Despite its popularity of mostly serving as a northeastern port and airport town for passers-by heading to and from the Italian island of Sardinia, Olbia indeed has quite a bit to offer its traveling visitors. With an extremely long and rich history, inexpensive but tasteful restaurants, and interesting museums scattered throughout, it is in fact quite a gem of Sardinia well worth the visit. It is believed that the Phoenicians were most likely the first to settle in Olbia until later conquered by Rome only to be attacked later by the Vandals around 450AD. This small region of Sardinia saw many years of back and forth power until finally it returned to its original Greek name of Olbia and its re-christening by Italy fascists to make it what it is today; a beautiful and enriched town with much to offer. Whether you have a few hours or opt to spend a day or two in Olbia, you’ll find there is plenty to see, do, and discover while there. Be sure to check out the town’s two churches and its archaeological museum for historical enrichment before making your way to the town’s most popular hub, Corso Umberto. Here, you can wander about its vibrant and lively shop-lined street that leads up to the beautiful waterfront boasting a fantastic sea view. As you continue on, you’ll soon find yourself in the more laid back Piazza Margherita where charming old stone buildings can be seen and explored. You will find that although many areas like that of Corso Umberto as mentioned above attract the most tourists, the true charm to be discovered lies within an exploration of the more hidden piazzas. On a clear and sunny summer day, not much is better than taking a leisurely stroll through some of its many back alleyways only to find hidden trinkets and treasures along the way. If you do decide to pay a visit to Olbia, you’ll surely find it to be a trip worth remembering.
Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport
Olbia Airport officially is named Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport and is the second largest airport in Sardinia. It’s a modern airport with 40 check-in desks and ten boarding gates and offers a broad range of services including a large parking area right in front of the terminal, a parking section for the disabled, a luggage storage service, a VIP Lounge, a Meeting & Business Centre, ticketing services, ATM’s provided by Banco Di Sardegna and Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, 10 Mbps WiFi coverage throughout the airport, a shopping mall, and free charging points for smartphones and tablets. A direct flight to Olbia Airport from London, United Kingdom, will take about 2 hours and 20 minutes. From Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport you’ll get easy access to the Costa Smeralda, the area that Sardinia is most famous for. For example, if you’re willing to drive for half an hour or so after your flight, seaside villages such as Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo, Golfo Aranci, and San Teodoro are within easy reach. All these places are located within a 30 kilometer range from the airport. The car rental terminal at Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport is easily accessible on foot. It is located near the arrivals building, just outside the terminal at a distance of about 50 meters. From the airport you can easily reach the train station, located in the town centre of Olbia, by taking shuttle bus number 2 or 10.
Where to Stay in Olbia - Our Top Picks
The Jazz Hotel is a four-star boutique hotel in Olbia, just a few kilometers from the city center and very close to the airport. It offers a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. Featuring many nearby beaches, this is also an iconic spot while the hotel itself is designed in a very luxurious, bright and comfortable way. In many instances, the large outdoor spaces and enormous pool are highlights for guests, but then the surrounding scenery can often make this the case. Featuring several sun loungers and umbrellas, the terrace is indeed a relaxing setting while the pool is equipped with hydro massage jets. As for food, the hotel restaurant Bacchus Ristorante offers some very exquisite flavors of Sardinian cuisines, prepared by one of the best chefs on the island. Each room at the Jazz Hotel is contemporary in design and equipped with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable and relaxing stay. These rooms are also spacious with charming furnishings and private bathrooms. Aside from satellite TV, the rooms have access to free Wi-Fi, and many even have their very own private terrace with stunning views of the city below.
Geovillage Sport & Wellness Resort
The Geovillage Sport & Wellness Resort is a four-star hotel located in the center of Olbia and a short distance from the most beautiful beaches of the Costa Smeralda. Furthermore, the most popular attractions are also just a few minutes away including the towns of Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo. Being a spa resort, guests at the Geovillage Sport & Wellness Resort are treated to an excellent wellness program, which features a traditional Mediterranean bath, Turkish bath, whirlpool tubs, sauna, and showers. However, aside from the spa, guests will also have free access to the sports center which is also equipped with tennis courts. At the same time, the swimming pool is particularly impressive with lounge chairs and parasols. As for food, the charming restaurant at this resort serves up the most delicious local and International dishes and has a wide selection of the finest Italian wines. Tavolara, which is the main restaurant, is set in a rather large area while the menu consists of incredible choices which earned this eatery a Michelin Star. Simply put, Tavolara is one of the best restaurants to visit during a trip to Olbia. Incredibly, the resort has more than two hundred elegant and well-appointed rooms. Each of these rooms is relatively spacious and features a private bathroom along with flat screen TV, armchairs, Wi-Fi, and a safe. From standard, suites and garden villas; there is also a nice selection of rooms to suit every budget.
