Olbia and Costa Smeralda

Olbia is the capital of the Gallura coast, the “gateway” to Northern Sardinia

There are a few sites worth a visit including the historic center which dates back to the Roman period; the Basilica of San Simplicio, one of the most imposing examples of the Sardinian Romanesque style, and the church of Saint Paul, which sits on top of the ancient city. The church still houses precious wooden artworks.

Outside Olbia, you can enjoy a trip to the small country church and to the Nuragic Sanctuary of Cabu Abbas; from Olbia head towards Golfo Aranci, turn left at the second crossroads following the road signs until Olbia 2 village, climb the hill path with its panoramic views and reach the nuragic complex sitting on the hill.

Golfo Aranci: from Portisco, on the road leading to Olbia, at the crossroads turn to Porto Rotondo and continue following the sign roads. You will reach Golfo Aranci, an enchanting village which welcomes ever more tourists thanks to its seafood restaurants, its many B&Bs, and  the Dolce Vita shopping promenade.

Worth a visit is the Cala Moresca beach in Cala Greca. Following one of the paths that start from the beach you come to a small cemetery, the Cimitero degli Inglesi, a memorial to those who died in  the shipwrecks which occurred in these waters. Golfo Aranci hosts also the headquarters of a renowned international research center, the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute.

In addition to Cala Moresca, worth a mention are also Pittulongu and Porto Rotondo, two of the most famous tourist destinations in this area. In Olbia, foodies will enjoy the delicacies of  the Gallura chefs, such as the “zimino”, a fish soup prepared with seafood including the famous mussels from Olbia, and sea urchins.

A must see  destination is San Pantaleo, hidden behind a group of granite boulders, nestling in a dreamlike landscape; it is famous for its artists and artisans, whose works can be purchased in the small shops scattered around the village.

Porto Rotondo: halfway between Portisco and Olbia, lies another gem of the Gallura coast, Porto Rotondo.

Costa Smeralda: the Costa Smeralda starts a few kilometers north of Portisco. Founded in 1962, it is famous for its wonderful beaches, its luxury hotels and night clubs, the boutiques in the small square and for the round construction style of its buildings, of which the Stella Maris church in Porto Cervo is a prime example.

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