12 days Sardinia & Corsica small group tour "Legendary Islands"

An ancient land with an ancient language, Sardinia is a uniquely fascinating place, forged by many centuries of culture and history, in its strategic position at the center of the Mediterranean. Its awe-inspiring treasures of the past, such as the Nuraghic bronzes in Cagliari and the Megalithic tombs of the giants, can be admired in the island’s many museums, or in its archaeological areas, some dating back as far as the 7th century BC. And standing silently ever’present across the island, the enigmatic nuraghs; these round fortresses built in pre-historic times still survive as powerful symbols of the tenacity of Sardinia and its people.All this combines with the breathtakingly beautiful and varied natural environment to create a truly special place.

Sardinia has some of Italy’s best beaches and on this tour we make sure that you’ll have time to enjoy them. A world apart, an island separated from the rest of Italy not only by the sea but also by centuries of history and cultural experience.Corsica is an enigmatic island with many and varied faces, a wild and fascinating place.

Experience the Sardinia and Corsica lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 travelers only! Travel to Sardinia and Corsica with their idyllic climate, archaeology treasures, dramatic vistas and hearty cuisine that embodies all things Sardinian and Corsican.

We have a real passion for Sardinia and Corsica and look forward to sharing it with you !

Location

Day 1 : WELCOME TO SARDINIA & THE CITY OF CAGLIARI

Arrive at Cagliari international airport and private transfer to center for a two nights stay in our central boutique hotel ”VILLA FANNY“ or similar, close to the city’s architecturally treasures. At 6.00 pm meet your local tour manager for a welcome drink followed by dinner in a popular Sardinian fishing restaurant.Overnight in CAGLIARI. Walking: Light

Day 2 : HIGHLIGHTS OF CAGLIARI & NORA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA 

Start your discovery of Sardinia with a guided walking tour of CAGLIARI ,the Sardinian capital. It has an enviable setting overlooking the beautiful Bay of Angels and its historic heart, the CASTELLO which is cradled by ancient ramparts that enclose some beautiful architectural gems and historical treasures. Beneath the citadel walls, the vibrant marina quarter is a tangle of tiny streets bursting with tantalizing shops, restaurants and bars.We have included today a visit to the popular SAN BENEDETTO MARKET, the BASTIONE SAN REMY, a glorious spot for amazing views, the ROYAL PALACE, the SANTA MARIA CATHEDRAL,where to admire the Pisan Romanesque facade, the elaborate Gothic/Baroque interior and the crypt under the altar. Continue to the MUSEO ARCHEOLOGICO, giving a fascinating insight into Sardinia’s past with findings from the Neolithic and Nuragic civilization. After an included lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll head south-west to explore NORA, one of Sardinia’s most important Carthaginian and Roman archaeological sites. Evening is on your own.Overnight in CAGLIARI. Walking: Moderate

Day 3 : OASIS OF FLAMINGOS, OLIVE OIL FARM, UNESCO SU NURAXI & WINERY

Our tour takes you today to learn about flora and fauna in Sardinia discovering a national park with salt pans and flamingos. Continue to the Bronze Age site at SU NURAXI in Barumini, ancient megalithic constructions developed during the Nuragic age (1900-730 B.C.), included by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.The Nuraghic people built many prehistoric stone villages in Sardinia from about 1800 BC but left no written records. Su Nuraxi, is described as the finest and most complete example of this remarkable form of prehistoric architecture. Here we will also visit a local winery for a tasting of some Sardinian wines such as Vermentino and Cannonau accompanied by a local products tasting and an olive oil farm where to learn about Sardinian olive oil.We spend the next two nights in the 18th century historical country house “HOTEL LUCREZIA” in the heart of the small community of RIOLA SARDO. Dinner is included this evening. Overnight in RIOLA SARDO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 4 : EXCAVATIONS OF THARROS ,CHARMING BOSA,MALVASIA WINE, ART MURALS IN TINNURA & COOKERY EXPERIENCE

We start the day with a drive to the archaeological excavations of THARROS, a city founded by the Phoenicians around the end of the 8th century BC, on a split of land called Capo San Marco and soon became a flourishing center of commerce. Continue to the delightful pastel colored houses town of BOSA located on a green valley at the foot of a mountainous area dominated by the CASTELLO DEI MALASPINA, on the right bank of the Temo river, the only navigable one in Sardinia. This fascinating town is famous for its artisan tradition of gold-filigree jewelry and lace-making. MALVASIA white grapes proliferate around Bosa and this sweet wine is one of Sardinia’s highest-quality ones.We will end the day with a photo stop at the stunning MURALtown of TINNURA. In the evening, our chefs and experts will teach you all the secrets of Sardinian cooking, learning how to cook home made pasta.Overnight in RIOLA SARDO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 5 : WELL OF SANTA CRISTINA, BACKROAD MAMOIADA & CATALAN ALGHERO

