Why does Sardinia boasts some of the longest-living people in the world? In modern times, how is it possible to keep ancient traditions alive? How can the island cultures of the mountains and the sea be so different within just a few miles? Do you think it’s possible to enjoy a swim in Europe in waters as clear as the Caribbean? What does Hawaii have in common with Sardinia besides the beautiful sea?
On our cycling tour you can answer these questions for yourself, discovering the second largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and before Cyprus. Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is a paradise offering over a thousand miles of coastline, rugged mountains up to 6,000 feet, a unique indigenous vegetation called macchia mediterranea (maquis in English, a type of ground cover), a very mild climate, and villages with millenary traditions kept alive by the locals.
On this journey you’ll learn about the unique indigenous grapes and the distinctive recipes of the Sardinian cuisine, and meet local shepherds, fishermen, cheese makers and other Sardi who have been living here in balance with nature, animals (there are approximately 2 million people and 3 millions sheep on the island!) following the practices of their ancestors for centuries.
Agriturismi (usually a family-run “farm stay” combining agriculture and tourism), local cheese, wine makers, and the culture of Slow Food will be highlighted on these unique journeys through quaint towns and tranquil countryside.
According to some scholars, the progenitors of Sardinians (Sardi in Italian) are the Nuragic peoples, whose name derives from once common megalithic building found in Sardinia and developed during the Nuragic Age between 1900-730 BC. The Nuragic civilization is likely descended from the Shardana or Sherden, a tribe of sea peoples who settled in this part of the Mediterranean Sea a few millennia ago and who originally came from Anatolia (currently it is an area which makes up the majority of the Republic of Turkey).
After the Nuragic peoples came the Phoenicians, Etruscans, Romans, Barbarians, Saracens, Pisans, Genoese, Aragonese, Savoy Dynasty and finally the annexation to Italy in 1861. Understandably, Sardegna has absorbed an incredible variety of cultural aspects and traditions, visible, in the cuisine, different dialects, and features of the local population and in Sardegna’s dramatic distinctions from coastlines to island interior.
The great hospitality and conviviality at the table are sure to be some of the most precious memories you bring home. Immersed in a unique paradise far from your daily life, at least for a week, experiencing a world where time seems not to pass!
What are you waiting for? Ti aspettiamo! (We are waiting for you!) A presto! (See you soon!)
CYCLING TOUR IN SARDINIA
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 16, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
June 2-8, 2019 | September 13-19, 2019 | June 1-7, 2020 | September 19-25, 2020
For more info, other dates and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy: from $3,890 to $4,290
(this tour will feature mostly 4-star hotels and price will vary depending on group size)
Single Supplement: $690
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Learn more about local Slow Food Presidium of Casizolu cheese and other artisanal products such as olive oil, wine, knives and leather
- Exposure to local culture and history with bilingual, experienced Tour Leaders
- Tastes of regional grapes and foods with visits to meet local Sardinians
- Up close and personal looks at agriturismi and the methods behind Sardinian cuisine and agriculture
- Explore the west and east coasts of Sardinia: Alghero, Bosa, and Cala Gonone
- Discover Sardinia inland, visiting the Barbagia through Mamoiada, Orgosolo, Oliena and the Supramonte mountain range
- Traditional, local recipes to bring home with you!
- Exhilarating rides with opportunities to swim in the beautiful Mediterranean sea
- Traditional local polyphonic music performed live
One of Italy’s best kept secrets, Sardinia defies easy explanation. You will simply have to discover her for yourself on your bicycle. This tour introduces travelers to both the natural and cultural, seaside and mountain elements of the island’s identity and hypnotic environs not to mention the captivating Sardi (Sardinian people) whom you will not soon forget.
Signature tastes include: local pruceddu (suckling pig) and pane carasau (traditional flatbread); and regional grapes such as Cannonau and Vermentino.
If you prefer to arrive the day before please let us know and we will help you organize your pre night at the same hotel used on tour. This is recommended just to allow you more time to settle in and get ready for the tour.
Hotel is easy to reach via taxi from Alghero airport in 20 minutes.
Cycling Route Info on day 1: Main Route: 14mi/1100ft of elevation gain | Extra loop adds: 6mi/600ft or more!
Cycling Route Info on day 2: Main Route 32mi/1400ft | Extra loop adds: 15mi/1200ft or more!
For our first two nights, we’ll reside in the lovely seaside town of Alghero. The ancestors of modern-day Sardinians (Sardi in Italian) were the Nuragic peoples whose name derives from once common cone-shaped megalithic buildings dating back to 1400 BC. Among our history lessons, we’ll have a chance to visit some of these. More recently, starting in the mid-fourteenth century, for four hundred years, the Aragonese dominated the island. The local Catalan dialect is still spoken here.
Other highlights here include: the local ancient tradition of coral fishing, nowadays regulated and entrusted to a few local experts; the natural reserve of Capo Caccia with dramatic views of the promontory that we’ll explore by bike; and the agriturismi (family-run farm-stays that combine agriculture and tourism, with an emphasis on accommodation and meals in a partially or totally renovated farmhouse) where we’ll enjoy a dinner featuring locally-grown and seasonal products.
