Sardinia by Bike – Self Guided Cycling Sardinia
An ancient land with an ancient language, Sardinia is a fascinating and unique place. Its coastline is probably among the most spectacular in Europe, its waters teeming with fish and shellfish. Its rugged mountains, dug out of the caves, welcome large flocks of sheep that feed on wild plants and produce a cheese that your palate will never forget. The excursions in Sardinia are plentiful and the paths overlook the sea or venture into the hilly and mountainous regions. But if you are passionate about cycling, here you will “find bread for your teeth” (as the Sardinians say). Let’s see how to get around Sardinia by bike.
Tour of Sardinia by bike: routes for mountain biking
If you are interested in cycling holidays, but do not know what route to take, here are some tips. We want to specify however that this route is not suitable for beginners. Before leaving, it is always a good idea to have a cycling guide with you that could be useful during the journey. For example, on the site www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it you can download one in which five itineraries are proposed divided into 24 stages of about 100 km each. In this way, the expert cyclist can also combine the stages of different routes to create a personalized itinerary. Each stage is also associated with a semitappa, ie a shorter stage. Added to this, for each step the recommended tourist facilities for the night are indicated. So with that said, we can now explore the specifics of the bike riding in Sardinia.
The departure of the bike tour is from the city of Alghero. The second day, you have to travel 105 km to get to Bosa along the sea, stopping for a moment to admire the pretty fortified village. On the third day, you have to travel 95 km if you want to get to Bono or 140 km to get to Nuoro, crossing the marvelous Sardinian hills of the Burgos and Oliena Forest. On the fourth day you will have to do 90 km in the hills, crossing Dorgali, Baunei and finally reaching Arbatax, a small port city in the Ogliastra region. The fifth day, 88km will be made and during the journey will be possible to admire the famous nuraghi dating back to prehistoric times, which are now UNESCO heritage. On the sixth day you will pass to Fontanamare, then continue to Arbus through the small fishing village of Bugerru and further on through the prickly pears to admire the “Pan di Zucchero”, a 133 meter high rock spur that comes out of the sea with two natural arches. On the seventh day you will have to travel 66 km along the coast, taking a ring through Via Domus de Maria, Teulada and Chia, where you can admire fabulous landscapes, white sandy beaches, high sand dunes and crystal clear waters that look like they belong in the Caribbean.
Sardinia nature itinerary: routes for beginners
For lovers of nature and mountain biking, the Sulcis is certainly ideal because of the great variety of coastal deserts, mines, forests, landscapes, caves, mountains and woods where wild animals and deer can be found. Those of Sulcis are routes for road or racing bikes, suitable for any type of enthusiast, beginner or expert. This is a factor of considerable importance, as cycling in Sardinia is suitable for all people who want to spend pleasant cycling holidays, admiring wonderful views. The roads are not too complex for travel: for the most part they are flat, with very simple climbs and descents, which do not require great effort. The view from the mountains, the sea and the old mines offers incredibly beautiful panoramas. The Carbonia Iglesias area, in this sense, offers a great variety of cycling routes. One of the most beautiful routes for beginners is definitely the one that, starting from Calasetta, crosses Sant’Anna Arresi, Giba, San Giovanni Suergiu and Sant’Antioco which, together with other places, make up the treasures of the southern part of Sardinia.
Cycle tourism day by day itineraries: mountain bike trails
As for the routes for experts who want to go around the whole of Sardinia by bike, we propose an itinerary explained day by day. In any case, even if you are well aware of the way to go, it is always good to bring along guides for bike itineraries, which could be useful during the journey, even just to discover some hidden and incredibly beautiful place.
The 11 Day Bike Tour of Sardinia
Day 1: Start of the tour in Alghero
There are many ways to reach Alghero: by plane or by ferry from Genoa to Porto Torres. Alghero is a city that has been dominated for centuries by the Catalans: in fact, the dialect is still a mix between Catalan and Italian. We suggest staying at the Hotel Carlos V, which is located on the sea, 15 minutes walk from the historic city center. Before dinner, you can take a bike test drive to see if everything is fine.
Day 2: Towards Bosa
Follow the south coast towards Bosa, which is the first stop: take some time to explore this fascinating country before enjoying a lunch of typical Sardinian dishes in one of the many restaurants and bars dotted around. Afterwards, face a final climb through small coastal vineyards that will take you to a plateau full of small characteristic villages. In fact, since the Roman times, the Sardinians have never really lived on the seashore, mostly because of the danger of pirates. After today’s exertions we recommend finding a comfortable place to stay the night!
Day 3: In the Sardinian hinterland
Today we stay inland, visiting the cities of Flussio (famous for its homemade baskets) and Tinnura (famous for its murals). After a visit to a mill, which still produces olive oil from trees planted by 16th century Spanish noble families, you will fly downhill to the beach for a refreshing swim and lunch.
Day 4: Rest day and Roman ruins
After 3 intense days, you will be in need of some relaxation. For those who still want to do an activity, we recommend a trip to discover the Phoenician and Roman ruins of Tharros, on the coast, where you can also take a relaxing swim in the sea. Anyone who wants to ride a bike can spend the whole day exploring all the little bays and beaches along the wild coast. The return trip will take you to the salt flats populated by fish and pink flamingos. Try the famous “bottarga” (fish eggs) inside one of the typical Sardinian eateries.
