Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths and Legends Tour

14 days from $7,237 pp twin share

  • Leisurely 2 & 3 night stays
  • Small groups from just 10 to 28
  • Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
  • Character hotels in superb locations
  • Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
  • 'My Time' guaranteed

Tour Overview

Two islands, so different, so intriguing. One Italian, one French, both fiercely independent. Visit 3,500 year old huge stone ‘Nuraghe’ Tower villages,  cruise to the beautiful Neptune’s Caves, enjoy stunning cliff top coastal drives, take 4WDs deep into rugged ravines for a shepherd’s picnic lunch. Visit colourful Bosa, ‘bandit’ Orgosolo, Catalan Alghero, the exquisite Costa Smeralda, the staggering cliff top town of Bonifacio, Napoleon’s Ajaccio and...best of all…3 nights in remarkable Su Gologone.


Due to popular demand we have added a new departure - 12 September 2020!

 

Highlights

  • Explore the sights of Cagliari and take in the views from the Bastione di Saint Remy
  • Stay 2 nights in the heart of the exotic ‘Catalan’ town of Alghero
  • Visit Nuoro, and drive past fields and fields of Nuraghe ruined towers
  • Cruise to the spectacular Neptune’s Caves
  • Stay 3 nights enjoying the extraordinary Su Gologone ‘Sardinian Experience’
  • Explore the 3,500 year old Su Nuraxi - mysterious Nuraghe rock towers
  • Take a 4WD tour into the Supramonte Mountains and savour a shepherds picnic
  • Explore the bustling resort town of Porto-Vecchio & enjoy ‘My Time’ in the extraordinary cliff hanging, citadel town of Bonifacio
  • Stay 2 nights in Napoleon Bonaparte’s Ajaccio
  • Relax amongst the 16th century streets of charming Sartène
  • Visit the house where Napoleon lived
  • Relax in L’ile Rouse and enjoy a tasting of local produce & wine in Calvi

Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths and Legends

Message from the Mo

It’s the smell, the feel, the taste

You have to understand, any visit to these islands will not be about giant monuments, man-made edifices or historic marbled buildings. Instead it will be about the smell, the feel, the taste and nature’s visual feast. I originally aimed to create a tour about 8 days long, but failed miserably. But with so many
different sights to see what dare I exclude? Eventually, I settled on 14 days. These two islands are so different, so intriguing, with so many startling contrasts and so much to enjoy and absorb.
 
One island Italian, the other French, both fiercely independent from each other and from their mainland overlords. In Sardinia’s south, Cagliari is a
mixture of rich emotion, Naples to the east, and glorious Sicily to the south. Alghero faces westwards towards Spain, and they speak Catalan, even flying the yellow and red striped Catalonian flag. Huge stone ‘Nuraghe’ Tower villages, as old as the Pyramids, litter the landscape. In the wild hills of the Supramonte Mountains, shepherds live past 100 years, they speak a language older than Latin, and until recently, banditry flourished!
 
Then we cross the water to Corsica where crumbs fall from French croissants and everything, especially the people are decidedly French. In Bonifacio, perched high on overhanging cliffs, amble through a harbour bursting with modern mega yachts and ludicrously flamboyant cruisers. Enjoy the visual feast of rugged mountains and sweeping coastal drives. Cruise azure waters to hidden sea caves. Stunning! However, it will be returning home where you will find it hardest, trying to explain Sardinia’s soul, captured during your stay in remarkable Su Gologone, in those wild bandit hills! P.S. the food is great too!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Cagliari welcome

Your tour commences this evening in Cagliari. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in a local restaurant. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Meals:
D
Hotel:
Regina Margherita

Day 2: National Archaeological Museum, Bastione views and ‘My Time’

Well off the tourist map, Cagliari has a unique identity and feeling. To the south east lies Sicily, to the east is Naples. Whilst definitely Italian, it also stamps its own Sardinian personality. Joined by a local guide we explore this historic city. Cagliari’s old city sits astride a plateau. We enjoy a walking tour that begins with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. Continuing on, our tour takes us down through the streets of the old town to the Cathedral, and on to the Bastione di Saint Remy, with its views back over the bay. Later, ‘My Time’ to further explore this engaging town.
Meals:
B