DoubleTree By Hilton Olbia
The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel is located right at the heart of the city. In fact, this four-star hotel in Olbia is set adjacent to Parco Fausto Noce, the central park, which offers stunning views in the midst of luscious scenery. While Costa Smeralda Airport and many beaches are just a few minutes away, you can rent a car from the hotel to make life a little easier. As for facilities, the hotel is equipped with a seasonal outdoor pool and wellness center. Furthermore, you can enjoy a round of golf at the nearby Pevero Golf Club, and a bike rental is a popular option for those who want to keep active. In this sense, Double Tree by Hilton is not only extremely comfortable but also a great option for anyone wanting to keep active in the midst of their trip to paradise. Tilibbas Restaurant is the in-house restaurant which serves the most delectable Italian cuisines at the Double Tree. Whether you prefer healthy salads, fast food or gourmet options, the restaurant has something to tickle any palate, and the kid's menu never fails to delight families. It must also be said that the food is often the subject of compliments regarding feedback and online reviews. Afterward, you can also unwind at the Flamingos Bar, which offers an exquisite range of local Italian wines. And then there are the rooms and suites which feature a contemporary design. Each room is equipped with modern amenities which certainly add to the relaxing ambiance of this Olbia hotel. Aside from a flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi, there is a convenient, safe, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and a private bathroom filled with toiletries. On the other hand, the suites feature an ample sized walk-in shower with whirlpool and a rather spacious Queen Size bed.
Hotel Panorama is a four-star hotel located in the center of Olbia and only a few steps from the main shopping districts. The archaeological museum and tree-lined promenade are also nearby, while Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport a very short drive away. That being said, there are enough amenities in this particular accommodation to ensure that the location is not the primary highlight of a stay in this hotel in Olbia. Featuring an in-house spa and wellness facility, Hotel Panorama is considered by many to be the ultimate escape in Olbia and somewhere to pamper the soul. This wellness center is open for all guests to use and features massage along with a wide range of spa treatments. Interestingly, one of the most impressive features of the hotel is a rooftop garden which offers a beautiful terrace that opens up to panoramic views of the city. As you might expect, this is a perfect place to enjoy a drink at sunset, but for the health-conscious and active visitor, there is also a gym and fitness room in the hotel. As for the rooms, Hotel Panorama features a large number of single rooms which are brightly decorated and home to a spacious private bathroom. Double Standard rooms are also available, but there is still a King Size option which is by far the largest. Aside from comfortable beds, each room is furnished with a comfortable seating area, flat screen TV, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Either way, Hotel Panorama is one of the more affordable and best value hotels in Olbia.
The Pelican Beach Resort & Spa - Adults Only
The Pelican Beach Resort and Spa is a stunning boutique hotel in Sardinia which offers the perfect mix of relaxation, facilities, and comfort. Located on a stunning beach near Olbia, the hotel is also nicely positioned for a romantic getaway while the “Adults only” tag is sure to appease those yearning for some peace and quiet. In many ways, peace and quiet are precisely what you will find at this hotel, for the tranquil gardens and onsite spa treatment facility never fail to delight guests. Whether you seek the sauna or an hour-long massage, the Spa is open daily while the luscious gardens and swimming pool feel particularly private given the tranquil nature of the resort. At the same time, there is also a stunning beach right next to the resort and in many cases; this is a genuine highlight for visitors. After all, what better way to start a morning than to walk out onto the beach? Stretching its way around a pristine lagoon, the beach is immaculate and very quiet which can also be attributed to the remote location. As for the rooms, you will find all the modern conveniences at the Pelican Beach Resort including satellite television and a private balcony while the very vibrant or bright decor of the room is often the subject of five-star feedback. Featuring stunning bathrooms, particularly large beds and ample space; the standard of these rooms is consistent throughout the hotel and yet another reason to rest assured that this is one of the most romantic hotels in Sardinia. The resort is also home to one of the finest restaurants in the region which serves everything from staple Sardinian dishes to delicate seafood. With friendly staff and a beautiful outdoor seating area, this is also an excuse for guests to stay at the hotel without any need to venture anywhere else. This hotel for couples offers the perfect getaway and the ultimate romantic hideaway in Sardinia.
