La Maddalena is the name of the main island of the eponymous archipelago that lies between the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. It is the only island of this group that is properly inhabited. As such, it offers a happening and buzzing port town. Here you will find restaurants, bars, cafés, banks, shops and cinemas. That said, the rest of the island is serenely quiet, and its coastline consists of many tiny beaches and coves that are just waiting to be discovered.
La Maddalena has a colorful history that its hard-to-define territorial identity has greatly influenced. For a long time it was home to Corsican shepherds who were attempting to avoid taxed land. After this it became a haven for smugglers, who used the unidentified territory to break up their journeys. This feeling of not quite belonging still remains today. However, rather than encouraging crime, this creates a paradisal seclusion that allows visitors to dive into an idyllic bubble for the duration of their stay.
One of the best ways to explore La Maddalena is by boat. You can, for example, use your own small sailing boat to find your very own beach. Alternatively, take one of the touring boats that leave from the main port. These often include an on board meal, and will take extended breaks at the best beaches, for you to explore the area or sunbathe in such lush environs. Using a boat you can also sail out to some of the archipelago’s other islands. These are almost all uninhabited and are simply breathtaking examples of wild beauty.
Such is the unmissable serenity of this island, that it became the retirement place for the Risorgimento hero, Garibaldi. You can still visit his house on the Caprera island, which joins La Maddalena via a causeway and bridge.
People come to this island to swim, sail and take long, relaxed walks as they explore the land’s scenery. Another way of exploring is to take the bus that runs along the island’s shoreline, offering panoramic views of the sea and its beaches.
You can reach La Maddalena from the port in Palau, just a 20 minute ride away. This is connected to Olbia airport by bus, though it also offers car ferries for those wishing to drive here. Note that many of the island’s businesses close down in low season (October-May).