Day 3: UNESCO listed Su Nuraxi and wine tasting in a local vineyard

Heading north we soon reach Barumini where we visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Su Nuraxi – an impressive Nuraghe rock town. Dating back 3,700 years these Sardinian ruined giant stone villages are still somewhat of a mystery – and there are an incredible 7,000 Nuraghe scattered around the island. A local guide will take us right inside the heart of the central tower complex. Fascinating! Afterwards, in nearby Gergei, at the Olianas Winery, we enjoy a vineyard tour, wine tasting and light lunch of locally grown produce. Crossing into the Gennargentu Massif we reach an
extraordinary hotel where we stay the next three nights. The setting is amazing, the food fantastic, the region wild and untamed. The comfort is excellent, décor is divine, unique and colourful. You will forever remember staying in this unique ‘Experience Hotel’. Before dinner we enjoy a pre-dinner drink on the champagne terrace – The Champagnoteque. Dinner tonight is a Sardinian specialty – Suckling Pig! (Vegetarians are well catered for).
Meals:
B
L
D
Hotel:
Su Gologone

Day 4: 4WD into the Supramonte Mountains for a Shepherds picnic & ‘My Time’

There is nothing like a day in the mountains! Climbing aboard 4WDs we venture deep into the Supramonte mountains to enjoy an indulgent Shepherds Picnic. First stop is to enjoy a short walk to a recently discovered Nuraghe site in the forest, to learn how this ancient site was once used and the theories of what happened to the inhabitants. Re-boarding our 4WDs we drive to a shepherd’s hut to enjoy our picnic. The authentic grass and wood covered hut has been used for hundreds of years, and is still used by shepherds. The fabulous food is all local. You will enjoy ‘pane carasau’, traditional Sardinian flatbread, paper thin, antipasti, roast meats – lamb, veal and sausage, vegetables, cheeses, mountain honey, fruits
and deserts… all washed down with delicious Cannonau (Sardinian red wine). Bellissimo! The rest of the day is free in our ‘Experience Hotel’. Maybe enjoy a siesta, a dip in the pool, or even join one of the ceramics, painting and embroidery workshops? How about an aperitif on the ‘Terrace of Dreams’, relaxing on the ‘Terrace of Desires’ or putting a message in a bottle on the ‘Terrace of Wishes’, all with exceptional views of
the sunbathed Mount Corrasi? At dusk maybe join a yoga class in the aromatic setting of the Herb Garden?
Meals:
B
L

The Su Gologone ‘Experience’

 
It all started with the food! In 1967, newly weds Peppeddu and Pasqua Palimodde opened the Oliena region’s first ever restaurant. The simple food cooked every day was such a success that people started coming in from far and wide, even overseas. Accommodation in the area was scarce, so they opened a small hotel. The word spread that here was a very different Sardinia to be discovered. Their daughter Giovanna later transformed the
hotel into a world-renowned destination, with exotic terraces and beautifully decorated hidden corners. Interiors feature the works of local and national Sardinian artists, and the furnishings, crafts and décor are created in Su Gologone’s own Botteghe d’Arte. The staff are all locals and so proud of their hotel, and all the food and wine comes from the surrounding local Oliena region. Stay here and you will gather memories that last a lifetime!

 

Day 5: Orgosolo – the ‘City of Murderers’

After a leisurely start, we enjoy a walk through a peaceful glade near our hotel to see the mystical natural springs of Sorgente Su Gologone flowing from a rock wall. So picturesque! Lunch time is spent in the nearby bandit town of Orgosolo – known also as the ‘City of Murderers’. Until only a few decades ago this was the home and refuge for the regions notorious kidnappers (rich tourists only!) and bandits. Now peaceful, the locals have transformed the whole town. We are joined by a local guide who will explain the significance of the large colourful ‘murales’ (murals) that adorn the walls of houses and shops. Revolutionary art, portraits of saints and sinners, dictators and world events, oppression and humour, it has the lot.
 
This evening we gather on one of the terraces to enjoy a tasting of local wines and produce. Before dinner relax around a bread oven in the Nido del Pane (Bread Basket) area, an expert artisan baker will create and cook tasty local breads. The aroma of the freshly baked bread will ‘whet your appetite’.
Meals:
B
D

You are definitely in bandit country!

 

Once the epicentre of bandit country, shepherds scratching a meagre living from the surrounding hills got the bright idea to go to down to the coast, kidnap a few tourists and bring them back into the mountains. Holding them to ransom, they found sending home a severed ear in an envelope would announce their genuine intention, and get maximum payout! Nowadays Orgosolo is a very different town. Whilst banditry is gone, you get a constant reminder of its past and roots. Driving into town you pass the town sign which is still riddled with bullet holes. More interesting, in town there are dozens of houses with huge colourful ‘murale’ (murals) of highly topical political events and revolutionary characters. On one wall might be a picture of an aeroplane crashing into two giant skyscrapers, on another Gandhi at prayer. Absolutely fascinating!

