Some of the most evocative stretches of road for travelling by bike are along the western coastal road of the island: you will have an unforgettable experience cycling amidst the breathtaking views and the sounds of nature
A sense of freedom, a rhythmic and relaxing pace, silence broken only by the sound of the wheels. A ‘sweet’ journey to discover the enchanting scenery of an ancient land, partly unspoiled, sometimes harsh and wild. You can circumnavigate over one third of the western and southern coast of Sardinia, from Alghero to Cagliari, on your bike. The almost 400 kilometres take you through places rich in traditions, with a legacy of the past, places where you can combine your passion for cycling with a ‘thirst’ for cultural enrichment. Away from traffic and noise, you will cycle along safe roads, mostly provincial, municipal and urban secondary roads, as well as sections of state roads, cycle paths and disused railways, which are part of the western ridge and several branches of the Sardinia cycle network. It is a project that brings together over 50 cycle paths and will make it possible to use them – 2700 kilometres in all. They are suitable for all types of cyclists, touching two thirds of Sardinia’s municipalities and about 700 naturalistic and cultural points of interest, with focus on a connection with harbour, airport and railway gates.
A long itinerary in stages, to be ‘experienced’ in a week, making stops for cultural visits, refreshments with wholesome and delicious foods, as well as hospitality in welcoming, top-quality facilities. In spring and autumn, a mild climate will accompany you and is often favourable even in winter with ‘different’ beautiful views. The first western stretch is one of the most popular: from Alghero to Cabras (about 100 kilometres). Departure is from the ‘capital’ of the Riviera del Corallo, a central hub thanks to the airport of Fertilia. The Catalan rulers left a permanent mark in Barceloneta in the language and traditions. You will be captivated by the historic centre, the towers and bastions, the beaches and the park of Porto Conte, dotted with cycle paths. Leaving the city, along the old walls, you take the SP 105 provincial road: this road will fill you with sensations, fragrances and colours and is one of the most panoramic on the island, a setting for car advertisements. The asphalted road runs along the coast, overlooking the sea, with bends and uphill and downhill stretches: you will feel like you are somewhere between heaven and earth. Running alongside the winding road and the turquoise sea are sheer limestone cliffs, shaped over time. From time to time, it curves inwards towards the hinterland, on slopes covered with cork oaks and holm oaks.
A succession of bends along the SP 105 provincial road stimulates curiosity about what will appear behind the next one. Beaches and natural oases precede the entrance (at kilometre 42) to Bosa, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, crossed by the Temo river. From the banks of the river, you can admire the colourful houses that cling to the hillside, dominated by the Castle of Serravalle, and are reflected in the water. From the port of Bosa Marina, you can take a detour, on the Trenino Verde tourist train, through Planargia and Marghine, towards Macomer, crossroads of the Island and the end of the line for inland cycling itineraries. The coastal route, however, follows the seafront road to Turas and Porto Alabe, before taking the SP 35 provincial road to Tresnuraghes and Sennariolo, passing through the valley of Modolo, dotted with Malvasia vineyards and coloured by the yellow broom plants. The next stop is Cuglieri, at the top of an uphill stretch. It is the main village in the Montiferru region and is filled with evidence of the past, from prehistoric times to the Byzantine period. It’s all downhill from here to the sea! You will be entranced by s’Archittu: nature has sculpted a rocky arch over the blue sea. Wind and waves have smoothed and softened the rugged limestone coast of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri. From here, a change in the route will take you to Santu Lussurgiu, where you will feel reborn in the forest of San Leonardo and the springs of the Siete Fuentes park.
