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Italy

Sardinia - Cape to Cape

Guided Gravel Riding Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,995 P.P.
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A brilliant place to place gravel riding holiday in Italy, offering great fun for gravel riders of all abilities from fit cyclists with little off-road experience to advanced riders looking for a relaxing holiday.
The route alternates between quiet asphalt roads and smooth gravel double tracks with the occasional stretch of bumpy and rocky dirt track to keep you entertained. While a lot of the cycling is done on the flat or in gentle hilly countryside, the holiday does include some longer climbs rewarded with thrilling descents. Overall the trip requires a reasonable level of fitness rather than technical ability.
Starting near Calasetta on the Sant’Antioco Island in the far southwest of Sardinia, we set off north from Capo Sperone through an ever-changing landscape of coastal tracks, olive groves and vineyards, fragrant Mediterranean maquis, lush cultivated fields and green oak woods, moving ever further into little-known and authentic inland Sardinia.
During our journey, every day will offer the opportunity to visit places of historical, cultural and naturalistic interest such as the coastal wetland areas of Porto Botte, Porto Pino and the Sinis or the ancient sites of Barumini, Fordongianus and Tharros.
This gravel riding holiday in Sardinia culminates with a lovely last day’s loop along the beautiful rugged coast of the Sinis Peninsula to Capo Mannu, the northernmost point of our route. After a well-deserved swim and a spot of relaxation on the stunning Tharros beach, there will be time to celebrate our great adventure with a celebratory dinner, sipping wine and recounting our adventures of the last week.
If you have a day or two to spare why not extend your trip with some trekking or sea kayaking. We’d love to help you experience Sardinia from the water, and we’re able to organise guided kayaking excursions with one of our local team if booked in advance, please contact us for further details.  
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Holiday Highlights

  • Climbing up to the Capo Sperone lighthouse to mark the start of our journey… and looking out from Capo Mannu over the med to mark its end!
  • Riding scenic gravel roads along the Cabras Lagoon
  • Checking out the UNESCO heritage Nuraghic site of Barumini
  • Scaling the exciting gravel tracks of Monte Grighine
  • Enjoying the stunning scenery of the rugged coast of the Sinis Peninsula
  • Eating fantastic home-cooked food, washed down with honest local wine!

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Cagliari / Calasetta

Following your arrival into Cagliari, we’ll take a 90 minute (approx) transfer to the village of Calasetta on the island of Sant’Antioco in the southwest of Sardinia. Depending on arrival times, we’ll hopefully have time to head to the beach, before meeting up again for our bike fitting and welcome meeting, and our first Sardinian meal.

Day 2
Calasetta to Sant’Anna Arresi
47 Miles / 75 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 720 Metres Approx.

After setting off from our accommodation we’ll ride south along the coast to the very tip of the island of Sant’Antico. Here we’ll climb up to the lighthouse of Capo Sperone where we’ll enjoy the panoramic view on the island’s coast and hilly inland. We then descend onto the cape itself, which marks the true start of our Cape-to-Cape journey. Our route then takes us along quiet roads and gravel tracks north again to the town of Sant’Antioco and past the Roman bridge that once connected the island to the Sardinian mainland.

After crossing the bridge we’ll ride through the local salt works to the Porto Botte Lagoon. Along the way we should be able to spot flamingoes feeding in the shallow water, as well as many other species of wetland birds. Cycling on gravel tracks and along sandy beaches we’ll arrive at Porto Pino. After a short break to admire the beautiful white beaches, we’ll cycle the last short stretch along the Porto Pino Lagoon to our accommodation in Sant’Anna Arresi, where we’ll have the time for a cold beer before sitting down for dinner.

Day 3
Sant’Anna Arresi to Santa Lucia
40 Miles / 65 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1,080 Metres Approx.

After breakfast this morning we say goodbye to the village of Sant’Anna Arresi, climbing up the rolling hills behind the little town. Our route goes up and down through wooded areas and cultivated fields and past abandoned hamlets to finally descend towards the hamlet of Barrancu Mannu and the forestry building of Pantaleo.

Here we’ll stop for lunch setting up a legendary Skedaddle picnic under the tall trees surrounding the forestry building. After lunch we’ll set off for a long steady climb up the smooth gravel road traversing the forest of Gutturu Mannu, first taking us down to the little chapel of Santa Lucia and then onto our evening’s accommodation. Tonight we’ll be staying in a cosy agriturismo nestled at the edge of the Campidano Plain.

After a well-deserved shower we’ll have some time to relax with a beer or a glass of local wine before sitting down for a delicious, traditional Sardinian meal.

