Sardinia & Corsica: History and Legends

Lapped by the blue waters of the Mediterranean and blessed with the same balmy climate, the islands of Sardinia and Corsica are separated by a narrow strait.

Journey Overview

Lapped by the blue waters of the Mediterranean and blessed with the same balmy climate, the islands of Sardinia and Corsica are separated by a narrow strait. Both share many physical characteristics, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. One is Italian while the other is distinctly French in flavour. One more wild and rugged, the other more sophisticated and a magnet for the yachting crowd. Yet both offer an incredible immersion in history from the Bronze Age to the Napoleonic era and beyond. Discover enigmatic ruins, climb battle-scarred defensive towers and visit the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. On this immersive exploration, you’ll also experience the untamed beauty of these twin Mediterranean islands, wonderful cuisine inspired by nature, as well as the warmest of welcomes from the fiercely independent people who inhabit these lands.

Journey Highlights

  • Discover the rich military history of the islands in the impressively fortified towns of Cagliari, Corte and Calvi
  • Unlock the ancient secrets of the mysterious nuraghe at ‘Su Nuraxi’ di Barumini and La Prisgiona
  • Sample artisanal honey and savour fine wine made from a grape variety cultivated on the islands for centuries
  • Immerse yourself in local culture with a hands-on cooking class or on a tour of traditional craftsmen’s workshops
  • Hike to the spectacular white sands of Cala Luna and explore the stunning coastline of the Gulf of Orosei by inflatable rubber boat
  • Cruise the crystal-clear, impossibly blue waters of the Maddelena Archipelago National Park on a handsome vintage sailboat
  • Visit the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte in the charming and very French coastal town of Ajaccio
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cagliari, Sardinia

Arrive in the attractive capital of Sardinia, where you are welcomed by your A&K Guardian Angel and transferred to your beachside resort. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the outstanding facilities of this five-star property.

Forte Village Resort Hotel Il Castello

Day 2: Cagliari

Peel back Cagliari’s many layers of history with a guided tour that starts in the fortified hilltop citadel of Castello. Follow narrow streets to the imposing Tower of San Pancrazio and the Tower of the Elephant, both excellent examples of Pisan military architecture and great vantage points over the city. You’ll also take in the beautiful 13th century Santa Maria Cathedral – inspired by the Pisa Cathedral – and Bastione Saint Remy, a majestic limestone monument leading up to a terrace that offers sweeping views over Cagliari’s domes, towers and terracotta rooftops.

For lunch – the most important meal of the day here – why not order a delicious seafood dish or rustic salad in one of the many great restaurants in the old quarter? Your afternoon is free to browse for antiques, feast on local gourmet specialities or soak up the sun on the stunning beaches that flank both sides of the capital.

Forte Village Resort Hotel Il Castello | Meals: B

Day 3: Oliena

Meet your friendly, English-speaking driver and head north this morning, to inspect the well-preserved archaeological ruins at ‘Su Nuraxi’ di Barumini which date back to the Bronze Age. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises circular stone complexes known as nuraghe, thought to have been built for defensive purposes.

Continue on to Isca ‘e’ Muras, where you’ll gain an insight into the secret life of bees from a small-scale artisanal honey farmer. Learn how this sweet golden elixir makes its way from hive to jar, before enjoying an extensive tasting session.

The final leg of today’s adventure takes you through thick woodland to the enchanting village of Oliena, which lies at the foot of Mount Corrasi, the highest massif in Sardinia’s distinctive Supramonte mountain range.

 Su Gologone Experience Hotel | Meals: B

Day 4: Oliena

Climb into a private 4WD vehicle today, to navigate a rugged mountain trail that descends towards the alluring Gulf of Orosei. Then, stretch your legs on a guided trek downhill through fragrant forests of juniper, where breaks in the foliage offer some of the most impressive vistas over the karsts and canyons that define the Supramonte range. Tread ancient paths past traditional shelters used by goat herders to Codula di Ilune, a dramatic canyon where the river forms a lake.

The 90-minute hike concludes on the stunning white sands of Cala Luna. After a picnic lunch and refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, hop aboard your own private RIB and speed along the coastline dropping in to some of Sardinia’s most secluded bays and grottoes. The boat trip concludes at the quaint seaside town of Cala Gonone with time for a stroll before returning to your hotel by 4WD vehicle.

