The stunning and unspoiled La Maddalena is one of the best island vacations sandwich between Sardinia and Corsica, situated in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea.
The secluded beach getaway tucked away within the archipelago of over 50 islands offer a respite from the bustling world and into tranquility.
Beyond the beautiful Maddalena Islands, check out the historic town of La Maddalena(main island), where narrow cobbled streets and colorful buildings offer glimpses into the island’s past.
The La Maddalena National Park is now a protected marine reserve. It’s not every day that you get unspoiled islands to visit with no villages, garbage-filled beaches or traces of civilization.
Is La Maddalena worth Visiting
The La Maddalena beaches are sheltered between the islands and the waters are always calm. Even in very rough and windy weather, you can still snorkel, kayak, relax and immense yourself in the natural pools.
Family activities in these natural pools should be on your bucket list of things to do. It’s called multi-pools because it looks like many small pools from above due to the diversity on the seabed in the clear water (algae, sand, rocks etc)
The Maddalena Archipelago consists of seven main islands and several small ones. Only Maddalena, Caprera and Santo Stefano are inhabited. The rest are pretty secluded.
But it’s the beaches themselves that will truly take your breath away. The Maddalena Islands boasts a plethora of pristine sandy stretches, each with its own distinct allure allowing you to truly connect with nature and find solace.
Best beaches in Maddalena
1. Cala Granara Beach
The best beach on Spargi Granitic Island is considered to be Cala Granara. It is a small, secluded beach with crystal-clear water and white sand. The beach is surrounded by granite rocks, which provide shade and privacy.
The presence of old shipwrecks such as the remains of a Roman ship in the seabed, characterizes this beautiful island. This isle is one of my favorites because it’s one of the closest beaches to Palau and you feel like you are swimming in a natural pool.
Cala Granara is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
There is another bay, Cala Corsara on the island of Spargi that I personally find very inviting. The beach is not as nice as in Cala Granara but there are rocks to climb and do some swan dive into the crystal clear water.
How to get there: Cala Granara can be reached by joining a boat excursion or renting a private boat from La Maddalena or Palau. It’s a hidden gem accessible only by sea, providing a peaceful retreat for visitors seeking tranquility.
2. Grande Cala di Santa Maria
A visit to Grande Cala di Santa Maria which is located in the northern part of the La Maddalena National Park will reward you with a magnificent beach of fine white sand as seen from this fantastic shot by @giuseppe_chironi.
In contrast to the other Maddalena islands, Santa Maria is known for its flat fertile ground largely planted with greenery. Cala Drappo and Cala Muro are two of the most spectacular beaches.
The remnants of the Benedictine monastery, constructed by the resident priests, the archipelago’s earliest occupants in the thirteenth century are located near Santa Maria Bay.
Following a lovely picturesque trail, you’ll arrive at Punta Filetto Lighthouse, where you can take in a spectacular view of nearby islands.
For bird lovers, there is a swarm behind Cala Santa Maria where you can find nesting sites for endangered species.
How to get there: In La Maddalena, head towards the eastern coast of the island, where you’ll find the entrance to Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago di La Maddalena.
It’s recommended to rent car or scooter, to easily navigate the island. The beach is accessible by a short walk from the parking area.
3. Spiaggia Rosa Beach
While our boat tour cast off and passed by the island of Budelli, a stunning beach called Spiaggia Rosa, which means pink beach.
Because of the Spiaggia Rosa, this beach in La Maddalena is undoubtedly one of the most well-known in the archipelago.
Budelli is a small rocky islet located a few hundred meters south of Razzoli and Santa Maria islands, separated by a rocky sand dune “Secca del Morto.”
A beacon of the La Maddalena National Park, emphasizing its importance as one of the most significant natural sites.
Indeed, the sand was once pink because of particles of a microorganism known as Miniacina miniacea but because ugly tourists took the pink sand as souvenirs, the island access has been closed since 1994.
Boats can only sail pass behind the line of buoys, 70 meters from shore. No one is allowed to walk or swim on the beach in the hope that the pink sand will eventually recover and replenish itself.
