Marmot tours really do get it spot on sticking the right balance of support and letting us get on with it
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’ll be immersed in the culture and have an opportunity to 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 ambience of our 4* 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 one of our more leisurely offerings (average of 83km with 1475m ascent). Naturally, if you do all the optional extras then you will be suitably challenged (average of 121km with 2383m ascent).
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…
In case you’re wondering “what’s the difference between Sardinia and Corsica?” (something we’re often asked), we posted a blog to answer this question (in two parts, in fact – there was a lot to say!). It’s a great read and we hope it helps you decide which of these Mediterranean isles is best for you and your two wheels. You can read Part I & Part II by following these links.
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 on 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
- Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
- Get a group of 10+ people together for a 10% Group discount
Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.
Day 0: Travel Out
We offer included airport transfers from Cagliari Airport to the 4* Spa Resort Hotel SaMuvara (1hr 45min). Situated up at 800m, in the heart of the Gennargentu mountains, this is the perfect place to start and end your holiday. 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 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: Aritzo to Valico Strisaili
Today’s ride is the perfect introduction to cycling in Sardinia. 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: 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 oak trees.
Your destination is the 4* Orlando Resort Hotel, nestled in Santa Barbara National Park. With a fine kitchen, 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 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 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.
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 and take on the 16km climb up the Eastern side of the valley. It is a stunning climb, through terraced plantations and vineyards.
Day 3: Valico Strisaili 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 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.
Day 4: 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 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 the fabulous boutique-style 4* Hotel Su 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 Gusana
Day 6: Lago di Gusana to Aritzo
For your final day 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 a couple of lifts!). Climbing directly from the hotel (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 (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 Tascusì (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 a fantastic cycling holiday in Sardinia.
Full travel advice (essential reading) can be found in our Trip Notes.