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La Maddalena

La Maddalena (In Madalena in Gallurese [3], Sa Madalena in Sardinian) is an Italian town of 10 846 inhabitants [1] in the province of Sassari (the northernmost of Sardinia) consisting of the archipelago of La Maddalena formed by various islands and islets, including: the homonymous island La Maddalena [ 4] [5], Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria, Razzoli. The city [6] of La Maddalena, which began to populate around 1770, rises to the south of the main island and faces the town of Palau.

La Maddalena in Sardinia is an archipelago of seven wonderful islands on the north-east coast in front of Palau. These islands are the breath-taking panorama you can enjoy from Porto Cervo and the Emerald Coast. They are part of La Maddalena Park that is a naturalistic area immersed in the Mediterranean scrub and bathed by unspoiled water. The luxury Sardinia properties for sale in La Maddalena are exclusive villas and apartments by the sea, oasis of tranquility and privacy, close to many services and ports of the homonymous archipelago.

Real Estate Sardinia: property for sale in La Maddalena

Immobilsarda agency in La Maddalena and Palau, expert in luxury real estate in Italy, offers an exclusive selection of houses for sale to its clientele: elegant apartments, detached sea view villas, and pieds dans l'eau villas. The apartments are divided into spacious and bright environments with functional areas for services and parking. They are well-finished in every detail and surrounded by large terraces overlooking the sea. The villas are real estate property with wide verandas and gardens with pool. These Italian villas for sale guarantee maximum tranquility and privacy.

Indicative guide prices of property for sale in Italy / La Maddalena:

The unspoiled sea and the lush nature of La Maddalena archipelago national park create the ideal atmosphere for a lifestyle of relaxation, wellness, sports. La Maddalena in Sardinia is the perfect oasis for families with children, couples, second age for retirement, who want tranquility and privacy without renouncing comforts available on the biggest island of La Maddalena and in the nearby Emerald Coast.

La Maddalena town is one of the biggest in Gallura, animated all year round and provided with numerous services: medical assistance, shops, basic services, renowned restaurants, well-equipped sports facilities. This big island has several ports. Porto Massimo is one of the most important marinas of Sardinia and the Emerald Coast with exclusive amenities and the assistance of skilled people. La Maddalena commercial port has more than one jetties between Cala Gavetta and Cala Mangiavolpe with water, bollards, and rings for mooring.

The archipelago of La Maddalena in Sardinia

Connections with Palau are guaranteed all year round for both passengers and cars. The sailing journey from La Maddalena to Palau takes 15 minutes. Ferry boats are available starting from 4.30 am and at night.

The 7 islands and the numerous inlets of the archipelago embellish the approximately 200km of coastline from the Gulf of Arzachena to the strait of Bonifacio. The landscape is shaped by the wind and is colored by junipers, bushes, and myrtle. These 7 islands, La Maddalena (the only inhabited), Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria and Razzoli, boast not only unspoiled nature but also an important history. Their position in the Mediterranean has made them a safe and strategic landmark since Roman times and later during the domination by Pisa and Genoa cities, and the Savoy reign.

La Maddalena beaches. The beaches of the archipelago are numerous and wonderful. Below the 3 must-see ones.

• Spalmatore bay is in the northern part of the island of La Maddalena reachable through a panoramic road. Spalmatore is a white sandy beach with crystal water and well-equipped.
• The Spiaggia Rosa, on the island of Budelli that is famous for the color of its sand, is so unique to be reachable only with authorized guides.
• Testa di Polpo, in the south of La Maddalena island, with the characteristic octopus-shaped rock, is a natural pool of fine sand.

Things to do in La Maddalena and surroundings

The archipelago is a paradise for sports lovers.
Diving enthusiasts can discover wonderful submarine bottoms in the many inlets of the coast. Adults and children have fun on windy days with surf and windsurfing. Tourist ports provide the assistance needed for sailboat lovers. On the islands, there are suggestive paths for horse rides, immersed in nature. It is pleasant to have a walk in La Maddalena historic center, in its narrow streets among the renowned coffee bars of Piazza Garibaldi or to reach Caprera for a visit to the museum and then to have dinner in a seafood restaurant.

The surroundings. If you want to spend a day completely immersed in sun and sea, you can enjoy a relaxing trip by your boat or with an organized tour. From Palau, you can go north to visit one of the typical markets of Santa Teresa di Gallura and taste some local food. Or go south to spend afternoons of shopping in the prestigious shops of the Emerald Coast and Porto Cervo or have pleasant evenings in the most popular clubs of Sardinia.

Visit the Archipelago of La Maddalena

Visit the Island of La Maddalena: ferry boats leave every day from Palau. The average cost is 20 euro for a vehicle and two passengers. On your arrival, visit the town, the beaches and the house of Garibaldi, the General who united Italy, hitherto divided into communes.

