La Maddalena

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La Maddalena  is a town and comune located on the island with the same name, in northern Sardinia, part of the province of Sassari (SS), Italy.

La Maddalena is the largest town in the Maddalena archipelago, just 2 kilometres (1 mile) from the northeastern shore of Sardinia and sitting in the Straits of Bonifacio, between it and Corsica. The focal-point of pedestrian activity is found around Piazza Umberto I (formerly known as Piazza Comando-the older generation of natives in town still commonly refer to the piazza by its original name). There is an adjacent via (Garibaldi) that connects the port (Banchina Commerciale I) facing the Island of Santo Stefano and Piazza Umberto I with city hall. Via Garibaldi is surrounded by commercial shops, restaurants, and bars.

La Maddalena now derives much of its income from tourism. The only method of traveling to La Maddalena is by boat, with car ferries travelling from nearby Palau and from the Italian mainland.The natives of La Maddalena speak a Sardo-Corsican dialect known as Maddalenino. A comprehensive survey on the dialect, including a concise history of the island and its people, can be found in Renzo De Martino’s Il dizionario maddalenino: Glossario etimologico comparato

Things to see and do : 

The islands are a summer destination, and most tourist services and accommodation close down between October and May. The shoulder seasons – May, early June and September-early October can be very pleasant times for visiting the islands, with fine weather and emptier beaches.

La Maddalena is quite a large island with several very appealing sandy beaches. These all lie outside the town, but are easy to reach thanks to a panoramic circular bus service (more practical information below). More isolated beaches on the other islands can be reached by boat – if you are lucky enough, your own. Gommoni can be hired along the waterfront in La Maddalena it is also possible to hire a small boat with a skipper.

Organised boat trips depart every day  from the waterfront in La Maddalena. Advertising boards and sales-people advertise the excursions, though the offering and price is basically the same. Boats leave in the morning, cruise through the islands stopping at two or three beaches for long bathing-exploring breaks, and lunch is provided on board. This is a great way to see the island group, atmospheric uninhabited islands and some beautiful isolated beaches.

Access : Coordinates: La Maddalena is reached by frequent car ferries from the port town of Palau, a journey which takes just twenty minutes. Palau is connected by bus to Olbia, an hour away, which has an international airport. In the summer there are direct buses from Olbia Airport to the port in Palau ,   visitors will need to change buses in Olbia.

Highlights  – Beaches : 

  • For most visitors, the principal attraction of the islands is their coastline. A good number of lovely, unspoiled beaches dot the shores of La Maddalena, Caprera and the other islands. Several very attractive beaches are easily accessible by bus –  Monte Rena beach, La Maddalena On La Maddalena, two lovely beaches alongside bus stops are Spalmatore and Monte Rena. Spalmatore, with a seasonal cafe-restaurant-disco and a kiosk bar alongside (both closed when we visited in late September) is an attractive curve of sand enclosed in a bay, sloping very slowly into clear water. The headland to the north, easily reachable on foot, is an interesting spot to explore with footpaths, a ruin and some of the islands’ characteristic weathered rock formations. A less-visited yellow sand beach can be reached down a steep path below the headland. Monte Rena, on the north coast of La Maddalena, has two attractive sandy beaches separated by a rocky spur. It has gritty sand dotted with tiny shells, yellow broom and flowers behind beach and a kiosk bar
  • The panoramic bus ride around La Maddalena is very pleasant, and you might wish to do a circuit, viewing the beaches out of the windows, before making a return trip to your chosen beach. Ask the bus driver for the stop you require.
  • Some highlights of the other islands include Cala dei Corsari on the island of Spargi, a gorgeous bay with several small sandy beaches, windblown rock formations and military ruins. . The beaches on the islands typically descend very gradually into clean, transparent water.  Red buoys indicate beaches which are totally out of bounds for their own protection like, at the time of writing, the ‘pink beach’ Spiaggia Rosa on the island of Budelli.

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking

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