Sardegna West Coast

Published on:  | Last updated: 27 March 2017

SP105 coastal road between Alghero and Bosa

SP105 coastal road between Alghero and Bosa

At a glance

Distance

546 kms

Difficulty/​terrain

Moderately challenging. There are no really big climbs along this section of the coast, but there are plenty of smaller ones and the cumulative altitude gain adds up.

Traffic

Most of this section of the route is on quiet roads. The route stops as Pula about 35 kms from Cagliari. The reason for this the last 12 kilometres into Cagliari are on busy roads. The distance is short, but it is very stressful: on the first half you need to cope with tankers on a narrow road heading to and from a refinery, and there's then a fast, busy, dual carriageway into Cagliari. There's no way to avoid the busy roads into Cagliari without a long detour to the north of the city. I would strongly recommend getting a private transfer from Pula into Cagliari.

Surfaces

The major part of this route is on surfaced roads in good condition. However, there is a stretch of unsur­faced road across the Piscinas dunes. 

Finding your way

There are no cycling-specific signs, but the route is fairly straight­forward to navigate following the normal road signs.

When to go

Avoid July and August if you can. The best months are May and June and September. April and October are also possib­il­ities but there's a greater risk of bad weather.

Coastline between Alghero and Bosa looking back towards Alghero

Coastline between Alghero and Bosa looking back towards Alghero

Overview

This route mixes spectacular coastal roads with historic sites, villages with murals, a little bit of island-hopping, and of course some beautiful beaches. It follows the coast south to the town of Oristano before making a detour inland through to visit the historic sites of Barumini and Genna Maria —remnants of a unique ancient civil­isation. It heads back to the coast where you can see the island's mining heritage alongside some of its most beautiful coastline. After the mining coast the route takes you to the islands off the south-west coast and to Carloforte, is one of the island's prettiest towns with a unique history. A last glorious stretch of coastline brings you to Pula and the remains of the ancient city of Nora. If I had to choose just one of the Sardegna routes it would be this one.

Highlights

  • the city walls of Alghero
  • the beautiful villages of Bosa and Carloforte
  • the muralled villages around Tinnura
  • the arche­olo­gical sites of Barumini, Genna Maria, Tharros and Nora
  • the 100-metre high sand dunes of Piscinas
  • the mining heritage of the south-west coast
Nebida - view from the Belvedere

Nebida - view from the Belvedere

Map and altitude profile

[maptips"
Distances
Alghero - Bosa 44 kms
Bosa - Is Arenas 44 kms
Is Arenas - Oristano 66 kms
Oristano - Barumini 58 kms
Barumini - Sant'Antonio di Santadi 83 kms
Sant'Antonio Santadi - Piscinas 58 kms
Piscinas - Portovesme (for Carloforte) 78 kms
Isola di San Pietro loop 40 kms
Calasetta - Chia 83 kms
Chia - Pula (Nora) 20 kms
Pula - Cagliari (not part of route) 35 kms
Mural in Tinnura - Lavotrici d'Asfoleto by Pina Monne

Mural in Tinnura - Lavotrici d'Asfoleto by Pina Monne

Options

This route can be ridden both direc­tions. North to south is better for the coastal sections as it means you are on the side of the road with the best views.

You can of course join this tour with the Olbia-Alghero route or with the Cagliari-Olbia route. 

From Barumini, rather than turning back towards the south-west coast you could head for the east coast at Muravera or through the Gennargentu mountains - see the Guida Cicloturistica della Sardegna.

From Cagliari you could also take the ferry to Palermo in Sicilia.

Getting there and back

If you are flying Alghero airport has a good choice of flights. If you are planning on flying out of (or into) Cagliari airport then the best option for getting to Cagliari city centre is to take the train. 

There are ferry services from Cagliari to Civitavecchia, and Napoli. You could also get a ferry to Arbatax on the eastern coast and from there to Genova and Civitavecchia on the Italian mainland. You can also catch the train from Cagliari to Olbia.

Alternatively you could start from Porto Torres following the {Sardegna North Coast route}. There are ferry services to Porto Torres from Genova, Marseille, Toulon and Barcelona.

You could travel to by train to Alghero from Olbia or Porto Torres changing at Sassari. For more inform­ation see this page: Getting around: local and regional train services.

The Laveria Lamarmora at Nebida (washing plant for separating the metal ore)

The Laveria Lamarmora at Nebida (washing plant for separ­ating the metal ore)

Downloads

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

 About the maps

sample map page.

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.

GPS files

  •  Sardegna West Coast gps files
    (.zip file containing 10 gpx track­files and 1 file of waypoints)
  •  Italy Points of Interest

     About POIs

    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.

Street in the centre of Carloforte (Galaia restaurant)

Street in the centre of Carloforte (Galaia restaurant)

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

The west coast is relat­ively undeveloped; in the main towns (Alghero, Bosa, Oristano, Carloforte, and Cagliari) there's a wide range of accom­mod­ation, but elsewhere the options may be more limited.

Hotels and B&Bs

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

Some useful 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.

Hostels

There are hostels at San Giovanni di Sinis, Oristano, Calasetta and Cagliari, and one in Fertilia a short ride from Alghero.

  Hostels Map:  FT-map-Sardegna-west-coast-hostelsshow map in overlay    |  FT-map-Sardegna-west-coast-hostels  show map in new window 

Campsites

There are fewer campsites on the west coast than elsewhere, and they tend to be open for a shorter season. In general they are located close to beaches, often some great beaches, but are less convenient for towns —although there are a couple of sites near Alghero.

  Campsites map:  FT-Sardegna-West-Coast-campsites-map
show map in overlay  
  |  FT-Sardegna-West-Coast-campsites-map  show map in new window 

Transport and services

Trains

There are good rail connec­tions between Oristano and Cagliari and the other main towns on the island: Olbia, Golfo Aranci, 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

  Map:  FT-sardegna-bike-rental-show map in overlay    |    FT-sardegna-bike-rental-show map in new window 

Bike shops on this route

  • Alghero: Marti Cicli-Scooter
  • Oristano: Bicisport Masala (Via Tirso 137) | CicloLife
  • San Gavino Monreale: Bike e Sport (Viale Rinascita 71)
  • Gonnosfanadiga: Per Mari e Monti (Via Nazionale 99)
  • Cagliari: Extreme Bikes | Ignazio Pianta (Via della Pineta 9) | Runner (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 296) | Due Ruote (Viale Cristoforo Colombo 219) | Bike Green

If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.

Resources

Tourist information websites

Places of interest

Transport

Flying

Ferries

Ferry operators with services to/​from Porto Torres:

Ferry operators with services to/​from Cagliari

  • mobylines.com: Sardinia. Moby Lines offer services to Civitavecchia (near Rome), and Napoli
  • tirrenia.it. Tirrenia offer services to Civitavecchia, Napoli and Palermo. There's also a Tirrenia ferry to Arbatax from where you can get a ferry to Genova.
Torre dI Santa Margherita near Pula

Torre dI Santa Margherita near Pula

Articles in this series

Dunes at Portixeddu

Dunes at Portixeddu

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.


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