Often referred to as the 'land of silence', Sardinia is a place of outstanding natural beauty, with its crystal-clear sea, limestone ridges and deep gorges. During the week we ride across the wild and pristine southwestern region of Sardinia, passing abandoned mines, ancient ruins and gleaming white beaches. The route starts with a circular ride through the fascinating Sinis wetlands, home to colonies of pink flamingos, then moves on to the spectacular Costa Verde (Green Coast) named for its abundance and variety of Mediterranean vegetation. After cycling past the ancient mines of Ingurtosu and Planusartu, we reach the beautiful beach of Portixeddu where the impressive Pan di Zucchero white cliff towers out of the emerald waters. We then board a local ferry to the fishing village of Carloforte and explore the delightful isle of Sant'Antioco before crossing to the mainland, where we conclude a week of wonderful cycling pedalling across the rolling hills of the stunning Costa del Sud, with its white beaches, coastal pools and imposing high cliffs. Having built a good appetite, you will have plenty of opportunities to sample Sardinia's unique, mouth-watering cuisine: the perfect mix for a great week of cycling!
We start the week with a circular ride across the fascinating Sinis wetlands, whose lagoons are home to colonies of pink flamingos and a wealth of other birdlife, which nest here for part of the year. We cycle to the coast at Mari Ermi and the spectacular white quartz beach of Is Aruta. A short ride down the peninsula to San Giovanni Sinis takes us to the Punic and Roman city of Tharros, one of the island's most important archaeological sites from this era, overlooking the emerald sea (optional guided visit).
Today we ride through the natural beauty spots of the Costa Verde (Green Coast), named after the green, wild vegetation that covers much of its mountainous surroundings. To avoid the uninteresting suburbs of Oristano, we transfer by road to Arborea and cycle across reclaimed farmland to the picturesque fishing village of Marceddi and to the long beach of Piscinas, bordered by huge sand dunes - some over 50m high! From Piscinas we head inland and end our day's cycling with a steady climb to our cosy agriturismo set in the hills overlooking the Monte Linas range.
This is another tough day, but we are rewarded with superb scenery! After a fantastic descent to the Mannu River, we reach the start of the miles of remote golden beaches around Portixeddu. We cycle past the abandoned mines of Pranu Sartu and the stunning inlet of Cala Domestica before reaching the 130m high sea-stack of Pan di Zucchero and the former mining village of Nebida.
Today's route starts with a beautiful descent to Fontanamare followed by an undulating coastal ride to Portoscuso. Here, we board the local ferry to the fishing village of Carloforte on Isola di San Pietro. There is time to explore this delightful islet with its sandy coves, dramatic rocky headlands and tiny hamlets, before rejoining the ferry to the equally unspoilt island of Sant' Antioco.
This morning we cycle through the lush meadows of the island of Sant' Antioco before crossing back to the mainland and visit the Pisan sanctuary at Tratalias, dating back to the Romanesque period. From here we follow the shoreline of Monte Pranu lake and ride across the quiet country lanes of Sulcis until we reach the village of Sant' Anna Arresi. Nearby are the pinewoods, lagoons and beaches of Porto Pino.
Today is the longest day in terms of distance. We pedal across the beautiful southern countryside over the jagged coastal plains of the Costa del Sud, a wild and unspoilt region of gleaming white beaches, coastal pools and imposing high cliffs punctuated by 16th Century Spanish watchtowers. We cycle as far as Cape Teulada, Sardinia’s southernmost tip, where dramatic cliffs rise up to 230m above the crystal clear sea. We stop in Pula, famous for its proximity to the ancient Phoenician site of Nora, founded in the 9th Century BC and now partly submerged under the sea (optional guided visit). From the end of the ride we take a private transfer to Cagliari, where we celebrate the end of a great cycling week; dinner and overnight in Cagliari.