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The Wonders of Sardinia and a "Taste" of Corsica with Cathy Whims - June 2024 - 2 SPOTS LEFT
June 12-23, 2024

$7,550

The Wonders of Sardinia and a “Taste” of Corsica with Cathy Whims – June 2024

Embark on an enriching journey through the heart of Sardinia, a mesmerizing island steeped in history and natural beauty, with Portland Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana. From the UNESCO site of Su Nuraxi to the captivating Caves of Neptune, each day unfolds a tapestry of ancient civilizations and breathtaking landscapes. Explore medieval villages like Bosa and Orgasolo, adorned with vibrant murals that tell tales of their storied pasts. Delve into the island’s rich gastronomic heritage, savoring traditional Sardinian cuisine that reflects its diverse cultural influences. Indulge in local delicacies such as culurgiones, malloreddus, and succulent seafood dishes. Your culinary adventure extends to renowned wineries, where you’ll sample exquisite Sardinian and Corsican wines, celebrated for their unique character and regional expression. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions of Sardinia, from the captivating Carnevale in Mamoiada to the historic legacy of Garibaldi in Caprera. Marvel at the monumental Nuragic architecture and explore archaeological wonders, including the recently restored “Giants of Monte Prama.” As the tour concludes in the jewel-like city of Cagliari, bid farewell with a taste of local flavors during a memorable farewell dinner. Choose to extend your stay in Italy or head back to the US with a treasure trove of memories and a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry that is Sardinia.


MAP



ITINERARY


*Please click on each day to view daily itinerary.

DAY 0 - Tuesday, June 11

Fly from the US to Cagliari, Sardinia (Airport Code CAG) Daily local flights from Milan MXP, Milan LIN, Rome CIA and Rome FCO are also available for those wishing to arrive a few days early to mainland Italy.

DAY 1 - Wednesday, June 12 - Arrival in Cagliari

Upon arrival, enjoy the convenience of a private transfer from Cagliari International Airport to your hotel in the heart of Cagliari. Take some well-deserved time to unwind and rejuvenate before joining the group for a welcome talk and an exquisite welcome dinner. Overnight in Cagliari.

DAY 2 - Thursday, June 13: Cagliara and Su Nuraxi

Today we embark on an exploration of Calgiari and Su Nuraxi. In Cagliari, its palaces and churches evoke the influence of Spanish sovereigns, while the modern imprint of an Italian city stems from the Savoy reign. A must-visit awaits at the archaeological museum, where the recently restored Giants of Monte Prama, incredible statues from the Nuragic era standing 6 to 7 feet tall, take center stage. Discovered in the 70s, these statues are now accessible to the public, offering a captivating glimpse into Sardinia's ancient past. After the guided tour of the museum followed by a group lunch, we will visit the captivating UNESCO site of Su Nuraxi, a stunning example of megalithic architecture in Sardinia. As the second-largest Mediterranean island, Sardinia’s strategic location has hosted human habitation since around 6000 BC. Serving as a vital anchorage for Mediterranean sailors, it evolved into a cultural crossroads, flourishing into the Nuragic civilization by 1900 BC. The island boasts approximately 7000 nuraghi, the primary structures of the era, with purpose still a subject of debate. We will return to Cagliari this evening where you will have time for dinner on your own in the city. Overnight in Cagliari.

Day 3 - Friday, June 14: Giara di Gestura & Oristano

Today, we depart from Cagliari to explore the Giara di Gestura, a high basaltic plateau from 2.7 million years ago by local volcanic activity. This unique landscape hosts over 350 plant species, including the Cork Oak, and is home to most of the surviving Giara horse population. We will embark on an easy hike and you have tastings of local products with our lunch. You will have the option for a horse ride as well or can choose to instead to enjoy the panoramic views and birdwatching prevalent in this area. Later in the afternoon we will continue to Oristano, where you can begin to immerse yourselves in the proud ambiance of this city. With a distinct Middle Eastern feel, marked by abundant palms and medieval towers, this is city, once of the capital of the kingdom, preserves its centuries-old traditions. Enjoy a stroll along the Corsa della Sartigila, the location for a thrilling run held annually during Carnival time and delve into the enduring influences of Spanish domination that shaped Oristano for several centuries. Oristano will offer you lots of options for dinner on your own this evening. Overnight in Oristano.

