10 Things to do in Sardinia in low season. Trip to La Maddalena in Spring or Autumn

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Are you planning a trip to Sardinia in low season? Good choice! The “shoulder” months, i.e. April, May, September and October, are ideal to discover the beauties of the island away from the chaos.

Between boat trips and days at the beach, museums and archeology, there is so much choice on activities to undertake, especially oudoor.

Today, Emerald Cruises Freedom takes you on a journey to discover La Maddalena Archipelago in Spring and Autumn.

Here are 10 things to do in Sardinia in low season, choosing La Maddalena as a travel destination!

1. Explore the historic center of La Maddalena

la maddalena isald sardinia historic centre
Quote, La Maddalena Tourism Official FB Page

The historic center of La Maddalena is fascinating and can be visited even in a few hours, provided it is well spent.

The low season allows you to appreciate the authentic beauty of the sunny alleys, where piazzas, small squares and historic buildings stand out, or to take shelter in the shade of the oldest and most evocative alleys for a coffee break or an ice cream, after a tour of the boutiques and of handicraft and souvenir shops.

Below we provide you with the itinerary to be undertaken independently during a trip to La Maddalena, or an ideal stop to include, if you wish, in the daily boat tour to the La Maddalena Archipelago organized by Emerald Cruises.

As part of the boat tour, we recommend a stop in the historic center for a lunch break, coffee or ice cream before returning to discover the islands and coves:

  • Piazza 23 February 1793, inaugurated in 2022, houses two monuments: an original cannonball fired by Napoleon Bonaparte and the original bronze from 1928, which depicts Domenico Millelire to whom the square is dedicated.
  • The “boutique square” of Cala Gavetta, a sort of “petite Paris” where you can find charming aperitif bars, cafés and restaurants
  • The port of Cala Gavetta, very colorful, where you can breathe real sea air
  • Piazza Garibaldi, located near the port, is a historic square considered the heart of the village. It houses the Town Hall with the plaque in memory of Giuseppe Garibaldi and other ancient buildings
  • Via Garibaldi and Via XX Settembre, ideal places for shopping or trying the typical fish-based dishes in the Maddalena restaurants
  • Piazza Umberto I is a concentration of works of sculptural art and architecture. It houses the bust of Anita Garibaldi and the monuments in honor of the fallen of Nasiriyah and the Fallen Sailors. Here stands the stately building of the Military Admiralty
  • The FAI site of Cala Francese. According to authoritative sources, the granite extracted from the cove was used to build important works around the world
  • The church of Santa Maria Maddalena, patron saint of the Municipality celebrated every year in the month of July. The building houses a crucifix donated by Admiral Nelson in 1804
  • The church of the Holy Trinity, a country building located on Collo Piano in the “La Villa” area. On the days of Pentecost, a dedicated festival is held, deeply felt by the inhabitants of the island
  • The Nino Lamboglia Naval Archaeological Museum
  • The Madonnetta dei Pescatori, which we will tell you about later regarding the most beautiful panoramic points of the Maddalena

To find out everything, absolutely everything about Maddalena, read our

2. Visit the most beautiful beaches and coves of La Maddalena Archipelago

boat tour la maddalena archipelago by emerald cruiese freedom
Boat tours with Emerald Cruises Freedom

It may seem trivial, but how can you not include a visit to the beaches in the handbook of the 10 things to do in Sardinia in Spring or Autumn?

In this case we are talking about the most beautiful coves of the La Maddalena Archipelago, many of which are difficult to reach on foot or by car.

Just think of Cala Coticcio, also known as Thaiti and located on the island of Caprera. Or to the magic of Budelli Pink beach, to the splendid Cala Soraya, Cala Corsara and Cala dell’Amore, on the island of Spargi.

The Archipelago also boasts mirrors of crystalline water that are unique in the world, including the natural pools of Budelli, the Porto della Madonna, the Passo del Topo and the Passo degli Asinelli. How to reach these dream places?

Simple: we’ll take you on a personalized boat tour.

Have a look at the experiences organized by Emerald Cruises Freedom and contact us if you want, we are at your disposal!

3. Discover La Maddalena Museums

la maddalena archipelago museums
Garibaldi Museum, Caprera island. Quote, Sardegna Cultura

In the low season months, in Sardinia, days on the beach can alternate with visits to museums, custodians of millenary stories which in La Maddalena as in other places are the leading stars of the area.

It would be nice to see them all and you can do it easily, given that the most important in the archipelago are located in La Maddalena and Caprera, islands connected by a bridge over the sea that can be crossed by car.

