Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths and Legends
14 days from $7,305 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
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 2 new departures - 8 May and 14 September 2019. See the Dates and Prices tab for details.
- Explore the sights of Cagliari, take in the views from the Bastione di Saint Remy, and see the pink flamingo colonies
- 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
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!
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.
Day 2: Pink flamingos and Bastione views
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 engaging city. First off, we travel outside to the city’s surrounding lagoons where we discover large colonies of beautiful pink flamingos. In the background Cagliari’s old city sits astride a plateau. Back in town we enjoy a walking tour up to the Bastione di Saint Remy, with its views back over the bay. The afternoon and evening is free.
Day 3: UNESCO listed Su Nuraxi and Orestano
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! Lunchtime will be enjoyed around Piazza Elenora in Orestano. 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 extremely well catered for).
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 further up the bumpy mountain track to a shepherd’s hut to enjoy our mountain picnic. The authentic grass and wood covered hut has been used for hundreds of years, and is still used by shepherds. Moving to the rustic, shady terrace the views down over the limestone mountains and gorges below are stunning. The fabulous food is all local. Time to 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?
Day 5: Orgosolo – the ‘City of Murderers’
Another leisurely start to visit 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. Large colourful ‘murales’ (murals) 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. Later we stop to 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! 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’.
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.
*Alghero Hotel on 8 May 2019 departure will be Hotel Punta Negra
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.
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.
*Bonafacio Hotel for 8 May and 14 September 2019 departures will be Hotel A Madonetta. Note porterage is not available at this hotel.
Day 9: Bonifacio, Porto-Vecchio and ‘My Time’
We have included a half day excursion up the east coast of Corsica to enjoy the morning in the fashionable resort town of Porto-Vecchio. The rest of your day is free in Bonifacio. ‘My Time’ to relax and amble around the yacht filled harbour, go shopping, explore the historic old citadel, or maybe hire a boat for a joyride around the bay. A wonderful relaxing day!
Day 10: Medieval Sartène 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. Later we cross over the hills to Ajaccio for our next two night stay. Dinner tonight is included.
*Ajaccio hotel for all departures is 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 by the pool at our hotel.
Day 12: Dramatic 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.
*Calvi Hotel for 8 May and 14 September 2019 departures will be Hotel Chez Charles
Day 13: ‘My Time’ in Calvi and Scandola Reserve cruise
Your morning is at leisure. ‘My Time’ in 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. 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. Late in the afternoon the gigantic rocky outcrops, which emerge from the deep blue water, catch the setting sun. It is so beautiful watching the colours change, contrasting so much with the sea and sky. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
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 complimentary morning transfer.
Incredible Value Inclusions
Over $1,600 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)
- 21 Meals – including breakfast daily (B), 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 a 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 Travel App and ‘On Tour’ Travel Map
- Albatross Memories Photobook
No additional 'on tour' costs!
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.
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 - 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|
|27 Apr 2019||10 May 2019||NZD $7,305||Sold Out|
|8 May 2019||21 May 2019||NZD $7,820||Space Limited - Call Now|
|18 May 2019||31 May 2019||NZD $7,577||Sold Out|
|7 Sep 2019||20 Sep 2019||NZD $7,577||Space Limited - Call Now|
|14 Sep 2019||27 Sep 2019||NZD $8,042||Sold Out|
|28 Sep 2019||11 Oct 2019||NZD $7,305||Sold Out|
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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!