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Things to do in
La Maddalena

Our most recommended things to do in La Maddalena

From Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Full-Day Boat Tour

1. From Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Full-Day Boat Tour

Start your trip at Palau or La Maddalena port, where the crew will meet you and make sure you get comfortable on board. Choose from a variety of drinks and food available for purchase as you enjoy the sea breeze. Take a swim during the first stop at Budelli island, known for its turquoise waters. Stop at Santa Maria to lie on the sand or swim in the natural pools. Once back to the boat, admire the Spiaggia Rosa and its unique pink sand. Visit Spargi to discover its white sandy beaches, rocky coasts, and turquoise waters. Go snorkeling in calm waters or lounge on the beach of Cala Granara. Along the way, see the Island of Santo Stefano, Caprera, and the Bear Rock of Palau from the boat. Listen to a multilingual explanation from your expert guide about the history of the archipelago. If you departed from Palau, have 1 hour of free time to shop for souvenirs or Vermentino wine in traditional Sardinian shops. Take a walk around the charming town. Admire the port of Cala Gavetta and the picturesque church of Santa Maria Maddalena before you get dropped off at Palau. If your journey started at La Maddalena, end your trip here.

From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Day Tour by Boat

2. From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Day Tour by Boat

Our journey starts from the port of Palau at 10:30 (the story tells that Admiral Nelson also docked there and stayed here from November 1, 1803 to January 11, 1805) First stop: this will take place on the beach of Cala Corsara on the island of Spargi located west of the Archipelago of La Maddalena, this island is striking for its rounded shape which offers a wild and uncontaminated nature to the eye, on the coast stand out granite cliffs sculpted by the wind, the island of Spargi is the ideal place for sports lovers, in fact, snorkelling is very widespread but it also presents the ideal panorama to linger and enjoy the beauties of nature. once back on the boat after swimming, relaxing or walking on the incredible island of Spargi there will be a stop for lunch, the captain will choose the most suitable place (in the immediate vicinity) where you can eat and fully enjoy every second of your experience. Lunch is not included in the ticket price. Second stop: The fourth stop is scheduled on the Island of Santa Maria. The trip cannot ignore this stage: the purity of the light, the crystal clear sea and the white beaches will conquer you. The homonymous beach, whose name derives from the Benedictine convent built on the small island, welcomes travelers in search of relaxation and distractions. Third stop: The tour continues with a stop at the Natural Pools. A dip in the Natural Pools of the La Maddalena National Park restores body and spirit and feeds energy reserves. These natural pools are found on the island of Budelli and are truly known and renowned all over the world. After that we will have a panoramic visit to the famous Rosa beach, one of the most important and well-known symbols of the La Maddalena Archipelago, closed to all since 1998 to protect and give time to the ecosystem that allows you to give this fantastic color to the sand, to recreate yourself. consequently it is forbidden to trample on the beach or to swim within the area delimited by the buoys. Fourth stop: Leaving the Piscine Naturali we will sail towards La Maddalena. We will finally land in the characteristic historic center of Cala Gavetta, a settlement chosen by the first inhabitants, the Corsican shepherds, as it is more sheltered from the famous prevailing Maddalenian wind, the "mistral or mistral". This stop is ideal for enjoying the wonders of the ancient island, full of history and wonderful views. Leaving the island of La Maddalena we will resume navigation for the return to the port of Palau but not without showing you the most beautiful rock in Gallura, symbol of Palau and a national monument: the Bear's Rock. The arrival at the port of Palau is estimated between 17:30/18:00.

Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Full-Day Trip by Boat

3. Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Full-Day Trip by Boat

Enjoy an unforgettable 7-hour boat trip to the islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago. You will visit all the most beautiful islands: Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria and La Maddalena in a unique and informal setting. On board you will appreciate a bar-restaurant service with many typical Sardinian products. We guarantee new boats with large spaces and the highest standards of safety and comfort. A highly qualified crew, friendly and always caring of every need to offer a top experience. Onboard you will also find a multilingual explanation (Italian, English and French). We are equipped with international certifications ISO 14001. Daily departures from both port of Palau and La Maddalena. Discover the historic center of La Maddalena with the church of Santa Maria Maddalena and the "Caruggi", the characteristic streets of the island. Use the Elena Tour card for your purchases in the traditional shops of the island. Stop on the soft white sandy beaches of Cala Corsara on the island of Spargi for a swim in its crystal-clear waters. After skirting the east coast of Spargi, admire the Island of Budelli with its Pink Beach and swim in the natural pools from the boat and on the beach of the isle of Santa Maria. After skirting Punta Sardegna and Porto Rafael with its small square, the boat returns to the ports of Palau and La Maddalena at 5:30 pm.   Disembarkation fee IS NOT included in the price. The fee is due from 7 years on (€ 2,50 p/person in May, September and October; € 5,00 p/person from June to August). MUST BE PAIED ON BOARD.

