Among the thousands of fantastic images of Sardinia that flood the internet, one of the most awe-inspiring is that of the pink sand beach. You might be tempted to think that the images of rosy sand have a filter applied and that it couldn’t possibly be real. I’m here to tell you that it is. The Spiaggia rosa is just one of the countless spots that don’t need any kind of filter in Sardinia’s Maddalena National Park.
Established in 1994, the Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago di la Maddalena comprises an entire group of islands between the northern coast of Sardinia and Corsica with the largest being Maddalena. 180 km of brilliant turquoise coastline, 60 islets, and an array of marine life, flora, and fauna await you.
The only inhabited part of the entire archipelago is Maddalena itself. If you are planning to explore some of the archipelago, you can make Maddalena your base and book a hotel as well as a rental car here. There is only one road on the entire island so you won’t have any trouble navigating here! Just remember, the only other island you can drive to from Maddalena is Caprera. To visit the rest of the islets, you can book a private boat tour for a very reasonable price.
This part of Sardinia is so breathtaking because it is quite underdeveloped in regard to roads, public transportation, and services. Expect to trek quite a bit over sometimes rocky terrain in order to reach the most picturesque coves and shores that are nothing short of spectacular.
Some of the best beaches on Maddalena are:
- Spiaggia di Punta Tegge: a granite rock beach with services
- Cala Francese: claimed to be the most beautiful of the island and also where there is an old granite quarry where they mined stone for the Statue of Liberty’s base!
- Bassa Trinità: fine white sand with soft dunes. Services nearby and a hiking path that leads to the Santa Trinità Church.
- Spiaggia Monti d’à Rena: located near Punta Cannone, a major tourist hub with services, this white sand beach is known for being kid-friendly.
- Cala Spalmatore: also kid-friendly with services shallow shores, and coarse, pebbly sand.
- Testa del Polpo: Cross a 10-meter bridge and you’ll reach this beach which is actually located on Isola Giardinelli. It’s a slight hassle but totally worth it!
If you have rented a car, after crossing the bridge at the Porto di Moneta on Maddalena Island, you’ll arrive on the second-largest of the archipelago, Caprera. Otherwise, you can get here by private boat tour or by ferry from Palau.
The entire island is only 16 square kilometers and its shores are mostly made up of jagged granite cliffs, some being pink granite. This is a hiker’s paradise with well-marked trails that reward you with some of the most breathtaking beaches you’ll ever see in your lifetime. Word of advice: come prepared because you will not find any services here.
- Cala Coticcio: constantly named one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Sardinia with its soft, pinkish granite cliffs and fine sand. Getting here is not easy (almost 2 km of rugged trail) and no services anywhere in the vicinity. But if you come prepared, you will be hard-pressed to find another beach like it short of Tahiti.
- Spiaggia del Relitto: this fine sand beach is very tiny with shallow waters. Wild!
- Cala Serena: A 20-minute walk from Cala Garibaldi, Serena has been named one of the most romantic beaches in the world.
This tiny, uninhabited island is only reachable by boat. It happens to hold one of the most photographed shores in the world: the famous pink sand beach, la Spiaggia rosa.
Why is it pink you ask? Microscopic fragments of coral and seashells in the trillions give it that pinkish hue. If you were hoping to snap a selfie here, unfortunately, that won’t be possible. The beach is actually completely closed. It was being destroyed by overuse and is now protected. You can enjoy it from a distance by boat or from nearby Cavaliere beach or Cala di Roto.
The waters around Budelli (and the entire archipelago) are a scuba diver’s paradise because they are teeming with marine life. Dolphins (Tursiopi), sea turtles (Caretta caretta), and even whale species are commonly spotted in addition to colorful fish and crustaceans.
Just remember that this is a national park and protected marine life reserve and there are strict regulations protecting them. Make sure to visit the official park website before visiting for more information.
The closest airport to Maddalena is Olbia. From Olbia, you can either rent a car or take public transportation to Palau, where all ferries depart for the Maddalena archipelago.