Day 5: Mountain route to Tonara
Today you will have to go into the heart of Sardinia. The route follows the river Tirso to Fordongianus, an important Roman city, then heading to Samugheo, known for its knotted white wool carpets. After lunch and a freezing break in Samugheo, continue to climb towards Atzara and Sorgono, where the top of the mountain awaits you (about 900 meters). Your destination is the small mountain village of Tonara, famous throughout Italy for its honey, for nougat and for artisan bells that help to understand where sheep, goats and cattle are.
Day 6: Bandit Mountain!
We start the day with a well deserved descent before going up to the village of Gavoi to stop and have lunch in Mamoiada. We gather for a short visit to a museum to learn about the disturbing masks that dominate the traditional festivals before continuing to the historic center of Orgosolo on the Gennargentu mountain, known in the past for the raids of bandits. Near here is the Su Gologone Hotel, nestled under the imposing Supramonte massif and a good place to rest your bones.
Day 7: Excursion to the nuragic village
Leave your bike at the hotel and get ready for an excursion to discover some of the ruins and rock settlements of the ancient Nuragic civilization that once lived in this area. After the hike, share a barbecue in the mountains with local shepherds. A quick return to the hotel will allow you to rest and take a dip in the pool before dinner.
Day 8: Towards Bari Sardo
In this itinerary, you have to keep your helmet tight because you go from 100 to 1,000 meters and then descend again to sea level, pedaling through some of the most spectacular limestone mountains of the Mediterranean basin. Stop in Dorgali to see the traditional gold filigree rugs and jewels, the Sardinian ceramic designs before a long but gentle panoramic climb that will take you to the top of the pass. From there, the road is all downhill to Bari Sardo, where you will stop for the night.
Day 9: From Bari Sardo to Costa Rei
Todays route is long, but not particularly difficult and crosses the villages of Tertenìa, Villaputzu and Muravera. The landscape is bucolic with views of the mountain range that separates the valley from the sea. Enjoy the views of the Tyrrhenian Sea towards the end of the route. For the night, we recommend stopping at Il Vascello.
Day 10: The southern coast of Sardinia
Head to the southern coast of Sardinia, near one of the most famous beaches of Cagliari. stop at Villasimius for breakfast mid-morning, for an ice-cream, or just for a walk on the famous beach. After the last ride, stop for dinner and overnight at the Hotel Regina Margherita.
Day 11: End of the tour in Cagliari
The bike ride ends in the beautiful town of Cagliari. If you have some time before leaving, visit the historic center and the most important tourist and cultural attractions.
GPS Bike’s in Sardinia
If you want to keep track of information related to your location or if you want to share it with other riders, GPS for the bike could be very useful. In fact, when you pedal with a GPS you can trace the route, upload it to your computer to analyze it, or simply share it with your teammates, friends and relatives. Some websites have forums where cyclists can load their routes and view the favorite routes of other cyclists from a wide variety of locations. You will be able to see changes in altitude, climbs, descents and the total distance of the route in order to be prepared.
Why Should I Rent A Bike in Sardinia?
Especially when it comes to beginners, not everyone owns a bicycle. Obviously, professionals have their own mountain bikes that cost almost as much as a car, but for those who simply want to take a sightseeing tour of Sardinia or those who do not have the money to buy a super-equipped MTB, what should they do? There is no problem, cycling is for everyone, this is why rentals were invented, which allow you to borrow a bike at affordable prices. Depending on the type of route to take, you will have to choose the most suitable one. Remember you shouldn’t take a bike designed for city cycling to face a complex mountainous route! In addition, you must take into account your height, the comfort of the saddle, your training and many other factors.
If you are entrusted with an agency to organize a bike tour, it is very likely that it has an agreement with a bike renta company.
Even if you do not intend to buy a top-of-the-range, such as racing carbon fiber MTBs, there’s no doubt that buying a bike can be very expensive. Many people simply want to take a ride with their family through the beautiful beaches of Sardinia, so buying a bike for each family member could become very expensive.
Especially if you do not have the habit of riding a bike, it is definitely not worth buying one: it would only be a waste of money.
Fashion changes quickly and technology is evolving, so if you buy a bike for a holiday in Sardinia, the following year your bike will already be out of fashion. Instead, with the rental, you will have the possibility to always have the latest model.
Then, many forget that bicycles must be maintained and this can lead to costs: new tires, brake pads, chains to be changed, etc. If you choose to rent bikes rather than buying them, you will not have to worry about any maintenance problems.
Where Can I rent a bike in Sardinia?
Here are just 3 suggested dealerships where you can rent the latest bikes in Sardinia
RENT A BIKE RAGGI DI SARDEGNA
Address: Via Majorca, 119, 07041 Alghero SS
Sardinia Cycling Srl
Address: Via G. Donizetti, 7, 09045 Quartu Sant’Elena CA
Sardinia Cycling Costa Smeralda Bike Center
Address: c/o Hotel Airone Strada Provinciale 59 Arzachena-Baja Sardina, 07021 Arzachena OT