From Cannigione: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Trip

4. From Cannigione: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Trip

Board the Luxury Virginia, our motor yacht. The boat has three decks. The first two floors are dedicated to the Ponte Standard, an open space area where seats are not allocated. The third floor of the boat is dedicated to the VIP Deck, an area with limited access for adults where each will have its own chaise longue assigned for the whole day. Experience the archipelago of La Maddalena away from the crowds on this full-day cruise. Swim in the crystal clear waters around Cala dell'Amore and Porto della Madonna. Visit the town of La Maddalena and enjoy the view of Bear Rock and Porto Rafael. Start your adventure at Cala dell'Amore on Spargi Island. Take in sight inaccessible to many tourists as your motor yacht is the only licensed tourist boat that can stop in this fabulous bay. Continue to the famous Port of the Madonna and experience the striking shades of blue water.   Next, continue to Pink Beach on Budelli Island. Finally, stroll around the island of La Maddalena, the only inhabited island and the largest among the more than 60 islands that make up the archipelago. Go shopping or visit the historic city center during your free time. 

From Palau: La Maddalena Islands Full-Day Trip by Boat

5. From Palau: La Maddalena Islands Full-Day Trip by Boat

Embark on an adventure to discover the stunning coastline and outlying islands of Sardinia on a boat. Cruise to the islands of Spargi, La Maddalena, and Santa Maria, and enjoy their pristine beaches, waters, and nature. Check-in between 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM, leave Palau at 10:30 AM, and cruise towards the wonderful island of Spargi. When the boat arrives, take your beach bags straight onto the white sandy beaches of Cala Corsara, and choose to sunbathe, snorkel, or explore some of the cove's historical features. Travel along the coast and stop for a photo opportunity from the boat in front of the island of Budelli at the famous Pink Beach. Head to the Spiaggia Rosa for another opportunity for photos from the boat at the natural swimming pool of Porto Della Madonna, where the emerald color of the water will take your breath away.  Head to the island of Santa Maria for the next beach stop. Sunbathe, swim, or go on a walk to the old lighthouse. Depending on what day you visit, end the tour at a swimming stop in the natural aquarium at Cala Coticcio or the charming historical center of La Maddalena for shopping and exploring.

From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Tour with Pasta

6. From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Tour with Pasta

Spend the day exploring the archipelago of La Maddalena on a relaxing boat trip from Palau. Stroll through the quaint town of La Maddalena, swim at Cala Corsara on the Island of Spargi, marvel at the clear waters of Budelli's natural pools, and cruise past fascinating rock formations. Board your cruise in the morning in Palau and begin your adventure. Sail to Santa Maria Island and stop for 2 hours to sunbathe, swim, and relax on beautiful Santa Maria Beach. Next, cruise to the Island of Budelli. Spend about 30 minutes bathing in the island's famous natural pools and their stunningly clear waters. Before leaving Budelli, stop for photos at Rosa Beach. Continue your cruise to the picturesque Island of Spargi. Spend 1.5 hours swimming and relaxing at Cala Corsara, surrounded by fascinating rock formations, including The Bulldog, the Head of the Witch, and Italy. Finish your cruise with a stop at La Maddalena Island. Stroll through the historic center, down old and narrow streets. Stop to buy a souvenir or relax in one of the many bars and ice cream parlors. During your cruise, enjoy a plate of pasta with mussels and prawns. If you wish, purchase a drink from the onboard bar to enjoy as you sail.

From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Catamaran Tour

7. From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Catamaran Tour

The best way to know the true essence of a new place is to act like a local. And that’s why we have designed our catamaran excursion, to make you feel the protagonist and integral part of it. Departure at 9.30 AM directly from Palau. We will then sail to the archipelago of La Maddalena. Our captain will involve you during the navigation entertaining you with some information and curiosity, while those who want can try the thrill of being at the helm for a few minutes. Our itinerary includes several stops during the day and is focused on relaxation and nature. We will have more than 7 islands to choose from such as: Razzoli, Budelli, Santa Maria, Spargi, Caprera and Santo Stefano. Our captain will choose the most beautiful coves based on wind and sea traffic. You will have the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters of this paradise, snorkel and sunbathe. During the day you will be served an aperitif based on Sardinian products, sea pasta or land, depends on the ingredients that we find fresh in the morning, snacks and fruit. you will have water all day and unlimited soft drinks. The aperitif will be accompanied by a glass of prosecco and during lunch you will be served white wine. To conclude you will taste the Mirto, the typical Sardinian liqueur. In short, you will only have to bring a beach towel, a hat and sunscreen. We will take care of everything else. The return is scheduled for 16.30/17 and we will take you back to Palau.

