Away from busy beaches and tourist-packed seaside restaurants, Sardinia’s countryside has great roads begging to be ridden. If you’re tempted to take a tour of the island, FTR’s friends at motorcycle-diaries have found the best routes.
The best riding in Europe?
Sardinia has some of the best road surfaces in Europe, but it also has some of the most challenging off-road routes. It’s all about where you choose to ride. Venturing deep into the island’s hilly countryside, an adventurous rider will discover miniature mountain passes – some paved, some not so paved. Rewards for such riding include discovering sleepy villages, local restaurants and impressive remnants of an ancient civilisation.
Hairpins and switchbacks
Sardinia’s coast and beaches have lured holidaymakers to the island for generations. It’s best to avoid the area in summer, and the opportunity for exploring by motorbike increases massively if you visit during the off-season, especially October time when the Mediterranean is still warm. The most typical Sardinian coastal ride is the SP17 eastwards from Cagliari to Villasimius.
This route delivers perfect curves with incredible views of southern towns and villages, sunlight pouring down on to the seaside roads. Make sure you enjoy the switchbacks just after the village of Solanas.
This beautiful coastal route starts off at the village of Setti Ballas and runs west towards a junction with the SS195. Busy in August for obvious reasons, the journey is a delightful 25 kilometres long, packed with bend after bend as the road negotiates headlands and coves. Fancy a swim at a secluded bay? This is the place to do it.
Sardinian roads are motorcycle-friendly, and the SS49/105 is no exception. The route gives you a delicious blend of smooth and tight corners, cliff-side viewpoints and straights to open the throttle on – perfect for an afternoon cruise. Take some time to ride this road at sunset as the sun burrows down into the Mediterranean sea beside you.
For some canyon carving check out the road linking Chia and Teulada. There are plenty of gems hiding in the hills – well-surfaced, meandering countryside curves such as the SP85 between Narcao and Iglesias.
Sardinian food and drink is worth enjoying at every opportunity. Cured meats and local Pecorino cheeses are known for being the tastiest of their kind throughout Italy. Delicacies like these are easily found in any village, let alone a town.
The most important Sardinian feast is the Festa di Sant’Efisio. It runs between 1 and 4 May and has taken place with no interruption since 1657. Folk groups from all over Sardinia appear in their ancient costumes to walk 65km in four days. It’s the longest religious procession in Italy.
From fairy houses to giants’ tombs
Ancient landmarks are dotted across the island, evidence that Sardinia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is difficult not to stumble across dolmens, Domus de Jena (or fairy houses), giants’ tombs, sacred wells and over 7,000 Nuraghe – domed stone constructions that aren’t seen in any other part of the world. Not much is known about the civilisation that built these Nuraghe.
Ride 130km from Arbatax to Barumini on the SP13 to visit the biggest Nuraghe yet discovered. The site is called Su Nuraxi and a guided tour will mean handing over a €10 note. Interested in seeing more? Visit a well-preserved Nuraghe by riding this route: the SS292 inland from Alghero to Santu Antine.
Ride from south to north, starting at the Coghinas Lake and curving on well-finished tarmac towards Tempio Pausania. Continue through the historic town and head out on the SS133 to visit the stone remains of Nuraghe Majori. Entrance fee is around €2.50 and there’s a quality restaurant next door.
Where to stay
This article was produced in collaboration with motorcycle-diaries. Motorcycle-Diaries is all about amazing roads, endless landscapes, hidden places and the passionate people that you meet along these roads. The platform offers a tool that allows you to save your favourite roads and create your own diaries.