The goal for our second cycling tour of Sardinia (make sure to also read about our first cycling tour of Sardinia) was to actually start and end at Alghero, instead of relying on public transport to get to our starting location. Having said that, this goal also makes it harder to get far away from Alghero, and it therefore limits your options a bit. Not to worry though, we managed to find a very nice ride through some diverse landscapes. Sardinia is beautiful and cycling is very convenient, food is delicious and people are friendly.

route-sardinia

Some overall stats: we cycled about 300 kilometers in 6 days (Mar 29, 2013 – Apr 3, 2013), conquering 3,650 meters of cumulative elevation gain. For each day I shortly describe our route, where we stayed, things that can be improved, and some stats for that day. We rented our bikes from Raggi di Sardegna. The service is excellent and the bikes are as well. They come fully equipped with helmets, repair kits, and panniers and offer enough space to pack clothes for a couple of days. We did not carry tents etc., that might require some additional storage room.

The map above shows our route. Clicking the top-left corner takes you to the website that was used to produce it, which also allows you to view an interactive profile of the route. Here, we only put the screenshot of the profile as an indication.

profile-sardinia-2013

Day 1: Alghero – Castelsardo (65km)

Getting away from Alghero can be abit tricky. The immediate surroundings are not the most exciting (except when coming from Bosa, see Day 6), so the beginning of this stage is more about getting away and making some distance. Once you’ve passed Sassari, things get a lot better, with the he road towards the coast offering nice views. The final 15km towards Castelsardo are along the coast and surely the best ones of the day. Especially the view of Castelsardo appearing in the distance is a treat.

Sleeping: We stayed at B&B Casa Doria, located in the city center. It was ok, but nothing special. Value for money could be better, so I suggest to look for a different place. If you can’t find anything or if you don’t feel like searching, this one will do just fine.

Stats: Until about kilometer 45 of today’s route, the road is mainly uphill (from 0m to 270m). After that, it is downhill towards the coast, with only some steep climbing to be done in Castelsardo to get to the old center.

What to improve: As said before, leaving Alghero in this direction is not very easy, but with a bit more preparation, one could find more interesting routes for getting to Castelsardo (or at least to the coast).

Day 2: Castelsardo – Aggius (40km)

We quickly leave the coast and move towards higher ground on the second day. After leaving Castelsardo on the main roads (SS134 and SP90), we take a small road towards Santa Maria Coghinas and Viddalba. After Viddalba, we enter the woods and start climbing, and some 35km in today’s route we enter the valley of the moon. This part of the route is beautiful and begs for a picnic and some picture taking. We end the day in Aggius, a pretty, small mountain village.

Sleeping: Aggius does not offer many places to stay, but B&B Li Criasgi is highly recommended. It might not be the most fancy place, but it is good enough and its hosts are amazingly friendly and will make your stay a treat. We asked beforehand for dinner options and they prepared a delicious home-made dinner, enough to even serve as lunch the next day.

Stats: The first couple of kilometers are fairly flat, but after Viddalba we climb from about 20m to over 480m in 20km. It might not be steep, but it is not to be underestimated either. We limited today’s distance because of the uphill character of the route.

What to improve: Not much. A day that starts at the sea, and that passes through flatland, woods, and a moon valley to end at a lovely B&B is exactly what we were hoping for.

Day 3: Aggius – Tula (47km)

After leaving Aggius we soon reach Tempio Pausania, a city that could be worth a quick visit or a coffee, but could also be skipped. We continue climbing on the SS392 until reaching our tour’s highest point (Passo del Limbara, 646m). The way downhill towards Lago del Coghinas is a beautiful winding road with many great views of the environment. After crossing the lake, we enter a series of small roads through the fields, finally leading to the village of Tula. Prepare for a beautiful day of cycling, especially as a lot of it is downhill.

Sleeping: About 1km outside of Tula lies agriturismo Pedru Caddu. Beautifully located, with great views, this place is perfect to relax. The food is excellent and abundant, rooms are spaceous, and service is great. A real charm.

Stats: The first 15km are still uphill (480m-650m), but after that it is mostly downhill towards Tula (200m).

