Day 1: Tour begins in Alghero, Italy
Highlights: Seaside Alghero, Catalan & Gothic architecture
There are plenty of ways to get to Alghero including international air connections or by boat from Genoa to Porto Torres. Alghero was a Catalan outpost and has a dialect that is still a mix of Catalan and Italian. Be sure to visit the interesting historic town center. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and recommend an easy test ride before our special welcome dinner tonight.
Lodging: Hotel La Margherita
Day 2: Bicycle Alghero to Tresnuraghes
Highlights: Scenic coastal riding, the town of Bosa
We'll follow the coast south toward Bosa this morning. Take your time and enjoy the roller coaster ride this morning as the reality of this mountainous island sinks in - you're cycling suspended between the sea and mountains! Bosa is our first stop of the day and we recommend you take time to explore this fascinating town before enjoying lunch here. A final climb through small coastal vineyards brings us to a plateau dotted with tiny traditional villages. Since Roman times, the Sardinians have never really lived by the sea as pirates and bad weather were more common at sea level. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 55 km (34 miles).
Lodging: Residence La Corte degli Ulivi
Day 3: Bicycle to Cabras
Highlights: Two-night stay, traditional basket makers, olive oil visit
We remain inland today, visiting the towns of Flussío (famous for its home-made baskets) and Tinnura (famous for its murals) on our way to Cuglieri. After a visit to an olive oil press, which still makes olive oil from trees planted by Spanish noble families in the 16th Century, we'll fly downhill to a beautiful beach for a refreshing swimming and lunch. A flat ride brings us to our hotel this afternoon. Dinner together tonight. Distance: 60 km (37 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Villa Canu
Day 4: Rest day, Roman ruins, optional ride to the beach
Highlights: Optional ride to the Roman ruins of Tharros, explore hidden beaches and bays
Today is a day off the bikes for those who prefer to relax. Or we'll offer an optional ride to the Phoenician and Roman ruins of Tharros on the coast, where you can enjoy a relaxing swim at the beach. Those with an urge for exploration can spend the entire day cycling to all the little bays and beaches along this wild coast. Your return ride will bring you by salt marshes inhabited by fish and pink flamingoes. Try some famous "bottarga" (fish roe) made in this area, either on pasta or on pizza! Dinner is on your own. Distance: your choice 0-44 km (0-27 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Villa Canu
Day 5: Bicycle into Sardinia's mountains to Tonara
Highlights: Mountain climbs, cork tree forests, "torrone" (nougat) and bellmaker visits
We head deep into Sardinia's interior today. Our route follows the Tirso River to Fordongianus, an important ancient Roman city, and then heads up to Samugheo, known for its knotted white woolen rugs. After lunch and/or a gelato stop in Samugheo, continue climbing to Atzara and Sorgono, where the summit (900+ meters or 2880 feet) awaits. Our destination is the small mountain town of Tonara, famous throughout Italy for its honey and egg-white "torrone" (nougat) and its artisanal bellmakers that help herders keep track of sheep, goats and cattle. Dinner is on your own. Distance: 83 km (52 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Belvedere 2
Day 6: Bicycle to Su Gologone
Highlights: Coastal mountains of Sardinia, resort hotel with pool, traditional masks of Mamoiada
We start the day with a well-earned downhill before climbing to the friendly town of Gavoi and our lunch stop in Mamoiada. We'll regroup for a brief visit to the traditional mask museum to learn about the haunting masks that dominate traditional festivals before continuing on through the center of Sardinia's historic "bandit" region, Orgosolo in the Gennargentu (silver) mountains. Our destination is the serene mountain resort hotel of Su Gologone, nestled under the imposing white limestone mountain Supramonte. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 83 km (52 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Su Gologone
Day 7: Hike to Nuragic Village
Highlights: Visit to prehistoric Nuragic village, shepherds' barbecue
Leave your cycling shoes behind today as we enjoy a hike to some of the ruins and rock dwellings of the ancient Nuragic civilization that once inhabited this area. After our hike, we'll share a barbecue in the mountains with local shepherds. An early return to our hotel allows for serious rest and relaxation at the swimming pool before dinner together. No cycling today.
Lodging: Hotel Su Gologone
Day 8: Bicycle Su Gologone to Santa Maria
Highlights: Spectacular limestone mountains, rugs and olive oil of Dorgali
Hold on to your helmets! We go from 100 meters (328 feet) to 1,000 meters (3280 feet) and then back down to sea level as we cycle through some of the most spectacular limestone mountains in the Mediterranean basin. You'll want to stop in Dorgali to see the rugs, traditional gold filigree jewelry, and Sardinian ceramic designs before a long but gentle scenic climb brings us to the top of the pass. From there it's downhill to the beach in Santa Maria Navarrese and our home for the night. Dinner is on your own tonight. Distance: 74 km (46 miles).
Lodging: Albergo Mediterraneo
Day 9: Bicycle Santa Maria to Muravera
Highlights: Visit to cheese factory
Today's ride is long, but with gently rolling terrain through the villages of Bari Sardo, Tertenìa, Villaputzu and Muravera. The scenery is more agricultural and mountainous as a mountain range separates our valley from the sea. We'll enjoy glimpses of the Tyrrhenian Sea toward the end of the ride, one of the two seas that flank mainland Italy (the other is the Adriatic Sea between Croatia and Italy). Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 83 km (52 miles).
Lodging: Domu Incantada
Day 10: Bicycle Muravera to southern coast of Sardinia
Highlights: Coastal riding, Villasimius, Cagliari
We cycle to the south coast of Sardinia near one of the most famous beaches in Cagliari. We highly recommend you take a side-trip to Poetto beach for a stroll. We'll pedal as close as possible to town before shuttling by van to the center and our hotel for our final evening and dinner together. Distance: 80 km (50 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Due Colonne
Day 11: Tour ends in Cagliari, Italy
After breakfast, we'll say goodbye. If time allows stay a few extra days in this Mediterranean paradise.
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