La Maddalena Guide
August 23 2015
Chilling at the white sandy beaches while enjoying a turquoise sky and the sound of a sea. That’s how many of us imagine perfect summer vibe. But what if I tell you, you don’t need to travel to Bahamas or Maldives to get what you want.
Sardinia, Italy and its destinations starting with Porto Cervo and ending with Cagliari have been always popular among tourists. However, charming rocky archipelago La Maddalena takes it to the next level. No wonder they call it “European Caribics”.
This National Park consists of 7 islands: La Maddalena, Caprera, Santa Maria, Spargi, Santo Stefano, Budelli and Razzoli; and many little islets. On the main island - La Maddalena you ll find the only town of the archipelago, carrying the same name. However a few villas can be found also on Caprera, Spargi and Santa Maria, and a hotel resort on Santo Stefano. La Maddalena offers plenty accommodation options from B&B to luxury resorts, even private villas or apartments. The best places for your stay are definitely on AIRBNB or you can try Subito.it if you speak Italian.
After taking a 20 minute sail by ferry from Palau to La Maddalena (around 50€ return ticket for car and passengers) you’ll find yourself at the centre of the city. It could be very busy and the traffic is really crazy, having almost no rules whatsoever. Narrow streets framed with oleanders, tiny coffeeshops and the aroma of the small port catches the attention of the visitor. But we came here to see those beautiful beaches, right?
To visit a beach you’ll need a car or a motorbike, since many of them are not in a walking distance. All the beaches are gorgeous, but the prettiest is Bassa Trinita (don’t listen to Tripadvisor claiming the best one is Spalmatore!). It’s a bigger beach with soft sand, turquoise water. Capocchiad’u Purpu (or Testa del Polpo) is also lovely, but it’s more difficult to approach it. My personal favourite is definitely Spiaggia Carlotto, a small beach surrounded by rocky coastline at Cala Francese.
When you get bored on La Maddalena, you can easily visit Caprera. Those two islands are connected by bridge. The most popular beaches at Caprera are Il Relitto and I Due Mar,i however they can get crowded during the high season. But the location and surroundings are really exceptional. Cala Napoletana is claimed to be one of the prettiest beaches in the whole National Park but it is possible to approach it only from the boat just like Cala Coticcio that is being called “Tahiti”.
Staying at L’Arcipelago you must take a boat trip. You’ll visit the most beautiful beaches in the National Park that can be reached only by the sea. “Piscine Naturali” or natural pools are located on the Budelli island. There are 6 beaches on the Spargi island, all of them are beautiful with the most popular being Cala Corsara surrounded by tall cliffs – Pirates of Caribbean style.
Italian cuisine is probably the most popular yet Sardinian is a bit different. While in La Maddalena, you have to try traditional dish called Ravioli Sardi. It’s ravioli filled with ricotta in tomato sauce with beef ragu and Sardinian sausage, soo delicious! But when you start to crave pizza, the answer is: Reginella (prosciutto crudo and heavy cream) or you can make up your own combination. What about bresaola and pecorino?
After a satisfying meal, it’s time for some sweet treat. During hot summer evenings, the only possibility is an ice-cream. The best is served in the small ice-cream store Bella Mia. Their offer differs every day. You can try interesting flavours like Ricotta with caramelized almonds, Mascarpone with figs or you can go for classics as vanilla, lemon and chocolate. Coconut, “bacio” and cherry cream are my favourites.
Hanging out & shopping
Is anything better than starting your day with a cup of coffee? I doubt that. Caffé Degli Artisti is an amazing place to enjoy your morning caffeine shot or even sweet breakfast. Delicious coffee and in store made pastry with a view at the lovely port.
In Italy, it is almost a tradition to start the evening in some “apero bar”. The coolest place for that is I Vitteloni. The bar offers small snacks like panini and their drink menu won’t disappoint you alongside with stylish interior.
The best idea how to spend your days is renting a boat or attending a boat trip to visit other islands in archipelago. When joining a boat tour you can get tired of the group sailing with you but the crew definitely knows the most beautiful and interesting spots. While renting a boat could give you more freedom you might not be sure where to go.
The little island has so many things to offer. Leaving it without buying a souvenir is impossible. Visit Veleria Il Ponente Store and shop their original & unique designs that are made of vintage sail. If you’re sailing/ yachting fan or you support sustainable, handmade fashion, you have to stop by.