Today’s travelling takes you to the heart of Sardinia where there is a place of culture that tells us about thousands of years of history, traditions and centuries of festivities and rituals, shared by various civilizations in the Mediterranean.Start your visit with SANTA CRISTINA and the Nuragic holy well, built around 1000 BC. We’ll also see the adjacent nuragic village dating 15th century BCE and the “muristenes”, the little houses used in the past by pilgrims. Continue to the Museum of Mediterranean masks in the remote village of MAMOIADA, famous throughout the world for its traditional carnival masks. Here we’ll enjoy a demonstration of how the Sardinian Carasau bread is made.After an included light lunch in a local winery owned by our friend Luca,we’ll head to the picturesque medieval seaside town of ALGHERO. Spend the next two nights at the central “CARLOS V HOTEL” or similar. Following the Catalan-Aragonese invasion of Sardinia, the medieval fortified seaside town underwent total Hispanicization and became known as “little Barcelona”.The lively piazza is fitted with shops and restaurants.In the evening, meet your tour guide in the hotel for an orientation tour of Alghero’s historical area followed by a pizza by meter dinner in a local restaurant.Overnight in ALGHERO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 6 : BOAT TRIP TO NEPTUNE’S CAVE & CHEESE MAKING EXPERIENCE IN A SARDINIAN FAMILY FARMHOUSE

In the morning, we’ll depart for an exciting discovery of the mystical CAVE OF NEPTUNE by boat from the port of Alghero, bathed in shimmering colors and bristling with stalactites and stalagmites contorted into fantastical shapes. Please note that in case of unfavorable weather or strong wind, we are obliged to cancel the boat trip and driving instead to the limestone headland of CAPO CACCIA where a steep series of 654 steps leads down to the cave for you to visit.Continue to the remote village of ITTIRI where you’ll visit a Sardinian family in their farmhouse for a delicious Sardinian lunch and hands-on-making local cheese. Rest of the day is on your own in beautiful Alghero. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight in ALGHERO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 7 : ENCHANTING CORSICA & BONIFACIO

Contrast the scenery of the two islands as you transfer from Alghero to BONIFACIO, admiring the charming landscape of the north-western coast where picturesque granite formations appear out of deep cork oak woods and pastures. En-route we visit the town of CASTELSARDO, perched on a volcanic headland, dominated by the castle which now houses a museum which exhibits of traditional basket-weaving. After an included street food experience, you’ll depart toSanta Teresa di Gallura for embarking on the ferry to CORSICA (approx 1 hr journey). Upon arrival, visit the lively port of MARINA DI BONIFACIO followed by a transfer to the family owned “HOTEL SANTA TERESA” for your first night in Corsica.Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight in BONIFACIO. Walking: Light/Moderate

DAY 8 : CHARMING SARTENE, PREHISTORIC FILITOSA & AJACCIO 

Corsica boasts a long, eventful and troubled history. Rarely has it ruled itself, often has it been fought over.Today, a local expert will shed light on the historical area of BONIFACIO, following a drive to the town of SARTENE, located up the hill in the valley of the Rizzanese river. After lunch on your own,we drive to the most famous prehistoric site in Corsica, FILITOSA which offers almost 5,000 years of history.Populated in very ancient times because it was both fertile and easy to defend, the area was filled with large constructions and menhirs from 1800 BC to 1100 BC. Continue to AJACCIO, your base for the next two nights at the “HOTEL LES MOUETTES” or similar, located on Corsica’s famous route des Iles Sanguinaires, in the heart of splendid Ajaccio Bay.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight in AJACCIO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 9 : AJACCIO DELIGHTS,NAPOLEON’S HOME & WINE TASTING IN A CORSICAN DOMAINE

After breakfast, we embark on a walking tour of historical AJACCIO, the largest city in Corsica and famous because Napoleon Bonaparte was born here on August 15, 1769. We’ll visit the MAISON BONAPARTE, the charming historical center with its color-washed, terracotta-tiled houses and narrow backstreets which have changed little in centuries.We also visit the Venetian Renaissance-style Cathedral, where Napoleon and his siblings were baptized. After some free time for lunch and sightseeing, depart for a brief journey to the Ajaccio countryside for a WINE TASTING in a Corsican domain.Dinner is included this evening in a Corsican bistro.Overnight in AJACCIO. Walking: Moderate

DAY 10 : MEDIEVAL CORTE & RESTONICA VALLEY 

Today, we explore the medieval town of CORTE, whose fortunate geographic location meant that on several occasions potential conquerors, including the Romans, had to stop short of this region. From its Citadel, which is the home of the musee de la corse,one of the leading centers of Corsican culture, there are commanding views of the territory. Continue to the heart of the RESTONICA VALLEY for an included lunch in a Corsican restaurant. Drive to BASTIA for your last two nights at the charming “HOTEL DES GOURVERNEURS” or similar located in the heart of the citadel.This evening is at leisure, with dinner tonight on our own.Overnight in BASTIA. Walking: Moderate

DAY 11 : THE MAGIC OF BASTIA

BASTIA has a charm of its own, with its Citadel and the historic center, its narrow alleys. With its colorful houses overlooking the sea, Bastia is the second largest city in Corsica and is considered it economical capital. In the morning meet your local tour guide for a discovery of the citadel and the seaside part of the town, to get a true sense of the town,joining the locals in their ritual coffee in Place de Nicolas or a pastis at the vieux Port.In the evening we’ll celebrate you with an “AU REVOIR DINNER” sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Sante’! Overnight in BASTIA. Walking: Moderate

DAY 12 : AU REVOIR CORSICA

Morning transfers to BASTIA airport for your flight home.