Established by shepherds in the late 1800’s and situated in the province of Olbia-Tempio, Palau is small seaside village which is best known for the nearby Capo d’Orso (Cape of the Bear) formation on the northern tip of Sardinia. With the majestic company of stunning Mediterranean seas, Palau proves to be more than just a port island, for this charming town with colorful boats is also perfectly located to explore the surroundings. Along with Tempo Pausania, the road to Castelsardo is also among the most sought after destinations in Palau and the many quaint villages, religious remnants, and the valley of the moon make this a unique place to visit in Sardinia. Conveniently, Palau also serves as a gateway to the Maddalena archipelago so you can enjoy a sightseeing trip near the infamous Garibaldi house or even go for a drive through the mountains to reach Arzachena. Just outside the town of Palau, you can find the Fortezza di Monte Altura which is a popular day trip for tourists and locals alike while the aqua park near Porto Cervo is a favorite with families. As for cuisine, Palau is also home to some world class restaurants which feature authentic Italian dishes from pizza, pasta, and a variety of seafood. Furthermore, water based activities are another attraction with scuba diving being the most common of these while nearby markets and souvenir shops ensure there is everything else you could need in the one place. Featuring a wide range of restaurants and accommodations, the unassuming nature of Palau should disappear after just a couple of days and make way for a memorable experience. When you consider the above and fact that Palau is ideally located to take adventures in the local area, it is unsurprising that this is one of the most sought after destinations in northern Sardinia.
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Where to Stay in Palau - Top Picks
La Vecchia Fonte
Named after the fountain in the main square, La Vecchia Fonte is an extremely bright, spacious and luxurious hotel in the heart of Palau. With bright colors throughout, the Sardinian styled décor is a particular feature which stands out in this beautiful accommodation, and the attention to detail in this respect is apparent at every turn. Renowned for being particularly popular with couples, the hotel provides an ideal hideaway for a romantic break or some quiet time alone. In this regard, there is also an onsite café for coffee and breakfast, while the cocktail bar offers a nice distraction every evening. There are also many things to do in the local area with beaches nearby and the town being such an attractive place for a wander. Harbor views accompany most rooms in La Vecchia Fonte, while the rooms are nothing short of divine and Wi-Fi is common throughout. However, the single most attractive part of this hotel is the previously mentioned décor, and every hallway is decorated with charming maps, portraits, and paintings which bring the hotel to life and leave it with a genuinely mystical appearance. Within a few minutes walking distance of nearby beaches and overlooking the harbor, the prospect of finding a more attractive hotel in Palau seems like an impossible task.
Palau Green Village
Natural and peaceful, the beautiful gardens and surroundings in Palau Green Village are symbolic of the experience every visitor can expect with this gem in Sardinia. Located just a one-minute walk from the ocean, this four-star resort has a typically Sardinian appearance from the outside and with beautiful apartments on the interior. Equipped with air conditioning, television, and a fully functional kitchenette, the apartments have everything you could need to feel at home, away from home. Furthermore, each apartment also has a distinct character. For example, featuring a quaint veranda, the rooms on the first floor never fail to disappoint guests, but then the ground floor rooms are also accompanied by a small garden. Located in the center of Palau, the accommodation is one reason why many tourists will choose this hotel, but arguably the highlight of every stay here is the stunning swimming pool, leafy surroundings and the spacious area in which guests can relax and sunbathe next to the pool. While Palau Green Village Official is certainly popular with couples, the fantastic array of facilities such as the gym, bike rental, and excursions also make this a great place to stay in Palau for families.
Although the name may seem a little generic, Hotel Palau is one of the finest and most respected hotels in the area. Located right next to the ocean and a short walking distance from the port, this four-star boutique hotel is ideally located to either relax or get out to explore the local area. With sublime views of the Mediterranean ocean and many islands which inhabit this part of the coastline, the rooms are suitably bright and modern, with television, private bathroom and a very fresh feel about them. Regarding amenities, there are also many things to do in Hotel Palau as evidenced in the tennis courts, the seasonal private pool and available water sports on the beach such as windsurfing or even sailing. Furthermore, you can unwind in the Spa and Wellness Centre which never fails to receive glowing feedback, and the terraces are a free alternative for the days you opt to sunbathe instead. Hotel Palau can bring breakfast to the room on request, but there is an a la carte restaurant with a large variety of Sardinian favorites and also a bar for some down time in the evenings. Whether you decide to keep a low profile or stay active on your time away from home, Hotel Palau seems to offer the perfect mix to keep everyone more than satisfied.
Club Esse Posada Beach Village
On first glance, Club Esse Posada is a vibrant resort with bright rooms and a warm atmosphere. At the same time, this also seems to be the lasting impression for most guests who fall in love with the outdoor pool. Facing Maddalena Park, the hotel is situated in the middle of Palau, and the private beach is undeniably a unique selling point for the resort. A beautiful Sardinian style can be found throughout the resort, but the property is split in two, with the rooms in “Sa Posada” feeling a little more rustic when compared with the other side – Sa Marina. Rooms in the latter are located right next to the beach and never fail to impress visitors who yearn for an ocean view. Featuring beautiful views of the gardens, the air conditioned rooms in Club Esse have all the modern facilities you might expect including TV, private bathroom, and Wi-Fi, but it is usually the bright and colorful nature of these rooms which impresses visitors the most. As mentioned, the hotel has a seasonal pool, but there is also a tennis court, playground, music bar, nightly entertainment and a world-class restaurant which offers every variety of local food you can imagine. Furthermore, the resort is also a great getaway for families as there are a children's group and a youth group which essentially caters for anyone under the age of eighteen.