Visit the Archipelago of La Maddalena: there are two ways of exploring all the islands by boat: an organized tour or rental of an inflatable.

The tours last a whole day and are based on the following itinerary: the beach of Cala Corsara to the Island of Spargi, the beach of S. Maria to La Maddalena, Pink Beach at the Isle of Budelli, visit to the historic center of La Magdalene. The trip takes place on a 50-passenger boat. As an alternative, there are also boat trips by inflatable for 12 persons.

You can also rent a low-powered inflatable you can use independently as it does not require a boating license.

La Maddalena: Sardinia's secret islands

The archipelago of La Maddalena, off the Costa Smeralda, is a quiet place of turquoise lagoons, deserted islands and the most heavenly beaches in Sardinia, with barely a footprint to spoil them

In the translucent seas of the La Maddalena archipelago, you're in another world. It doesn't feel like the Mediterranean here. It feels like a more rugged version of the Caribbean. Suspended between Sardinia and Corsica, this scatter of seven large islands and 55 tiny islets has some of the most spectacular beaches in Italy, and some of the cleanest and clearest water.

But it is only recently that these islands have begun to discover tourism, and in turn to be discovered by tourists. La Maddalena - the main island, where all but five per cent of the archipelago's 10,000 inhabitants live - was insulated from the need to make much of a living out of visitors by the presence of a huge NATO naval base. This provided jobs for hundreds of maddalenini, both directly on the base and indirectly in the form of dollar-rich US officers and seamen looking for places to eat and drink - until it closed in 2008.


The archipelago has been well-known to the Costa Smeralda yacht set for a while, who sail out to the heavenly turquoise lagoons like the Porto della Madonna, and the islands' deserted beaches only accessible by boat, and occasionally stop for lunch at one of the islands' waterside trattorias and there are a few small hotels, pensionis and modest resorts catering to a mainly Italian clientele. So visitors to La Maddalena will find a certain friendliness and eagerness to please among restaurateurs, shop owners and hoteliers, along with a command of English unusual in Italy, bred by decades of coexistence with the US navy.

What first strikes you about the town of La Maddalena is the feeling it shares with certain other historically significant Mediterranean ports, like Valletta or Mahón, of being a place of transit, its character formed as much by the contacts it has made over the centuries as by the country it happens to be attached to. But this limbo status is common to the whole archipelago.

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The Maddalena islands are only 20 minutes by ferry from the Sardinian port of Palau, and geologically connected to the pink granite rockscapes of Gallura in the north-east of Sardinia. But maddalenini have always seen themselves as a race apart from Sardinian 'mainlanders', just as the latter feel culturally distinct from the rest of Italy.

This has a lot to do with history. The first inhabitants of the islands in modern times were Corsican shepherds who crossed the dangerous Strait of Bonifacio with their herds, in search of pasture that was not subject to taxation or competition from cropping farmers. When the 1720 Treaty of The Hague assigned Sardinia to the House of Savoy, the Maddalena archipelago was simply forgotten, and the islands 'uncertain territorial status made them a smugglers' paradise.


Cala Soraya in the La Maddalena archipelago

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Napoleon later besieged the port, and met his first defeat here. Nelson visited the waters off Maddalena three times in the build-up to Trafalgar, but never once came ashore, though he did present a silver crucifix to the parish priest. Today this is proudly displayed in the little Museo Diocesano, together with the admiral's briskly polite accompanying letter, signed - according to the style he had adopted after being given a Sicilian dukedom by Ferdinando I - 'Nelson & Bronté'.


But it is another astute military commander, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who is most closely associated with these islands. The wild island of Caprera, which is connected to the main island by a bridge and a causeway, was the Risorgimento hero's home for the last 27 years of his life. Garibaldi was exiled to the islands in 1849. He liked his prison enough to return in 1855 and buy land on Caprera, then as now a magnificent, challenging island of gray-pink granite rocks, thorny spots, umbrella-pine forests and some of the best beaches in Sardinia.

Garibaldi's former house is preserved as the centerpiece of the Museo Garibaldino, one of those old-fashioned, hands-off Italian museums that remains affecting despite (or could it be because of?) The bored guides and troops of schoolchildren on dutiful pilgrimage. On display are the general's three-wheeler bath chairs, some faded locks of hair and furniture made by Brown Bros, London. Perhaps most moving is the narrow bed on which the old soldier ended his days, raised on a plinth so he could contemplate, from a window, the view across the strait to Corsica, hopping-off point for his hometown, Nice.

