Olbia is located on the northeast coast of Sardinia and is one of the largest cities on the island. On Ferryhopper, you will find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies and ferries to Olbia. Take a look at our travel tips, available ferry routes, and book your tickets with just a few clicks!
The imposing lighthouse of Isola Bocca near the port of Olbia
Vacation in Olbia
Olbia is a coastal city surrounded by a stunning palm-lined waterfront. It’s known for the magnificent Basilica of San Simplicio and its miscellaneous origins. From Greeks to Nuragics and Romans, the Sardinian city hosts several archaeological findings from different eras.
The historic center of Olbia is filled with picturesque, stone-paved alleys and beautiful little squares to enjoy your coffee opposite the city's imposing buildings.
Also, it is the perfect destination for nature lovers as it is full of greenery and hiking trails. You can take the Punta Ruia hiking trail leading to breathtaking scenery between cliffs.
So, if you are looking for a place for a weekend trip with families and friends, Olbia is great combining heavenly beaches and stunning landscapes.
Being a rather popular destination and a starting point for visiting the famous Costa Smeralda during the summer, the best time to visit Olbia is from April to June. The temperatures are mild, allowing you to move around the city with ease and comfort.
How to get to Olbia
Olbia is one of the main connection points between the island of Sardinia and the Italian peninsula. The fastest way to get to Olbia from the mainland is from the following ports by ferry: Genoa, Livorno, Piombino and Civitavecchia. For more information about schedules and tickets, you can take a look at the ferry routes to Olbia.
Alternatively, you can reach Olbia by plane. The closest airport is located only 7km from the center and offers national and international flights (including France, Germany and the Netherlands).
There is also the option of taking your car. However, there are no motorways in Sardinia and driving can be challenging. Therefore, we recommend you to take a train or a bus from Sassari, Cagliari, Oristano, Golfo Aranci and Nuoro for a more comfortable and carefree trip.
The seaside of the impressive historic center of Olbia
What to do in Olbia
Olbia is a blend of dazzling beauty and exciting archaeological findings. You can visit some of the most beautiful Nuragic complexes in Sardinia and the Tomb of the Giants, both testifying the city’s flourishing past.
However, Olbia is not all about the remains of the past! Walk along the beautiful promenade leading to Corso Umberto, the city’s main road with shops and sidewalk cafés. Go window shopping and then enjoy your aperitif in a bar before dinner.
We said dinner, didn’t we? Sardinian cuisine is rich in unique flavors, so trying traditional delicacies in vintage restaurants near the historic center is a must.
Between delicious treats, museums and archaeological sites, a break to relax by the sea is the perfect getaway! The coast of Olbia extends for about 100km, so you're free to choose between the most impressive beaches of Sardinia.
And yes, there is more to do in Olbia! Thanks to its location, Olbia offers beautiful views. Enjoy a wonderful view of the city from Monte Pino, go hiking and try outdoor activities! Have you ever tried bird watching? The Gulf of Olbia is rich in fauna and a great place to observe birds, even flamingos!
Beaches in Olbia
Olbia is a stretch of coast full of enchanting beaches, ideal for those looking to strike the happy medium between social life and relaxation.
Here are the 10 best beaches in Olbia:
- Cala Banana: the beach is named after its lunette shape resembling a banana. Cala Banana has a sugary white sand, tiny pearly pebbles and crystal-clear waters. With a low seabed, the beach is a great spot for snorkeling and perfect for families with young children.
- White beach: it's one of the most popular beaches of Sardinia located just 12km from Olbia. It is surrounded by white sand, deep blue waters and wild lilies. There, you can find umbrellas, sun-loungers and showers. After taking a dip, enjoy a coffee or a snack from the bar located close to the shore.
- Pittulongu: the beach is also known as Puntale Lungo. It’s a splendid and extensive crescent-shaped beach of white sand and clear, shallow waters. You can also find various hotels, restaurants, pizzerias and mini-markets in close distance.
- Bados: it's located in front of the homonymous tourist village. The beach is divided into a free and equipped area. The beach is sandy with gorgeous emerald waters offering umbrellas and sunbeds. There is also a bar with cool drinks and snacks, ideal after taking a dive.
- Li Cuncheddi: it is popular among surfers and is in the area of Capo Ceraso. Li Cuncheddi beach is known for its landscape and unspoiled nature. It has golden sand and turquoise waters.
- Salina: it’s only a few minutes from the city center. The Salina beach has a long stretch of coast with reddish sand, ideal for beautiful walks. It is very popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
- Poltu Manzu: it's a small, beautiful, secluded coast. It is a favorite local spot and quite serene. It has golden sand, crystal clear waters and deep seabed. Surrounded by unspoiled nature and devoid of services, it is ideal for relaxing. Bring some snacks and water with you and spend the day near the sea.
