Exploring La Maddalena Island by Vespa – Sardinia
A great day trip from Palau is taking the ferry for a day trip to La Maddalena Island to explore the port and surrounding beaches on the island. The island is only 20 square miles and is very easy to navigate – especially by scooter. There are two ferry companies that transport people back and forth from Palau to La Maddalena so it is easy to make this a full day or a few experiences. We chose to use Delcomar since the ferries run every half hour as opposed to every hour to keep our day more open and flexible.
We arrived at the ferry port around 920AM and purchased round trip tickets for us and the scooter – only 30 euro which we felt was a great deal. What is nice is that the tickets work for any ferry so you do not have to commit to a time. We took the 903AM ferry, boarded with the cars and parked our Vespa in a smaller lane for scooters. Up on the top deck was an expansive view of the ocean and islands surrounding Palau.
The ferry ride was just over twenty minutes as we arrived at the port in La Maddalena Island. The idea for today was to beach hop – this was to experience different beaches throughout the island but also since we did not have lots of beach equipment to make a longer stay comfortable with the cloudless days. While we could have purchased an umbrella (and certainly left that as an option), we kept our day open ended.
There are many options once on La Maddalena Island for exploring. Since we did Giardinelli and Caprera Islands the day before on the boat, we decided to skip them and just focus on La Maddalena. If you do go to Giardinelli and Caprera Islands, you can visit these spots:
- Giardinelli Island: Spiaggia Testa del Polpo
- Caprera Island: Cala Serena, Cala Caprese, Spiaggia del Relitto, Cala Coticcio
- Note that Caprera Island is much more rugged and rough terrain so I am glad we did not have to drive the scooter there. Cala Coticcio is very popular as it was deemed “little Tahiti” but you can only reach it on land by hiking with a national park guide. This is why I was happy to have visited by boat.
Warning about Medusa jellyfish – they like to swim in these waters. Luckily since the water is so clear they are easy to spot but make sure you are looking for them. These guys have a painful sting and you do not want that to ruin your beach day.
The drive to our first beach was so peaceful once we got out of the downtown area. The scenery was incredible – enormous rocks on one side with ocean views on the other. Roads with views like this are why we rented the Vespa.
BEACH 1: Spiaggia di Cala Spalmatore
Nice, quiet, rough sand and a bit dirty by the rocks that we were using for shade. Umbrellas and chairs were available for rent at 45 euros for a half day. The water here was clear but missing the electric blue color we were used to on the previous two days. It was a sheltered beach which kept the water extremely calm making this a very good spot for families. We laid out, got hot, took a swim, dried off, lotioned up, got hot, and left for the next beach.
BEACH 2: Spiaggia Monti D’A Rena
I had this as our second stop and chose to keep going to the next beach since it was only three minutes from each other. I figured if the third beach was no good, we could just turn around and come back here. The water turned that gorgeous clear blue color we were used to and it look like there were opportunities to rent umbrellas and beaches associated with a resort. If we had more time, it would have been lovely to have rented chairs and an umbrella to chill for the day.
BEACH 3: Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita
We arrived at 1140AM, we waited for the Snack Bar Trinita to open at 1200PM to grab lunch before heading on to the beach. We ordered a (giant) sandwich and cheese/salumi plate to share, Kevin got a beer. Great value for money and food was good – definitely a good spot if you did not pack your own food.
This beach was more what we were looking for – fine sand and crystal clear water. We set up camp and enjoyed the water here so much. There were definitely more Medusa jelly fish in this part of the water than we had seen all trip – there were a few chivalrous gentleman just picking them out of the water with sticks to keep the area safe. We laid out, got hot, took a swim, dried off, lotioned up, got hot, and continued on.
It was around 1400 so we decided to check out a bit of the downtown area before leaving the island. We struggled a bit to find parking – not as plentiful as Palau – but we found one a bit further into downtown. Our first stop was gelato at Dolci Distrazioni SNC which was delicious! They had a great range of flavors and were the best treat in the heat. We walked the streets and observed all the stores – some selling beach items, including umbrellas and snorkel masks, and others selling beach home decor – much like the beach stores at home.
With the ferry running every 30 minutes, we decided to take the 1530 ferry and arrived at the ferry port at 1520. Confused, boarding had stopped and we were told that the next ferry was at 1600. We were still unclear how that got mixed up as no ferry came for the 1530 but the one that left at 1520 was not the 1530, so we parked the Vespa again and walked a bit more until the 1600 ferry.
La Maddalena Island is a great day trip from Palau and another way to explore the Archipelago. With so many options on the island, it is easy to repeat this and have different trips each time. I know when we return, we will grab an umbrella and hang out at a one beach for awhile, pack a picnic and snacks, and spend the day enjoying the ocean.