Travelling in Sardinia on a motorcycle is the best ways to explore one of Italy’s largest islands and enjoy its natural beauty. In Sardinia there are many roads that are especially beautiful if seen on a motorcycle, with absolutely incredible sea-views. In this article I’m going to tell you about four unforgettable rides through the Sardinian landscape, stopping in venues renown for their beautiful beaches, such as Alghero and Chia. Rev your engines up, we’re off to Sardinia!
Sardinia is a big island, the second largest in Italy, Sicily being the first. A land of sea and rocks. Rugged and enchanting, full of amazing views and spellbinding surprises. This is why travelling in Sardinia on a motorcycle is an experience that bikers should do at least once in their lifetime. Not to mention that it has limitless roads to ride.
Before we leave I need to warn you that to enjoy Sardinia on a motorcycle you truly need to love sharp bends; going up and down steep slopes; accelerating, changing gear and breaking suddenly; you have to love the endless overhead skies, and the constant mountain views and seascapes; you have to love the feel of hard, rough tar beneath your tires; and you have to love the wind. Yes, in Sardinia the word “love” is essential when you are on the road: after all, your motorcycle is your one true love when you are on the road… isn’t it?
Now I’ve got these thought out of the way, let’s start exploring a few of the motorcycle itineraries you can enjoy on the roads of Sardinia.
Alghero – Bosa (SP 105 / SP 49)
My first suggestion for a motorcycle tour in Sardinia is the road that connects Alghero to Bosa, on the Western Coast of the island. Like all great roads, the question is: in which direction should you ride it? I personally prefer starting in Alghero, keeping the sea on my right.
The road, called SP 195 for the first 20 kms, climbs up above the coast, with incredible views of the Sassari region. Once in the province of Oristano, the road becomes the SP 49. But the thrill stays the same: you ride along a mixture of straight stretches of road, alternated with fantastic turns, right up to the small roundabout that leads into the town of Bosa.
In all, the length of this route is 45kms; a road that twists and turns through nature, where there are no towns and very little traffic, even in high season: the sense of freedom is incredible.
I’ve just told you that I prefer this route starting in Alghero. But – if truth be told – I’ve ridden it starting from Bosa many a time, and it is just as amazing: I fall in love with it over and over again. The two towns on the opposite ends of this route – Alghero and Bosa – are also worth a visit.
Dorgali – Baunei (SS125)
My second recommendation is the road that connects Dorgali to Banuei, on the opposite side of the island, on the Eastern Coast. I’ve always thought of this route as a coastal road, but actually you never see the sea! The first time I saw this road was while I was watching the “Giro d’Italia” (the National Italian Bicycle Tour). The aerial shoots revealed an amazing view of a perfect ribbon of tar running between the mountains and the sea. I thought to myself: “That’s where I want to go!”. And so I did: it’s simply amazing!
This road meanders through the wild landscapes of the Supramonte: one turn after another painted onto a natural canvass, where the surrounding chalky rocks give you the feeling of being on the moon! The bends are wide, easily done in third gear, inviting you to lean down towards the tar and, once you come out of them, up into fourth and then fifth gear, then down again into third, ready for the next turn. On and on for 45 kms! Mamma mia: what a trip!!
And, like all great roads in this world, it’s up to you to decide whether to ride it all in one breath or take your time and stop for an espresso coffee, or perhaps take a hike into the amazing scenery. If you want a coffee, I would suggest Passo Ghenna Silana: 1010 meters above sea level. If you are into hiking – perhaps after having had your coffee – you might want to park in the large car-park at the top of the Pass and walk up the trail that leads to the Gole di Gorropu, one of Europe’s deepest canyons, sculpted into the land by centuries of erosion by the Flumineddu river.
Chia – Teulada (SP 71)
Let’s go on: onto the road that takes you form Chia to Teulada, on the Southern-most tip of Sardinaia. This route is only 25kms long, but – wow! – perhaps the best 25kms of my life as a biker! Ok, I’m getting carried away, but that’s because I rode it again last summer, and it’s still in my eyes.
Let yourself be surprised: this is the right attitude to ride this road. It goes up and down, and up and down again. Up into the primeval Mediterranean vegetation, and down to the coast and beaches, where you nearly dip your tires into the transparent waters of the crystal-clear sea.
The countless tiny white beaches call to you to stop, whispering: “Come here, have a swim!” and the temptation is strong… but it’s up to you.. to each their own. After all, we are bikers, and we do what we want to do!
Sardinian Coast to Coast (lots of roads, all beautiful)
This last suggestion is for true motorcycle lovers: Sardinia Coast to Coast. It’s a 250km-long adventure, one of my most-loved tours through Sardinia, a land surrounded by the sea and dominated by the mountains.
The starting point is in Tresnuraghes, a tiny hamlet on one of the hills that overlooks Bosa. From here you ride straight into the mainland towards Cuglieri, and on to Santu Lussurgiu.
To start with, you’ll cross are about thirty kilometers of breathtaking curves: one turn after another, with just a few stretches of straight tar. All around you: uncontaminated landscapes where the only people you might meet are a solitary shepherd or John Wayne. Yes, my imagination runs away with me on this road… I always feel I’m in a Cowboy movie!
I always stop in Boruneddu, a village that is even smaller than Tresnuraghes, but I love it. There’s absolutely everything you might need: a pharmacy, a bank, a small store where you’ll find whatever you need, a bar where they serve excellent coffee. The people are welcoming and friendly, eager to exchange a few words with any stranger from the “mainland”! Last but not least are the wonderful “murales”: the traditional Sardinian wall-paintings that depict Sardinian rural life and its traditions.
Back on your saddles it’s time to ride towards the Gennarentu National Park, thick with secular forests. Lift your eyes up to the sky and you’ll probably see the Royal Eagles soaring above your helmet; focus back on the tar just in time to avoid a mouflon – the Sardinian wild goat – grazing along the road under ancient cork-oaks.
The villages of Sorgono, Tonara, Tiana Fonni – to name just a few – are connected by beautiful, perfectly kept roads: a true “dancing-hall” for the local Sardinian bikers. This is where the local motorcycle-lovers go to “dance” when they are fed-up with their wonderful coastal roads… Aren’t they the lucky ones!?
There are so many different ways to Coast-to-Coast Sardinia. My personal one is to zig-zag across the island. Once I get to the heart of the land – more or less on a straight line – I veer North towards the incredible SP 389. Believe it or not, I have done it so many times that I can swear that this is the prime example of what off the beatean track means!!!
So here you are: you have reached the Eastern Coast of Sardinia. From Bitti you reach Dorgali in a heart-beat. The scenery is once again barren, but from time to time, coming out of a bend, the sea sparkles in the distance.
And, once you are on the SS 125, best known as the Strada Statale Orientale Sarda (Sardinian Eastern State Road), you’ll see the tunnel that will lead you to our final destination: Cala Gonone. Exiting from the tunnel is the last of the thrills you’ll get on this Coast-to-Coast trip: the amazing view of the Ortisei Gulf is simply spectacular. And there, at the bottom of the road, that chilled local beer, the Ichnusa, is waiting just for you!
Take your boots off and enjoy!