Isola Maddalena

A view of Isola Maddalena and Palau, in northeast Sardinia. Several ferries bring tourists to the popular archipelago.
The ferry from Palau (foreground) to Isola Maddalena (background) takes about 15 minutes, but the holiday memories may last a lifetime.

About Isola Maddalena

Isola Maddalena is one of seven main islands of an archipelago which is also home to the islands of Santa Maria, Razzoli, Spargi, Budelli, Caprera, and Santo Stefano. The archipelago is a designated national park and known to locals as ”Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago di La Maddalena”, or “Parco La Maddalena” in short. It’s true; Isola Maddalena, the largest island of the archipelago, is overflowing with natural beauty, making it one of northeast Sardinia’s most popular tourist hot spots.

The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including dolphins, sea turtles, and several species of birds. Many beaches and coves (Spiaggia di Cala Spalmatore, Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita, Spiaggia Testa di Polpo on Isola Giardinelli to name a few) around the island are accessible only by boat, which adds to the sense of unbound adventure and discovery. Once there, the journey continues because visitors can explore the park on foot, by bike, or by boat and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago.

La Maddalena Town

the main port of La Maddalena is called Cala Gavetta
The marina of Cala Gavetta, a natural inlet where the ancient city of La Maddalena was built in the mid-18th century.

La Maddalena has a population of approximately 11000 people. It is the main town on the island and is only accessible by ferry from the mainland harbor village of Palau. Located 24 kilometers from Santa Teresa Gallura, Palau is the main port for trips to La Maddalena Archipelago. Maddalena village is best known for its rich cultural heritage, as several civilizations, including the Romans, the Byzantines, the Pisans, and the Genoese, have influenced it. You will find remnants of this history throughout the seaside town.

Visitors can explore these historic landmarks, including the 18th-century Church of Santa Maria Maddalena and the Forte S. Andrea, a historic fortress that now houses a museum. The cobbled streets are narrow and winding, and the houses are painted in bright, pastel colors. The town has many small cafes, restaurants, and shops selling everything from handmade ceramics to locally produced cheese and wine.

How to Get to La Maddalena

From Palau

All year round, there are active ferry connections available from the port of Palau to the island of La Maddalena. Several ferry companies operate this route. It takes only 15 minutes to cross to the port of Cala Gavetta in La Maddalena.

Throughout the day, ferries depart every 30 to 60 minutes. For one adult without a car or motorcycle, expect to pay between €2.00 – €4.00.

a ferry travels from Palau to Isola Maddalena in Sardinia
On the ferry from Palau to La Maddalena it’s possible to take your car, motorcycle or recreational vehicle.

If you’d like to take your car to Maddalena, use the ticket configurator on the ferry website and specify your type and model. To ensure a smooth boarding process, be sure to reach the harbor approximately an hour in advance to purchase your tickets and embark. If you plan to bring your vehicle along, please note that the process may take a little longer. Pets are welcome to travel along but often must be paid for separately.

Regarding rental car availability and choice, arranging a vehicle on the mainland is better than on La Maddalena.

You can book a rental car in advance here.

Buy ferry tickets to La Maddalena online at ferry You can compare schedules and fares of all companies.

Isola Maddalena Map

  • ✔ Use the Google and Booking map below to explore the area.
  • ✔ Fill in your holiday dates to get an accurate view of available accommodations near Isola Maddalena.

Where to Stay in Isola Maddalena - Our Top Picks

Grand Hotel Resort Ma&Ma

  • A 5 star Resort in Isola Maddalena, 1.5 kilometers from the center of town (about 0.9 miles.)
the outdoor swimming pool at the adult-only Grand Hotel Resort Ma&Ma on Isola Maddalena in Sardinia.
At Grand Hotel Resort Ma&Ma, guests are enticed to stay active, with 2 swimming pools, a gym and yoga classes.