Maddalena Archipelago: Island-Hopping Sailing Tour and Lunch

8. Maddalena Archipelago: Island-Hopping Sailing Tour and Lunch

Explore the Maddalena Archipelago on a sailboat trip, and enjoy a provided lunch and drinks. Stop at the islands of Spargi, Budelli, and Santa Maria, and enjoy stops for swimming and snorkeling on this daytime sailing tour. Enjoy a journey in a comfortable yacht that departs from the Marina Cala Camiciotto. Leave the marina, and relax while the boat sails for over an hour until Isola Spargi, Isola Budelli, and Isola Santa Maria. Admire a beautiful and unique view of the coastline during the trip to the islands, before dropping anchor in Cala Santa Maria, famous for its white sands and turquoise waters. Then, take an aperitif with snacks, beer, and cold fresh drinks. Savor lunch on board and try pasta, bruschetta, bread, and local sausage and cheeses with a glass of wine. Next, move on to visit the Spiaggia Rosa on Isola Budelli and stop for two hours, where you will travel by dinghy to Isola Budeli and walk at Spiaggia Rosa. Take time to enjoy a delicious lunch with wine, beer, and cold fresh drinks. Sail to Cala Granara, Isola Spargi, and take some free time to swim from the deck, snorkel, and Stand Up Paddle Board experience. Return to Cala Camicotto at the end of the tour.

Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Comfort Boat Tour with Stops

9. Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Comfort Boat Tour with Stops

A boat tour to the archipelago of La Maddalena: an authentic experience of contact with the beauty of the sea and nature. Choose our comfortable and never crowded ship. Are you looking for the best way to get to know the islands of La Maddalena, Spargi, Budelli, Santo Stefano and Caprera ( panoramic navigation ) and the coast in all its splendor? Book a relaxing excursion that can satisfy the desire to see with your own eyes how much the Sardinian sea shines in the most pristine and renowned places on the island. The nature will accompany you on an unforgettable boat excursion, a boat tour full of stops at the islands of La Maddalena archipelago. The itinerary is complete and full of magical moments, wonders to see and immortalize. You can dive into the most evocative waters in the world. Our boat excursion to La Maddalena depart from Palau. From here we set sail for the island of Spargi, the island of Budelli, the island of Santa Maria, and finally La Maddalena. The La Maddalena tour moves between the various islands. During the trip there are many stops: significant, unforgettable places, chosen for their rare beauty and for the importance they have at a naturalistic and historical level. The tour sails enjoying the panoramic view of the other smaller islands of the archipelago. When the sky is clear you can also see Corsica, the horizon is a breathtaking blue and it seems to touch the concrete image of an earthly paradise. It is difficult to describe, impossible to forget. We have reserved various special stops for you, to celebrate so much beauty with swimming in the best places. *The excursion First STOP - island of Spargi with the wonderful inlet of Cala Corsara, you will admire the famous rocks of the Head of the Witch, the Bulldog Dog and Italy in miniature. Second STOP - Natural pools-Island of Budelli. We will reach the Port of the Madonna, the famous natural pools known for the color, the slums and the transparency of the water: you will dive from the boat in front of the coast. Third STOP - Island of Santa Maria to the delight of young people and children, you will make a long stop for visit the omonimus beach Cala Santa Maria. Looking up, you will be able to admire the beauty of the bay. Fourth STOP - Maddalena historical center Our boat is very large, but we only carry only 80 passengers, much less passengers out of 250 of maximum capacity to make your trip unique and with the highest comforts on board, with us you will also visit this part of the archipelago, very suggestive, we will soon arrive at the center of La Maddalena. You can go down for a walk, enjoy an excellent ice cream and freely enjoy the town by shopping through the streets of the historic center and the alleys, the typical alleys of La Maddalena. *The itinerary may be subject to change without notice and according to the directives of the La Maddalena national park authority or the coast guard. The beaches are CROWDED during high season.