 

Day 6: Bosa, a cliff top drive and Alghero

After a morning stop in Nuoro we cross to the west coast, passing farmlands filled with remnants of dozens of ancient Nuraghe ruins and towers. Lunchtime will be in the medieval streets of Bosa. Set beside the River Temo, with the hilltop Malaspina castle above, the tall houses all painted in pastel colours make Bosa such a pretty and interesting town. Later we take the scenic road up to Alghero, where we stay the next two nights. Hugging the coastal cliffs on sweeping curves around rocky promontories this memorable drive offers outstanding views. Alghero was once part of the Catalan empire and their allegiance westwards towards Spain still stands strong. You will see the Catalonian flag everywhere and the locals still speak Catalan. Therefore Alghero is a unique blend of Spanish, Italian and independent Sardinian! In our hotel’s 9th floor ‘Sky Bar’ we enjoy a welcome drink. The views over the old town port and across the sea are magnificent. Later we wander to a local restaurant in the old town to enjoy
a traditional Alghero style Sardinian dinner.


*16 May departure stays at Hotel Punta Negra in nearby Fertilia, overlooking the Gulf of Alghero.

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Hotel Catalunya

Day 7: Neptune’s Caves, Alghero sunsets and ‘My Time’

Today the choice is yours - cruise or cliff walk. Crossing the beautiful bay on a cruise boat, we reach the massive Capo Caccia cliffs to visit the spectacular Neptune’s Caves. A specialist cave guide will walk us several hundred metres deep into the beautifully light caverns past underground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites. Anyone fancy a fantastic cliff walk? Instead of a cruise to the caves we can take you to the top of the cliffs and you can descend the amazing ‘escala del cabirol’ (goat's steps). The 654 step descent is an incredible walking experience as the stone stairway hugs the cliffs down to the cave entrance. Then you will enter the caves. The rest of the day and evening is at leisure in Alghero. Maybe enjoy dinner in a trattoria in the old town. The rich red sunsets across the sea and the cape are justifiably famous.
Meals:
B

Day 8: The Costa Smeralda and La Maddalena Island

We cross northern Sardinia to the exquisite Costa Smeralda coast, famous for its azure blue seas and archipelago of rocky islands. From Palau it is only a short ferry ride across to Isola Maddalena. After a short stop in La Maddalena town, we enjoy a panoramic drive around the island.
 
Lunchtime is at leisure at Punta Tegge where there is the opportunity to swim or relax and enjoy lunch at the beachside trattoria, Zi Anto. In the afternoon we cross the water to Corsica, France. As we approach Bonifacio the citadel and fortifications loom high, perched magnificently, overhanging the deep blue sea. Entering the harbour we are surrounded by enormous mega yachts and cruisers moored there. The entire harbour
is one giant marina and lining the quays are dozens and dozens of bars, shops, restaurants and cafés. Dinner tonight is included in a local restaurant, a short stroll from our cliff top hotel.
Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Santa Teresa Hotel

Day 9: ‘My Time’ in Bonifacio

After a short walking tour of the medieval clifftop citadel, your day is free in Bonifacio. ‘My Time’ to relax and amble around the yacht filled harbour, go shopping, explore the historic citadel at your own pace, or maybe hire a boat for a joyride around the bay. A wonderful relaxing day!
Meals:
B

Day 10: Medieval Sartène, Propriano and a scenic drive

Skirting the south west corner, we arrive in charming Sartène. By the leafy main square is the gateway to the 16th century streets of the old town. Take time to stroll and shop amongst the little winding alleys, or to settle in a café and enjoy the medieval surroundings. Lunchtime is at leisure in the coastal town of Propriano.
 
Later we cross over the hills to Ajaccio for our next two night stay. Dinner tonight is included.
Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Best Western Plus Hotel Amiraute, Ajaccio

Day 11: Napoleon’s home and ‘My Time’

This morning we are joined by a local guide for a walking tour of the old town of Ajaccio. Most famous as being the birthplace of that ‘little Corsican’ Napoleon Bonaparte, we also visit the house where he was born and spent his youth. The rest of your day is free. ‘My Time’ to explore and shop in the lengthy pedestrian shopping street or relax and enjoy the facilities at our resort hotel.
Meals:
B