How to get there: Spiaggia Rosa is located on Budelli Island. While direct access to the beach is restricted to protect its delicate ecosystem, many boat tours offer a leisurely cruise along Budelli Island’s coast
4. Cala Coticcio (Tahiti Beach)
Cala Coticcio, popularly known as Tahiti Beach, is a hidden gem situated on the southern coast of Caprera Island, part of the Maddalena archipelago.
Renowned for its stunning beauty, this stunning beach offers a tranquil and peaceful escape for visitors seeking a serene coastal retreat.
The beach is surrounded by rocky cliffs that enhance its seclusion and offer picturesque viewpoints.
How to get there: You can reach Cala Coticcio by taking a boat or ferry from Palau to Caprera. From the Caprera port, a short hike through scenic trails will lead you to this secluded beach.
5. Spiaggia del Relitto (Wreck Beach)
Spiaggia del Relitto, also known as Wreck Beach, is located on the northeastern coast of Caprera Island within the Maddalena archipelago
This enchanting beach derives its name from the presence of a sunken shipwreck, which adds to its allure and pretty much a great locale for snorkeling.
Characterized by its pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters and shallow depths near the shore, make it suitable for families and less experienced swimmers.
How to get there: Accessing Spiaggia del Relitto involves taking a boat or ferry from Palau to Caprera. From the Caprera port, it’s a short walk to this tranquil beach.
Maddalena island boat tours
This becomes more expensive if you take a car or a scooter along. Personally, I prefer to park myself in Palau because it is easier to catch a ferry to La Maddalena and spend a day exploring the laidback atmosphere there.
It’s also easy to get here because it’s in the center of tourist attractions, shopping and eating out in its lively nightlife and excellent restaurants. So yeah, you get the best of both worlds making your base in Palau.
If you need to relax and unwind in one of those island getaways, just book a day trip boat tour from tons of operators with competitive prices.
Onboard meals will be provided by the boat operators, and some will also offer guided tours of the Maddalena archipelago including stops at the finest beaches on the islands.
The beaches of La Maddalena are truly an extraordinary vacation, and if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend the famous La Maddalena boat tour.
Swimming and snorkeling is a blast, and the breathtaking sights of the area will stay with you forever. The crystal clear water is incredibly flat and the ground is sandy as well.
The colors of the sea are fascinating, glistening in every shade of green and blue from milky white to emerald green. In my opinion, La Maddalena is pretty secluded and makes a great beach vacation for couples.
Maddalena Island accommodations
The Maddalena Islands is a protected National park and most of the islands are uninhabited. A better option is to stay in the nearby town of mainland Palau in Sardinia where there are more activities to do.
In Palau, I recommend you stay at this gorgeous La Vecchia Fonte Hotel (click here to get 12% off at Agoda booking) which is close to Palau commune and harbor front.
Central location for tons of activities to do and fun places to go including easy access to island hopping boat tour as well.
Del Porticciolo is one of my favorites. It’s not the fanciest restaurant but the portions are large and the food price is affordable.
Reasons to stay in this hotel
- Near To Airport
- Best location to ferry port
- Friendly and helpful staffs
- Clean and spacious rooms
- Italian and Continental gluten free breakfast
La Maddalena Weather
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not summer that you want to visit La Maddalena beaches. Although the weather in July to August will be spot on with warm and sunny days, the crowds can be pretty overwhelming.
A tropical getaway on the softest white sand beaches is not very pleasant if there are no places to relax on the inviting shoreline. I recommend you plan your trip around June.
The weather is already warm, the days are still long, and even though the water may be slightly cold but it’s not too chilly to swim. At this time of the year, the beaches will be much less crowded with holiday makers.
In September, the weather is still similar and the water is a little warmer, but the days are pretty much shorter. Even if you have to end your beach frolicking earlier, there’s still a beautiful sunset to relax and unwind.
Maddalena island ferry service
La Maddalena beachside town is a little compact but it can be easily boring on a small island. And if you want to go out at night, you need to hop on a ferry across to Palau and back again.
The ferry from Palau to Maddalena costs 10 EUR per person ( 20mins) and longer if you drive along with your rental car. You also need to take the weather into consideration.