Northern Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Trip

10. Northern Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Trip

Set sail for an exciting experience full of island vistas and stops at historical destinations, like the island of La Maddalena. Take in amazing views of the sea and the coasts of islands, and jump into the crystal clear waters during designated swimming stops. Savor a tasty pasta dish onboard. Depart from the ports of Laconia, Cannigione, and Baja Sardinia, and navigate the coasts of the islands of Caprera and Santo Stefano. Hop off on the island of La Maddalena for the chance to shop and visit sites of historical and cultural interest. Then, continue towards the most beautiful islands of the Maddalena Archipelago with stops on the islands of Spargi and Santa Maria. Continue towards the Manto della Madonna and the Island of Budelli, famous for its pink beach. During the boat tour, admire rocks sculpted by the wind and water erosion resulting in real natural sculptures, including the head of the witch, the dog, and the boot. On your way back take in views of Punta Sardegna, Porto Raphael, Palau, and Capo d'Orso. The itinerary is subject to the National Park Authorities regulations, and may be modified accordingly.

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Frequently asked questions about La Maddalena

What top attractions are a must-see in La Maddalena?

The must-see attractions in La Maddalena are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from La Maddalena?

The best day trips and excursions from La Maddalena are:

Palau

Insider Tips: Planning a trip to La Maddalena

Claudia Tavani is the mastermind behind Strictly Sardinia, a Sardinia focused blog where she shares all her knowledge about her beloved island.

What should I do on my first trip to La Maddalena?

If it's your first time visiting La Maddalena, you really need to do a boat tour around the archipelago. There are many to choose from, and they depart regularly from the harbor. Look for smaller boat tours as they are a bit faster, you get to see more as there's less time navigating and more time enjoying the clear waters of the national park. Make sure to also hike to Cala Coticcio Beach, the most precious beach in the archipelago. You will need to hire a guide from the national park's website for that.

What are some hidden gems to see in La Maddalena?

You will find many great hiking trails in Caprera, a smaller island connected to La Maddalena by a bridge. For a unique experience, hike to the Fortificazione Candeo, a hidden fort that was built into the rock in the Interwar period. You will find a small bay that is a wonderful snorkeling spot. If you are looking for a secluded beach, hike to Cala Brigantina. This is a protected beach, and you will need to hire a guide from the national park's website, but once there, you're likely to have the beach to yourself.

How much time should I spend in La Maddalena?

La Maddalena has a lot to offer. Plan to spend a minimum of three days there — one to enjoy a full-day boat tour, one to hike to Cala Coticcio, and one to drive around La Maddalena Island. A week is an ideal amount of time to take in what the archipelago has to offer: gorgeous beaches, historical sites and fortifications, hiking trails, and more.

What is the best way to get around La Maddalena?

Having your own wheels is a great idea for your trip to La Maddalena; you can rent a car in Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, the best place to fly to when you visit. Having a car lets you move around at your own pace. Alternatively, you can also get around by bike — though the island is very hilly — or by moped. Buses connect La Maddalena town to the main beaches on Caprera island.

What are the best months to visit La Maddalena?

Visit La Maddalena from April to October — the spring and fall months are the best to enjoy the hikes without the strong heat of the summer months and to see the islands in bloom. If you want to enjoy swimming in the sea and relaxing on the beach, a trip in July or September is great too. Avoid visiting in August as that's the peak month, and the islands will be crowded and can be too hot.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in La Maddalena?

Caprera Island is probably the most interesting island of the archipelago. Here you can visit the house of Italy unification hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, now turned into a museum dedicated to his life and work, and several forts built between the late 19th and the early 20th century. You can hike to the highest peak in Caprera, Mount Tejalone, for a fantastic sunset. You will have bird's-eye views of Cala Coticcio on one side and of the entire archipelago on the other.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit La Maddalena?

Various islands in the La Maddalena archipelago have beautiful resorts, but independent travelers should plan to stay in La Maddalena town. You can opt to stay in one of the many small hotels or apartments in the center of town, but if you have your own car, you will be better off opting for something less central, but within walking distance of the center. Look closer to Punta Tegge, which is actually the best sunset spot in La Maddalena.

What's are 4 best tips for a person traveling to La Maddalena?

1. Give yourself enough time on the island: Yes, you can visit on day trips from mainland Sardinia (there are boat tours departing from Palau, Cannigione, and even Santa Teresa di Gallura), but a more in-depth visit is recommended.

2. Bring your hiking shoes: The best beaches can only be reached via a hike, and the terrain is such that you will need proper shoes to walk.

