You know those photos of white sandy beaches with really crystal clear water that make you want to jump on a plane and head to the Maldives? What if I told you there is a place like that, and much closer to home? The islands of the Arcipelago della Maddalena fulfil every beach dream you could possibly have. Come discover these beautiful uninhabited islands in Sardinia, Italy.
The Arcipelago della Maddalena is composed by seven main islands. The three bigger ones; Maddalena, Caprera and Santo Stefano are inhabited. The remaining ones, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria and Razzoli are not. When you do a boat day trip to the islands, this will usually take you to beaches in the uninhabited islands. There used to be military bases on these islands so you will still be able to see abandoned buildings and lighthouses, which adds for quite an interesting experience. The Arcipelago della Maddalena today is a protected marine park (so actually they’re not entirely uninhabited, as there are park guardians living on some of the islands). It’s not everyday that you get to visit islands where there are no cities, towns or traces of civilisation, combined to the beautiful crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, it makes for quite a magical day trip.
We went on a boat day trip with the Blue Rider. We set off around 9am, well before any of the other tour boats, so that we could go and enjoy the islands before too many people arrived. Our first stop was Cala Soraja, in the island of Spargi. This beach is a personal favourite of mine, since it’s one of the closest from Palau to get to, and it really seems to be swimming in a natural pool. We spent about an hour relaxing on the beach and enjoying the water, and when we got back on the boat our captain Franco had a cheese and salami aperitif ready for us. There’s nothing like swimming around in the beautiful sea to make you hungry!
The boat set off again while we were still nibbling on our aperitif, cruising past the island of Budelli. We cruised past a beach called “Spiaggia Rosa”, which means Pink Beach. This because back in the day the sand used to be pink thanks to corals present in it, but due to tourists taking away he pink sand with them as a souvenir, access to it has been closed since 1994. Boats can only cruise past it beyond the line of buoys, 70 metres away from the shore. Nobody is allowed to walk on the beach or swim there, in the hope that over time the pink sand will regenerate itself. We didn’t stop in Budelli, since there was quite a strong wind blowing directly at the popular beaches there. Sardinia is a very windy destination, and being able to find beaches protected by the wind is a key factor in enjoying your holiday here. Which is why I enjoy doing trips with the Blue Rider so much, Franco has been doing this job for the past thirty years, and knows exactly which beaches are best to visit depending on the wind. So we cruised past Budelli and went to Cala Lunga in the island of Razzoli.
In Razzoli we did a longer stop. In the morning we had rented a SUP (Stand Up Paddle) board from Porto Faro Paddle, to take with us to the islands. We spent five minutes inflating it and then explored the rocky shore of Razzoli with it, even if I’d never used a SUP before I found it quite easy, and the beautiful location made it even more fun. Even if we occasionally fell in the water, it was so pretty and clear that we didn’t mind (check out the video if you want to laugh at us falling over)! While we spent an hour or so swimming around in the crystal clear water and exploring the area with our SUP board, Franco prepared an awesome pasta lunch for us. We stayed in Cala Lunga for lunch and a bit of post lunch break before moving on to our next beach destination.
We cruised past the abandoned lighthouse of Razzoli, and then stopped in a beautiful little lagoon, where we were the only boat there. The occasional boat would cruise past us, but nobody else ever stopped to swim there, which made it an even more magical day. We used our SUP board to explore the shore of the lagoon, going even inside a small rocky canyon. Towards 4pm we started heading back to Palau. The journey back is a bit long, maybe an hour or so, but Franco makes it feel shorter by telling you about the history of the places you cruise past, and with a fruit snack in the middle of the trip.
The islands of the Arcipelago della Maddalena are really an extraordinary place to visit, and if you get the opportunity I highly recommend you do a boat trip there. It is the perfect destination for someone looking for a Maldive-like holiday, without actually going all the way there! What do you think? Have you been here and loved it as much as me? Let me know in the comments below!
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