Costa Smeralda Beaches
The Emerald coast of Sardinia (Costa Smeralda) is a top travel destination in Italy. Most of Sardinia’s best beaches are located in the area. The coast stretches for 20 kilometers and is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and emerald water. Costa Smeralda is 35 kilometers north from Olbia.
Liscia Ruja Beach
This beach was the first stop on our Costa Smeralda journey in July 2017. The access road was unpaved for 2 km. Once we got there we felt lucky – Liscia Ruja beach wasn’t as crowded as Cala Capricciolli and the parking was free. We came at noon but luckily found a secluded place on the beach. It was relatively far from the organized area. We did not pay for any amenities on the beach, just enjoyed the scenery. The umbrella and chairs for rent were higher priced so we got our own parasol. As most of the tourists on the beach, we brought our own towels, water and lunch.
Liscia Ruja is a glorious beach in Sardinia. In fact, it consists of one long stretch of white sand and several small beaches hidden among spectacular granite rocks. We spent a peaceful and relaxing afternoon on this beautiful place.
Yet, even though the sea looked almost Caribbean blue this beach could not be compared to the exotic coasts of Dominican Republic and Mexico. Let’s not forget that this is in Europe, far from the tropical vibe.
Cala Capricciolli Beach
Cala Capricciolli Beach is a must-see for everyone visiting Sardinia. It is considered the most beautiful in the area because of the combination of white sand, red cliffs, turquoise sea and green pines This beach is the greenest of all Costa Smeralda’s beaches. We were happy to enjoy the natural shade while walking along the rocky coast.
What we did not like was the fact that the beach was overcrowded from side to side. It was hard to find a private spot on the beach. Since the Capricciolli Beach is small, it is better to visit it off season, probably in mid-September. Finding a parking place was also a nightmare. We spent almost an hour before we before we got one.
La Maddalena Beaches
La Maddalena archipelago is blessed with beautiful landscape and some of the most beautiful beaches in Mediterranean. The chain of islands is the only place in Sardinia we would come back. The scenery reminded us slightly of some of the best beaches on the islands of Skopelos and Kefalonia.
From Olbia we drove to Palau (40 km) and then took a ferry to La Magdalena port. The price of a round trip for four persons with a small car (up to 4 metres long) was 70 euros. The journey took less than for 15 minutes. Ferry runs every half hour during the day and every hour during the night.
From the port, we headed west to Cala Monte D’Arena. It is just 5 km from the main town. We parked on the road and crossed it. The view over the bay was stunning. On the left side of the coast there was a huge sand dune. Later we climbed it to take pictures on the beach. Monte D’Arena beach was not very crowded probably because the shore is long enough. We stayed on this beach less than an hour since there were no natural shadow.
Then we headed to the amazing island of Caprera. It is the only one, which is connected to the La Maddalena by a road. Caprera is mountainous with green pine forests and secluded beaches that are very difficult to access on foot.
Cala di Coticcio Beach, Caprera
Without doubt this is the best Sardinia beach! To get to this heavenly place we did a 1.7 km long trail down on the rocks. The weather in July was really hot! We did not take a lot of water and did not have training shoes. At least we expected to see a secluded piece of paradise. Yet as we finally got there, it was difficult to find a place on the tiny beach.
Why so many people come to this beach? Well, Spiaggia di Cala is prased for the transparent emerald sea. The water is perfect for snorkeling and diving. The walking (3.4 km in total) is rough but totally worth it.
San Teodoro Beaches
More beautiful and less crowded, San Teodoro beaches are really worth visiting. The area boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia – Lu Impostu, Cala Brandinchi and Capo Coda Cavallo. San Teodoro is on the northeast coast of Sardinia, just 20 km south of Olbia. All beaches overlook the Islands of Tavolara and Molara.
San Teodoro beaches are nestled in a protected marine area – hundreds of kilometres of transparent water, mystic coves, charming inlets and lagoons.
The San Teodoro’s coast owes its beauty to the interesting combination of natural features – the shimmering white sand is contrasting with red granite rocks that emerge close to the beaches. Finally, add to this extraordinary beauty one more detail – the intense deep blue colour of the sky, often without any clouds. The sea is transparent and translucent. You can enjoy almost all shades of the blue and green colours. This striking blend reminds the color of Aegean Sea in Greece.