Things to Do in Palau
Visit Fortezza di Monte Altura
Fortezza di Monte Altura is a massive bastion which was constructed as a means of defense in the very north of Sardinia. At that time, many invasions occurred on the Maddalena Archipelago, and these imposing towers provided the perfect sweeping views of the surrounding area. As you might expect, this is now a tourist attraction and one in which you can even take an organized tour. Upon reaching the hill, more than 170 steps need to be climbed, and considering the warm Mediterranean climate, this is quite the feat for your average tourist. This stunning fortress was once home to soldiers, and on a tour, you can learn all about the array of weapons which they used. Furthermore, local tour guides will explain what daily life was like back then and how every aspect of the interior was utilized. At the same time, this is also just a spectacular sight as the bastion provides an epic subject for photography. Located high above the rugged coastline, the backdrop is special, but the fortress is undoubtedly a unique encounter.
Day Trip to the Maddalena Archipelago
The Maddalena Archipelago is an enchanting National Park where beautiful islands are characterized by white powdered sands, and crystal blue waters provide relaxation in between. You can take a boat trip through this stunning region and drink in the scenery from the comfort of a boat. While Sardinia is famous for coastal scenery and ocean views, this pristine pocket is one of the more accessible places to explore on the island. As you might expect, visitors are always made to feel welcome on this tours and a part of the overall experience. Featuring professional guides and luxurious facilities, these vessels are arguably the best way to gain a different perspective of the scenery. As for the food, cured meats, and local cheese never fail to impress the guests, but there is also pasta, wine, and freshly baked bread. In most cases, guests will embark on a trip to various locations, and while some are quieter than others, the itinerary is the perfect mix of solitude and social interaction.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
As you may know, this enchanting destination in the north of Sardinia is hugely popular for scuba diving. In fact, the Maddalena Archipelago consists of more than forty separate dive sites and easy access to some fascinating marine life. At the same time, Diving Palau Sardegna is also known for having a professional approach with excellent instructors and the highest quality equipment. Diving in the Lavezzi Reserve is just as popular and one of the best things to do in Palau. In this respect, Palau is ideally positioned to access the most popular dive sites throughout the region, and in most instances, these sites are also relatively close to the shore. With this in mind, there is little time spent on travel and more time spent underwater. Although this diving center is equipped to cater to beginners, even the most advanced divers are often impressed with the setup. Furthermore, having explored several dive sites in the region, it is clear that northern Sardinia is one of the best places to dive in Europe. Finally, if you fancy the idea of swimming next to dolphins or witnessing these creatures in their natural habitat, Palau us the perfect base from which to start your diving adventure.
Palau Restaurants - Where to Eat
La Gritta (Seafood, Traditional Sardinian Food)
La Gritta is a family run restaurant in Palau and one with a great deal of history. After all, this eatery has graced the area for more than thirty years and is still the charming establishment which was first created in 1987. The menu has moved with the times so you will find both modern and authentic food on it. In fact, La Gritta is a Michelin Star restaurant, and this is usually evident in every dish from freshly made pasta to the local seafood. In case you might be asking yourself, this is not one of the cheapest places to eat in Palau, but the excellent standards are often the subject of five-star reviews. As for the interior, La Gritta is a somewhat traditional and old-fashioned place to eat where the cultured owner is represented in the antiquated design. Interestingly, the dining area faces out onto beautiful lawns with unrivaled views of Magdalena Island. In this sense, this is one of the more scenic restaurants in Palau and one where yachts and stunning ocean views provide a backdrop to a memorable food experience.
Da Robertino (Seafood, Italian Food)
As with several restaurants in Palau, Da Robertino is a family owned establishment where affordable prices accompany quite a variety of dishes. Located in Palau at the very northern tip of Sardinia, this traditional restaurant is very popular and keen on attention to detail. With the above in mind, Da Robertino offers a quiet ambiance and relaxing atmosphere while the friendly staff is often the subject of glowing feedback. Online reviews are usually excellent in every other regard, and this is indeed true of the food. Featuring ample fish delicacies, delicate pasta, succulent steak and mouth-watering salads; you can find freshness at every turn. That is to say; these dishes consist of local produce so whether you opt for the friend scampi, a seafood platter or even just the pasta with tomato sauce, the cater put into every meal is obvious. Da Robertino is also a great place to enjoy an evening meal outdoors, and when it comes to price, this is also one of the most affordable restaurants in Palau.
Il Paguro (Seafood, Traditional Sardinian Food)
In many ways, the impressive sun terrace is one of the most attractive features of Il Paguro and a characteristic which seems to enable this restaurant in Palau to stand out. On the other hand, the panoramic views certainly help to make this all the more attractive and worthy of the reviews which touch on the setting. Although open for lunch meals, Il Paguro is most popular in the evening and best known for incredibly mouthwatering steak and lobster. Furthermore, the spider crabs are somewhat unique, and the shellfish never fails to impress guests. On the other hand, Il Paguro is also known for a particularly impressive gluten-free menu which uses the finest local produce to create some uniquely attractive options. Finally, the staff at this restaurant in Paula is friendly, and when it comes to an all-round experience where seafood and traditional Sardinian food can be found next to ocean views, Il Paguro is most certainly up there as one of the finest in the region.
How To Get To Palau
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The nearest airport to Palau is Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, located about 33 kilometers south-east of the seaside village. To get to Palau via the fastest route by car, just hop on the Strada Statale 125 once you've left the airport. This road will practically lead you all the way to Palau. Once you're near Arzachena, you can either choose to go through the village by staying on the SS 125, or go around it by taking the Strada Provinciale 14 for a few kilometers. The SP 14 will lead you back on the SS 125 eventually. The total trip shouldn't take you longer than about 45 minutes.