Campervan hire Olbia
Trade the over-travelled Costa Smeralda for the simple grace and relaxed charms of its coastal cousin, Olbia.
Olbia, seaside gateway to Sardinia, often escapes the attention of tourists who flock instead to glamorous Costa Smeralda. But Olbia’s much celebrated cousin, elegant destination for the rich and famous, isn’t the only one to have been gifted with emerald seas. Olbia is equally enchanting, if not more so –– the humble allure of a star who hasn’t quite made it yet. Once a tiny fishing village, now a bustling port, the city has seen huge changes in a short space of time. But Olbia remains a city true to its roots. Don’t be deceived by its industrial outskirts. Olbia is full of character and life, as well as an unpolished but seductive beauty. Rent a campervan in Olbia to explore the city and its surroundings and you’ll find a region of ancient relics, bustling piazzas, delicious and affordable local food, and, of course, a stunning coastline that will have you reaching for your camera just as soon as you’ve caught your breath.
Depot + Transfer
Our depot is located in the Cabu Abbas area of Olbia, just a 5-minute drive outside of the city centre and an 8-minute drive from Olbia Costa Smeralda airport (OLB).
Are you starting your road trip in Olbia? If you arrive by plane, we can pick you up at Olbia Costa Smeralda airport (OLB) and take you to our depot where we’ll show you everything you need to know about your campervan. After returning your van to the depot after your trip, we’ll drive you back to the airport. Free of charge in regular hours, of course.
Parking in the city
You’ll be hard pushed to find parking in Olbia city-centre but there are a couple of car-parks in the outskirts where you can leave your campervan. Your best bet is to look close to the port, where Via Principe Umberto has free parking, or otherwise, to the south of Olbia, there’s Parcheggio Olbia Costa Smeralda on Via Antonio Melis.
Camping grounds nearby
There are plenty of ideal spots for campervans dotted along this coastline. Worth checking out are Camping Tavolara, a five-star campsite set in beautiful countryside, and Camping Calacavallo, just a few minutes from the beach of Capo Coda Cavallo. Another good option is Campeggio San Teodora la Cinta. All are only a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
In ancient Greek, olbìa means happiness, already setting the bar high for the city. But after discovering the quiet, modest delights of this seaside destination, you will likely agree that it’s well-deserving of such a name. And you wouldn’t be the first. There are traces of man’s inhabitation of Olbia dating from 4000-3500 BCE, in the form of megaliths and other prehistoric monuments.
But these archaeological wonders aren’t the only things to make Olbia a great destination for a road trip. The city also boasts ancient churches, winding cobbled streets, Baroque architecture, and the local delicacy, Olbian clams - best enjoyed with a glass of vermentino. Piazza Margherita, the laidback hub of the city, is the ideal place to sit in the evenings, enjoying a drink, taking in the atmosphere and watching the locals on their evening passeggiata. And when you rent a campervan in Olbia, don’t forget to take a drive to the surrounding countryside, where you’re greeted with fragrant fields of thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Not forgetting — for it is, of course, unforgettable — the coast. Drive your motorhome down this stretch of turquoise blue bays, startling white sands, softly pebbled inlets, and waterfronts fringed with palms. Of particular note is Porto Istana, as well as La Playa - a favourite with local residents - Squalo, Pelicano, and the burnt-yellow sands of Lido del Sole.
With its easy-going atmosphere, Olbia feels authentic, compared to the sophisticated but often sanitised tourist resorts elsewhere on the island. From the promenading locals to the unassuming charm of its traditional restaurants and bars, Olbia hasn’t forgotten where it came from. Sure, you’ll still find the boutiques, wine bars and that ‘dolce vita’ glamour that draws so many to this part of the world. But Olbia is not just a holiday destination. It’s a place with a rich history and equally rich present.
What to discover
In and around the city
Basilica di San Simplicio
Built in the late 11th century, this Romanic church is considered the most important monument in this area of Sardinia. Carved from granite, it’s of great interest to archaeologists and historians but equally enthralling from a non-academic perspective, evoking ceremonies and celebrations from long ago. It’s also the location of the Festa di San Simplicio, an impressive costumed procession to celebrate the eponymous saint.
The Church of San Paolo
Another church, but just as interesting in its own unique way, San Paolo was built on the site of an ancient temple and is noteworthy for its majestic multi-coloured ceramic dome and frescoes. Enjoy a break from the heat by stepping inside its cool stone walls and imagining the thousands of people that have gathered inside this ancient edifice before you.
The Archeological Museum
Most people would consider an archaeological museum the last possible resort on a holiday. But Olbia’s museum, designed by the architect Vannni Macciocco, is full of fascinating historical remnants, including some recently discovered Roman shipwrecks, found during excavations of the port, and whose sinking by the Vandals has been reproduced using technology in the museum.
At a comfortable two hours from Olbia, on Sardinia’s sparkling west coast and with the seduction of the Italian Riviera, hire a campervan and head to Bosa. This pastel-coloured town sits quietly along the banks of the Temo River, following its winding waters to the river mouth to overlook the Tyrrhenian Sea. To call anything a hidden gem is risky these days, so let’s just say the medieval town, hilltop castle, and surrounding green hills and golden beaches haven’t been explored enough yet.
Less than 50km north of Bosa, Alghero is the perfect follow-up to your road trip and campervan hire in Olbia. Locally known as L’Aguer, this town has a Catalan name because it was once ruled by the Aragonese crown –– which was, guess what, Catalan. The locals here still speak a Catalan dialect, known as Alguarès. The town’s Gothic architecture and multi-coloured tiles of Sant Miquel Church’s dome bear the Catalan stamp, too. But Alghero is more than the town itself. For campervanners on a road trip, it’s also lush surroundings and dramatic cliff views. The ocean panoramas at Capo Caccia and Porto Conte are especially worth a stop!
Posada, Feronia, Pausata, whatever you decide to call this commune on Sardinia’s east coast, the fact remains you need to add it to your road trip. At only half an hour from Olbia, hire a campervan and head to his small town in the province of Nuoro. Posada doesn’t get much visitors at all. It just sits there majestically atop a hill, its impressive Castello della Fava caught in an ancient stare-off with the Tyrrhenian Sea. The castle is a must visit, like Posada’s medieval centre and the nearby coast. For pristine beaches, head to San Giovanni di Posada or Su Tiriarzu.