Price
$5,985 per person
Duration
18 Days
Destination
More than 1

Wonders of Corsica and Sardinia By Rail, Road & Sea

• PISA • BASTIA • PALAU • SASSARI • ALGHERO • ARBATAX • CAGLIARI •
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In the heart of the Mediterranean lie two fascinating islands, characterised by wild and mountainous scenery, multi-layered histories, rich cultures and a wonderful collection of extraordinary little railways. Heritage, narrow-gauge, local and private trains ply their way through these rugged landscapes, past hill-hugging mountain villages, along dramatic coasts and into historic character-filled cities.

Come aboard this fascinating journey to discover what makes these central Mediterranean islands so unique. Corsica, reached by ferry from the mainland, is blessed with a stunning contoured coastline, remote valleys and villages, a vibrant culinary scene and a captivating crossisland mountain railway. The ancient and weather-worn landscapes of Sardinia are the backdrop for the next island adventure, which uses a mix of regular and privately-chartered heritage trains. Experience its mountainous heart, emerald sea coasts, cliff-hugging forts and towns, and a fiercely independent culture.

Our tour of Sardinia gives you the chance to travel over every open railway line on the island, both standard and narrow-gauge, and includes the two new tramway systems. Corsica, the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean is also called “The island of beauty,” a veritable mountain rising out of the sea and an island of strong character. We begin our adventure in Pisa, a town that draws its fame from an architectural project gone wrong, but now boasts a vibrant university scene dotted with Romanesque buildings and Gothic churches.

Some Details

Departure Location
Pisa, Italy
Return Location
Cagliari, Italy
Tour Leader(s)
In conjunction with PTG Tours
Tour Date
1 Oct 2023 - 17 Oct 2023
Extras
Price: $5985 Single Supplement: $1450
Price includes
  • 17 nights’ accommodation in a mix of modern and boutique hotels/motels
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Breakfast daily, 7 dinners, and 3 lunches
  • Chartered private coach
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with your hosts and local guides
  • Daily breakfast at hotels, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on departure
  • Tipping and gratuities
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Sunday:

ARRIVE PISA

Arrive in Pisa and enjoy a welcome dinner with the group.

Overnight: Hotel Pisa Tower, Pisa (D)

Day 2 • Monday:

PISA

Pisa straddles the River Arno just before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Although known worldwide for its Leaning Tower, the city of over 90,000 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces, and various bridges across the River Arno. Much of the city’s architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics. We have a guided tour of the main sites in the morning leaving the afternoon free for your own exploration.

Overnight: Hotel Pisa Tower, Pisa (B)

Day 3 • Tuesday:

LIVORNO – BASTIA

We travel by charter bus to Livorno where we board a Corsica Ferries ferry for the four-hour crossing from Livorno to Bastia. Short transfer to hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Port Toga, Bastia (B)

Day 4 • Wednesday:

BASTIA

Bastia is the principal port of the island and the city centre is mainly composed of the “Citadelle”, the stronghold, also called Terra-Nova, the Genoese Governor’s Palace, the old port and its popular quarter, and the market plaza. In the morning we have a guided tour. The afternoon is free.

Overnight: Hotel Port Toga, Bastia (B)

Day 5 • Thursday:

BASTIA – CALVI – BASTIA

Today we travel by train to Calvi, so covering the upper branch of the Corsica railway. From Ponte Leccia the train goes up a dry and uninhabited valley but soon we have a view of the sea in the distance and before long we are travelling alongside the ocean stopping at seaside villages. In Calvi, we have a guided tour of the city, built on a promontory in a beautiful bay. We have time for a lunch break before taking our charter bus back to Bastia through the Balagna which is considered to be the most pleasant region of the island.

Overnight: Hotel Port Toga, Bastia (B)

Day 6 • Friday:

BASTIA – AJACCIO – BASTIA

Today we travel by service train from Bastia to Ajaccio, the Corsican capital city. The train crosses the island, winding around the mountains, crossing some superb bridges, and passing through the magnificent forest before reaching the tropical atmosphere of the Gulf of Ajaccio, one of the most beautiful locations in Corsica. Leaving Bastia at 08.55 we arrive in Ajaccio in time for lunch and a free afternoon exploring this pretty town before heading back to Bastia for an evening at leisure. 

Overnight: Hotel Port Toga, Bastia (B)

Day 7 • Saturday:

BASTIA – PALAU

We transfer by coach to Bonifacio stopping in Sartene for a short visit. Time to visit Bonifacio’s old town built on a promontory of white rocks. We board the 17.00 ferry for the one-hour crossing of the Bocche di Bonifacio strait to Santa Teresa di Gallura on Sardinia. Coach transfer to our hotel in Palau.

Overnight: Hotel Palau, Palau (B)

Day 8 • Sunday:

PALAU

A free day to relax by the sea or to enjoy any of the various natural attractions around Palau such as La Maddalena or Capo d’Orso.

Overnight: Hotel Palau, Palau (B, D)

Day 9 • Monday:

PALAU – SASSARI

The coast in the vicinity of Palau is famous for its bizarre weather-beaten rocks, some of which we will see from our narrow gauge loco-hauled vintage train over the line from Palau to Tempio Pausania. Lunch by the Nuraghe Majori after which we have a guided tour of this, the most important and well-known nuraghe in Gallura. Night in Sassari at the Hotel Vittorio Emanuele located in the heart of the city.