In the archipelago, swimming, sailing and long walks are the default activities. At the end of a long day's communing with nature, you come home to La Maddalena, a surprisingly large, lively, sophisticated town, buzzing with bars and bookshops, cinemas, shops and restaurants. Because all the development has been concentrated in the town, the island itself has some quiet corners which are well worth exploring. Cala dei Francesi, on the west coast, is like an industrial Pompeii: a huge, 19th-century granite quarry that looks like it was abandoned overnight. Rusting trolleys still sit on twisted iron tracks, huge three-legged winches loom like Richard Serra sculptures, and partly dressed blocks, still bearing the quarrymen's chisel marks, emerge from the weeds. On the north coast, dune-backed beaches such as Bassa Trinità offer tropical sea and sand (though seaweed can be a problem on this coast).

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You'll need to take a boat to reach the archipelago's most spectacular land- and seascapes. On uninhabited Spargi, pristine beaches such as Cala Soraya, backed by fragrant shrubs of lentisk and pistachio, have fewer footprints than Crusoe's island. Across the first (often choppy) stretch of the Bocche di Bonifacio, the three northern islands of Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria are for true castaways. Santa Maria has a bar-restaurant and a few simple houses that change hands (when they do, which is seldom) at stratospheric prices. One belongs to actor-director Roberto Benigni, the latest Italian film personality to be associated with these islands.

On Razzoli (uninhabited since 1969, when the last lighthouse keeper was transferred), the archipelago's granite rocks reach their apotheosis, piling and twisting into muscular shapes which make them look like eroded, petrified giants. Budelli is a tamer and more verdant island, with what must be the most famous beach in all Italy: the Spiaggia Rosa, which featured in Antonioni's film Il Deserto Rosso, and is so-called because of the blushing pink color of the sand, caused by a microorganism that lives on seagrass. At least, it used to be blushing pink. After years of depredations by tourists filling bottles with the sand to take away as souvenirs, it's now a much paler, subtler hue: more blushing white. Since 1993 (better late than never) this has been a protected area, and the beach is now cordoned off (you're allowed to walk around the footpath that borders it, but not step onto the sand). It's still a seductively beautiful spot, pink or no pink.

Seamen at the port of La Maddalena

Budelli also has a real-life Robinson Crusoe: Mauro, the wiry, sunburnt, 71-year-old guardian who lives in a jerry-built shack just back from the Spiaggia Rosa. A former PE teacher from Modena, he moved here in 1989 when the job came up, and spends 10 months of each year on the island, using a small generator to produce enough electricity to power a few lights, and warming up his shower water with solar panels. He makes his own furniture out of juniper wood, some of which he sells via a Milan gallery.

Quick Links: Italy> Sardinia> La Maddalena

Provinces of the Sardinia region

Town in the province of Olbia Tempio

  • Aggius
  • Aglientu
  • Wing of the Sardinians
  • Arzachena
  • Badesi
  • Baja Sardinia
  • Berchidda
  • Bortigiadas
  • Buddusт
  • Budoni
  • Cala Bitta
  • Cala di Volpe
  • Calangianus
  • Cannigione
  • Capo d'Orso
  • Capriccioli
  • Golfo Aranci
  • Gulf of Pevero
  • Gulf of Marinella
  • Caprera Island
  • Mortorio Island
  • La Maddalena
  • Smooth of Cow
  • Loiri Porto San Paolo
  • Luogosanto
  • Luras
  • Monti
  • Olbia
  • Oschiri
  • Padru
  • Palau
  • Poltu Quatu
  • I carry
  • Porto Cervo
  • Porto Rotondo
  • Romazzino
  • San Teodoro
  • Sant'Antonio di Gallura
  • Santa Teresa Gallura
  • Telti
  • Tempio Pausania
  • Trinitа d'Agultu and Vignola

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Where to stay in La Maddalena?

You've got two options here. You can either stay in Palau (Sardinia mainland) and go day trips from there or stay on La Maddalena Island.

They are both good choices, it just depends on what you want to do. Palau is the best option if you are in any of these categories:

  • You want to spend 2 days max in La Maddalena Archipelago
  • You are on a budget
  • You don't mind about not staying on an island

La Maddalena is perfect if you fall into one of those categories:

  • You want to stay at least 3 days in La Maddalena
  • You are after luxury accommodation
  • You want to drive on the island and drive to Caprera

Here are some recommendations.

Accommodation in Palau

Budget accommodation: Nice Studio is the perfect budget apartment right in the center of Palau! Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

Mid-range accommodation: Bassa Prua is a cute bed and breakfast located right by Palau Vecchio Beach. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

Luxury accommodation: Il Vento e il Mare is a great aparthotel in the heart of Palau town center. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

Accommodation on La Maddalena Island

Budget accommodation: Leberides offers great apartments for a very reasonable price. Well located, comfortable and tidy, it's the perfect place to stay at if you are on a budget. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

Mid-range accommodation: The Residenze Le Padule is ideal if you are looking for a great apartment with beach view! Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

Luxury accommodation: Villa Iole is a gorgeous house located in the north of the island. Everything you may want will be there! Click here for more information and see the latest prices.

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