Day 4 – Saturday, June 15: Tharros & Santa Cristina

This morning, our journey takes us to the picturesque archaeological site of Tharros. Built atop a former Nuragic settlement, this town was established by the Phoenicians in the eighth century B.C. and later inhabited by the Romans. Our exploration focuses on the Phoenician Tophet, an open-air sacred area considered by this civilization as the initial sign of colonization and urbanization. Notably, two elegant white columns stand against the backdrop of the deep blue sea, symbolizing the area’s rich history – a truly captivating site. In the afternoon, we will journey south of Paulilatino to the awe-inspiring Nuragic Sanctuary of Santa Cristina, widely acclaimed as the most impressive Nuragic religious architecture in Sardinia. Here, we’ll delve into the mysteries of its extraordinary sacred well. We will also continue our culinary exploration today with some tastings of local products before returning this evening to Oristano for a second night. Overnight in Oristano.

Day 5 – Sunday, June 16: Bosa and Torralba

Our day unfolds with a visit to medieval Bosa, a captivating gem in Sardinia. Though boasting ancient origins, it truly flourished in the 11th century, thriving until the 1500s when it experienced a decline. Revitalized by the Savoy, the city became a hub for coral picking and artisanal endeavors like leather and precious metals craftsmanship. We will stop en route today for a group lunch with tastings of the local cuisine featuring only the freshest ingredients. Later our destination near Torralba is the Nuragic Palace of Santu Antine, believed to have been constructed between the 9th and 7th centuries B.C. and actively used through Roman times. As we conclude our day we’ll reach Alghero, our home for the next two nights. Tonight, you will have time on your own to begin exploring as you enjoy dinner on your own in the city. Overnight in Alghero.

Day 6 – Monday, June 17: Capo Caccia, the Caves of Neptune and Alghero

Beneath the majestic promontory of Capo Caccia lies the enchanting Caves of Neptune, named for their awe-inspiring grandeur deemed worth of the sea god’s dwelling. Accessible by boat or a more adventurous clime of 650 steps, we opt for the boat, cruising the cave entrance for an immersive exploration. Inside, a captivating world unfolds with stalactites and stalagmites surrounding a 390-foot salty lake. In the afternoon, we return to Alghero, a city whose historical significance surges after the Catalan-Aragonese conquest of Sardinia in 1323. Despite the ebb and flow of different dominations over the centuries, Alghero has steadfastly retained its Catalan essence. In 1850, a catechism in Catalan was printed and today most of the citizens still speak Catalan. Renowned for its coral, the city was designated a coral picking hub by King Peter IV or Aragon in 1355, reflected in the city’s coat of arms featuring the four bars of Aragan and the ocean waves adorned with a coral branch. Overnight in Alghero.

Day 7 – Tuesday, June 18: A “taste” of Corsica

This morning, our journey takes us to the captivating port town of Santa Teresa di Gallura, where we will embark on a scenic ferry ride to Corsica. Our first destination upon arrival is the historic town of Bonifacio, a place that has held immense significance throughout the centuries due to its strategic geographic location and rich history. Inhabited since 6000 BC, Bonifacio has witnessed the influence of both the Greeks and Romans, followed by a period of pirate activity before eventually falling under Genoese control. The Genoese, starting from the 1100s, left an indelible mark on the landscape by constructing impressive fortifications that still stand today. Following our exploration of the city, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely lunch on your own. In the afternoon, we'll venture beyond Bonifacio to visit a local winery, where you can indulge in the flavors of Corsican wines. The day concludes with a delectable dinner, and we'll rest for the night at a charming countryside hotel outside of Bonifacio, immersed in the tranquil beauty of the Corsican landscape. Overnight near Bonifacio.

