Cycling in Sardinia

Let's get this out of the way, since I know there is one thing travelers want to know when planning to cycle on vacation. It's the same thing I got asked every single morning before breakfast when I guided bike tours in Italy:  what about the hills?  The answer is, Sardinia is hilly. Very hilly.

If that's okay, read on. Because Sardinia Tourism has put together a fabulous and free cycling guide to the island, which I recently received in print but is also available online. The guide includes detailed route instructions for five multi-day cycling itineraries around the island, a total of 24 days or stages. 


In addition to maps and information about each day's distance and difficulty, the guide highlights major attractions along the route and includes photos that will make you want to book a plane ticket, like the one above of the rock formation (the small island with the unique shape) Pan di Zucchero, off the island's southwest coast and included in Day 4 of the southern itinerary.  The routes are also impressively oriented so that the cyclist is not riding into the Mistral wind, which blows from the northwest.

One Issue, And a Possible Workaround

As you can see from the table I created below, the itineraries were not put together according to a level of difficulty. Every itinerary has at least 2 days marked as "demanding", which is defined as having up to 1700 m of elevation gain per 100 km. And three of the five routes have at least one day categorized as "hard", which means mountainous, or more than 1700 m of elevation gain per 100 km. 

Sardinia bike routes






But the route instructions are written in so much detail that it would be simple to pick out the "easy" or "medium" days, and just cycle a day here and there according to personal endurance levels. It would also be easy to break up one day into two, if let's say 121 km of mountainous terrain (Day 5 of the Northeast Route) is too much.

Personally I would break up the days only because they are long days. Sardinia has some of the best beaches in the world, and I wouldn't want to cycle by them without a sample.


Photo of Pan di Zucchero by giselanto

Italy map with Sardinia

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Posted by on Sep 7, 2009 in Sardinia | No Comments