- Doctor’s beach: it's a little corner of paradise surrounded by greenery and fine sand. The crystal, turquoise sea is great for snorkeling enthusiasts. The beach does not offer any services, so you should bring your own umbrella, some snacks, and water.
- Sas Enas Appara: this wild and unspoiled beach is divided into 3 parts. It has fine sand, rocks and crystal-clear waters. It can be reached by sea or along a 10 minute-walk following the Punzutu path.
- Porto Istana Bay: the bay is a set of 4 beaches separated by small rocky strips. Its turquoise shallow waters are perfect for children. Various services and activities are offered, such as windsurfing, canoeing, and jet skiing.
The beautiful bay of Porto Istana
Sightseeing in Olbia
Olbia is rich in places of historical, cultural and naturalistic interest that testify to its ancient past.
Among the most beautiful attractions to discover in Olbia we recommend:
- The Church of St. Paul, with its impressive colorful dome glistening in the sunlight
- The Basilica of San Simplicio, with the underground necropolis preserving more than 400 tombs from the Roman age
- The Punic walls, the only surviving evidence of the Punic-Roman era in Olbia
- Corso Umberto I, the main street of the city filled with shops and cafés
- The Archaeological Museum, in the shape of a timeworn ship dedicated to the rich history of the port and city
- The Sacred Well of Sa Testa, a legacy of the Nuragic civilization
- The Riu Mulinu nuraghe, one of the best known Nuragic fortifications outlooking on Cabu Abbas
- The Roman Aqueduct, the best-preserved aqueduct in Roman Sardinia
- The Pedres Castle, dominating the city of Olbia for almost 800 years
- The Tomb of the Giants, a 4,000-year-old megalithic monument
- The Fausto Noce Park, featuring many species of the Mediterranean flora
What to visit around Olbia
If you decide to stay a few more days in Olbia, we suggest you visit some areas of the north-eastern coast of Sardinia. The stretch that reaches Santa Teresa Gallura is full of places surrounded by unspoiled nature, perfect for excursions.
Among the most interesting we point out:
- Palau and the Maddalena National Park: Palau is most famous for the spectacular beaches in Sardinia and for being the getaway to the Maddalena archipelago. It is also the best place for diving enthusiasts with heavenly reefs! While exploring the underwater world of Palau, you can also visit the Maddalena National Park, a protected nature reserve including 60 beautiful islands.
- Santa Teresa Gallura: it is a seaside village located 60km north of Olbia overlooking the Straits of Bonifacio and Corsica. With azure blue water and stunning ocean views, it is home to some of the best Blue Flag beaches of Sardinia.
- Berchiddeddu: you can find this ancient village just 15km away from the city of Olbia. As soon as you reach it, you feel the magical atmosphere between winding streets and houses surrounding the main church. Berchiddeddu is famous for producing excellent local cheese and honey and tasting is a must.
Tip: take advantage of the boat tour to discover the archipelago of La Maddalena with a direct departure from Olbia! Spend the whole day in the corner of paradise, taking dives and playing beach volley.
The ancient Nuragic complex of Riu Mulinu in Olbia
Nightlife in Olbia
Olbia has a lively nightlife for every taste. During the winter, you can enjoy your drink in the city center’s aperitif bars and nightclubs. In the summer, the waterfront welcomes the nightlife by hosting live concerts. Enjoy your cocktail in one of the various beach bars and seaside clubs or watch a movie in an open-air cinema under the stars.
If you’re visiting the area in the summer months, you can also head towards the towns of Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo, San Teodoro or Baia Sardinia, home to the most beautiful nightclubs on the Costa Smeralda.
The cuisine of Olbia is simple and tasty, with strong flavors and aromas inspired by the sea and land. Meat, seafood, pecorino and ricotta cheese, herbs and honey are some of the main ingredients composing an explosive symphony of flavors hand in hand with a glass of Vermentino wine.
Here are some of the most delicious local delicacies to try during your stay in Olbia:
- fregola (handmade couscous with mussels and clams)
- culurgiones (pasta stuffed with potato, pecorino cheese and mint)
- chiusoni alla Gallurese (pasta dumplings with salami, cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese)
- mazza frissa (sour cream mixed with bread flour)
- orziadas (crispy fried sea anemones with potato cream)
- Gallura soup (made with beef broth, ciabatta bread, cheese and parsley)
- sweet ravioli (pasta with ricotta cheese, cinnamon and vanilla)
Tip: in Olbia, around mid-May, locals celebrate the Feast of San Simplicio, an event dedicated to music and traditional food. When you’re there, walk towards the stalls of Fausto Noce Park and try the sandwich with the salsiccia, the delicious, spicy italian sausage!
A traditional Sardinian dish of delicious culurgiones with tomato sauce
Tips for Olbia
Here are 4 tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Olbia:
- Olbia is great to explore by bicycle. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to try the Olbia Bike, a bike-sharing service active 24 hours a day. In addition to the low cost, it is also a fun way to get around the city and avoid traffic at the same time!
