Olbia is located in the eastern part of Sardinia and is the gateway to Gallura; loved and appreciated for its beautiful beaches but also rich in history. In fact, many who go to this area do not know how many archaeological finds and places of historical interest can be found in Olbia.
The city has a very ancient history, has hosted many cultures and many peoples have followed one another leaving the imprint of their passage, civilizations such as the Phoenicians, the Greeks and the Romans. The current conformation is that set in the Middle Ages and in recent years has seen a significant growth from the tourist point of view thanks to the port and airport.
A stone’s throw from the historic center
The historic center of Olbia is a short walk from the port of Isola Bianca, where most of the ferries disembark; you can park your car in the pier to stroll peacefully in the streets of the center full of shops. Taking Corso Umberto you reach the stately-looking Town Hall, near which you can also see the remains of an ancient Roman forum.
Staying on this street it is possible to take a journey through the eras that follow one another because you will meet typical Art Nouveau buildings of the twentieth century but also nineteenth-century palaces once you arrive in Piazza Regina Margherita; area full of bars and typical places where you can sit down to be conquered by local delights.
The church of San Paolo is one of the places not to be missed, easy to reach because it is not far from the downtown area, it is made of granite and dates back to the 1700s, the year in which it was completed after a hundred years of work; particular is the dome covered with majolica, the iconic symbol of the city.
A visit to the Punic Walls
The Punic Walls are located between via Acquedotto and via Torino, they indicate the exact point where there was the ancient entrance to the city. Although they are only ruins set in the middle of modern buildings, it is still possible to understand the grandeur of the past thanks to the large square blocks.
Not far from the historic center, on the Peddone Island you can reach the Archaeological Museum which preserves unique finds of its kind: these are ancient ships; the rarity of these structures lies in the fact that the material with which they are made, that is wood, is easily perishable and therefore often not restorable. The museum can boast pieces that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world such as rudders and masts of ships from the Roman era; it also tells the story of the whole city of Olbia, focusing more on the Phoenician, Greek and Roman era.
Very particular is the very shape of the museum in the shape of a moored ship.
Basilica and Necropolis of San Simplicio
The Basilica of San Simplicio, with the Necropolis next to it, is located behind the Olbia station, a short distance from Corso Umberto I. It is the most important religious monument in north-eastern Sardinia, built in Pisan Romanesque style with an almost completely in granite. Under the altar of the Basilica are the relics of the Saint found in 1614 during excavations in the crypt.
The necropolis of San Simplicio is located in the area adjacent to the Basilica and is made up of about 450 tombs dating back to the Roman age, from 200 BC to 300 AD. The archaeological site is now a museum in Olbia. The standard cost of the ticket is 5 euros.
Archaeological Museum of Olbia
Built on the small Peddone Island, a stone’s throw from the historic center, the Archaeological Museum of Olbia illustrates the history of the city from prehistoric times to the 19th century. The structure overlooks the harbor and, from its terraces, it is possible to enjoy panoramic views over the entire gulf.
Inside the museum there are finds of ancient ships, rudders from the Roman age, artifacts dating back to the Nuraghic era, granite steles, ceramics and other testimonies of the city. Admission to the Museum is free (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).
The territory of the city of Olbia offers a truly unique excursion that leads to the ruins of the Pedres castle, perched on a small hill.
The entrance to the castle is totally free and the parking is a few steps away, so once you have parked the car you will venture on foot towards a path between the rocks that will lead you to discover the beauty of these ruins with a panorama around to take your breath away.
The construction of the structure is located around 1300 when these lands were under Pisan-Aragonese domination; it consists of a very impressive external wall, a tower and a rectangular-shaped building which was probably intended for residential use.
Always free of charge and not far from the castle it is also possible to visit the Tomb of the Giants which dates back to the Nuragic era. In the constitution of the structure it is possible to recognize all the typical details of the burial adopted by this people even if the longitudinal stele worked all around that overlooks these tombs has not been found.
Tomb of the Giants on Monte and ‘S’Abe
The Tomb of the Giants on Monte e ‘S’Abe is located south of the historic center of Olbia, within a green area full of mystery.
It is a funerary monument dating back to more than 4 thousand years ago which represents one of the many testimonies of the Nuragic civilization in Sardinia.
The Tomb of the Giants on Monte e ‘S’Abe is 28 meters long, 6 meters wide and, when viewed from above, has the shape of a bull’s head. Unlike similar prehistoric burials, here the dead were buried collectively.
Sacred Well of Sa Testa
Among the best things to do and see in the surroundings of Olbia, a visit to the Sacred Well of Sa Testa stands out. Located in the hamlet of the same name, 15 minutes by car from the historic center of the city, the Sacred Well is another suggestive place linked to the customs and traditions of the Nuragic civilization.
Nuraghe Riu Mulino
The Nuraghe Riu Mulino is located on the top of a hill and, from its 250 meters of altitude, it seems to dominate the whole of Cabu Abbas. It is one of the most famous Nuragic fortifications in Gallura, whose roots go back to 1200-1300 BC.
The Nuraghe is composed of a central tower, which once reached 5 meters in height, surrounded by a wall. It is supposed that its function was to control the arrival of enemy ships. When the conditions are optimal, in fact, from Cabu Abbas it is also possible to see the distant island of Tavolara. Admission to the Nuraghe Riu Mulino is free and free.
Visit Olbia in one day
Visiting the city of Olbia completely in a single day is really impossible, the solutions it offers are so many and all unmissable.
A very useful tip is to rent a few cars or means of transport from the many agencies also present at the airport such as Car Hire Olbia Airport .
In any case, it is a stage to be taken into account, whether you arrive by ferry to reach other destinations or if you have to leave from other points in the region, Olbia deserves your stop; stay in the city for one night at least to enjoy both the cultural riches of the day and the beauty of the center in the evening.