Day 4
Santa Lucia to Barumini
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 700 Metres Approx.

Back on our bikes after breakfast, we’ll be heading off this morning on dirt roads that criss-cross the plain in front of us. First we’ll cycle past the dam on the Cixerri River, marking one of Sardinia’s many artificial water basins. From here we’ll head northeast again on flat agricultural terrain to San Sperate’s open-air Museum Village. Here we’ll stop for a coffee and take some time to admire the many murals adorning the village walls.

From San Sperate we’ll continue north inland, slowly making our way over more undulating terrain. An occasional stretch of bumpy dirt road may well test our gravel biking skills! Soon after we’ll reach the neolithic burial grounds of Pranu Efis, a magical place to be explored at our leisure while a picnic is prepared for us under the pine trees.

The afternoon’s ride will take us into the Marmilla hills and today’s destination, the village of Barumuni, near the archaeological site of Su Nuraxi. Built over 3,500 years ago, this three storey fortress will enthral any contemporary architect.

Day 5
Barumini to Fordongianus
53 Miles / 65 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,220 Metres Approx.

Leaving Barumini we’ll continue our journey north climbing up to the basalt plateau of the Giara di Gesturi, created by volcanic eruptions over 2 million years ago. From here we’ll make our way to the opposite side pedalling first on rocky single tracks and then on smooth dirt roads, through lines of low cork oaks. With a bit of luck we’ll spot some of the free roaming Sardinian horses typical of the area.

After descending the Giara we’ll continue our journey in the Marmilla Hills on narrow secondary tarmac roads and fast rolling double tracks passing through the villages of Genoni, Assolo and Mogorella where we’ll stop for a well-deserved picnic.

After lunch we’ll tackle the main climb, not only of the day, but of the whole holiday, as we slowly make our way up the gravel roads of Monte Grighine. From the top of the mountain we’ll be able to see all the way to the coast of the Sinis Peninsula and the end of our route. A fast descent will see us arrive in the valley again, from where a beautiful dirt road will take us to the little town of Fordongianus, known for its Roman remains and thermal baths. The thermal baths will not let you in the pool without a swimming cap and flip flops! So put them in your suitcase to be sure you don’t miss out!

Day 6
Fordongianus to Cabras
47 Miles / 75 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 420 Metres Approx.

This morning we’ll set off from Fordongianus, now heading west again towards the coast and the Sinis Peninsula. As we leave the village we’ll stop to admire the Romanesque church of Santo Lussurio before starting to climb gradually up on the wonderful panoramic gravel road leading up and down to the hamlet of Siapicia, located at the very edge of the Oristano plain.

After passing the village we’ll head to the valley of the Tirso River, now cycling through flat terrain in the midst of cultivated fields. Almost all of our cycling here is on smooth dirt roads, with a few stretches on secondary tarmac roads leading through the small agricultural villages of Ollastra, Zerfaliu and Zeddiani.

Our next stop is in the village of Riola Sardo, on the edge of the Cabras lagoon, where we’ll take a break in a little park for our picnic lunch. Suitably fuelled, we’ll continue riding along the edge of the lagoon where we hope to spot several species of wetland birds, including large flocks of flamingoes!

Next on our route is Cabras, the main center of the Sinis Peninsula, steeped in history and the production capital of Sardinian bottarga (mullet roe), locally known as the Gold of Cabras. We may well take a short breather in town for a last coffee or an ice cream, before riding the last section to our accommodation located a couple of kilometers out of town.

Day 7
Sinis Peninsula Loop Ride
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 330 Metres Approx.

Today, the grand finale of our gravel cycling adventure will take us on a loop ride of the beautiful Sinis Peninsula. After breakfast we’ll head north, riding on smooth dirt roads through the fields lining the Cabras lagoon.

We’ll eventually turn towards the coast, leaving the lagoon behind us, heading for the pine forest of Is Arenas to then head south again along the coast. After a couple of kilometers we’ll arrive at Capo Mannu thus ending our journey from Cape to Cape. We still have a beautiful bit of cycling to do though, making our way south, pedalling on the clifftops and along the wonderful beaches of the Sinis peninsula.

Our journey finally ends at the archaeological site, and wide sandy beach, of Tharros where we’ll celebrate with a refreshing dip in the Med and a cold beer in the local beach bar.

Day 8
Departure Cabras /Cagliari
  • Meals: Breakfast

We have a relatively early start to the day for our return journey to Cagliari after breakfast.