Overnight: Hotel Vittorio Emanuele, Sassari (B)

Day 10 • Tuesday:

SASSARI – ALGHERO

There are options today. Enthusiast option: Visit the Sassari workshop. Free time to ride the Sassari tram system end-to-end and after lunch travel the lines to Porto Torres Marittima and the Sassari to Sorso narrow-gauge branch. Cultural Option: Our bus and a professional guide will take us to Santissima Trinità di Sarcargia, the most important Romanesque site on the island and dating from 1116. We return to Sassari and have a 2-hour guided city tour. Free time for lunch. Possibility to join the train group for those interested. In the afternoon the whole group travels by rail along the branch line to Alghero, a pretty city at the seaside. We stay at Hotel Alma di Alghero for two nights.

Overnight: Hotel Alma di Alghero, Alghero (B)

Day 11 • Wednesday:

ALGHERO

A free day to relax by the sea or to visit Alghero old town and its natural attractions such as the Grotta di Nettuno.

Overnight: Hotel Alma di Alghero, Alghero (B)

Day 12 • Thursday:

ALGHERO – ARBATAX

Transfer by road southwards along the spectacular coastal road to Bosa Marina, dominated by an imposing medieval castle, where we board another loco-hauled narrow-gauge train to Sindia and then by bus to Macomer, a junction with both the FS standard gauge railway and another FdS narrow gauge line to Nuoro, the largest city in the interior of the island. Our train consists of diesel loco type LDe in brown livery with a parcels coach and a beautifully restored “bauchiero” coach dating from 1913 made from varnished wood. The journey starts virtually “on the level” along the coast for a while and then twists and turns for a considerable distance to gain height, still giving splendid views of the coast. Lunch will be in a local restaurant in Macomer. Then we board a charter train to Nuoro where our bus will take us to Arbatax, stopping to visit the Arbatax Red Rocks before going to the Hotel La Bitta for our overnight stay.

Overnight: Hotel La Bitta, Arbatax (B)

Day 13 • Friday:

ARBATAX – MANDAS – GAIRO – ARBATAX

Some of the old railway line from Arbatax to Mandas has unfortunately been abandoned. But during the summer months, a train operates on the most spectacular section from Arbatax to Gairo (we will travel on another section tomorrow). We will have lunch at Turri and a guided tour of Giara Park, the realm of the last wild horses in Europe. We return to Arbatax for a second night at the Hotel La Bitta.

Overnight: Hotel La Bitta, Arbatax (B, L)

Day 14 • Saturday:

ARBATAX – CAGLIARI

Today we can ride on another fine section of the Arbatax to Mandas line. The line from Gairo to Seui is abandoned (due to major rock falls and unsafe bridges) but we can still ride from Seui to the junction station at Mandas. Our tour bus takes us onwards to Cagliari where overnight accommodation for the next three nights is in the 4-star Hotel Regina Margherita. Cagliari has been the capital city of Sardinia for over 2,000 years; today, it has a still-busy, working port, and a large student population, grand boulevards, neo-Gothic palaces, and art-nouveau cafés.

Overnight: Hotel Regina Margherita, Cagliari (B)

Day 15 • Sunday:

CAGLIARI

There are two railway museums in Cagliari, the FdS and FS, but the FdS (narrow gauge) museum is closed to the public due to serious damage. We, therefore, start today with a visit to the FS (or standard gauge) museum and afterward ride the FS lines in the area, using service trains Cagliari – Carbonia – Villamassargia – Iglesias – Cagliari. We arrive back at Cagliari station in time to join the guided city tour. The Culture group in the morning will visit the archaeological site of Nora, 40 kilometres from Cagliari. Nora is an ancient Roman town located on a peninsula and the ruins function as an open-air museum with mosaics and the remains of the amphitheatre and several buildings. We return to Cagliari for lunch and then a guided tour of the old city with a professional local guide.

Overnight: Hotel Regina Margherita, Cagliari (B, D)

Day 16 • Monday:

CAGLIARI

After breakfast, our bus takes us to Mandas where we board a diesel loco-hauled train.  We take the old narrow-gauge line which used to stretch as far north as Sorgono. Nowadays we can only go as far as Laconi as beyond there the line is completely abandoned. We have time to enjoy lunch so we have arranged a full rural meal with the typical local dishes at Laconi. We return on our train to Mandas and take our bus to Dolianova from where we take a service train to Cagliari Montserrato and then our bus to the hotel.  Enthusiasts have the option to ride the new tram system on their own.

Overnight: Hotel Regina Margherita, Cagliari (B, L)

Day 17 • Tuesday:

CAGLIARI

Today we say farewell. Following breakfast this morning, we check out and transfer to the airport for flights home or onward to other travels. (B)

In the heart of the Mediterranean lie two fascinating islands, characterised by wild and mountainous scenery, multi-layered histories, rich cultures and a wonderful collection of extraordinary little railways. Heritage, narrow-gauge, local and private trains ply their way through these rugged landscapes, past hill-hugging mountain villages, along dramatic coasts and into historic character-filled cities.

Come aboard this fascinating journey to discover what makes these central Mediterranean islands so unique. Corsica, reached by ferry from the mainland, is blessed with a stunning contoured coastline, remote valleys and villages, a vibrant culinary scene and a captivating crossisland mountain railway. The ancient and weather-worn landscapes of Sardinia are the backdrop for the next island adventure, which uses a mix of regular and privately-chartered heritage trains. Experience its mountainous heart, emerald sea coasts, cliff-hugging forts and towns, and a fiercely independent culture.

Our tour of Sardinia gives you the chance to travel over every open railway line on the island, both standard and narrow-gauge, and includes the two new tramway systems. Corsica, the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean is also called “The island of beauty,” a veritable mountain rising out of the sea and an island of strong character. We begin our adventure in Pisa, a town that draws its fame from an architectural project gone wrong, but now boasts a vibrant university scene dotted with Romanesque buildings and Gothic churches.

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    Wonders of Corsica and Sardinia By Rail, Road & Sea

    Price
    $5,985 per person
    Duration
    18 Days
    Destination
    More than 1

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