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.
The Mediterranean island of Sardinia is a cycling paradise! It offers beautiful mountain scenery, a fantastic climate, white sandy beaches and vast mountainous areas with almost traffic-free roads and great tarmac. We have put together this flexible route itinerary to showcase what the island has to offer, and we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
This holiday is not only about the cycling. During the week you’ll experience the culture and cuisine of this fascinating Italian island. In addition, we have built this itinerary around quality hotels, most with pools and some with spa facilities, so that you can truly enjoy your post-ride relaxation time.
Cycling in the mountains is never easy, but the gradients are generally kind, so the Classic route of this tour is one of our more leisurely offerings (daily average 83km with 1475m ascent). Naturally, there are plenty of optional extras if you need a little more to feel suitably challenged (Challenge route daily average 121km with 2383m ascent).
In case you’re wondering “what’s the difference between Sardinia and Corsica?”, we posted a blog to answer this question (in two parts, in fact – there was a lot to say!). Both Part I & Part II are a great read and we hope it helps you decide which of these Mediterranean isles is best for you and your two wheels.
It is important to us that you book the right holiday for you, 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 & Development Office, including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Departure Dates & Prices
We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):
- Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% early bookers discount
- Get a group of 10+ people together for a 7.5% group discount and, as the group organiser, receive a £150 voucher for your next holiday
- Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.
Day 0: Arrival day
We offer included airport transfers from Olbia airport. The transfer time is around 1hr to the 4* Hotel La Madonnina in Buddusò.
Assemble your bike (or set up your hire bike) before the welcome briefing and dinner. For those arriving early, the afternoon can be spent relaxing by the pool or by exploring this very Sardinian town.
Full travel and group airport transfer information can be found in our Trip Notes.
Day 1: Buddusò to Lago di Gusana
Today’s ride is the perfect introduction to cycling in Sardinia. We set out through the cork plantations, undulating on empty roads with good surfaces. You then enjoy a delightful descent across the island’s central plain. A couple of cheeky climbs take you to the town of Sarule, from where you have options about what to do next. The most direct route takes you via the historic town of Gavoi, which is well worth exploring. A slightly Harder route skirts around the edge of Lago di Chucchinadorza, while the Challenge route takes you over the mountains of Teti and Tiana.
All roads lead down to the Lago di Gusana and the 4* Hotel Taloro, built on a peninsula jutting out into the reservoir.
Day 2: Lago di Gusana to Aritzo
Today we cycle the highest surfaced road in Sardinia to Bruncu Spina (1570m), the island’s only ski resort. Climbing directly from the hotel (at 650m), the forests give way to open moorland and spectacular views. The climb itself is full of character and although the gradients are generally kind, there are a few short, challenging sections of up to 12%. It is well worth the effort, and the descent is exquisite.
A short climb takes you back up the Arcu de Tascusì (1245m) for lunch. Here you can head directly to the idyllic 4* Hotel Sa Muvara to relax by its pool, or head off to explore more of the Gennargentu mountains.
Day 3: Aritzo to Valico Strisaili
The promise of huge views and interesting landscapes should help draw you from the hotel this morning. After a short climb, you circumnavigate the Gennargentu Massif on a series of quiet roads to Arcu Correboi (1246m). The views from here are spectacular, and the descent is an absolute gem – the gradients are constant, the corners are sweeping, and it is virtually traffic free! On reaching the valley bottom you traverse a sparse landscape of rock and ancient oak trees.
Your destination is the 4* Orlando Resort Hotel, nestled in Santa Barbara National Park. With a fine restaurant, and spa & pool facilities, you will be pleased to hear that we stay here for the next two nights. Retiring gracefully to a lounger is a good option, but as always, there is more cycling to be done if you wish and the Arzana loop of our Challenge route will certainly test your legs!
Day 4: Tour of Monte Tonneri
The mountainous landscape to the west is your playground for today. We undulate around the craggy flanks of Monte Tonneri on a narrow and very pleasing road, surely built for cycling pleasure! A vast reservoir, vertical limestone cliffs, ancient forests, olive plantations and massive rock columns are all on the menu. Needless to say, there are a few cheeky little climbs towards the end of the day to ensure you build up your appetite for another feast at the Orlando Resort Hotel.
Today’s optional extra takes you on an epic descent, almost to sea level, down the western side of the mighty Rio Flumendosa. The return to your hotel at 900m requires that you dig deep on the 16km climb up the eastern side of the valley. It is a stunning ride, through terraced plantations and vineyards.
Day 5: Valico Strisaili to Cala Gonone
Leaving your mountain retreat behind, you climb gently to Valico Talana (1100m) for a breathtaking view of the coastal plain way below. The only way is down, and this descent has style! Next up is the magnificent Orientale Sarda road, showcased by the Giro d’Italia in Spring 2017. Built in the 1800’s, it is a feat of engineering that climbs up to the Passo di Genna Silana (1008m).
Your destination is the beachfront hotel Bue Marino in Cala Gonone, a quiet coastal village once only accessible by sea. Luckily for you they bored a hole through the mountain and laid a fantastic series of hairpins, guaranteed to deliver you to the coast with a smile on your face.
If relaxing on the beach (cocktails anyone?) is not your thing, then at the end of the day there is the rather silly option of taking on the locally famed Strava segment up the concrete road that scales the cliff to the north of town. It is only 2.2km long, but with average gradients of 10% it will get your heart pounding!
Day 6: Cala Gonone to Bitti
Re-acquaint yourself with the fantastic hairpins of yesterday evening, leaving the coast of Cala Gonone behind you as you climb. From here, undulate down onto the coastal plains that lead you to Siniscola at the foot of Monte Albo (820m), a massive white limestone ridge. The climb is jaw dropping, benefitting from both mountain and sea views. Continue on this quiet and winding road before turning inland once again, ticking off the final few km to a lunch stop 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 singers and the fabulous boutique-style 4* Hotel Su Lithu. As always, for those wanting a bit more at the end of the day there are a few optional climbs, which make the most of the nearby limestone mountain.
Day 7: Departure day
All good things must come to an end! We offer included transfers back to Olbia Airport (1hr 15min) at scheduled times in the morning, full of memories of a fantastic cycling holiday in Sardinia.
Full travel advice (essential reading) can be found in our Trip Notes.