Located on the southwest coast of the island, the Grand Hotel Resort & Spa Ma&Ma features many high-end amenities and services to ensure a memorable stay on Isola Maddalena. It's the only 5-star accommodation on Isola Maddalena. Rooms are comfortable with sea or garden views. There is also a modern wellness center with a sauna, Turkish bath, indoor pool, a fully equipped fitness center, and several restaurants and bars serving gourmet cuisine and cocktails. The hotel is best known for high-end features, such as the Michelin-starred restaurant and the rooftop bar with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Meanwhile, the elegant decor helps create a relaxing atmosphere, making it a popular choice for couples and families looking for a memorable vacation in a beautiful setting. Guests can enjoy various activities and excursions, such as boat tours of the archipelago, snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters, and exploring the beautiful beaches and rugged landscapes of Isola Maddalena. Overall, the Grand Hotel Resort & Spa Ma&Ma is a top-rated luxury hotel that offers a truly memorable experience with high-end amenities, beautiful surroundings, and excellent service.

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Hotel Cala Lunga 

  • A 4 star Hotel in Isola Maddalena, 5.1 kilometers from the center of town (about 3.2 miles.)
the private beach area at Hotel Cala Luna on Isola Maddalena
The dreamy private beach at Hotel Cala Luna.

Hotel Cala Lunga is a charming beachfront hotel set in a beautiful natural Sardinian landscape, with views of the crystal-clear waters of the sea and the surrounding islands. You can expect many amenities and services, including comfortable and well-appointed rooms with sea views, a restaurant serving delicious Italian cuisine, and a bar serving various drinks and cocktails. A swimming pool and sun terrace allow guests to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you would like to explore the island and the surrounding archipelago, it’s possible to take a boat tour of the area, go snorkeling or scuba diving in the clear waters, or explore the beautiful beaches and rugged landscapes of La Maddalena. Overall, Hotel Cala Lunga is a fantastic place to stay that offers guests a relaxing and enjoyable stay in a beautiful setting. The hotel's friendly and welcoming staff, comfortable rooms, and excellent location also make this hotel a popular choice for couples and families looking for a memorable vacation in the heart of Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena.

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Hotel Il Gabbiano

  • A 3 star Hotel in Isola Maddalena, 0.9 kilometers from the center of town (about 0.6 miles.)
spectacular sea view at Hotel Il Gabbiano on Maddalena island.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the islands of Caprera, Santo Stefano, and Spargi.

Built in 1955, Il Gabbiano was the first hotel on Isola Maddalena and is located near the port. You’ll likely spot it when you’re on the ferry from Palau to La Maddalena! At the 3-star Il Gabbiano, you will find lush gardens and unobstructed ocean views next to the hotel, which makes this an ideal place to escape the noise and embrace the natural beauty of Isola Maddalena. The 35 rooms at Hotel II Gabbiano are beautifully decorated with bright colors and traditional and modern furnishings. Each room has Wi-Fi, air conditioning, flat-screen television, and a balcony or terrace. These small outdoor spaces offer stunning views of the ocean and a great spot to relax and unwind before an evening meal. The restaurant serves a wide range of Sardinian meals and a selection of seafood dishes. You can also expect a rather large and delicious breakfast in the mornings and a large outdoor terrace overlooking the sea. There is also a hotel bar and an outdoor swimming pool where many guests can relax during the day. Overall, Hotel Il Gabbiano is an accommodation with peaceful surroundings and a beautiful interior that balances space, comfort, and style.

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Things to Do in Isola Maddalena

See Cappella della Madonnetta

Cappella della Madonnetta on the west coast of Isola Maddalena in Sardinia
Madonnetta Chapel, a destination for the faithful devoted to the small statue of Mary, our savior from the dangers of the sea.

If you’ve arranged a rental car, driving around Isola Maddalena is good fun. For instance, you can visit Cappella della Madonnetta, the perfect place to say a little prayer or take a few panoramic pictures and selfies. Capella della Madonetta, located near Cala Francese on the west coast of the island, faces west, making it an excellent place to witness the sun set behind Isola Spargi. Standing on a granite boulder overlooking the sea, the little chapel was built in 1923 after fishermen found shelter near this inlet after a heavy storm. After many years, this legendary tale has engrained itself into Sardinian culture, and the chapel is still a destination of pilgrimages today. You can reach the chapel by car from the center of La Maddalena by taking the SP14 toward Cala Francese. The drive shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes. The last few hundred meters will be on a gravel road which is generally in decent condition. There’s a dusty parking area 100 meters behind the chapel.