Thus, by distributing visits over several days, you can jump to the sites we are about to introduce. Are you ready? Here they are:

  • The Garibaldi compendium. It is the place – company and agricultural land – where the Hero of the Two Worlds lived for over 25 years. Consisting of several buildings and surrounded by a suggestive garden of monumental trees, it is a site full of charm that tells the life, daily occupations and personal stories of the General. Info on opening times, timetables and tickets on Garibaldicaprera.beniculturali.it
  • The new Garibaldi Memorial. It is an innovative and surprising museum which, through multimedia equipment, offers a virtual journey into the life and exploits of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Info on opening times, timetables and tickets on Garibaldicaprera.beniculturali.it
  • The Museum of the Sea and Maritime Traditions. It accompanies visitors to discover the Sardinian seafaring traditions, especially the Maddalena ones. The museum tells the story of the sea and life of the Archipelago over the centuries and is divided into a chronological itinerary from prehistory to the present day. Info on opening hours and tickets on Parks.it.
  • The Nino Lamboglia Naval Museum. Dedicated to the famous Roman wreck and its cargo, recovered from the waters of the Archipelago, it offers a route divided into archaeological finds and the full-scale reconstruction of the hull of the ancient ship. Info on opening hours and tickets on Sardegna Cultura.
  • Geo-mineralogical museum of La Maddalena – Caprera. The wonders of the rocks and minerals, fossils and white sand of the Archipelago are kept here. To admire them, info on Sardegna Cultura.
  • The FAI site of Cala Francese. The granite quarry of La Maddalena is of great interest from a landscape and environmental point of view: it is located within Cala Francese, bordered to the south by the battery of Nido d’Aquila and to the north by that of Carlotto. Reservations on Make Reservations Fondo Ambiente.

4. La Maddalena Forts: sentinels of the sea

batteria candeo, la maddalena fort
Batteria Candeo, La Maddalena Archipelago fort. Quote, Sardegna Turismo

The islands of La Maddalena, Caprera, Santo Stefano and Spargi are home to pieces of history that have stood the test of time. These are military fortifications (or military forts), present in large numbers in the Archipelago.

Unlike what is believed, they are not only of interest to niche tourism: the number of visitors grows over time thanks to the Park Authority’s Trail Network, which has enhanced the strongholds by including them in trekking itineraries between history and nature.

Visiting them is an opportunity to retrace events that have marked Italian and European history, through the streets from the ancient mule tracks that reached the forts, passing through the paths of the Mediterranean scrub, the granite mountains and the beaches.

Did we intrigue you? Here are some history pills.

Since the end of the 1700s, La Maddalena’s central position in the Mediterranean has imposed an ineluctable destiny as a military target.

A series of distributed military structures were built, initially on the mother island and on the island of Santo Stefano, and only from the end of the 19th century in the rest of the La Maddalena Archipelago.

Among the most famous, it is enough to mention:

  • The Eagle’s Nest Opera (La Maddalena)
  • The Opera Punta Tegge (La Maddalena)
  • The landing place of Punta Sardegna (Caprera)
  • The Opera Punta Rossa (Caprera)
  • Fort Arbuticci (Caprera), today the seat of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Memorial
  • Fort San Giorgio (Santo Stefano)
  • The Opera Guardia Vecchia or Forte San Vittorio (La Maddalena)
  • Battery Zavagli (Scatter)

You can visit them with a trek accompanied by the environmental hiking guides of the Maddalena Park and combine the excursion with our boat trip among the islands. In fact, Emerald Cruises Freedom can create a personalized land and sea itinerary for you.

We will shortly talk about the recommended trekking circuits, and you will find out how some of them belong to the paths to be discovered in the heart of the Park.

5. An itinerary of the most beautiful viewpoints

la maddalena best panoramic point
La Madonnetta dei Pescatori. Quote, La Maddalena.info

La Maddalena islands are full of panoramic points, but there is more. Every glimpse of the Archipelago “is” a wonderful panorama!

From the Bear Rock in Palau, which dominates the coast from above, you can gaze at all the magnificence of the Maddalena sea and land.

Some panoramic points are unknown to most but known to the locals, such as La Madonnetta dei Pescatori which stands on the promontory near Cala Francese. It offers spectacular views of the archipelago islands and represents an ideal location for weddings “with a view”, it is no coincidence that several spouses have chosen it as the setting for their wedding.

But let’s go further and discover other pearls, such as the grandiose and visible panorama at the Belvedere along the SP114, or moving to the islands of the Archipelago, the sunset on Cala Corsara: an enchanting beach located on the island of Spargi.

6. Relaxing with birdwatching

fauna birds la maddalena island sardinia
Seagulls. Image by Pixabay

The magic of La Maddalena relaxes you at any time of the year.

However, it is in Spring and Autumn, thanks to the absence of mass tourism, that you can experience moments of true relaxation by immersing yourself in its uncontaminated nature.

Binoculars in hand, dedicating yourself to birdwatching is among the suggested activities if you love animals and are curious to know the dynamics of their life between land and sea.

The Archipelago is counted among the Mediterranean areas of greatest importance in the world for nesting seabirds.

It hosts colonies of Mediterranean Herring Gull, Shearwater, Corsican Seagull, Tern and Marangone dal Ciuffo (locally known as Magrò), which you can admire even just with a walk along the coast.

7. Trekking at La Maddalena Archipelago: recommended circuits

trekking at Caprera island Sardinia
Best trek. Image by Piaxaby

The heart of the paths of La Maddalena Archipelago National Park develops on the island of Caprera.

