8 days, 7 nights|
Just off the west coast of Italy, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, you will find our next adventure: Sardinia. As usual we will glide through warm, turquoise waters, yet the coast of Sardinia also has a wild touch; towering limestone cliffs, sea caves that are both deep and tall, and isolated beaches best accessed by boat will certainly excite the adventurer in you. History, luxury and culture will not be forgotten, of course (this is Italy, after all), as we will spend our evenings enjoying the local hospitality, fresh cuisine, and the unravelling complex history that makes the Sardinian experience so striking.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, we will hop back into our kayaks for our exploration of the island Tavolara. Its towering limestone cliffs contrast beautifully with the calm turquoise waters. As we circumnavigate the small island, we will stop for some rest and a picnic lunch, as the island is generally uninhabited. We will return to our hotel in Porto San Paolo, where a well earned shower, dinner and bed awaits us all.... (B,D)
Day 3: After enjoying another delicious Italian style breakfast, we will head for the northern limits of the town of Olbia. Here we will depart for the day in our kayaks, enjoying the beautiful Sardinian coastal villages and exploring small islands the lay just off the coast. The beaches here are exquisitely pristine and second to none - perfect for a picnic lunch on the beach of our choosing! Our destination for the day is Porto Cervo, a beautiful town with a bustling marina. As usual, we end the day with a well earned dinner of fresh local cuisine and a sunset. (B, D)
Day 4: We depart for the day from the bay on the west side of Porto Cervo, and continue in that direction along the Sardinian coast. This area of the island has much to offer with protected inlets dotted with fishing villages and stunning windswept islands to explore. We will stop along the way to enjoy lunch in the town of Arzachena, and continue on to Palau where we will pass the evening at our leisure. (B, D)
Day 5: After enjoying breakfast, we will depart for L'Isola di Spargi, a small island just off the coast of Sardinia. We will spend the day exploring and circumnavigating Spargi, gliding through its stunning turquoise waters, past its rocky coast and pristine beaches. We will picnic on the island and enjoy swimming in the crystal waters. Eventually we will return to our hotel in Palau, where we will enjoy drinks and a delicious dinner on the coast. (B, D)
Day 6: After an early breakfast we will hop into our shuttle and head for the northwest point of Sardinia, where Stintino and the renowned Pelosa Beach await. Just north of the town of Stintino we will launch our kayaks and paddle to Pelosa Beach, the most famous and breathtaking beach on the whole island of Sardinia. Once we have had a nice dip and a chance to look around, we will hop back into our boats and head out to explore Isola Piana and Isola Asinara. We will spend the night in Stintino, and enjoy the flavor of this famous Sardinian beach town. (B, D)
Day 7: After our morning meal, we have another short ride to our put-in location. We will head southwest from Stintino to a location just north of the cliffs of Capo Cassia. From there we will paddle south towards the cliffs and watch as they begin to tower over us - truly an unforgettable moment. At its peak, a lighthouse stands upon the limestone promontory at a height of 186 meters above sea level. We continue around the point of the cliffs and into Alghero Bay. If time allows we may even be able to visit the nearby Neptune’s Grotto, a stalactite cave near the town of Alghero. Tonight we enjoy our celebratory dinner and reminisce on all our favorite memories from our Sardinian adventure. (B, D)
Day 8: After breakfast we gather our belongings and say goodbye to this incredible island. We transfer you to the airport so that you can make any connecting flights. (B)
* Note: This is our intended itinerary. As with any adventure travel, the forces of nature can be unpredictable, causing us to make adjustments and changes to the itinerary. Rest assured that our many years of exploring have provided us with numerous options if changes need to be made. If it is too windy to paddle, various hiking, cultural and historical options will make you glad for the winds.
This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.
- 3-7 t-shirts, some synthetic for paddling
- 1 shirt, long sleeved
- 2-3 pair shorts (some quick drying)
- Sun/rain hat
- Sneakers/cross trainers hiking; some prefer hiking in Tevas or other sandals with socks
- Rain gear just in case! (Paddling jacket works well as an alternative, or windbreaker jacket)
- 1 pair sport sandals; Tevas, water socks, etc. (Paddling booties are great!)
- Bathing suit(s)
- Underwear, socks
- Casual clothes for evenings (shorts/summer dresses are fine!)
- Clean change of clothing for the trip home
- Passport (be sure to check expiration date)
- Toiletry kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, moleskin, baby powder, soap, washcloth (most hotels don’t provide them) etc.
