Much more than a gateway to the Costa Smeralda, Olbia is an authentic Sardinian city brimming with boutiques, wine bars and cafe-fringed piazzas. Explore Olbia’s palm tree-lined waterfront and mysterious Nuragic archaeological sites.
Things to do in Olbia
Meander through Olbia’s historic core, where narrow laneways branch off the main thoroughfare of Corso Umberto. Don’t miss the Romanesque Basilica San Simplicio, an 11th-century church used in Carthaginian times. After working up an appetite, retire to Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, where laid-back courtyard restaurants, like Trattoria IL Gambero, lure you in with fresh mussels and pecorino cheese.
Located on Peddone Island, Olbia Archeology Museum features exhibits ranging from Nuragic artefacts to Roman warships, highlighted by a sculpture of Hercules and a 3D video uncovering the secrets of Sardinia’s mysterious Nuragic civilisation. If you’re keen to learn more, visit Nuraghe Riu Mulinu, a hilltop archaeological complex with views of the Gulf of Olbia.
Olbia is within 20 minutes of some of Sardinia’s finest beaches. Porto Istana Beach is the most beautiful with its soft white sand, shallow turquoise waters and views of Tavolara Island. Those looking for a quick dip can head to nearby Saline Beach, just a short bus ride away.
For a taste of local cuisine, don’t miss the artisan market held in the charming village of San Pantaleo, a 30-minute drive into the hinterland. Browse the stalls for local ceramics, handmade jewellery and wood carvings, before enjoying typical Sardinian sea bass on the terrace of Ristorante da Tito.
Getting around Olbia
Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport is a 15-minute bus journey from the city centre. The marina and historical centre are walkable, and there are metro buses and taxis available. Olbia has a central railway station with trains connecting to many of the major cities in Sardinia.