Every other year my uni friends and I go on a girly holiday. We usually choose somewhere hot with beaches and lots of things to see. This year we headed to north-east Sardinia and Corsica for seven days. The two islands are a short ferry ride away making it really easy to see both in a single trip.
Day 1: Land in Olbia in Sardinia and head straight to Palau. Explore Palau.
Day 2: During the day visit Spiaggia di Porto Faro beach. In the evening get the boat over to La Maddalena for dinner.
Day 3: An all day sailing boat trip around La Maddalena Islands with a company called Dea Del Mare.
Day 4: Day trip to Porto Cervo.
Day 5: Travel to Porta Teresa Gallura to catch the ferry to Bonifacio in Corsica. Check into hotel and then explore Bonifacio old town.
Day 6: Day trip to Porto Vecchio up the east coast of Corsica.
Day 7: Explore more of Bonifacio and its coastline before getting the ferry back to Sardinia and then heading to the airport.
How we travelled around Sardinia and Corsica
Before we arrived we considered getting a car, but with all the day trips we had planned we felt it would be more hassle than it was worth. Instead we opted for buses, which worked out really well.
The main bus route we used was the ARST 601 which will take you all the way up the east coast of Sardinia. We also used the local buses 2 and 10 around Olbia and a few others for day trips which you can find out about further on. If you know what you’re going to be doing each day then you can easily work out the buses. You will be restricted to their schedule but we didn’t find that a problem.
You can find the ARST 601 timetable here (correct at the time this blog is written).
Once we’d arrived in Sardinia we headed straight to Palau. There is an ARST bus that goes directly from Olbia airport to Palau but it’s not regular. Unfortunately we had just missed one and the next was a couple of hours away. So we went on a little adventure instead by taking bus 2 into Olbia centre and then switching to the ARST 601 bus. In total it cost us €4.50 each.
Top tip: for the ARST 601 you need to get your ticket before boarding the bus. Look out for a newsagents of sorts to purchase them from.
Once in Palau we checked into the Palau City Hotel. It was a very average hotel and our room just had enough space for a bed. Luckily we were only here for 2 nights before swapping hotels.
Once we’d refreshed ourselves we went for a walk around Palau town and harbour, where we booked our boat tour. We thought it best to book in advance as there was a specific company that we were interested in – Dea Del Mare.
For dinner we went to Il Ghittone by the church Chiesa Nostra Signora delle Grazie. We sat outside under twinkling fairy lights. It had a very nice atmosphere.
On our second day we went to a beach which was walkable from our hotel (9 mins) called Spiaggia di Porto Faro. It was fairly busy at one end but if you walk to the other then there weren’t many people. The sand was quite coarse, so wear shoes if you have delicate feet like me, but the water was clear and blue. Beautiful.
Top tip: We bought a parasol as we entered but I’d recommend also getting a tourniquet and a piece of string to hold your umbrella like you would a tent. It got a tad windy and ours blew away a few times. Lesson learned!
In the evening we got the ferry to La Maddalena for dinner. However i’m not sure if I can really call it a ferry as it looked more like a cargo ship! We bought our tickets at the ferry terminal diagonally opposite to the the petrol station which cost €13 return. Make sure you ask for a timetable for the whole evening as it’s 24 hours but they become less frequent as the evening goes on.
When we arrived we had a little explore before stopping for dinner at a restaurant overlooking the boats called Perla Blu, which by absolute chance had a vegan menu! You can read a full review on my blog here.
For dessert we went to an ice cream place on our walk back to the ferry called La Finistrella.
I asked the lady “hai un gelato vegano?” Which means “do you have any vegan ice cream?” And it turned out that she had a number of sorbets without milk including a dark chocolate one. I went for strawberry sorbet and dark chocolate which were delicious! I’ve never had strawberry sorbet before and it was the bomb.
We wanted to visit Porto Cervo as it’s a magnet for luxury yachts. To get there we boarded a Caramelli Tours bus from the ferry terminal, which cost €3.10 each way. Be warned, there is only one bus out and one bus back that go directly between Palau and Porto Cervo at 9:58am and 6pm so do not miss them.