Things to Do in Olbia
Visit the Basilica di San Simplicio
One of the most popular things to do in Olbia is to visit the Basilica di San Simplicio, a world-renowned monument in Sardinia. This medieval monument houses some of the most beautiful Italian works of art, including a valuable statue of the patron saint for which the church is known. Standing proudly beneath the altar, this wooden structure was restored during the 19th century at which point it was discovered by an archaeological excavation team. Considered to be among the best preserved Romanesque churches in Sardinia, the Basilica di San Simplicio is a must see regarding things to do in Olbia. Furthermore, the church is the host of the largest annual festival in Olbia, the Festa di San Simplicio. This popular festival takes place in honor of the above-mentioned patron saint. Built in either the 11th or 12th century, the church was erected on the same site of an earlier church which was also dedicated to the same patron saint, San Simplicio, who is a martyred bishop. Finally, you can find the church at the heart of the city center, right at the corner of Fausto Noce and the San Simplicio Streets.
Strolling along the Corso Umberto
The Corso Umberto is a charming cobblestone street in Olbia that runs through the central Piazza Regina Margherita in the old part of town. Some of the most exciting things to see in Olbia can be found here. Strolling along this street, you will encounter a large number of restaurants with outdoor seating areas which serve the most exquisite Sardinian delicacies. As you might expect, these provide the perfect spot to enjoy something to eat while watching the world go by outside. At the end of the Corso Umberto, the road turns to the right and heads toward the Cagliari. Here you can stop to take in the San Paolo Apostolo church, one of the oldest churches in town which dates back to medieval times. Interestingly, the church has a beautiful dome features a colorful majolica that stands out amongst the buildings in the town center. Meanwhile, a few steps away from the church, you will find the famous San Simplicio Basilica.
Visit Tomba dei Giganti Su Monte 'e S'Abe
The Tomba dei Giganti Su Monte 'e S'Abe, also known as the Tomb of Giants of Su Monte e S'Abe, is another one of the interesting things to see in Olbia. In fact, these tombs come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, scattered all over the island. So far, there are thought to be more than eight hundred tombs which have been discovered. Just like the giant tombs in nearby Gallura, the Tomba dei Giganti Su Monte 'e S'Abe was built in two main stages of construction. On the top of the chambers, there is a stone cairn while others have cup-shaped entrances similar to those of the ancient tombs in Ireland. The Tomba dei Giganti Su Monte 'e S'Abe also consists of two different forms. Slab types are uncut slabs buried on end and arranged side by side while the central slabs are unmodified, aside from its entrance, which is cut from the base. Either way, these impressive specimens are some of the most enchanting sights and things to do in Olbia.
Go to Parco Fausto Noce
Spanning an impressive eighteen hectares and located in the heart of the city, Parco Fausto Noce is the ideal place to slowly but surely stretch your legs while enjoying time away from the busy city. Reachable by public transport and with four entrances, the park is crammed full of Mediterranean flowers, tree-lined pathways, and picnic spots. Elegant fountains and pretty waterfalls are located throughout the park bringing welcome relief from the summer heat as does the cool breeze that makes its way from the nearby sea. Take a slow but steady walk around the wide pathways that weave here and there and stumble upon the amphitheater that is home to many concerts and events throughout the year. Let your little ones blow off a bit of steam in the children’s playground. Sit on one of the benches that overlook the park while your kids enjoy climbing ropes, swinging on the monkey bars and using up all of their energy. The playground itself is quite large which is a blessing as it tends to get busy during the summer months, but when your children have had their fill, they can always watch the athletes train at the nearby stadium that’s also located in this beautiful park.
Visit the Museo Archeologico
One of the best things to do in Olbia is without a doubt paying a visit to the Museo Archeologico that’s found near the port. This contemporary museum displays some stunning pottery, Roman amulets and inspiring pieces from the Nuragic civilization which lasted from the 18th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE. The museum is shaped like a ship with hanging walkways and portholes. It is often lit up in an array of colors during the evening to make it look even more mysterious. Even if you’re not the world’s biggest archaeology fan, you need to take time to walk around the museum. It will help you understand more about Olbia’s impressive and often violent history that’s helped shape the city and made it what it is today. Stumble across the ruins of a Roman ship that’s found on the ground floor and see ancient masts and cargo ships while you learn about the sinking of 11 ships that ended the Roman’s reign in Olbia. Gaze upon funerary items and amphorae that date back to the middle of the first century. Enjoy the Herculean sculptures and learn all about how the area was occupied by the Greeks from 630 – 520 BCE. Brightly lit and full of amazing exhibits, the museum is both exciting and astounding. The Museo Archeologico is open Wednesdays to Sundays 10 AM – 1 PM and 5 PM – 8 PM.