- Personal medication kit- ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, band-aids, Dramamine®, cold/sinus meds if prone to colds
- Daypack/fanny pack for hiking options
- Collapsible walking stick for optional hikes
- Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
- Water bottle (optional- bottled water is plentiful and cheap)
- Small dry bag with carabiner clip (clear ones are very useful)
- Headlamp for sea caves
- Camera, film, waterproof container
- Paddling gloves (for the tender of palm- not neoprene but any open fingered glove can help e.g. biking gloves etc)
- Small towel (e.g. PackTowel® works well)
- Small travel alarm clock
- Mask and snorkel (can be purchased inexpensively)
- Field glasses – binoculars
- Your own Paddle/PFD- we will supply paddles and PFD’s for group but, if you prefer your own paddle and PFD, feel free to bring them along
- Ziploc® storage bags (to keep stuff extra dry in dry bag)
What’s special about this trip?
Porto Cervo, L'Isola di Spargi, Pelosa Beach a deluge of images that alert every sense to the magic and history of this Mediterranean treasure. Fine wine, fresh food highlight this amazing journey along the world’s most romantic coastline. Our journey takes us along the Iland of Sardinia, exploring like so few the dramatic limestone hillsides from the seat of our sea kayak. Spending our evenings in luxury melting into the culture of Sardinia.
How do I get there?
Our adventure begins in Olbia, the economic center of Sardinia. To reach Olbia, most participants fly into Rome. From there, you have a choice of flying to Olbia (a one hour flight offered by several carriers including Meridiana, Alitalia, and Air One or taking an overnight ferry. You can book flights online for either Meridiana (http://www.meridiana.it/en/ ) or Alitalia (www.alitalia.com/US_EN/ ) . You can also call our office to get more details regarding the travel options. It is important to confirm your return flights, both the flight to Rome and the flight from Rome to the US, 48-72 hours prior to the flight. If you choose to take the ferry, you can purchase tickets right at the port or in advance through a travel agent. The port (Civitavecchia) can be reached by taxi or bus from the airport. The cost for the ferry will vary depending on level of accommodation (private cabin with bath, semi-private, etc). Most of the ticket agents at the port will take credit cards.
What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Italy. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Italian embassy for visa requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No special immunizations or medications are necessary for travel to Italy.
How and where will you meet me?
We will ask for a copy of your travel itinerary prior to your departure. We will meet the morning of the first day of the trip at the Olbia Airport, or otherwise by arrangement. Exact meeting time will be determined once flight schedules from Rome to Olbia are finalized for that season. We have found over the years that the schedules vary somewhat year to year. We will be wearing Northwest Passage shirts and carrying an NWP sign, and will meet in the arrivals area of the Olbia airport.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Rome is usually an overnight flight, leaving the U.S. in the late afternoon and arriving mid-day to late afternoon in Rome. Depending on the carrier and connection, you may overnight in another city en-route. There are flights out of Rome to Olbia starting at 6 a.m. and continuing throughout the day and evening until 11:45 p.m. Returning from Olbia, most flights back to the U.S. are in the early morning, requiring an overnight in Rome the last day of the trip. Generally, participants will book flights out of Olbia late afternoon on the last day.
What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Good lunch with good wine can be for 10-25 euro. Dinner can be more expensive and 20-40 euro range. Pizza with beer will be around 10-15 euro. Personal purchases again vary- one can buy unique souvenirs made by a local Sardinian for 5 Euro or get fine jewelry for significantly more… it’s up to you.
What’s the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Lira was the Italian currency. However, Italy converted to the Euro in 2002. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites. Oanda (www.oanda.com) will give you a handy conversion cheat sheet to take with you. You can exchange money at the airport (either Rome or Olbia). Exchange rates at the airport may not be the most favorable and they often have higher commission rates and/or minimum commissions. There are ATM’s at the airports which can be handy as there is not a commission, just the ATM service charge. There are also ATM’s in many of the towns we will visit. Some of the hotels where we stay will also exchange. Some shops do exchange money but their rates are often high.
When in town, who do I tip? How much?
Tipping is optional and not expected in the same way it is in the U.S. However, it is most appreciated and 10 % is typical.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?
There is a Cash Station at the Oblia Airport. There are also ATM’s in most towns we stop in. Many of the more upscale shops will take credit cards. You can sometimes negotiate a better price on goods if you pay cash. Many smaller shops do not accept credit cards.
