What you need to know before visiting La Maddalena
In the archipelago of La Maddalena, populated by major and minor islands, there are seven beautiful islands plunged in a turquoise sea with incomparable transparencies: La Maddalena, Santo Stefano, Caprera, Spargi, Razzoli, Santa Maria and Budelli, always brushed by the wind and warmed by the sun. The stunning beaches of fine white sand, the intense aromas of the Mediterranean Brush and the bizarre shapes of the rocks sculpted by the wind and tide, are a peaceful haven for the mind and spirit. Sailing on the same route in which Ulysses, Lord Nelson, and Napoleon went through, means living the history and the thrill of a true adventure. Great places to go snorkeling aswell!
The city of La Maddalena, a military platform of the Royal Italian Navy, proudly resisted to the famous attack of Napoleone, in 1793 during the attempt to conquer this strategic area; and with its fleet of warships during World War II. The historical past of the Island was finally crowned by the arrival of the national (and international) hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, who chose to live in Caprera for his retirement from battle. Well known for its historical center full of characteristic alleys embellished by typical balconies with wrought iron railing, displays its traditional architecture with buildings of the 18th Century.
The church of Santa Maria Maddalena safeguards a crucifix and some candle holders donated by Admiral Lord Nelson, who stationed near the coast of Palau for 15 months in 1803, with a fleet of thirteen ships led by the legendary HMS Victory.
The Naval Archaeological Museum preserves evidence of ancient shipwrecks of the area: the most significant comes from a mercantile roman ship sunk in 120 b.C. Hundreds of amphoras and the reconstruction of the ship’s frame show how the goods were placed during transportation.
The Island of La Maddalena offers many beaches of sand and rocks with coves placed here and there, often not known by tourists. You can find them mainly on the East and West sides of the island. If you want to tour the beaches, the best thing to do is to board the ferry at least with a bike or some kind of vehicle, since these are some kilometers away from the city.
The Island of Caprera, connected to La Maddalena by a bridge constructed in 1891, owes its fame to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who chose to live there during his retirement after the glorious military career. Ingenious and passionate, Garibaldi left his own personal touch to what once was his private home (now a museum) in an elegant South American architectural style. Inside the residence of Garibaldi, there are still lots of objects, furniture, collections, parchments, relics, and other things that once belonged to him. Exteriorly, lies his grave, together with his wife’s and children’s.
On the summit of the Island, in the old military fortress of Arbuticci, there is the Interactive Museum of Garibaldi; inside, thanks to an interactive digital system, you can go through the whole life of the National Hero and admire all the testimonies of his life and the many donations made by illustrious collectors.
The island is fascinating also from a naturalistic point of view. Other than beaches and renowned bays, it boasts an absolute safeguard towards flora and fauna; forests of pine trees and oaks tangle with myrtle bushes, arbutus, and heather, creating oases of colors and scents, a natural habitat for seagulls, sparrow hawks, and buzzards.
On the North end of the island, the landscape becomes extremely rocky and desert but not less interesting. The silence, broken only by the sound of the wind, is an incentive to meditation. This island has always been safeguarded from construction with the exception of a couple of tourist resorts (but very well hidden), some old military houses, the sailing school of Caprera and the museum of Garibaldi.
The beaches are many and beautiful (of course), suitable for all tastes. They are on both sides of Caprera, a major plus because on windy days you can choose which side to go to, based on the wind direction: if the wind comes from the East you will want to go West, and vice-versa.
Caprera is also rich of old fortresses, dating back to the late 800’ when cannons were always pointing to the horizon. They are several, some very hard to spot since their main purpose was to operate undetected, therefore, constructed and covered with local granite blocks. You can find maps of paths that lead to them and the many beaches around, at the local tourist office of La Maddalena.
The Archipelago’s National Park, except for La Maddalena and Caprera islands, can be visited only by boat. We offer snorkeling and sightseeing day tours on our 9 meter (29 foot) RIB boat, providing snorkeling gear, a few tastings of Sardinian products, an english guided tour by a licenced and registered tour guide and last but not least: lots of fun! So if you want to reach the most beautiful places of the Mediterranean Sea, give us a call or Whatsapp us, and we’ll take you on a journey that you’ll never forget.
For further information, visit Sardinia Island Tours’ website.
Cell phone & whatsapp +39.391.7327232
If you only want to reach La Maddalena and Caprera by car: ferries from Palau port, during the summer season, depart every 20 minutes. During the winter, ferry rides are less frequent and waiting time can be more than an hour. The ride takes about 15 minutes and landing is directly into the city center. It is not easy, if you arrive on foot, to reach the beaches which are some kilometers out of the urban area. There are some buses that take you all around La Maddalena, and part of Caprera but runs are not very frequent.