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from just £949 per person.

About Olbia

You don't have to travel to the Caribbean to find sea that sparkles in every shade of blue. Sardinia's northeast coast is an earthly paradise of shimmering reefs, coves and bays. The main port of Olbia is often overlooked as crowds rush to the glittering Costa Smeralda, a millionaire's playground for those looking to indulge in La Dolce Vita lifestyle.

 

But Olbia (meaning 'happy' in Greek) brings much to smile about. The glorious sandy beaches are less crowded for a start and its bustling historic centre is refreshingly authentic, packed with boutiques, bars and sun-dappled piazzas.

 

While The Tomb of the Giants and Sa Testa Sacred Well are nods to the city's ancient past, explore the granite hewn Basilica di San Simplicio and Castle for fine standing examples of medieval architecture.

 

Shore excursions in Olbia

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Costa Smeralda Sightseeing

Activity lowShopping

Duration: 4 hours

Perhaps the biggest mystery of the Costa Smeralda is its name, with waters not so much emerald as azure, caerulean, sapphire.

However you describe its colours, the word that best describes Sardinia’s Emerald Coast is ‘blissful’. Lapped by crystal waters, the fine, white sandy beaches are, quite simply, world-class.

After a comfortable 45-minute coach ride, you’ll arrive at Porto Cervo, developed by the Aga Khan in the 1960s into an exclusive resort for the mega-wealthy. Formula 1 moguls, former Italian prime ministers, film stars and royalty all rub shoulders here. After a short, guided tour, you’ll be free to stroll and browse in the designer shops with its roll-call of famous luxury labels.

Just 2 miles away is your next stop – the beautiful Baja Sardinia, with the stunning Maddalena archipelago just offshore. Also developed in the 1960s, Baia Sardinia is a more intimate beach town dotted with restaurants and quaint souvenir shops. The bay it sits on is a string of pearly white beach after pearly white beach, each washed by translucent seas.

You can spend your free time here having a wander round the shops, a paddle, or take a seat at a café, order ice cream and coffee, and simply drink in the to-die-for views.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Coaches are required to park outside the villages of Baja Sardinia and Porto Cervo. This necessitates a walk of 15 minutes involving inclines and steps. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Toilet facilities in Sardinia are limited and are usually continental. Please note that many shops close in the afternoon, on Sundays and in low season.The tour also involves some winding roads and is therefore unsuitable for passengers with vertigo.

Maddalena Archipelago by Boat

Activity lowRefreshments includedFamily

Duration: 5 hours

Sail round the Maddalena Archipelago, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Caribbean, or even the Seychelles.

After a 45-minute coach trip from Olbia, you’ll board your boat at Cannigione, and set sail on the short crossing to the Maddalena Archipeligo. This collection of seven larger islands and 55 idyllic islets is actually a national park. Peaceful and pristine, its beaches are even more sublime than the Costa Smeralda’s – and that’s saying something.

Your 3-hour boat trip will visit uninhabited Spargi Budelli, with its Spiaggia Rosa - Pink Beach- now not so pink and thus highly protected, the castaway isle of Santa Maria, where properties change hands for millions and Razzoli, with its dramatic granite rocks, uninhabited since 1969 when the lighthouse keeper left. And with visibility of up to 40 metres, there’ll be plenty to admire underwater too.

On board, you can enjoy local snacks such as carta musica – a crispy flat bread seasoned with rosemary and sea salt - cheese and wine. But the highlight of the trip will surely be when you go ashore at Spargi or Santa Maria to enjoy that blissful dip you’ve been longing for.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. Sunscreen, a hat, bottled water, a swimming costume and towels are recommended.

Moon Valley - Small Group Tour

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Explore Sardinia’s wilder side. Visit a town built on cork production and a valley wind-sculpted into a lunar landscape.

Your coach departs from Olbia and snakes up into the hills on a 1¼ hour panoramic journey through granite scenery and holm-oak forests to the historic hill-town of Tempio Pausania. Surrounded by dense cork tree woods, Tempio is famed for its cork products, granite stone work and thermal springs. Its cobblestone streets are lined with boutiques and cafés, and, after a short, guided tour, you’ll have free time to explore and browse the shops for souvenirs.

Your tour now takes you to Aggius for a short photo stop before driving on to the magnificent other-worldly landscape of Valle della Luna (Valley of the Moon). It’s so-called because this 500-metre long valley resembles a lunar landscape more than a terrestrial one. Magnificent, colossal, granite sculptural rocks are scattered and piled at extraordinary angles everywhere you look.

After free time spent exploring, you’ll take the scenic 1 ½ hour journey back to Olbia.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves 2 hours’ of walking on uneven ground and steps. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Euros and credit or debit cards are accepted for purchases.

Panoramic Maddalena

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Discover a tranquil place of uninhabited islets, azure lagoons and the most pristine beaches in Sardinia.

The Maddalena Archipelago has, for years, been a well-kept secret of the wealthy, who sail to the hidden turquoise lagoons and deserted beaches. La Maddalena is the main island, with a town of the same name.

Your trip will begin with a 1¼ hour scenic coach trip from Olbia to Palau, where you will board the local ferry to La Maddalena. Once there, you’ll be whisked off on a 1-hour tour of the island, which is less than 20 square miles in area. There’ll be views to take your breath away at every turn. At the old fort and current meteorological station of Guardia Vecchia, you’ll enjoy yet more jaw-dropping vistas over the archipelago, all the way to Corsica.

On your return to La Maddalena, there’ll be a short, guided tour and a little free time to explore before catching the public ferry back to Palau and your coach back to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, ferry and on foot. Walking on this tour is optional in the main town and may be over some uneven and cobblestoned surfaces. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Passengers must be able to negotiate the steps onto and off the coach and the ferry.

Sardinia, Ancient and Modern

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4¼ hours

A megalithic city built by an ancient civilisation and a colourful town created in the sixties by the Aga Khan. Only in Sardinia.

Three thousand years ago, Sardinia was the cradle of the Nuragic civilisation who built cone-shaped stone towers called nuraghe. This excursion takes you to visit La Prisgiona, one of Sardinia’s most important nuraghe. You’ll get to explore the central tower with two flanking towers; the - still working - 7-metre deep well, meeting hut and, outside the walls, around 90 circular huts. Due to the impressive number and spread of its buildings, La Prisgiona is considered unique – and you’ll easily see why.

After this visit to ancient Sardinia, you’ll visit the island at its most modern - Porto Cervo. At the centre of the Costa Smeralda, this many-hued village retreat was created by the Aga Khan in the 1960s. After a short, guided tour, you’ll be free to wander. And where better to wander than the marina to see the jaw-droppingly super, super-yachts, with Russian oligarchs, Arabian royalty, European billionaires – and the occasional film star - at play? And if the designer price tags are a just a little bit high, look out for local fabrics, honey, olive oil and myrtle liqueur to carry home the true taste of Sardinia.

On the way back to the ship, your 50-minute coach journey will pass through the beautiful traditional village of San Pantaleo.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 2½ hours’ of walking on this tour over uneven ground and cobbled streets. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Bring sunscreen, a hat and bottled water.

 

A selection of cruises to Olbia

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