Day 12: Scenic train ride, Corte and L’ile Rousse

Boarding a train we cut straight through the scenic mountains of Corsica’s rugged interior to arrive in the ancient capital of Corte. We have included entrance to Corte’s historical museum and ramparts. From there you will have access to the picturesque old fortification standing high on a rocky outcrop. It was here that the Pasquale Paoli, head of the Corsican resistance, declared their new republic in 1794, making Corte the capital. His statue is in the main square amongst the cafes and restaurants, and the buildings are still pockmarked with hundreds bullet holes! In town there are lovely laneways and alleys, cafes and shops. A delightful place to spend lunchtime. Later we enjoy an afternoon stop in the ‘oh so French’ port of
L’ile Rousse. This evening we will walk to the pedestrianised old town. After a tasting of local produce and wine in a delicatessen specialising in charcuterie, your evening is free. Calvi is a delightful place to stroll around, filled to the brim with shops, cafés and ‘al fresco’ dining.
Meals:
B
Hotel:
Hostellerie de l’Abbaye

Day 13: ‘My Time’ in Calvi and Scandola Reserve cruise

Your day begins with a short walking tour to orientate you with delightful Calvi. Set on a crescent shaped bay, the pedestrian streets full of shops, boutiques and cafes run parallel to the marina and Quai Landry esplanade which is lined with restaurants. At the end on the rocky promontory above is the medieval fortified citadel. Afterwards, ‘My Time’ to explore further at your own pace. In the afternoon we take a terrific cruise along the coast to see the fabulous cliffs and calanques (narrow, steep walled inlets) of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Scandola Nature Reserve, in the Gulf of Girolata. The gigantic rocky outcrops, which emerge from the deep blue water, catch the sun and create an amazing contrast of colour between the sea and sky. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Meals:
B
D

Day 14: Calvi to Bastia

Your tour ends today after breakfast. Calvi has a small airport which is a short taxi ride away. For those wishing to catch a flight or ferry out of Bastia we have included a morning Group transfer. We recommend you book ferries and flights that depart Bastia after 1pm.
Meals:
B

Incredible Value Inclusions

Over $1,400 value of extras included

  • ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
  • Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
  • Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
  • 13 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • 22 Meals – including breakfast daily (B), a light lunch in a local vineyard, a shepherd's picnic lunch in the Supramonte Mountains (L) and 7 dinners (D)
  • Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
  • Welcome drink in Cagliari and on the Champagnoteque Terrace in Su Gologone
  • Hand Selected Albatross Experiences – Su Nuraxi Nuraghe, 4WD excursion deep into the Supramonte Mountains for shepherds picnic lunch, train ride to Corte, Neptune’s Cave and Scandola Nature Reserve cruises
  • Local guides as described in the itinerary
  • ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
  • Free WiFi on coach in Sardinia and at all hotels
  • Albatross Tours App
  • Albatross Memories Photobook

No additional 'on tour' costs!

 

Your Hotels

Regina Margherita - 2 nights

First class and in a great location a mere 200 metres in each direction to the port, the pedestrian shopping zone and the historical Bastione.

Su Gologone Experience Hotel - 3 nights

White washed villas and terraced rooms scattered up a hillside of olive trees, oleander blooms, hydrangeas and prickly pears,  colourful décor with local crafts and artwork, stylish terraces and lounges.

Hotel Catalunya, Alghero - 2 nights

The 4 star Hotel Catalunya boasts a fantastic location, right on the edge of the historic old town.


*For the 8 May departure the hotel will be Hotel Punta Negra

Santa Teresa Hotel, Bonifacio - 2 nights

This excellent 3 star hotel, a former mansion built in the late 19th century, is located on the cliffs of Bonifacio. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, the hotel is a short stroll from the old town.

 

*Hotel for 8 May and 14 September departures will be Hotel A Madonetta

Best Western Plus Hotel Amiraute, Ajaccio

Best Western Plus Hotel Amiraute, Ajaccio - 2 nights

This 4 star hotel, located on the outskirts of Ajaccio, boasts panoramic sea views. The hotel offers a contemporary design with modern facilities and an outdoor pool.

Hostellerie de l’Abbaye, Calvi - 2 nights

In a great location just 200 metres from the old town, what was once a 16th century Franciscan monastery is now an elegantly furnished 4 star hotel, offering contemporary, air conditioned guest rooms.

 

*Hotel for 8 May and 14 September departures will be Hotel Chez Charles

Dates and Prices

Start Date End Date Price Per Person Guaranteed to Depart Availability
25 Apr 2020 8 May 2020 NZD $7,237 Space Limited - Call Now
16 May 2020 29 May 2020 NZD $7,507 Sold Out
30 May 2020 12 Jun 2020 NZD $7,507 Sold Out
29 Aug 2020 11 Sep 2020 NZD $7,507 Sold Out
12 Sep 2020 25 Sep 2020 NZD $7,507 Space Available
26 Sep 2020 9 Oct 2020 NZD $7,237 Space Available

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No Additional 'On Tour' Costs

Over $100 value of extras per day are already included. There are no additional 'on tour' costs - even your end of tour tips are included!