Fort S. Andrea Heritage Museum

Ancient defensive structure on top of the wild island of Caprera in the Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia
Napoleon's involvement in Sardinia's history played a pivotal role in shaping the island's political and social landscape.


Fort S. Andrea Museum is located on a hilltop overlooking the sea and features incredible panoramic views of the surrounding area. Initially built in the 18th century to protect the area from invasion by sea, this historic fort was also used during World War II by the Italian Navy as a base for submarines. In 2003, the fort was restored and converted into a museum to showcase the culture and heritage of Isola Maddalena. The museum features a variety of exhibits that highlight the history and traditions of La Maddalena. Visitors can explore the fort's underground tunnels, which soldiers used to move throughout the fortress undetected. This incredible museum also includes a collection of historical artifacts such as ancient coins, pottery, and military memorabilia. The "Napoleonic Room" is another highlight which displays artefacts and information about the French occupation of the island under Napoleon Bonaparte. Visitors can see original documents and artefacts from the period and a replica of the bed where Napoleon allegedly slept during his visit to the island.

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Museo Diocesano di La Maddalena

a view inside of the Museo Diocesano in La Maddalena
The exhibition's central theme consists of the "Treasure of Santa Maria Maddalena," offered by devotees to the patron saint.

This fascinating museum showcases the island's rich cultural heritage. Located in the historic center, this beautiful 18th-century building was once home to the bishop of La Maddalena and features a long line of religious artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and works of art. One of the highlights of the Museo Diocesano is the "Treasury Room,” which holds a collection of silver and gold chalices, reliquaries, and crosses. The room also contains an 18th-century altar made of marble. The "Cappella del Crocifisso" is another exciting exhibit, and this small chapel houses iconic frescoes and a crucifix that is believed to date back to the 16th century. Visitors to the Museo Diocesano can also learn about the island's history and relationship with the Church. This fascinating glimpse into the religious and cultural traditions of the region helps provide a new perspective of La Maddalena and a greater understanding of the island in general. If you are interested in art, history, or culture, the Museo Diocesano is worth the visit and is one of the most exciting things to do in La Maddalena.

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Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Palau to Maddalena

a girl relaxing in the nets of a catamaran en route to Isola la Maddalena
The stunningly clear waters glide beneath you while you relax, en route to the next secluded cove...

A catamaran trip from Palau to Maddalena is an unforgettable experience with stunning views of the coastline and crystal-clear waters of the Maddalena archipelago. The tour begins in the harbor of Palau, a picturesque town on the northern coast of Sardinia. From this area, you will board a catamaran and sail across the Strait of Bonifacio to the island of Maddalena. During the boat trip, you can relax on deck and soak up the sun while enjoying the breathtaking views. A catamaran is such an enjoyable way to travel, but the truth is, most visitors fall in love with the stunning secluded beaches, turquoise waters, and unspoiled natural beauty on this trip. The captain will occasionally stop to allow you and other guests to snorkel and explore the marine life around the bay. The water is crystal clear so you can expect near-perfect visibility and conditions for swimming and snorkeling. You need not worry about food and drink because spaghetti with wine and other beverages is served for lunch. This full-day boat tour from Palau is popular in Maddalena and begins at 9 am daily.

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Drive to Isola Caprera

ponte di caprera, the bridge that connects the islands of maddalena and caprera
Ponte di Caprera is an important passage between the two islands of the archipelago, La Maddalena and Caprera.