- In Sardinia, it may not always be very hot in summer due to the mistral. So before you go, you better grab a sweatshirt and put it in your suitcase!
- Olbia and Sardinia could be quite expensive in the high season. However, by booking well in advance, you can save money and have a wider choice of accommodation.
- In spring, towards mid-April, the city celebrates the Olbia Spring festival lasting almost 10 days. It is dedicated to outdoor sports, a great way to welcome spring and enjoy nature!
Useful information for Olbia
Olbia offers its visitors various things to do and see. Most restaurants and shops are located in the city’s heart. The hub of Olbia develops around Corso Umberto with cafes, bars, museums and many attractions in close distance.
In regards to your accommodation in Olbia, we recommend that you opt for the downtown area as it’s full of alternatives between hotels, pensions, guest houses and Bed & Breakfasts. However, finding something near the port is preferable if you intend to leave by ferry the following day.
Alternatively, if you plan to spend only a day in the city of Olbia, you can stay in the heart of Costa Smeralda. The towns of Arzachena and Cannigione are close to mesmerizing beaches and the prices are lower than in the city center.
As for health care, there are several hospitals both in the city and in the province of Olbia. In addition, the tourist medical guard service is active throughout the summer in an emergency.
If you decide to explore the coast of Olbia by car, you should keep in mind that most available parking lots are not free. Prices start around €1.50 per hour.
Tip: if you can find a parking space in the streets adjacent to the beaches, we always recommend that you pay attention to the signs.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Olbia
Here are some useful contacts to keep within reach during your trip to Olbia:
- Olbia-Golfo Aranci Port Authority: +390789204179
- Olbia Police Station: +390789550700
- Tourist Information Center: +39078952206
- John Paul II Hospital: +390789552921
- Olbia Tourist Medical Guard: +390789552266
- Radio taxi services: +39078924999
- ASPO urban transport bus: +3907895553800
- European emergency number: 112
Enchanting colorful house in the historic center of Olbia
Transportation in Olbia
In Olbia, you can easily get around on foot or by bus. Most of the streets are pedestrian, making it easy to explore the city quickly.
The bus network is very efficient with city buses also reaching some beaches. For example, the ASPO company offers the Spiagge Express service, an exclusive bus line connecting the center of Olbia with Pittulongu beach at the cost of €5 for a round trip.
However, a scooter or a car is the most comfortable way to explore the area around the city of Olbia. You can take your vehicle on the ferry or rent a vehicle when you reach the city. That way, you can discover the beautiful places of Gallura from top to bottom with ease and comfort.
The port of Olbia
The port of Olbia is one of the most important and busiest ports in Sardinia, welcoming more than 1 million passengers annually.
The port is divided into 4 areas. The main area is Isola Bianca and is equipped with 8 docks for ferries and 3 for cruise ships. At the Isola Bianca Maritime Station, you can find ticket offices, bars, restaurants, a left-luggage office and a shuttle bus service for internal port transfer.
If you plan to reach the port of Olbia from the train station, you can take the city bus route 9 or catch a taxi (at the cost of approximately €15). If you are traveling by plane and start your journey from the airport, you can take buses 2 and 10 to take you to Olbia's port.
If you want to go to the port by car, you should keep in mind that finding parking could be a challenge. We, therefore, recommend that you leave your vehicle in the guarded parking lots in the area, offering low rates.
Ferries departing from the port of Olbia
Olbia ferry: schedules and tickets
The port of Olbia is connected with the Italian cities of Rome (Civitavecchia), Genoa, Livorno and Piombino.
There are 4 ferry companies that operate the routes to Olbia: Grimaldi Lines, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), Tirrenia, and Moby Lines. They offer up to 79 weekly crossings with ferries and hydrofoils. Depending on the port of departure, the rides can last from 5 to 12 hours.
Here you can find more information about all the ferry connections to Olbia:
- Civitavecchia - Olbia ferry: the crossing from Civitavecchia to Olbia connects Rome to the north-eastern coast of Sardinia. There are up to 25 weekly trips with an average duration of 5 to 7 hours, depending on the ferry operator.
- Genoa - Olbia ferry: one of the most popular ferry routes is from the port of Genoa to Olbia. There are about 17 weekly connections available with crossings of 10 to 12 hours.
- Livorno - Olbia ferry: the connection from Livorno to Olbia usually serves about 28 times a week. The ferry route takes around 7 hours.
- Piombino - Olbia ferry: the Piombino - Olbia ferry route includes 7 weekly connections lasting around 5 hours.
Take a look at our Map of ferries with all the connections to the port of Olbia and start planning your trip right away!
Where to book ferry tickets to Olbia online?
On Ferryhopper, you can find all connections to Olbia, compare prices and companies, departure times and book your ferry tickets online with ease. The Sardinian city invites you to dive into the waters of the Costa Smeralda, between coves and breathtaking landscapes!