Day 8 - Wednesday, June 19: Azzachena”

In the morning, our journey brings us back to Sardinia, where we'll embark on a morning ferry ride, soaking in the scenic views along the way. Our midday destination is the charming area of Palau, where we'll savor a delightful lunch. Post-lunch, our exploration continues with a visit to Arzachena, highlighting the awe-inspiring Tomba dei Giganti (Tomb of the Giants) Lu Coddhu 'Ecchju. Dating back an impressive 4500 years, this site stands as Sardinia's best-preserved giant's tomb, showcasing a granite monolith that towers over 13 feet high. Referred to as giants' tombs, these colossal structures represent the epitome of Nuragic burials, aptly named for their imposing dimensions. Before making our way to the coastal resort near Budoni, we'll explore another nearby archaeological site. As the day unfolds, you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in the historical richness of Sardinia, culminating in a relaxing evening at our coastal retreat. Overnight near Budoni.

Day 9 – Thursday, June 20: Tavolara Punta Cavallo

Today’s adventure unfolds as we embark on a captivating boat excursion to the pristine marine protected area of Tavolara Punta Cavallo. Navigating the azure waters, we'll discover the natural beauty and marine wonders that characterize this coastal haven. To enhance the experience, we'll indulge in a delightful seafood tasting for lunch, allowing us to appreciate the flavors of the region and the bounties of the sea. In the afternoon, we'll leisurely make our way back to shore, allowing time to reflect on the day's maritime exploration. The tranquility of the coastal scenery and the memories of the marine protected area will linger as we return to our base in Budoni. Overnight near Budoni.

Day 10 – Friday, June 21: Cala Luna, the caves of the Bue Marino and Nuoro

This morning, weather permitting, our journey unfolds with a captivating boat excursion to the Grotta del Bue Marino (the Cave of the Marine Ox), one of Sardinia's most evocative caves. Formerly a refuge for the now-extinct monk seal, its name pays homage to this unique history. Our adventure continues to Cala Luna, a gem among bays and beaches, offering a glimpse of the region's enchanting coastal beauty. In the afternoon, our exploration leads us to Nuoro, a city in a perpetual state of urban evolution. Renowned as the birthplace of Grazia Deledda, the only Italian woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926, Nuoro invites us to discover the physical places that embody her legacy. We'll visit the house where she lived from birth until marriage and the Church of Solitude, resting place of Grazia, built upon the ruins of a church beloved by the esteemed writer. Overnight in Cala Genone.

Day 11 – Saturday, June 22: Mamoiada & Orgasolo

Today’s itinerary transports us to the enchanting medieval village of Mamoiada, renowned for its unique Carnival celebrations featuring the enigmatic mamuthones. These mysterious figures, adorned with animal hides, bells, and striking black wooden masks veiling their faces, are a captivating manifestation of the village's rich cultural heritage. Later in the day, our exploration continues to Orgasolo, another intriguing village nearby. Distinguished for its vibrant murals, which adorned the walls of the historic center in the 1970s, these artistic expressions serve as a timeless testament to a bygone era, encapsulating themes that resonate even today. Once a haven for bandits, Orgasolo's murals narrate tales from the village's storied past, providing insights into a captivating history and perhaps unveiling the hiding places of notorious bandits. Our day's activities also include a delightful cooking class at a local agriturismo, offering a hands-on experience of traditional culinary techniques accompanied by the backdrop of traditional music. As the day winds down, we'll come together for a memorable farewell dinner. Overnight near Cala Gonone.

Day 12 – Sunday, June 23 - Departure from Olbia

Today marks the conclusion of our enriching journey, as we embark on a morning transfer to Olbia Costa Smeralda airport. As we bid farewell to the captivating destinations and experiences that have defined our expedition, we carry with us the memories and insights gained throughout this memorable adventure.



INFORMATION


Trip Details:
2 nights in Cagliari
2 nights in Oristano
2 nights in Alghero
1 night near Bonifacio
2 nights near Budoni
2 nights near Cala Gonone
Total: 11 nights, 12 days

Price Details:

$7,550 USD per person (double occupancy), priced for 10-12 travelers
$1,385 USD single room supplment

What is included in the trip

  • Individual private transfers upon arrival
  • Accommodation in centrally located hotels and charming country inns with breakfast everyday
  • Group transportation in a deluxe private bus
  • Breakfast and one main meal per day, including wine
  • Entrance fees, ferry tickets and tastings per the itinerary
  • Hotel shuttle for departure transfer

What is not included

  • International airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for tour leader, drivers and local guides
  • Travel insurance

MORE INFO

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    Looking foward to seeing you on an upcoming or future trip!!

    The Customized Journeys Team