Sardinia: Emperor’s Retreat and Cyclist’s Dream


The island of Sardinia is part of Italy and located in the Western Mediterranean, just to the south of the island of Corsica and to the west of Italy proper. Being removed from Italy physically the island has developed its own unique culture (as well as dialects) over the thousands of years that it has been inhabited. We tend nowadays to think of Italy as a singularity, but the region was disunited for most of its history, which means that Rome is nothing like Tuscany and Sicily can hardly be compared to Milan. Nevertheless, Sardinia is a world unto itself and makes the rest of Italy look indeed like that non-existent singularity that we tend to think of it as.

Sardinia was, even as far back as the Roman Republic, some two thousand years ago, considered a place a special beauty and magic. Over the centuries of the Roman Republic and then later the Roman Empire the island became the preferred holiday spot for Roman elite, including Roman emperors and if you’re lucky enough to visit you’ll be able to see plenty of ruins of villas of Roman emperors.

It’s not just history though. If you want to cycle in Sardinia you’re in for the treat of a lifetime. Like many islands in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is covered by mountains meaning that if you want to go on a cycling holiday there, you had better be well-practised in mountain biking.

But as long as you’re in shape and are moderately experienced there’s no reason you’ll not manage perfectly. The island has in recent years become a hotspot for mountain bikers and the island is criss-crossed by well-marked cycling trails. (It may be of note to people with an interest in history that many of those paths were in fact Roman roads that have been there for thousands of years).

With good infrastructure both to and on the island there’s no reason not to visit, and since the location has grown more and more popular there are plenty of places on the island where you’ll be able to hire a bike so you don’t have to bring your own. Happy pedalling!