Cycling Route Info on day 3: Main Route: 37mi/5100ft | Extra loop adds: 19mi/2400ft
From Alghero, we’ll continue south, riding with the beautiful western coastal views, and stopping by Bosa, one of the Borghi piú Belli d’Italia (Most Beautiful Villages of Italy, a national designation) for a lunch by the beach and a nice swim in the Mediterranean. The following day, we’ll have a chance to take a walk in town and visit the old tanneries in the historic center.
Our final destination is the tiny village of Tresnuraghes, where we’ll stay in an albergo diffuso, best translated as “dispersed hotel” as services and accommodation are spread across different, existent structures all within the same area. Tonight we’ll enjoy a cooking demo and dinner, followed by traditional polyphonic music performed live for us!
Cycling Route Info on day 4: Main Route: 42mi/3400ft | Extra loop adds: 6mi/350ft or more!
The beauty of the albergo diffuso where you are staying is that it allows travelers to imbed themselves in village life while enjoying all the services of a standard hotel. And, alberghi diffusi are healthy for the host village because converting existing rooms and structures protects cultural heritage and is far more sustainable than building a new hotel.
On these days we’ll have also a chance to visit the village of Cuglieri and sample its renowned olive oil with the local producer, before an exhilarating climb in the Montiferru area, upon a now extinct volcano.
Today we’ll visit a local cheese maker and sample Sardinian recipes in a local restaurant. Continue riding back to the hotel or add some miles for an optional visit to a local knife maker in Santu Lussurgiu. Tonight dinner is on your own, please ask us for suggestions!
Cycling Route Info on day 5: !1-hour van transfer to Gavoi area – Main Route: 32mi/1700ft | Extra loop adds: 6mi/650ft
En route to Oliena, we’ll explore the local village of Orgosolo, renowned for its Murales, over forty-year-old paintings that depict various aspects of Sardinian culture, tradition, and both local and international political concerns.
Our last two nights we spend inland near the town of Oliena, also famous for winemaking with local indigenous grapes such as Vermentino and Cannonau that we’ll savor while we learn from the local oenologist during an aperitif. After check in at the local hotel, we’ll have a chance to relax and get ready for a yummy dinner featuring 0-mile ingredients!
Cycling Route Info on day 6: Main Route: 29mi/3000ft | Extra loop adds: 10mi/1000ft or more
On our last day, we’ll bike near the Supramonte Mountain Range, offering striking highland views into which the rivers have dug deep ravines and canyons. Finally we’ll reach Cala Gonone where we board a private motorboat for a cruise along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Sardinian eastern coastline: do not forget your swimsuit today!
Our food journey concludes with a final dinner celebrating local recipes, an array of wines, and our great memories of an unforgettable tour together.
At 8:30am catch our group transfer to Olbia airport. Buon viaggio (safe travel in Italian) and augurios a chent’annos in salude! (Many wishes of one hundred years of life in health in Sardinian dialect).
- 6 nights of accommodation in 3- and mostly 4-star hotels
- 6 breakfasts and 3 lunches
- 5 dinners each with either a 3- or 4-course menu
- Discover Sardinian coastline and the Barbagia area inland
- Visit the tanneries museum in Bosa and the Nuraghe Palmavera in Alghero
- Walk through Orgosolo to discover its murals
- 1 wine tasting with local winemaker and 1 visit to to a knives maker
- Traditional poliphonic music performed live
- 2 visits and meals to local agriturismi
- 1 cooking demo showing a traditional recipe
- 1 private boat ride in Cala Gonone area
- 1 visit to an olive oil producer and 1 visit and tasting at a cheese maker
- Specialized Sirrus aluminum hybrid or carbon Bianchi Intenso road bike + Garmin Touring Edge or 820 unit (if you have one, bring yours and we’ll upload the routes onto your unit)
- Comfortable transportation and assistance by 9-seat van for all travel on tour as cited in the itinerary
- Refreshments, snacks, fruits and other local delicacies during our rides
- Two bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- One group transfer at the end of tour to Olbia airport
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 3 lunches and 1 dinner on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leaders
- Personal expenses, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, laundry, emails, snacks, gifts
Cristiano Bonino has led tours for North Americans all over Italy for more than thirteen years, and in particular in Sardinia since 2004. Currently, he resides in the Boston area with his American wife. Cristiano likes to say that he has been “hybridizing” over the past three years in the U.S. He mixes the best of the both American and Italian cultures, which he loves, but never forgets his native roots in Turin.
Andrea Marchesini Who is Andrea Marchesini? A professional drummer? A bicycle mechanic? A Slow Food aficionado? A farmer? A tour guide? All! With family from both South Tyrol and Liguria, he is a mix of two very cultures, German and Northern Italian. He is trilingual, fluent in German, Italian and also English, after years as a musician in New York City. Andrea is in love with his home region of Liguria and dedicated to helping you discover its wonders for yourself. He has led more than 100 tours in the past 15 years all over Italy, and is particularly knowledgeable about the neighboring region of Piedmont that we’ll visit together.
Your itinerary has been meticulously hand-designed by Food.Stories.Travel. and his team. This journey is based on their favorite flavors and unforgettable past experiences. Every establishment you will visit has been personally vetted, tested and enjoyed by Cristiano himself and his team of experienced Tour Leaders.
In some cases we’ll take you to places you could not find by yourself or in a guidebook.