The islands of Maddalena have been known to the Italian yachting community for many years, but, thanks to a large NATO base being built on the island, they’ve never needed to rely on tourism. That is until the NATO based closed in 2008. Now the 7 larger islands and more than 50 tiny islands are starting to register with tourists around the world.
There’s plenty to do on the islands, specifically the largest two, La Maddalena and Caprera; to really appreciate everything they have to offer though, you need to rent a catamaran in Maddalena and plot your own course. Even the locals will tell you is the best way to appreciate the stunning beauty of this island chain sandwiched between Sardinia and Corsica.
In fact, it’s just 20 minutes by ferry from Sardinia to Maddalena, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world. Just as the Sardinians see themselves as culturally different to mainland Italy, the people of Maddalena are culturally different to Sardinia.
La Maddalena is the main island, you’ll find a bustling town with a vibrant, and surprisingly cosmopolitan culture. There are plenty of shops, cafes, and even cinemas to enjoy. You’ll need to follow the road around the island to discover some of the best sites, including Cala dei Francesi on the west coast. It’s a huge industrial granite quarry that appears to have been abandoned overnight.
Travel further on and you’ll find the land bridge, just 600 meters separates you from the second largest island, Caprera. You’ll have to walk across to appreciate the thrill of being suspended over the water. It will give you a chance to appreciate the clear water below.
It’s a good idea to check out the various museums on Caprera, dedicated to the famous Garibaldi who retired to the island in 1870. You’ll also find a cluster of stunning beaches and several other fascinating attractions.
Back on Maddalena, you’ll want to check out Bassa Trinita on the north side of the island, it’s a beach full of sand dunes and tropical, almost Caribbean views. Travel around the island and you’ll find Porticciolo di Cala Gavetta, a cove with oddly placed rocks that some say is the most suggestive view in Europe!
The rest of the islands are only accessible by boat. While you can get a trip from the harbor in Maddalena, you’ll be much better off if you rent a catamaran in Maddalena. Catamarans offer smooth sailing, although the waters here are calm. But, most importantly, they give you the choice of motor or sail and more space than comparably sized monohull boats.
Plot your own course from the harbor, although it is recommended you cruise around La Maddalena and Caprera, the islands look completely different from the water. You can then travel across the water to see the other 5 islands, circling them, or stopping as you please. You’ll find an abundance of beaches and hidden coves that will take you back to the times when smugglers adopted these islands.
Best of all, you’ll be in charge of your destiny, whether you want to feel like a smuggler, pirate, or an explorer, you’re certain to have the experience of your life.
You’ll find a good choice of boats at surprisingly affordable prices. Just choose the number of berths you need and let our friendly staff guide you through the process.
Before you know it you’ll be slipping below decks to get a gin before standing on deck to admire the sun setting over dozens of different islands.
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