Located off Italy’s mainland on the island of Sardinia, Olbia is a coastal city known for its cultural landmarks, scenic port and cafe-lined piazzas.
Right from its Greek name, Olbia has been influenced by several cultures and civilisations over its illustrious past. The highlight is the Romanesque Basilica of St Simplicio, which dates back to the 11th century and is dedicated to the city’s patron saint. Every summer, Olbia’s biggest festival is held to honour St Simplicio with fireworks, horse races and cultural processions through the streets. The other significant religious monument is St Paul Church, crowned by a colourful, mosaic-patterned dome. After soaking up the city’s history, you can head to the main street of Corso Umberto I for some shopping and round off your day at an atmospheric wine bar or alfresco cafe on Piazza Regina Margherita.
Olbia is a popular starting point for the white-sand beaches and resort towns of Costa Smeralda (meaning ‘Emerald Coast’ in Italian). Aptly named for the emerald waters that gently lap the shore, the strip of land is home to some of the island’s best beaches – Spiaggia del Principe, Capriccioli and Romazzino to name a few. You can rent a car and drive to any of these beaches for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling or simply relaxing in the sun. Closer home, you can check out the beaches of Pittulongu or Le Saline.