Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 08:45

Cycling in Sardinia

Cycling in Sardinia Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Italy
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: MWK
  • Carbon Footprint: 15kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Cycle the wild southwest coast and relax on stunning beaches

Often referred to as the land of silence, Sardinia is a place of outstanding natural beauty, with crystal-clear sea, limestone ridges and deep gorges. During the week, we ride across the wild and pristine southwest, passing abandoned mines, ancient ruins and gleaming white beaches. The route starts with a circular ride through the Sinis wetlands, home to flamingo colonies, then moves 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 Portixeddu beach, where the white cliff of Pan di Zucchero towers out of emerald waters. We then board a 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 by pedalling across the rolling hills of the Costa del Sud, home to white beaches, coastal pools and imposing high cliffs. Having built a good appetite, you have plenty of opportunities to sample mouth-watering local cuisine: the perfect mix for a great week of cycling.

At a Glance

  • Seven nights in comfortable three-star hotels and agriturismos
  • Six days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 90 percent paved, 10 percent easy gravel roads
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leaders. Minimum age: 16
  • Mix of easy riding and climbs from the coast
  • E-bikes available for an additional cost

Highlights

  • Cycle the unspoiled southwest coast of Sardinia
  • Explore fascinating archaeological sites and picturesque fishing villages
  • Enjoy warm hospitality and delicious local cuisine
  • Relax on Mediterranean beaches

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road and Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page. The trip is ideal for cyclists who exercise regularly and have a good level of fitness.

  • Six days of cycling
  • Average 32mi (52km) per day
  • 90 percent vehicle support – the vehicle doesn’t accompany the group on the isle of San Pietro (Day 5)
  • 90 percent paved, 10 percent easy gravel roads and sandy paths

The cycling consists of three relatively easy days, cycling mainly flat routes (days 2, 5 and 6), two more challenging days with relatively long, steady climbs (days 3 and 4) and one longer stage with undulating terrain (Day 7).

  • Days 2 and 6 are considered Activity Level 1 (Leisurely)
  • Day 5 is considered Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
  • Days 3, 4 and 7 are considered Activity Level 3 (Moderate), with Day 3 the most challenging (ascent: 3,280ft/1,000m)

We follow a mixture of quiet minor roads, cycle paths and non-technical tracks, while the support vehicle is available if you prefer to opt out of a section. Additionally, the tour leader may alter the route if they feel it will enhance the experience for the group.

Group

There will be a local leader cycling with the group and an assistant leader driving the support vehicle.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 5

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Cycling in Sardinia

Land Only

  • Start City: Cabras
  • End City: Cagliari

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Cabras

Start Cabras, in the Sinis peninsula, approximately 68mi (110km) from Cagliari Airport. Take time to settle in, our cycling starts tomorrow.

Day 2
Ride through the Sinis wetlands to the Phoenician site of Tharros
Cycling in Sardinia

We start the week with a ride across the Sinis wetlands, where pink flamingos and a wealth of other birdlife populate the lagoons in season. We cycle to the coast and the white-quartz beach of Is Arutas. A short ride down the peninsula to San Giovanni Sinis takes us to the Punic and Roman city of Tharros, one of the most important archaeological sites from this era on the island, overlooking the emerald sea (optional guided visit of the site). We then head to the town of Oristano, crossing the medieval historic centre to reach Arborea, where we spend the night.

Distance covered: 37mi (60km)

Ascent: 164ft (50m); Descent: 164ft (50m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Cycle along the Costa Verde and on to Piscinas beach
Cycling in Sardinia

Today we ride through the natural beauty spots of the Costa Verde (Green Coast), named after the wild vegetation that covers much of the mountainous surroundings and the colour of the water. We cycle across reclaimed farmland to the picturesque fishing village of Marceddi and to the long beach of Piscinas, bordered by huge dunes – some more than 165ft (50m) high. From Piscinas, we head back to our cosy accommodation.

Distance covered: 35mi (57km)

Ascent: 3,281ft (1,000m); Descent: 1,903ft (580m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Cycle past abandoned mines, the golden beach of Portixeddu and the white sea stack of Pan di Zucchero; continue to the former mining village of Nebida

We tackle one of the more challenging cycling days on the tour, but are rewarded with superb scenery. After a fantastic descent to the Mannu River, we reach the start of 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 425ft (130m) high sea stack of Pan di Zucchero and the former mining village of Nebida.