What’s the weather like?
The weather in fall and spring is generally around 80° with lots of sunshine. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, including lip protection. A broad-brimmed hat that secures on your head can also be very helpful. Water temperatures in fall tend to be in the mid to upper 70’s. Spring water temperatures are significantly cooler (high 60’s). Air temperatures cool off at night to the point you may want a light jacket. Rain is unusual but does sometimes occur. A light rain jacket can be handy.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing. Comfortable, casual and cosmopolitan define Sardinia.While paddling, your needs in the boat will be minimal. A small dry bag with a carabiner clip to keep it attached to the boat is very handy. Clear bags are helpful to be able to find what you need. During the day, you will want to have sunscreen, some Euros for lunch and the cappuccino stop, sunglasses with something to keep them tied on with (Croakies®, Chums®, etc.) waterbottle (most folks will buy cold bottled water in the morning, eliminating the need to bring a water bottle), camera, mask/fins/snorkel (if you enjoy snorkeling), small binoculars if you already have some, and a small pack towel. If your hands are sensitive, a pair of gloves can be helpful to prevent blisters. You do not need neoprene paddling gloves- these will be much too warm. Any open fingered glove (including bike gloves, sailing gloves, golfing gloves) can work well (just figure that they will get quite wet). The key is to protect your palm between your thumb and index finger as that tends to receive the most friction.
Can I drink the water?
The water is generally safe to drink in all the areas we visit. The sign “acqua non potabile” tells you when it is not. However, bottled water is readily available everywhere and quite inexpensive so most folks choose to drink bottled water.
What’s the food like?
Italian gastronomy is not in strange, unusual food combinations, but in the careful attention given to the taste and freshness of the basic ingredients. Your choices include an array of anti-pasta, pasta, seafood, various poultry, meats and homemade pastries and desserts. Italian culture is defined around the dinner table. We can only encourage you to join us and leave room for dessert!
What time zone will I be in?
Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Time, which makes it 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 7 hours ahead of Central Time, 9 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary. You can call home using a calling card. All of the hotels will have phones in the rooms. Keep in mind the time difference listed above. It can be helpful to remind family and friends about this also. Italy country code: 39.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We will generally kayak 3-5 hours per day. The paddling is broken into multiple sections with plenty of time to explore the coastline, paddle in and out of sea caves and jump in and out of the water to cool off. We generally begin paddling at 8:30 each morning, and then take a cappuccino break after an hour or so. We stop again for lunch after another hour or so and generally reach our next hotel between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon. Distance traveled varies each day, ranging from 4 -15 miles. Once we reach our destination, you will have some free time to shower, relax, and/or explore the town. We will generally offer some additional skill training for folks who are interested at the end of the day. Some participants have wanted to work on Eskimo rolling, paddling techniques, etc. Each day, the van will be following our route, meeting us at the cappuccino stops and lunch stops, offering multiple options. You can paddle to the cappuccino break, then hop in the van to the lunch stop, and then paddle again in the afternoon. Or start with a van ride and paddle later in the day. The choices are endless!
What kind of equipment do you use?
We have a combination of hard shell plastic doubles, singles and folding doubles. Some participants prefer to paddle in the doubles the whole time (paddling is a bit easier with two people powering the boat and the doubles tend to be more stable) and some prefer to trade on and off with the singles. We will provide kayaks, paddles, spray skirts and PFD’s (personal flotation devices) for all participants. If you prefer to bring your own paddle and/or PFD, you are most welcome to. Please let us know in advance so that we can pack the appropriate gear, especially if you have a particular need or unusual size.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides/ what are their qualifications?
Our group sizes for this trip range from 6 to 16 participants. We generally have two guides on the water and one or two additional staff members as van drivers. Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of sea kayaking and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
We have had participants on this trip who have never been in a kayak before and others who have been paddling for years. We have found that all levels of kayakers have enjoyed this adventure. A good level of personal fitness makes the journey more enjoyable. For kayaking, upper body exercises that strengthen your shoulders, back and arms are recommended. Strengthening exercises with free weights can be very beneficial. Upper body stretches and exercises such as rowing are also useful. Keep in mind that we have had folks at all different levels of physical conditioning thoroughly enjoy this trip and the van is always an option! It is extremely important that you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your physical capabilities for this trip.