Its a Raid so you don’t get to linger for too long on the flat,  joining the the magnificent Orientale Sarda road. Built in the 1800’s by merchants so they could extract the oak trees for charcoal industry, it is a feat of engineering and climbs up to the Passo di Genna Silana (1008m).

Your destination is the hotel Bue Marino in Cala Gonone; a quiet coastal village once only accessible by sea. Luckily for you they bored 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 Budduso (136km with 2400m ascent)

Kick off today 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 you undulate down through a handful of small settlements and onto the costal plains that lead you to Siniscola, nestled at the foot of Monte Albo (820m); a massive white limestone ridge aka todays ‘nemesis’!

Ascend, benefitting from both mountain and sea views 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, meander with a downhill bias into the picturesque pastoral village of Bitti, famous for its Tenores (and nothing to do with Little Britain!), before climbing up into the cork plantations and along to our hotel.

Day 5: Budduso to Pattada (158km with 3000m ascent)

The Northern end of Sardinia is dominated by Monte Limbara (1338m). Being the highest point around the summit, it has of course been adorned by a veritable forest of antenna and aerials…and a surfaced service road! So, no excuses! With 45 hairpins and gradients of up to 15%, this is, without doubt the toughest climb on the island, but the views are breathtaking and with a ‘control’ point on the top, you  have no choice but to head to the col. The surrounding countryside is dominated forests of cork oak trees and a rough rocky granite landscape – all with its unique rural beauty.

Unbelievably you end today just 10 km from where you started in a 3* hotel on the edge of the town of Pattada, known for its production of Sardinian knives (resolzas), though perhaps there are more suitable souvenirs to fly home with…

Day 6: Pattada to Bosa (158km with 2300m ascent)

Today you head west to the coast, but there are still a few cheeky climbs to be done before the end is in sight!  The Passo Masiénnera (986m) is fabulous, but the Passo b’Uccaidu (1045m) is sure to test the legs a bit. Don’t worry, the circling griffon vultures have smaller fry in mind!   Recover as you pass through gently rolling farmland to the town of Villanova, built on hills of ancient volcanic origin, and up your final climb to a view point 500m above the coast road. You’ll be pleased to know that the only way is down – you will remember this labyrinth of hairpins as one of the delights of the trip.  The fun hasn’t finished yet. Cyclist magazine (Sept 2015) described this 36km stretch of road to our Raid end as “a rollercoaster, cresting rugged cliffs and skirting remote coves”.  Your final destination is Bosa Marina, a lively fishing town, with all the facilities to enable a well deserved celebration.

Day 7: Travel back

All good things must come to an end.  We drop you back to Cagliari Airport (transfer of 2hrs) with memories of a fabulous holiday.

 

Full travel advice and airport transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.

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