It consists of 16 itineraries created with the aim of restoring an ancient network born at the end of the 19th century for military purposes, and allowing a slow use of the Maddalena area.

The routes pass through viewpoints, beaches, military forts and other wonders. Some have short journey times, others longer. Some prove to be unsuitable for those who are out of training due to the excessive length of the trek, others can undertake them all.

We recommend trekking in La Maddalena Archipelago especially in the low season, when temperatures are mild.

Among the most beautiful paths are those that lead to Cala Portese, Cala Caprarese, Cala Napoletana and to the diving spots.

If you don’t like walking or are untrained, we can accompany you to the aforementioned beaches and areas of greatest interest for snorkellers, with the personalized boat trip of Emerald Cruises Freedom.

Here we indicate 5 of them:

  • Starts from: Caprera island, Cala Portese beach
  • Praticability: walking
  • Trial: easy
  • Duration: 1 h 15 m
  • Interests: flora, fauna, landscape
  • Praticability: walking
  • Trial: easy
  • Duration: 1 h 30 m
  • Interests: landscape
  • Starts from: Caprera island, close to Arbuticci fort
  • Praticability: walking
  • Trial: easy
  • Duration: 1 h 15 m
  • Interests: flora, fauna, landscape
  • Starts from: Caprera island, close to Arbuticci fort
  • Praticability: walking
  • Trial: easy
  • Tempo di percorrenza: 1 h 15 m
  • Interests: landscape, history
  • Starts from: Caprera island, close to Arbuticci fort
  • Praticability: walking
  • Trial: easy
  • Tempo di percorrenza: 1 h 35 m
  • Interests: flora, fauna, landscape

For more information, you can consult the page dedicated to the Trail Network on the Park’s official website.


caprera island sailing, sardinia
Quote, Caprera Sailing Center

The Caprera Sailing Center is a sailing school founded in 1967, a place to learn and grow in sailing training.

Since its foundation it has welcomed over 130,000 students, and still today it attracts thousands of enthusiasts and beginners with the desire to learn the splendid sport of sailing, in direct contact with the turquoise sea of Caprera.

It was born from a dream, rather than an idea, of Vittorio di Sambuy, Marco Notarbartolo di Sciara and Guido Colnaghi: that of creating a school based on the values and traditions of the Italian navy, which respects the sea and the territory.

Realized thanks to the Italian Touring Club and the Naval League of Milan, it offers experiences and courses of all kinds, also suitable for Under 14s. On the official school portal you can book:

  • Corsi cabinato
  • Corsi deriva
  • Corsi speciali dedicati alla ricerca e all’educazione ambientale
  • Corsi Under 14
  • Offerte di corso vela per weekend e ponti
  • Corsi per i principianti

To find out more, visit the official website of the Centro Velico Caprera.


porto pollo sardinia windsurf kitesurf
Porto Pollo. Quote, Sardegna Turismo

If you aspire to practice other water sports, La Maddalena Archipelago offers you an embarrassment of choice.

By participating in an island tour with Emerald Cruises Freedom, snorkeling will be the most incredible experience of your trip.

We will take you by boat to discover natural aquariums, marine pools and strategic diving spots.

We provide the masks and the snorkel! You will have to bring your desire to explore the beauty of the seabed and to immortalize it, if you want. The right tool to do this is the underwater digital camera, which we recommend to bring because it adds tangible memories to a dream trip.

Do you prefer windsurfing or kitesurfing? Your trip to Northern Sardinia, in Spring or Autumn, can stop in Palau.

A few kilometers from Palau you will find the Isola dei Gabbiani in Porto Pollo, with its windsurfing, kitesurfing and sup schools, where you can learn what you need about these sports or practice them, by renting the equipment at a good price.


events in la maddalena island

In Spring and Autumn, throughout the low season, Sardinia is teeming with cultural and food and wine events. We recommend that you take a look at the FAI days and make a note of these events in your travel diary:

On April 24th, in the Municipality of Palau, the country festival of San Giorgio is held, which takes place in the church of the same name on top of a granite hill among dances, songs and tastings of typical dishes.

Not to be missed on May 1st is the Festa della Madonnetta dei Pescatori at the Chiesetta della Madonnetta, organized by the Santa Maria Maddalena Celebration Committee. Undoubtedly a great opportunity to experience local folklore and enjoy fried fish cooked by real sea dogs.

Also in May, during the days of Pentecost, the Church of the Santissima Trinità alla Maddalena is the protagonist of the homonymous religious festival, deeply felt by the inhabitants.

Still in Palau, the feast of Our Lady of the Sea takes place on the first Sunday of September, with a spectacular procession of boats in the crystalline waters of the archipelago.

Among the September events in La Maddalena and Palau, we also point out the Isole che Parlano Festival, a container of events in which to participate in great concerts, book presentations, photography exhibitions and itineraries of taste.

You can discover all the Spring and Autumn events around La Maddalena by visiting the FB page La Maddalena Turismo, the official FB page of the Municipality of La Maddalena; Palauturismo.com and don’t miss the Park’s appointments!

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