What to improve: As mentioned before, Tempio Pausania is not very exciting and could probably be skipped somehow. Other than that, today’s route is one packed with beautiful views and surroundings, ending at a great place to stay.

Day 4: Tula – Thiesi (53km)

The first half of this day’s route (SP103, SP67) is characterized by fields and views. After some 35 kilometers the scenery changes, with some small villages (Siligo, Bessude), hills, and forest. The final stretch of the route leads through Thiesi towards Lago Bidighinzu, offering great views of the lake. The last 4km of the route are a detour to reach our agriturismo. My memory of this day is somewhat influenced by the bad weather we had (rain, cold): the scenery might not be as impressive as previous two days, but it is still very enjoyable. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather we don’t have any pictures for this day’s route.

Sleeping: We took a small detour to reach agriturismo Cugumia. It might not be as fancy as Pedru Caddu, but it still is a very pleasant place to stay. The rooms are fine, but it is mainly the food and drinks that make it worth the stay. The location of the agriturismo, close to the lake, adds to the charm.

Stats: The route goes up and down, but nothing spectacular. In the end, we start the day at 200m and end around 350m, with the highest point being around 450m.

What to improve: We needed this route to get closer to Bosa. This means that it might not have been the “best” route, but it is one with its own character, which adds to the diversity of the full tour.

Day 5: Thiesi – Bosa (53km)

We move from the Lago Bidighinzu via the Lago del Temo to the sea. The trip to Bosa contains almost everything there is to Sardinia, with the small SP88 road (which starts after kilometer 29 and continues for about 10km) being the highlight of the day. It starts from the Lago del Temo and winds up and down towards the bridge over the Santalé. After the bridge (on the SP11/20) we start climbing towards Montresta (515m). The highest point of the day is only some 9km before Bosa, which means that this last stretch is fairly steep downhill with some astounishing views of Bosa and Bosa Marina. You won’t be very tired when you get to Bosa, so plenty of energy to explore this pretty and lively village.

Sleeping: I highly recommend B&B La Torre di Alice, which we visited on both our trips. It is nicely located in a quiet area of the village, has really clean and well-equipped rooms, and you can get some tasty beers when you arrive. From all B&Bs in Sardinia we tried, this was one of the best ones.

Stats: The start of the stage is mainly downhill, until you have brief uphill part at the start of the SP88. The toughest part are the 9 kilometers leading to Montresta, in which you go from 200m to >500m. That is compensated by the drop from 500m to sea level in the next 9km.

What to improve: Not much. We really liked this part of the route, with its diverse sceneries, climbing and descending, and beautiful views.

Day 6: Bosa – Alghero (44km)

The stage from Bosa “back home” (Alghero) is a copy from our first trip through Sardinia. We loved this part so much, we had to do it again. Starting in Bosa, you follow the SP49 all the way to Alghero. It offers magnificent views on the sea and hill sides, and because of the winding roads, you will see your fellow cyclists before (or behind) you all the time. Make sure to stop at La Speranza, a beautiful little beach after about 35km, which is perfect for a swim. After the beach the road moves inlands for a short while, before returning to the coast and offering great views on Alghero. What a way to end the trip!

Sleeping: Alghero offers plenty of places to sleep, but we really enjoyed staying at B&B Benebenniu. It’s located dead in the center of Alghero, making the balcony a perfect place to watch the tourists and locals strawl by. Rooms are very spaceous, and most importantly, the breakfast was excellent and the hosts are very friendly.

Stats: Leaving Bosa, the first 20km are uphill (0m to 375m), but after that it is almost all the way downhill to Alghero, making this an excellent stage to end the tour.

What to improve: Nothing. Really.

Summary

Cycling in Sardinia is a treat. Roads are excellent and if you go outside of the high season (either spring or fall) there are only few cars on te road. Based on our previous experiences we decided to make a tour, starting and ending in Alghero. It has its benefits (no trains, just cycling), but also some drawbacks (hard to get away from Alghero, limited in distance). It depends a bit on personal preferences which one to pick. The second change was moving from fall to spring, hoping to find a greener and blooming environment. We were a bit unlucky with the weather, which makes a comparison hard. The fact remains, though, that the landscapes look nicer in spring. The best time is probably between half April and the end of May.