As all beaches in Sardinia, San Teodoro’s shore is often compared to the beaches of Tahiti. Well, this might be an impression of someone who had never been to Tahiti or other tropical place. We personally found striking differences. Sardinia and San Teodoro in particular feature lack of abundant vegetation. Due to the vicinity of Africa, the sky is monochrome blue.
Still, San Teodoro beaches are very beautiful compared to many places in Europe. The best thing is that they are not as crowded as Costa Smeralda beaches. Even in the middle of July you can find a place on the beach in a quieter area.
Lu Impostu Beach, San Teodoro
We liked Lu Impostu beach so much that we spent 2 days on its white sands. The beach is long and it is not as populated as the neighboring Cala Brandinchi beach. Beyond the sand dunes there is a lagoon – a view which creates a feeling as you are in the middle of an island, surrounded by emerald water. It looks also like an infinity swimming pool blending in with the sea. At the right side of the bay some red granite rocks interupt the surface of the emerald sea. During our stay in July 2017, the shore was clean, without seaweed.
Since the water is shallow and warm, Lu Impostu beach is suitable for families with children. The ground slopes gently to the sea. It is a pleasure to swim or just to sunbathe on this San Teodoro beach.
There is a small, organized part of Lu Impostu beach where you can rent a set of chairs and a parasol. The price is 25 euros per day. Yet this is not the only service that cost lots of money. Parking cost 2 euros per hours. There are two parking options in the area. If you drive from San Teodoro, you will find a parking that is cheaper – 4 euros per 6 hours. You buy a ticket from a vending machine and leave it in a visible place inside the car.
If you are coming from Olbia, this beach is accessible by the same unpaved road as Cala Brundinchi. The parking place at the end of this road is more expensive – 2 euros per hour without an option for a daily pass.
Both Cala Brandinchi and Lu impostu are located on the same bay. In July 2017, Cala Brandinchi looked overcrowded. It was difficult to see the colour of the sea because of tons of seaweed in the area.
The beach looked smaller than Lu impostu but there were more amenities and services – picnic zone with tables and chairs under the green trees, a cantina and a place on the beach where children can play under the natural shadow. As everywhere in Sardinia, beach vendors come along almost all the time.
Capo Coda Cavallo Beach
One of the gems of Sardinia, Capo Coda Cavallo (Tail of the horse) is a beautiful curve of pink sand and crystal clear water. When driving to the place we stoped a few times to admire the beautiful view. The beach is situated at the end of the peninsula. As everywhere around San Teodoro, parking is 2 euros per hour.
Capo Coda Cavallo beach is glorious – the landscape is dominated by white sand and red rocks. At the right end of the shore there is an area with pebbles instead of sand. This is a relatively quiet corner compared to the other parts of the beach. The bay is ideal for diving and snorkeling.
At the end of a thrilling day on the beach, it is worth visiting San Teodoro town. We truly regret that we did not book an accommodation there instead of Pittulongu. The town offers many possibilities for dining and entertainment. Even urban design and city building are more attractive.
Beahces Near to Olbia
The nearest beach to Olbia is Pittulongu beach. It is 9 km north of Olbia. From Olbia, the village is accessible either by car or by bus. The beach is nice and clean. Is not as beautiful as San Teodoro beaches but still pleasant place for sunbathing and swimming. There is a beautiful view on the Tavolara Island which can be seen from many beaches on the east coast of Sardinia.
The sand is soft and white and water is clear. Due to the vicinity to Olbia, Pittulongu beach is crowded. There are nearby cafes and places to eat.
This beach is smaller than Pittulongu beach. It is 10 km north from Olbia and features the same soft sand and clear blue water as Pittulongu. Bados beach is crowded as any beach in the area. There are possibilities for free parking.
Nodu Pianu Beach
We visited this beach just for a couple of minutes. At the beginning of July, it was so crowded that it was impossible to appraise if it was beautiful or not. The neighboring Cala Banana beach left with us the same impression. Probably all the photos of a white sand beaches and emerald blue water were taken “off season”.