Isola Caprera is closely located to the east side of Isola Maddalena. The two islands are connected by a bridge, the Ponte di Cabrera, which starts in Marina del Ponte, on the south-eastern tip of Isola Maddalena. Driving around Isola Caprera is certainly nice for a day trip. Although largely uninhabited, the island offers a few spots to explore including the Garibaldi Museum and the tiny village of Stagnali where most people live. On the northern tip you’ll find Cala Napoletana, a small cove which takes a good hike to reach but is absolutely worth the effort. Spiaggia di Cala Coticcio is located on the east side and offers rugged cliffs, good swimming and sunbathing opportunities. It’s highly recommended to spend some time there, if you’re willing to put in some hiking time! On the south side of Isola Caprera, Spiaggia I due Mari won’t disappoint either. This beach is recommended for families with kids. Like the Caribbean, it features crystal clear water and very good sand. A car parking area and road access are right behind the beach.

Visit the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene

outside view of Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena on Isola Maddalena in Sardinia
Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena had several modifications in 1993 which ended after three years, based on a project by architect Cianchetti.

The Catholic church in the center of La Maddalena, Sardinia, is known as the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena in Italian). It is a beautiful and historic church that has been a significant landmark in the town for centuries. The church was built in 1768 and underwent significant renovations and expansions in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a striking example of Baroque architecture, with a facade adorned with intricate stonework and a prominent bell tower. The church is decorated with stunning frescoes and artwork, including a painting of St. Mary Magdalene herself. The church also contains several religious relics, including a piece of the True Cross and a statue of the Madonna and Child. Over the years, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene has played an essential role in the religious and cultural life of La Maddalena. You'll find it in the square near the Cala Gavetta Marina and the Palazzo Comunale.

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Horseback Riding at Maneggio Cala Spalmatore

horseback riding along the coast of Isola Maddalena, Sardinia.
Saddle up and ride into the sunset along the coast of Isola Maddalena.

Isola Maddalena offers plenty of things to do, and among these, you can find the little equestrian centre near Spiaggia di Cala Spalmatore, on the east coast. Renowned for their well-kept and well-trained horses and overall professionalism, the staff at Maneggio Cala Spalmatore ensures the highest level of standards and outdoor adventure for all. The ride suits everyone, even beginners and children aged seven and over. Following Maddalena Island's rugged yet well-marked trails, this is one of the best ways to experience the island and absorb the local surroundings. Staff at Maneggio Cala Spalmatore are also known for being very accommodating and ensure this is an incredibly enjoyable experience while focusing on everyone’s security and safety. They will pick you up from the port of La Maddalena town and bring you to the stables. Remember to leave Palau on time (a ferry leaves every half hour.) Along with an enchanting Mediterranean coastline with mesmerizing greeneries, and enchanting sunsets, there is no doubt that riding horses at Maneggio Cala Spalmatore will be a unique experience during your holiday on Isola Maddalena! Book in advance, as the tour guides prefer to keep groups small. Staff will provide you with all the equipment to ride a horse, helmet included.

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More Places to Visit Near Isola Maddalena

An aerial view of Pittulongu and Spiaggia la Playa, Spiaggia dello Squalo, Spiaggia del Pellicano, and Spiaggia Mare e Rocce.


Pittulongu is a small seaside town in the province of Olbia-Tempio in north-east Sardinia, Italy. Located just a short drive away from the center of ...
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a picture of cloud-covered Isola Tavolara, seen from a beach at Murta Maria, a seaside village in north-east Sardinia, Italy.

Murta Maria

Located in north-east Sardinia, just a few kilometers south-east of Olbia, Murta Maria is a quiet, peaceful village that’s known for its beautiful views as ...
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a picture of Porto Ottiolu, a small seaside village in north-east Sardinia, Italy.

Porto Ottiolu

Porto Ottiolu is famous for its beautiful beaches. There are plenty of beach establishments within the village, and the seashore is half a kilometer long ...
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Isola Maddalena Restaurants - Where to Eat

Trattoria Dal Genovese (Seafood, Traditional Sardinian Food)

🏠 10, Via Manfredo Fanti, La Maddalena, Sardegna, 07024, Italy.
📱 Telephone: +39 379 244 7746
a picture of a plate of Sardinian Fregula with seafood.
A mouth-watering Sardinian Fregula (small balls made of pasta) with seafood.

