Published on: 15 December 2016 | Last updated: 15 May 2017
At a glance
Easy to moderate. There's a of climb just over 1000 metres (altitude gain) in the middle of this route, and another smaller climb, but otherwise it's pretty flat.
This route is mainly on quiet roads. Much of it is on the old strada statale 125. Between Cagliari and Tortoli the SS125 has been superseded by a newer version and most through traffic uses the new road, which means that the old road is really quiet. However there is a stretch of about 10 kilometres where traffic from the new road joins the old road. Note also that the old SS125 between Tortoli and Orosei is a scenic route that is popular with motorcyclists.
Entirely on roads that are in good condition.
Finding your way
There are no cycling-specific signs. The route is easy to navigate, but on the old SS125 you need to keep your wits about you as the road signs are intended to direct through traffic onto the fast road. If you have a gps then all you need to do is download the tracks from this page and follow it, but if you are doing it the old-school way then it needs a little care —although it's no more than common sense really. Please be sure to check out the detailed route descriptions and carry a map.
This route gives you a bit of everything that Sardegna has to offer: rocky coastal scenery, mountains, and lots of sandy beaches. It takes you along the coast of south-east Sardegna, before heading north towards the mountains of the Gennargentu crossing over the Genna Silana pass (1017m). From here it heads along the coast to Olbia via Posada, one of the island's most attractive villages.
- the cycleway along the Spiaggia del Poetto out of Cagliari
- the coastline around Villasimius
- the mountains of the Gennargentu and Gola di Gorropu canyon
- the beaches at Santa Lucia, La Caletta, Bari Sardo, San Teodoro
- the hill town of Posada overlooked by the Castello della Fava
Map and altitude profile
Powered by WP-GPX Maps
tips for using the map
Run your cursor over the graph to show the elevation, and distance from the start, for any given point on the route. (Note: the altitude graph is not shown where the route is flat).
Click the little icon in the right-hand corner to see the map fullscreen
|Cagliari - Villasimius||54 kms|
|Villasimius - Muravera||48 kms|
|Muravera - Tortolì||76 kms|
|Tortolì - Genna Silana||43 kms|
|Genna Silana - Orosei||40 kms|
|Orosei - Posada||42 kms|
|Posada - Olbia||49 kms|
Options and connections
This route would work just as well going south from Olbia.
An alternative option would be to turn off the route and head for Lanusei and then skirt round the Gennargentu via a series of mountain villages heading for Fonni and then heading for Dorgali via Mamoiada, Orgosolo, and Oliena.
At Muravera you could head inland for Barumini and from there to Oristano and Alghero — or south along the coast. Or you could head from Dorgali south-west to Laconi and from there to Barumini.
To the north this route joins with the [Sardegna North Coast] route along the northern coast between Olbia and Alghero. To the south it connects with the route between Alghero and Cagliari, but I would strongly recommend getting a transfer between Cagliari and Pula and picking up the route there.
The road out of Cagliari to the west is really pretty horrible, and my advice would be to get a transfer to Pula if you want to continue on the Sardegna West Coast route.
Getting there and back
There are airports at Olbia and Cagliari. Olbia airport is fairly easy to get to by bike, but to it's probably best to take the train to Cagliari airport.
Olbia is the main ferry terminal for the island with routes to Genova, Livorno and Civitavecchia. The terminal at Golfo degli Aranci is also nearby. There's also a ferry terminal at Arbatax with services to Civitavecchia as well as summer services to Genova and Cagliari.
There are train stations at Cagliari, Tortoli/Arbatax and at Olbia.
Scroll down to the resources section for useful websites.
Maps to print out or view offline
The zip files contain pdf files packaged together for convenience. If you are using a tablet you may find it easier to download the individual sections.
Show map download links for individual sections
Sardegna East Coast A4 maps
- Sardegna East Coast Part 1: A4 maps
- Sardegna East Coast Part 2: A4 maps
- Sardegna East Coast Part 3: A4 maps
- Sardegna East Coast Part 4: A4 maps
Sardegna East Coast A5 maps
About the maps
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. As far as eReaders are concerned so far I’ve not managed to get them to work on a Nook - but you may have more success with other devices.
- Sardegna East Coast gps files
(.zip file containing four gpx trackfiles and one file of waypoints)
- Italy Points of Interest
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated March 2017.
Places to stay
Hotels, B&Bs and Agriturismi
The main towns on the route have a range of accommodation options, there are also agriturismi (farmstays) along the way.
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com area pages:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
There's a hostel in Cagliari (the Hostel Marina which is housed in a 16th-century former monastery). After Cagliari there's only one hostel on the route itself: the Ostello San Priamo in San Priamo. There is also a hostel at Lanusei: the Nuova Luna which is a short detour
off the route.
This section of coast is a popular choice for tourists from northern Europe so there are lots of campsites and they tend to be open for a longer season than campsites in other parts of Sardegna.
There's also a campsite at the Genna Silana and a couple of agriturismi near Dorgali with camping pitches. See the detailed route description for more information.
Transport and services
There are good rail connections between Cagliari and Olbia and and the other main towns on the island: Oristano, Sassari and Porto Torres. You can also get trains from Sassari to Alghero - but note that these services are operated by the regional ARST company and not by trenitalia.
Renting a bike
There's a good choice of firms offering bike rental. Alghero, Oristano and Cagliari offer the best prospects, but you may be able to arrange delivery to other places. For more information see the Sardegna section of the page on renting a bike: italy-cycling-guide.info: Renting a bike
Bike shops on this route
- Cagliari: Extreme Bikes | Ignazio Pianta (Via della Pineta 9) | Runner (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 296) | Due Ruote (Viale Cristoforo Colombo 219) | Bike Green
- Sinnai: Back Flip Mountain Bike Shop
- Tortolì: Bike Town
If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.
Tourist information websites
- sardegnaturismo.it (it/en/de/fr/ru) is the tourist information site run by the region
- olbiaturismo.it (it/en/nl)
- Olbia Costa Smeralda airport
- Olbia Costa Smeralda Summer 2016 timetable (pdf)
- Cagliari airport
- Cagliari airport destinations map
- Moby Lines and Tirrenia are part of the same group. They operate out of Cagliari, Arbatax and Olbia
- Grimaldi Ferries offer year-round services between Olbia and Livorno and summer services between Olbia and Civitavecchia
- Corsica-Sardinia Ferries operate out of Golfo Aranci a little way north or Olbia. The offer services between Sardegna and Nice and Livorno (Routes map).
Articles in this series
- Sardegna East Coast: Introduction
- Sardegna East Coast: Part 1: Cagliari to Tortoli
- Sardegna East Coast: Part 2: the Gennargentu
- Sardegna East Coast: Part 3: Orosei to Olbia
Get in touch
Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.
Join the mailing list?
If you’ve found this site useful why not sign up to the mailing list for occasional updates about new routes.