A popular destination for the rich and famous due its fabulous coastal views, the provincial town of Olbia in northeast Sardinia is a great spot both for relaxation and as a launching pad to explore the whole island.

Most likely founded in the 6th century BC by the Phoenicians, Roman takeover in the 2nd century was decisive in making Olbia one of the most important Italian ports. During the Middle Ages, the city's regional prominence was reflected in its status as capital of the Grudicato of Gallura (one of four independent Sicilian states) under the name 'Civita'.

Only retaining its original name of Olbia after the Fascist period (being previously known as Terranova Pausania), the city has since expanded hugely thanks to tourism and trade. As such, it's a welcoming place to see the best of Sardinia.


The main cultural sight of interest is The Basilica of San Simplicio. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, the Basilica is Olbia's main example of Romanesque architecture with an impressive, if somewhat daunting, façade and a fine collection of Roman funeral inscriptions inside.

Also worth a look is the Church of San Paolo, completed in the 17th century with a more local Gallurese style of architecture, and the remains of the medieval castle of Pedres to the west of town.

Travelling down the Viale Principe Umberto will take you to the centre of town, where a number of ruins can be found pertaining to Olbia's ancient past. Amongst these are Roman cisterns and a punic necropolis. Elsewhere, down the Via Acquedotto and Via Torino are ruins of the ancient Carthaginian walls.

However, Olbia's major attraction is its selection of beautiful beaches located just a few kilometres from the centre, including the Lido del Sole, Le Saline, Murta Maria, Li Cuncheddi and Porto Istana. The city is also in close proximity to the nearby resorts of Costa Smeralda, Porto Rotondoor and Arzachena, where you can explore sites like the Holy Well of Sa Testa and the Giants' Graves of Su Monte and S'Abe.

If you'd prefer some football, Olbia Calcio compete in Serie C2/A at the Stadio Bruno Nespoli, where tickets can naturally be easily bought at little cost


The city centre hosts the majority of outlets for local crafts, but there are plenty of secluded alleys if you're feeling adventurous. Markets can be found on most weekends, but note that Olbians speak 'Gallurese', a dialect of Sardinian.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Olbia provides fine Sardinian cuisine, meaning a mixture of seafood, game and spit-roasted meats. There are plenty of restaurants in typically provincial fashion to be found in the city. Particularly nice is the Restorante Da Bartolo on Viale Aldo Moro.

Tourist Information

Olbia Tourist OfficeVia Catello Piro, 1OlbiaTel: +39 (0)78 921 453www.regione.sardinia.it


Olbia is served by Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport. International and domestic connecting flights are available, and Easyjet are among the airlines who use Olbia.

Although the airport is located in the town, buses and taxis can be used to get to the city centre.

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