Distance covered: 25mi (41km)

Ascent: 2,690ft (820m); Descent: 3,609ft (1,100m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Descend to Fontanamare; board the ferry to the fishing village of Carloforte
Cycling in Sardinia

Our 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, the only existing one on Isola di San Pietro (San Pietro Island). We have time to explore this delightful islet with its sandy coves, dramatic rocky headlands and tiny hamlets, before rejoining the ferry to the equally unspoiled island of Sant’Antioco.

Distance covered: 35mi (56km)

Ascent: 1,083ft (330m); Descent: 1,575ft (480m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Cycle through the meadows of Sant'Antioco; visit the Romanesque Pisan sanctuary and ride along the quiet country lanes of Sulcis

This morning, we cycle through the lush meadows of Sant’Antioco before returning to the mainland and visiting the Pisan sanctuary at Tratalias, which dates to the Romanesque period. From here, we 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.

Distance covered: 25mi (40km)

Ascent: 394ft (120m); Descent: 164ft (50m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Cycle the rolling hills of the Costa del Sud; climb to the high point of Cape Malfatano for views of the coast; transfer and overnight in Cagliari
Cycling in Sardinia

We pedal across the beautiful southern countryside over the jagged coastal plains of the Costa del Sud, a wild and unspoiled region of gleaming white beaches, coastal pools and imposing high cliffs punctuated by 16th-century Spanish watchtowers. We cycle as far as Cape Teulada, the southernmost tip of Sardinia, where cliffs rise 755ft (230m) above the crystal-clear sea. We stop in Pula, which was founded in the ninth century BCE and is now partly submerged under the sea (optional guided visit). From the end of the ride, we take a transfer to Cagliari, where we celebrate the end of a great cycling week with our final dinner.

Distance covered: 35mi (57km)

Ascent: 1,739ft (530m); Descent: 1,739ft (530m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
End Cagliari

The tour ends after breakfast. If you’re keen to explore more, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Farmhouses and hotels

MuMA Hostel, Sant'Antioco

We use comfortable three- and four-star hotels and good quality agriturismos (renovated farmhouses). All accommodation is locally owned and family-run and the hotels have been carefully selected for their welcoming atmosphere and delicious home-made cuisine. All rooms are comfortable with en suite facilities. Some hotels have a swimming pool, one is conveniently located near a beautiful beach, while others are in the quiet Sardinian countryside or pretty villages.

Examples of hotels we use are:

  • Cabras: Villa Canu or Aquae Sinis
  • Arborea: Hotel le Torri
  • Arbus: Agriturismo Rocce Bianche
  • Nebida area: Locanda L’Agusteri
  • Sant’Antioco: MuMA Hostel
  • Teulada: Hotel Jasmine
  • Cagliari: Hotel Italia or Due Colonne or Regina Margherita

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales representative for availability and prices.

Due to the layout of the accommodations, single bedrooms vary in size, and in the hotel in Cagliari they can either be double rooms for single use or standard single rooms, according to availability. Please be aware that some single rooms can be on the small side.

Single supplement from £ 330

Food & Drink

All breakfasts and two dinners are included.

Traditional Sardinian cuisine is full of local and delicious recipes. Popular specialities include roast suckling pig and excellent seafood. To help you avoid the more touristy restaurants, your local leader will happily provide you with recommendations.

To drink, you can seek out Sardinian wines, including vermentino, nuragus, cannonau and monica, and sample mirto, the Sardinian after-dinner liqueur made from the leaves of the myrtle plant.

Transport

Transfers to and from the airport will be by private vehicle. On Day 5, we take a ferry to Carloforte and Sant’Antioco. While cycling, the support vehicle will carry your baggage and be available to assist or if you choose to opt out a section of the ride. A guide cycles with the group.