Olbia Restaurants - Where to Eat
L'Essenza Bistrot (Seafood, Italian Food)
L'Essenza Bistrot is a gourmet restaurant in Olbia, located at via delle Terme, right at the heart of the city. As a Michelin star restaurant, L'Essenza Bistrot is famous for serving the most mouthwatering Italian and International dishes, renowned for great flavors and rich textures. Furthermore, this charming restaurant receives many online reviews for the most impeccable service. Local produce and seafood also feature prominently on the menu here and among the most popular dishes is the marinated salmon served with fresh pickled vegetables and citrus mayonnaise. And then there is the Amarone risotto, Artichoke chiusoni, Sea bass fillets, grilled prawns with asparagus and Roe-dear fillet, each of which has earned high praise from various customers. For lunch, the restaurant opens at noon, and it stays this way until late but either way, you can expect to be greeted with a very stylish, cozy and welcoming interior. Interestingly, L'Essenza Bistrot has been recently remodeled so that the interiors consist of stonewalls and wooden beams which add to a rather warm ambience.
L'Essenza Bistrot official website:http://www.essenzabistrot.it/en/
Officina del Gusto (Italian Food)
The Officina del Gusto is a Michelin star restaurant and is among the best places to eat in Olbia. Situated in the middle of Olbia within the Piazza Matteotti, the restaurant is also easy to get access to, whether you are coming from the airport, train station or the harbor. As for the menu at Officina del Gusto, this consists of a wide range of authentic Italian dishes. In fact, the popular mixed starters consist of Soufflé, Beef Carpaccio, and Patty Cakes. Seafood starter comprises of the freshest shrimps, sea bass and cuttlefish. They also serve the most delectable rice and pasta courses. Main courses are prepared using organic vegetables grown in their vegetable garden. Their customers also adore the desserts on their menu. It consists of a wide range of cakes, including cream cakes and fruit tarts. Furthermore, Officina del Gusto is set in a charming building featuring a beautiful facade. Featuring a warm and cozy furnishing, the interiors are well decorated in a country style theme. During summer, the restaurant opens up an airy terrace where guests can dine amidst a beautiful ambiance enriched with live music.
Officina del Gusto official website:http://www.leofficinedelgusto.it/en/
Bacchus Ristorante (Italian Food)
The Bacchus Ristorante is another Michelin star restaurant at the Jazz Hotel, a beautiful hotel located in via degli Astronauti, Olbia. With a varied menu of Italian and International dishes, the Bacchus Ristorante is the perfect place to have lunch, dinner, coffee breaks and snacks. As for the food at Bacchus Ristorante, the enticing menu is often changed from one season to another, offering dishes made from the freshest and finest quality of local produce. With this in mind, the hotel chef is also known for preparing these dishes with painstaking detail and with a keen eye for style. With intense and rich flavors, these foods perfectly embody a true Mediterranean cuisine. Bacchus Ristorante has a wonderful ambiance, and the friendly staff is often the subject of excellent online reviews. Outside, you can choose to dine on a beautiful terrace with scenic views, but as already mentioned, the colorful interior makes this the perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner regardless of where you choose to be seated.
Bacchus Ristorante official website:https://www.jazzhotel.it/en/bacchus-restaurant.html
Beaches Near Olbia
There are several sardinian beaches to explore near Olbia. Just click on a link below to find out more!
Le Vecchie Saline
Le Vecchie Saline beach is located near the city of Olbia, just 5 kilometers east of the Costa Smeralda airport and a few kilometers from Maria Murta.
Learn more about Le Vecchie Saline, how to get there, and where to stay.
Cala Banana beach is 500 meters long, and its sands vary from pure white to gray. It is one of the most picturesque beaches between Golfo Aranci and Olbia.
Learn more about Cala Banana, how to get there, and where to stay.
Just 8 kilometers away from Olbia lies the Pittulongu beach area containing 4 beaches: La Playa, Squalo, Pellicano and Mare e Rocce.
Learn more about Pittulongu Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.
10 kilometers away from Olbia, lies Bados beach. This small beach displays the classic Costa Smeralda features: sugary white sands and a palette of gorgeous water colors.
Learn more about Bados Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.