- Olbia All inclusive holidays
Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda is one of the Med’s hidden gems. Glorious beaches, delightful little towns and villages and the sunshine spot of Olbia all come together to make it an ideal destination for beach lovers looking to get away from the Costa crowds on the Spanish mainland or the Italian Riviera. If you’ve only just stumbled across Costa Smeralda then picture villages tumbling down hillsides towards an azure blue sea, sandy beaches that are spacious and uncrowded, even in the summer, and a uniquely Sardinian culture that’s very different from anything you’ll encounter anywhere else.
At the very heart of this tourist haven is Olbia, the main ferry port and one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Europe. This glamorous little town attracts celebrities, royals and the rich and famous, all drawn here by the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and the easy opulence of luxury hotels and villas. Olbia is originally a Greek port, although the Romans left their mark here too, which you can see today in the layout of the town and a few remaining ancient walls.
Just off the southeast coast is a striking little island called Isola Tavolara, which is dominated by a massive stone plateau that reaches over 560m high. It’s a hiker’s delight, and a magnet for climbers who challenge themselves on its steep cliff faces.
If you fancy a day trip to see something truly remarkable and unique, then hire a car and head about 25km inland to Arzachena to see the incredible megalithic stone circles and prehistoric remains. The best of these is the Nuraghe Albucciu, which is a fabulously well preserved structure in a style that is unique to the island.
Back on the costa it’s all about the beaches, and that glass clear water, so holidays in Olbia will most likely centre on or around Archipelago della Maddalena, where the water is so blue you could almost think you were in the Caribbean, not the Med!
Olbia’s top landmark is the 13th century
Basilica di San Simplicio, a granite church that is home to some exquisite frescos depicting San Simplicio, the town’s patron saint. It’s also the epicentre for the town’s Festa de San Simplicio, the biggest festival in the annual events calendar, when for three days in May the entire town sings and dances.
You wouldn’t expect a shopping street to be a top landmark, but if you want to go shopping then wait until the evening, when the glamorous Corso Umberto closes to traffic and becomes a pedestrian-only boulevard, where the shops stay open late and the restaurants set out al fresco tables for an evening meal under the stars.
Right on the waterfront is the National Archaeological Museum of Olbia, home to a selection of exhibits charting the history of the island, its inhabitants and its various conquerors. It’s a large venue that also puts on concerts throughout the summer, and plays a key role in the festivals and celebrations all year round. It’s also a great place to take the kids, as the new interactive exhibits really get kids excited about history and the culture of Sardinia.
Fancy rubbing shoulders with a few millionaires, or just staring enviously as they sail by in their superyachts? Then head for the 10km stretch between the Golfo di Cugnana and Golfo di Arzachena. This really is the playground for the rich and famous, although everyone’s welcome to make the most of this very special and beautiful part of the island.
If you want to slow things down a bit then kick back and relax at one of the many bistros and bars that line the cobbled lanes running off the central Piazza Regina Margherita. This is the heart of the Old Town and is full of affordable pizza restaurants that the kids will love.
Don’t expect dozens of pumping clubs and noisy bars here, Olbia all inclusive holidays are all about slowing down, stopping to smell the roses and admire the view. In the evenings you’ll find that entertainment tends to be more impromptu song and dance sessions in taverns, where troubadours serenade diners or put on a show of traditional Sardinian folk music.
There are a few clubs down near the waterfront, but they tend to be small, exclusive and have long queues outside. Travel a couple of miles south of Porto Cervo at Località Abbiadori and you’ll find a small cluster of clubs that stay open until the early hours, but be warned, finding a taxi after the clubs shut can be a challenge! Also bear in mind that as some of these clubs are the popular haunt of celebrities, no cameras are allowed and anyone taking pictures, even innocently, could be asked to leave.
Most hotels will also provide their own itinerary of entertainment in the evenings for mums and dads, while the kids have clubs and children’s entertainers to keep them happy during the day. Nearby in Arzachena is the Aquadream water park, which is a great day out for families and makes a nice change from the beach.
Why choose an all-inclusive holiday to Olbia
All inclusive holidays in Olbia are a great opportunity to discover a whole host of new dishes bursting with flavour. Sardinian cuisine is rich, flavoursome and varied, so don’t just expect to see fish and spaghetti on the menu all the time! There are a few ‘delicacies’ that the kids may not go for, but generally Sardinian food is delicious, nutritious and varied. The traditional dishes make good use of beans and pulses such as fava beans, chickpeas and lentils, and you’ll find an island variation of cous cous called fregola on almost every menu.
Fresh fish is high on the menu around the Costa, with sardines a real favourite, simply grilled over a wood fire and seasoned with parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil. Panade, a dough stuffed with lamb or eel and seasoned vegetables, is a popular dish, even if the kids probably won’t go for the eel variety. Honey deserts, flavoured with reduced honey known as Abbamele, are incredibly sweet and sticky. Sardinian wine is full bodied and rich, with plummy reds and crisp whites complimenting the complex flavours of the food perfectly. Of course, if the kids want pizza then you’re probably in one of the best places in the world for this family favourite! Like cheap all-inclusive holidays to Olbia? Check out our other amazing deals for Olbia holidays!