3. Get a map of the beaches: A good map will point the direction of the beach and will suggest which beach to visit or avoid based on the wind.

4. Respect the delicate environment: Don't leave any garbage behind. You will see that most beaches don't have a garbage can. That's because they are too secluded and would never be emptied. Plan to take any garbage back home with you.

What should people avoid doing in La Maddalena?

Do not take sand, shells, or pebbles with you, and leave starfish and jellyfish in the water, no matter how beautiful it is or how worried you are about getting stung by it. Taking sand is forbidden in Sardinia — airport and harbor staff are trained to catch anyone that has even a small quantity of it in their luggage, and you may get a fine if you are caught with it. Likewise, starfish, jellyfish, and other marine creatures are protected.

What are your top 5 favourite GetYourGuide experiences in La Maddalena?

Sardinia: Maddalena Archipelago Catamaran Tour with Lunch

From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Day Tour by Boat

Northern Sardinia: La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Trip

Maddalena Archipelago: Island-Hopping Sailing Tour and Lunch

La Maddalena Archipelago: Double Dive with Scuba Point

What is one thing that surprised you about La Maddalena?

What's striking about La Maddalena is the incredible variety of activities on offer. You visit thinking it will mostly be a beach vacation, but you will end up hiking, visiting forts, sipping cocktails while the sun goes down, and learning about the local history.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in La Maddalena?

A boat tour. If your kids enjoy swimming, they will love the chance of jumping on and off the boat.

What is the best thing to do in La Maddalena for solo travelers?

A small group boat tour gives you the chance to meet other travelers. La Maddalena is a very safe place to visit alone.

What is the best thing to do in La Maddalena for couples?

Hike to Mount Teialone for the best sunset views in the archipelago. Bring your own wine and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the area. Just make sure to have a torch for the walk back down.

What are the best annual events in La Maddalena?

Each year, on July 22, a large parade is held in the streets of the town center to celebrate Santa Maria Maddalena, the patron saint of the island. Fireworks follow the parade. It's a very traditional festival that can be interesting for international travelers.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around La Maddalena?

La Maddalena Archipelago is one of the Italian national parks in Sardinia. You will be spending much of your time outdoors when visiting — whether hanging out at the beach, snorkeling and swimming, or enjoying a hike to the beach or one of the many forts scattered across the archipelago.

What are the best beaches around La Maddalena?

Cala Coticcio, Cala Napoletana, and Cala Brigantina are all located on Caprera Island, connected to La Maddalena by a bridge. You will have to hike to get there, but the stunning scenery will pay off the effort. Another incredible beach is the Pink Beach in Budelli Island; you can only visit on guided tours with a local guide from the national park, as the stunning beach is protected. Cala Granara on Spargi island is another beautiful beach, but you can only get there by boat.

What are the best food/drink spots in neighborhood La Maddalena?

In the center of La Maddalena, Puffer Fish is an easygoing fish and seafood restaurant with quick service and locally caught fish. In front of it, you will find L'Alternativa, a great steakhouse perfect for meat lovers. The best cocktails are at the Punta Tegge kiosk. Grab a pillow and sit on the rocks as you enjoy a wonderful sunset.

Other Sightseeing Options in La Maddalena

Want to discover all there is to do in La Maddalena? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about La Maddalena

Overall rating

4.5
(5,561 reviews)

Of course something was a little more expensive. But we just wanted to go on tour with a few people. And there were max 10 of us on the catamaran. We were constantly served with beer, wine and soft drinks. Cheese, pastries and olive oil were provided as a little suggestion. Food was delicious. (There was also something for vegans) Tour guides were very pleasant people. In the sense of very committed and friendly. For us, the tour was very worth it to chill out and soak up the sun. It stands out from a normal boat tour thanks to the catamaran and food and drinks.

My partner and I booked this excursion during a short trip from Dorgali and had a wonderful time. Our guides were very friendly and made us feel welcome and at ease. The other guests on the excursion were also lovely, friendly people and it made the whole day much more enjoyable. The meal and wine provided were delicious. We learnt a lot during the excursion and saw some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. We got lots of opportunities to snorkel and saw some stunning fish. Absolutely would book again!

We went on the last trip of the year! It was highly recommended. Dimitri, the captain, was extremely friendly, funny and very professional! Dimitri alone is worth the trip, you have never heard a more beautiful voice. Greetings Armin and Margareth

Before choosing the tour, I read all (almost) the reviews. expectations were fully met! Advise !

Great day out - nice with a small group. All very easy to arrange. Hosts were great too.