The route passes through Riola Sardo and touches San Vero Milis. From the SS 292 state road, you switch to the SP 8 provincial road: you are finally at Cabras, located between two ponds, the habitat of pink flamingos. With a short detour, you can explore the Sinis peninsula. The itinerary passes alongside beautiful beaches, from is Arutas to San Giovanni, the ancient town of Tharros and the village of San Salvatore. The lagoons dominate a territory suspended between land and sea, giving a glimpse of the authentic, unspoilt Sardinia, with its roots in a remote and glorious past, interpreted by the Giants of Mont’e Prama. The landscapes change continuously: the coastline is low and sandy (or with quartz grains) in places and in others there are imposing cliffs. From Cabras, through the marina of Torregrande, you will reach Oristano, the starting point of various inland cycle paths. You continue towards Terralba, through Arborea and the cycle path of Marrubiu. You will find yourself once more between sea and lagoons, in the village of Marceddì. From here, leaving the Oristano area behind you, the most challenging stretch awaits you: 120 kilometres across the Costa Verde, as far as Sant’Antioco, in the Sulcis area, with brief trips to the abandoned mining sites of Arbus and Guspini. A path to be divided into stages. Pistis and Torre dei Corsari are the first beautiful coastal locations in the Arbus area, followed by the Marina and the pearls of Piscinas and Scivu. At Piscinas, you will move inland, along routes marked permanently by mining activity: the archaeological mining ruins will act as a frame to the coastline: from the ‘ghost’ town of Ingurtosu to the mines of Montevecchio.
After leaving the Costa Verde behind you, the stretches through Fluminimaggiore and Buggerru begin. Along the SS 126 state road and the SP 83 provincial road, spectacular views await you and are the same as those of the Santa Barbara mining route. One above all others is Cala Domestica. You will then enter the territory of Iglesias: at Masua, the road begins to climb, gradually revealing unique views: from Canal Grande in Nebida to the Pan di Zucchero sea stack, in front of Porto Flavia. After some well-rewarded fatigue, you will continue along the coastal road of Gonnesa and you will easily reach Portoscuso first and then the isthmus that connects the island of Sant’Antioco. Thousands of years of history of the largest island in the Sulcis area is expressed by domus de Janas, nuraghi, tombs of Giants, a Phoenician tophet, Punic necropolis and Ancient Roman remains. Along the jagged coast, unparalleled beaches and little coves stand out. There are two residential areas – Sant’Antioco and Calasetta: from its port you can go by boat to visit the island of San Pietro and the village of Carloforte, a Ligurian enclave in Sardinia. After a tour of the archipelago, you can move into the heart of the Sulcis area, passing through San Giovanni Suergiu, as far as Carbonia, along an easy cycle path, or you can continue on the coastal route towards the spectacular landscapes of the southwestern tip. The direction, between the SP 73 provincial road and the SS 195 state road, is Tratalias, then Giba and lastly, after almost 40 kilometres, Sant’Anna Arresi, where a diversion from the cycle path towards the dunes of Porto Pino and Is Arenas Biancas is a must.
Sant’Anna and Teulada are separated by 13 kilometres of breathtaking scenery. Switching from the SS 195 state road to the SP 71 provincial road, the itinerary returns to the sea: you will come across dreamy beaches like Porto Tramatzu and Tuerredda and jagged cliffs, like Capo Malfatano. Through settings that look like a TV advertisement, you will reach Chia, in the territory of Domus de Maria, and its unparalleled beaches, among which that of su Giudeu stands out. After that, you will return to the SS 195 road: an ‘easy’ stretch with two lanes, leading to Pula, moving alongside the coastal road of Santa Margherita. A trip to the archaeological park of Nora is a must. This town was founded by the Phoenicians, later became Punic and lastly it was the capital of the Ancient Roman province. After a well-deserved rest, the last stretch, taking you to Cagliari, returns along the 35 kilometres of the Path of Sant’Efisio, from the church of the martyr to Nora, through the territories of Villa San Pietro, Sarroch and Capoterra, alongside the forest of is Cannonneris–Pixinamanna and the coastal lagoon known as the Stagno di Cagliari. The inland alternative stretches along the ancient Calasetta-Giba-Siliqua railway axis, with tunnels and viaducts, through the forest of Campanasissa and touching Monte Arcosu. From Siliqua, famous for the Castle of Acquafredda, the cycle path runs parallel to the railway line as far as Assemini.