When we arrived we headed to the marina where the yaucht club’s located. The walk enables you to get fairly close to the boats and be a bit nosey. Unfortunately we didn’t see anyone famous.
After we walked back to where the bus had dropped us off, which was by all the designer shops. Very high end, think Prada and Gucci.
We stopped off for lunch at Pasti Cheri in the promenade where we had bagels. I told them I was vegan and they made me one with roasted vegetables and avocado which was lovely. Although still carb it was a nice change to pasta and pizza. I had a berry smoothie made with coconut milk, blueberries and mirto. It was really fruity and smooth and exactly what I needed in the sweltering heat.
Cost wise it is expensive in Porto Cervo as you would expect. The bagel cost €10 and the smoothie also cost €10, but if you’re on a budget there is a supermarket where the bus drops you so you can get a picnic and sit and eat on one of the piers.
Next we headed to the Gaudi-esque Stella Maris church. Although simple it looked beautiful against the blue sky and marina behind. By then it was six o’clock and time to board the bus again.
Today we travelled to Bonifacio in Corsica. We got up early to catch the 8:30 ARST bus from Palau bus station by the docks to Santa Teresa Gallura which cost €3.10 and took around 45 minutes. It is from here that you can take the ferry over to Corsica. As we were foot passengers we didn’t book in advance but instead on the day at their ticket office.
Top tip: If you get sea sick definitely take sea sickness tablets and stand outside not inside. It can get a bit rocky.
Bonifacio is a beautiful place. It has an old town on the top of a hill overlooking the port with a lot of very big yachts and sailing ships.
We stayed in the Best Western just by the port and had a room overlooking the boats. It was so nice to be able to sit by the window and watch the activity.
In the afternoon we wandered up to the old town and did a bit of exploring. The roads were narrow but quaint and tres francais. Now this may sound odd, but one of the most interesting things that we came across was a graveyard which was filled with family tombs overlooking the sea. I have never been to a graveyard like this and it was quite spectacular.
We stopped for a smoothie at Chez Vincent on a terrace opposite the Eglise Sainte Marie Majeure. Mine was Caribbean with pineapple and coconut milk. Very refreshing on a hot day, although a tad watery.
In the evening I had ice cream for dinner…healthy I know…from Glacier La Rocca Serra by the port. All their sorbets were vegan and they even had pistachio! Not quite the same as pistachio ice cream but it was so nice to have something similar.
We travelled to Porto Vecchio on the east coast of Corsica by bus. We caught the 10am from behind the tourist office at the end of the port and bought the ticket on board. It cost €16 for a return ticket and took half an hour. Again at Porto Vecchio the old town which is from the 16th century was up the hill, so we walked up, but you could get a little toy train too.
The old town was pretty with lots of boutiques and restaurants. It felt a bit more touristy than Bonifacio which surprised me, but it was still nice to wander around.
We had lunch at a lovely restaurant with a 360 panoramic view overlooking the port where I had a vegetarian pizza without the cheese which tasted better than any of he pizzas that I had in Sardinia. How can that be? We must have sat there for a couple of hours completely content.
We then went down to the port and had a wander before heading back to the bus station.
Top tip: the buses are not that frequent. so make sure that you check the timetable in advance.
Today we explored the more mountainous side of Bonifacio. When you head towards the old town you also have an option to turn left and walk along the cliff tops. From here you get breathtaking views of the city itself and further amazing views of the coastline. I would recommend doing this if you visit.
We then visited the barracks in the old town which give you further panoramic views of the city before heading back down to the port for some ice cream before we were to hop on the ferry back to Sardinia.
Would I recommend Sardinia and Corsica?
The answer is yes. Sardinia and Corsica have so much to offer, from crystal clear waters, to quaint towns and super yachts galore. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or one full of adventure you can definitely find it.
If you’ve been to Sardinia and have any recommendations (just in case I go back) then please let me know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: All the transport times and prices are accurate at the time this post is written. If you’re traveling to these places a while after please look at transport timetables online in case they have changed.