Weather & Seasonality

Sardinia has a Mediterranean climate, usually warm in spring and autumn with hot, dry summers. April, May, September and October usually have average daytime temperatures around 20C-25C (68F-77F). Rain is unlikely but possible throughout the year.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Cagliari Airport (CAG)

Getting to the start hotel

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Group flight from London, UK
Due to the easyJet booking system, we can only purchase flights six months before the departure date. If you book your trip before this date, a booking confirmation will be sent to you advising that flights are subject to confirmation. We then secure the flights as soon as they become available. In the case that flights are not available at the original budgeted cost once they are released for sale, a flight supplement will be charged. If the supplement exceeds 10 percent of the original holiday price, you will be given the right to cancel.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Cabras
Location end: Cagliari

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Spare inner tube (unless hiring a bike)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunscreen and lip salve
  • Warm jacket for evenings
  • Energy snacks

Optional Equipment

  • Swimming costume
  • Beach towel
  • Mosquito repellent

Equipment Hire

Included standard bike
The standard bike for this trip is a Cube Nature Pro.

We will take your height at the time of booking to reserve equipment. If you have a preferred bike size, please request when booking.

E-bike upgrade
Electric bikes are available on this trip; prices from £105/US$150/200 Canadian dollars. Speak to your sales representative for more information.

Bringing your own bike
If you’d prefer to bring your own bike, please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the trip. However, you will be responsible­­ f­or any extra baggage charges; assembling and disassembling your bike; and bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. You should also ensure you have adequate insurance to cover loss, damage or theft.

Accessories and clothing

Bringing equipment from home
You’re welcome to bring your own equipment, such as SPD pedals or clipless pedals, your own saddle (excluding the seat post), or gel saddle cover for the hire bikes. Your leader will help you fit these when bikes are distributed.

Helmets
Helmets are mandatory for everyone on a guided Exodus cycling trip. You must bring your own as, following best safety practice, they are not available for hire.

Cycling clothing
For all cycling trips we recommend:

  • Padded cycling shorts: For destinations with more modest cultures, we also recommend loose ‘over-shorts’ for riding or rest stops
  • Eyewear: Either sunglasses or eye protection with clear lenses to protect the eyes while riding
  • Cycling gloves: Especially for riding off-road or on rugged surfaces
  • Cycling shoes: Cycling is more efficient with stiff-soled shoes. We don’t recommend open-toed shoes or sandals
  • Small close-fitting backpack or bum bag (fanny pack): To keep spare clothing or essential items to hand during the ride

Practical Information

Visa

Italy

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Italy. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/italy
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note: it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times in Italy.

Vaccinations and Health

Italy

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Italy's time zone: Europe/Rome (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), F (two round pins), and L (three round pins in a row) – 230V, 50Hz

Cycling in Sardinia

Money

Italy's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in most towns. Credit cards are accepted in the majority of restaurants.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included, allow approximately €15 for a lunch in a restaurant (€5‐€7 for a picnic lunch bought in a supermarket) and approximately €25-€30 for dinner. The exact amount spent depends entirely on the type of restaurant visited and the menu chosen.

Local taxes: Many Italian cities have introduced a tourist tax for non‐residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check‐in or check‐out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €1 and €4 per person per night. For this trip, please allow approximately €10 for the week.

Optional excursions (approximate costs, depending on group sizes)

  • Tharros archaeological site: €8
  • Phoenician Museum in Sant’Antioco: €8
  • Nora archaeological site in Pula: €7

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus; however, most of our clients wish to tip their guides in appreciation of their help. This is not compulsory and depends on the service received. As a starting point, we suggest €25 per person for the leader. It is also customary to tip private bus drivers (please allow €10-€15 per person for the week).

People, Places & Planet

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a ‘total approach’ to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. For most part of this trip, we will spend the nights in agriturismos (renovated farmhouses) and experience a stay in a local farm. This ensures that our visit benefits the locals and provides them with employment opportunities.

As a cycling trip, it allows easier access to the local communities and hence, facilitates interaction with the locals from the visits to local cafes and restaurants as well as markets to purchase traditional gifts and get a real impression of the country. Water is especially important and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital to not cause too much waste from single use plastic bottles. Tap water is drinkable in Sardinia hence, we strongly encourage clients to bring their own reusable bottles and refill it throughout the journey.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.