If you have a day or two to spare why not extend your trip with some trekking or sea kayaking. Our local team can join you for a day’s guiding or we can provide the information and equipment to allow you to enjoy the routes self-guided, just give us a call for further info.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The beauty of a journey across an island is the continuously changing landscape offering new experiences and challenges as the days go by. The majority of our riding will be on compact gravel and dirt roads which will be combined with sections of quiet secondary tarmac roads some of which will have varying surface quality. Along the way we’ll mix the routes with fun sections of smooth and rocky single track and quite gravel tracks.

At the coast we will encounter loose beach trails and on occasion we may ride some bumpy and/or possibly muddy sections. On reaching the rolling hills of the Marmilla region the gravel roads will become rockier and we’ll find the surface of the tarmac roads slightly less forgiving than on other parts of the route.

As we bike further into the heart of Sardinia, we enter a more mountainous region, ascending Monte Grighine on good compact, but often steep gravel roads. Along our journey we’ll also be biking through dense oak wooded mountain slopes and valleys and will enjoy the occasional steep climb and fast descent. You can find more information on riding on gravel surfaces here in our Guide to Gravel Trails

This tour is designed to be ridden most comfortably on a gravel bike. If you are bringing your own bike then we recommend tyres to be set up tubeless with a minimum width of 40mm and with some steep uphill sections, we suggest a wide range of gears. The route may also be suitable for cross country mountain bikes fitted with minimally treaded XC tyres.

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Gravel Riding Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day.

For gravel and off-road riders with experience, good fitness and a decent level of skill.

Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher-grade tour.

The gravel trails encountered are a mix of vehicle width and non-technical singletrack.

Trails can vary more in width and in surface type.

You will need to choose your line more carefully and might need to move from one side of the trail to the other to find the smoothest line and the best grip/least rolling resistance.

If you’re bringing your own bike, we would recommend a minimum tyre width of 38mm.

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You regularly ride off-road, although you’re not necessarily into full-on mountain biking. You enjoy getting into the countryside and getting away from roads and traffic. You’re happy with climbing and descending off-road on vehicle width trails. The occasional cheeky section of singletrack with some roots or rocks to navigate over and around doesn’t worry you. You’re likely to own your own gravel bike, cyclocross bike or mountain bike. You might have tried one of our Grade 2 or 3 mountain bike trips or higher-grade road trips.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a £200 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
29/09/2024
Guaranteed
Return Date
06/10/2024
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,995.00
Start Date
26/04/2025
Return Date
03/05/2025
Duration
8 days
Price
£2,135.00
Start Date
27/09/2025
Return Date
04/10/2025
Duration
8 days
Price
£2,135.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in hotels / small hotels / agriturismi

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) GPX files available on request

F) Support vehicle, for tired bikers and luggage transfers

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Cagliari airport (CAG)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Cagliari airport (CAG)

I) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Single room (available if required)

D) Travel insurance

E) Meals not stated in the itinerary

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en-route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

The Essentials

Travel Options

Your tour starts in Calasetta and finishes in Cabras.

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday and both the arrival and return transfers from Cagliari (CAG) will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule.

We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be ensuite in 2 and 3 star hotels, guesthouses or agriturismi. This style of accommodation is a highlight of our tours here.

Set in idyllic surroundings, these locations retain their rural character, and at most agriturismi your meals will be made from the produce (eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil) fresh off the farm.

They are comfortable, informal and a great way to experience the real Sardinian lifestyle.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have gravel bikes available to rent.

These bikes are typically Scott Speedster or Giant Revolt Gravel bikes (or equivalent), great bikes with aluminium frames, carbon forks and good quality components. These bikes are generally set up tubeless with 700×45c tyres. They provide a comfortable riding position and wide range of gears, running a 2×11 drivetrain with 32/48 chainrings and 11×34 cassette. They are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes.

If you do decide to rent we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

Please also let us know if you plan on bringing your own clip-in pedals, or if you will use the flat pedals which our rental bikes come fitted with.

Given the variety of shapes and sizes of on bike luggage and the fact the mechanisms for fitting them varies so much, we aren’t able to safely accommodate customers own frame bags and on bike luggage on our hire bikes. This holiday has vehicle support and the riding group will meet the support vehicle at regular intervals, so you should be able to get away with using jersey pockets to carry any ride essentials. You are welcome to use a small back-pack on sections where you think it’s necessary.

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News, Reviews & Stories

Gravel Riding Tips & What To Expect

If you're a roadie or mountain biker then here's what to expect when you hit the gravel trails.

The Story Behind Sardinia Cape to Cape

Exploring Sardinia's incredible off road gravel trails on our unique Cape to Cape adventure.

Your Guide To Gravel Riding Skills

We cover essential skills for cyclists who want to conquer any gravel terrain! Read this for expert tips and advice.

Reviews

2

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