 Su Gologone Experience Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 5: Costa Smeralda

Today, uncover more mysterious nuraghe, which tell the story of the island’s early inhabitants. There are approximately 8,000 of these ancient megalithic structures scattered across the island, found nowhere else on Earth. Your itinerary takes in La Prisgiona, a 5-hectare site with around 100 stone buildings including an impressive circular keep and two smaller side towers. You’ll also inspect Coddu Vecchiu, one of Sardinia’s best preserved Giants’ graves (so-called for their enormous size).

This afternoon, visit a traditional vineyard for lunch and a tasting of local white wine, made with light-skinned Vermentino grapes cultivated on the island for centuries.

Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel | Meals: B

Day 6: Design Your Day Costa Smeralda

Following a leisurely breakfast, your continued immersion into Sardinian culture offers a choice of one of the following Design Your Day activities:

Sardinian Crafts and Traditions

A guided tour of the Gallura region in northeastern Sicily reveals picturesque hamlets filled with elegant churches and well-kept homes. Watch talented craftsmen weave fine woollen carpets using age-old traditional techniques, admire 4,000-year old olive trees and learn all about the production of cork in Calangianus, harvested for hundreds of years from cork oaks surrounding the town.

Home cooking in a Local Farmhouse

Don an apron and try your hand at preparing an authentic Sardinian feast at a country farmhouse. Whether you’re a beginner cook or professional chef, your passionate teacher will show you how to prepare fresh seasonal produce the local way. Learn to shape pasta, reduce sauces, bake cookies and prepare fish – before indulging in the fruits of your labour.

Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel | Meals: B

Day 7: Costa Smeralda

Sail the crystalline waters of the Maddelena Archipelago National Park today on a magnificent vintage sailboat. Soak up the sun and the beauty of unspoilt nature amongst the white sand beaches, rocky islets and glassy blue waters of this marine sanctuary. Tuck into an afternoon spread of regional delicacies on board, before returning to your hotel.

Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 8: Costa Smeralda – Ajaccio, Corsica

You are driven to Santa Teresa di Gallura, a town at the northern tip of Sardinia, where you meet the ferry for a fabulously scenic journey across the strait to Corsica.

Disembark at the port of Bonifacio, which seems to teeter atop a chalky-white, crumbling promontory. Tall and impossibly narrow medieval palazzi jostle with churches and chapels for space along crooked streets in the oldest part of town, sheltered behind high stone walls.

From here, it’s a long but visually interesting trip by road through the verdant mountains of western Corsica to the decidedly French coastal town of Ajaccio, perhaps best known as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Hotel Les Mouettes | Meals: B

Day 9: Ajaccio – Calvi

Kick off this morning with a relaxed tour of bustling Ajaccio. Starting in the city’s old quarter, first stop is the house where Napoleon was born – now a museum dedicated to his memory. Take time to stroll through the narrow streets lined with cafés and shops which radiate out from the harbour.

Then head inland to see the old island capital – Corte – the formidable mountaintop bastion from which patriot Pasquale Paoli briefly controlled Corsica as he tried (unsuccessfully) to fend off invading French armed forces.

Return to the coast to be awed by the red-hued cliffs known as Calanche de Piana that plunge hundreds of metres down into the swirling Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a couple more hours by road to Calvi, another lively waterfront town with a massive fortress, where you’ll spend the night.

Spa Hotel la Signoria | Meals: B

Day 10: Calvi

No visit to Calvi is complete without an exploration of the cobbled lanes within its ramparts. See the house where Christopher Columbus was said to have been born, before tracing the pretty coastline of the Bay of Calvi, dotted with white sandy beaches and red granite boulders.

Traverse a track headed inland, to find the alluring car-free medieval villages of the Balagne region. Perched on a hill covered in olive trees, Pigne is an artist’s haven, its beguiling cobblestone streets lined with craft workshops and tidy blue-shuttered homes.

Spa Hotel la Signoria | Meals: B

Day 11: Depart Calvi

Meet your driver for your transfer to the airport.

Meals: B

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

La Signoria Calvi, Corsica

Sardinia & Corsica: History and Legends

Step into the intricately embroidered shoes of Genoese nobility at this Relais & Chateaux hotel a mere 5 minutes from downtown Calvi.... Read more

Hotel Pitrizza Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Sardinia & Corsica: History and Legends

Designed to blend into the rugged surrounding landscape, the Hotel Pitrizza has welcomed guests to Sardinia’s glamorous Costa Smeralda si... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.

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