Trattoria Dal Genovese is located in one of the prettiest cobbled alleys in the heart of La Maddalena. It is best known for its delicious seafood dishes and friendly atmosphere. As for the menu, Trattoria Dal Genovese features a range of traditional Sardinian and Genoese dishes, focusing on fresh seafood. Enjoy classic dishes, including spaghetti with clams, mixed fried seafood, and lobster with tomatoes and onions. The eatery is decorated with traditional Sardinian decor, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The friendly staff also suggests recommendations and explains dishes to visitors who might need assistance. Trattoria Dal Genovese is regarded as one of the best places to eat in La Maddalena for good reason, and the focus on fresh seafood is one of those reasons. If you want to enjoy authentic local food in a very Sardinian setting, you cannot go wrong with this beautiful restaurant in La Maddalena.

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Lo Strangolato Ristorante & Lounge Bar (Seafood, Traditional Sardinian Food)

🏠 LocalitĂ  Abbatoggia, Sardegna, 07024, Italy.
📱 Telephone: +39 379 130 5799
Carpaccio di Wagyu at Lo Strangolato on the island of Maddalena, Sardinia.
Antipasti at Lo Strangolato: Carpaccio di Wagyu

Located at Spiaggia dello Strangolato on the northern tip of Isola Maddalena, Lo Strangolato Restaurant is a charming restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and an impressive seafood menu. The restaurant maintains a rustic or traditional feel inside an ancient building while ensuring high comfort. Although the interior is nicely decorated, the outdoor terrace at Lo Strangolato Restaurant is arguably the main attraction as it sits right by the water’s edge and features spectacular ocean views. The beachfront restaurant is family-run, which is largely why Lo Strangolato gives off a local vibe. The staff is also notably friendly, and the menu reflects the long Sardinian heritage behind the family itself. You can expect a nice mix of Sardinian dishes, seafood, and gluten-free and vegan options. This includes multiple fish types, octopus, shrimp, and a special seafood pasta called bottarga. Either way, the colorful menu has something for everyone, especially seafood lovers. This excellent restaurant ticks all the right boxes regarding character, personality, and cultural appeal, and the impressive line-up will impress. 

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Isola Maddalena Nightlife

The Duke Cocktail & Lounge Bar

a range of cocktails drinks served at The Duke Cocktail Bar on Isola Maddalena
There's a whole new world of taste to explore at the Duke.

The Duke Cocktail & Lounge Bar is situated in the center of La Maddalena town and is best known for having an extensive menu of cocktails. The colorful cocktail bar is also characterized by an energetic crowd and atmosphere. The Duke is a very stylish place to go out and features dim lighting, up-market furnishings, and the kind of atmosphere where friends can mingle and converse without having to shout over the music! Getting back to the drinks, the Duke has an incredible variety of cocktails, from negronis and martinis to more innovative beverages with locally sourced ingredients. You will find wines from different corners of Sardinia and Italy, and the quality of these wines is notable. When it comes to food, the Duke also serves snacks and small plates of delicacies which go down well despite not constituting an actual meal. Meanwhile, the indoor seating area is cozy and comfortable. Still, many guests prefer to lounge on the outdoor terrace, where an ocean breeze and sea views can make for a memorable night at the Duke in La Maddalena.

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Beaches Near Isola Maddalena

summer scenery of clear waters and granite rocks at Spiaggia dello Strangolato on Isola Maddalena, Sardinia.

Spiaggia dello Strangolato

The pinkish sand is inviting. Spend a few hours on Spiaggia dello Strangolato with or without kids, and admire the scenery ...
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Mediterranean shrub behind the beach of Spiaggia Monti d’à Rena on Isola Maddalena in Sardinia.

Spiaggia Monti d’Ă  Rena

While the calm waters of Spiaggia Monti d'Ă  Rena make it popular with windsurfers and other water sports, families with children will appreciate its safe ...
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Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita, where a wooden pathway winds through a patch of dunes and Mediterranean vegetation, adding to the natural charm of the location.

Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita

Despite its small size, Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita is a quiet beach within easy reach of the main town where you can swim, snorkel and ...
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