Is Olbia worth visiting? Olbia vs Alghero – which Sardinan city is better

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In this article, I will share our experience visiting Alghero and Olbia and compare Olbia vs Alghero. If you’re wondering if Olbia is worth visiting and whether you should skip it or not, this post is for you!

Before we start with the comparison of Olbia vs Alghero, here are a couple of frequently asked questions about travelling to Sardinia!

How many days are enough for Sardinia?

If you’re wondering how much time you should spend in Sardinia, ideally as much as you have! There are plenty of things to do on the island and you won’t be bored at all! The island is huge and you definitely need more than a week to discover both the North and the South of the island. The Southern part of the island has a lot more sightseeing you can do and has a lot more landmarks, while the North is all about swimming and visiting amazing beaches, some of the best in Europe!

What’s the best time to go to Sardinia?

If you’re wondering, what’s the best time to go to Sardinia, I would recommend going during the months, when it’s possible to swim – from June to late September! These are also the busiest months in North Sardinia. However, if you’re looking to visit Sardinia for a weekend break in late Autumn or in summer, for example, and aren’t interested in swimming, you can visit either Alghero or Cagliari. 

Finally, do you need a car in Sardinia?

Even if you’re staying in a larger town like Alghero or Olbia, you would need a car to venture outside the city and explore some of the best beaches and towns nearby!

Unfortunately, public transport is not operating very frequently in Sardinia and some places in Sardinia are not accessible by public transport. If you can, I recommend renting a car. We rented our car through and chose the operator Sicily by Car there. We got the car we booked and didn’t have any issues with Sicily By Car; therefore, I would definitely recommend it. 

Alright, without further ado, let’s chat about Olbia and whether Olbia is a good place to stay in Sardinia.


Is Olbia worth visiting? 

Olbia is one of the major towns in North Sardinia and the one with a very busy airport. Olbia is a gateway to Sardinia’s most beautiful and prestigious coast – Costa Smeralda. However, as a town it is a little bit underwhelming. It is definitely our personal opinion and you might end up loving Olbia, but in our case, we regretted staying there for so long and working remotely from there.

Why is Olbia disappointing?

Olbia looks more like an industrial town rather than a touristy one. There aren’t any landmarks and in order to get to the closest beach, you need to drive for about 10-15 minutes. The city centre is small and doesn’t look very special. 

There are almost no places open for lunch, so finding what to eat might be an issue during lunch hours. 

Because of the fact that there are no beaches in Olbia, the town is not very touristy or, at least, not as touristy as Alghero. People usually come there for a night if they have a late flight or stay there before taking an early flight the next morning. 

There are some nice-looking parts of Olbia’s Old Town, but spending an hour or two to see Olbia in the evening just before the sunset would be enough, in my opinion. 

Where to stay instead of Olbia?

If you are planning to rent a car in Sardinia, I recommend staying in different places around the island!

You can stay a couple of days somewhere in Costa Smeralda, for example, in Santa Theresa Gallura (look at Hotel Moresco or Vincent House Boutique Hotel). Santa Theresa Gallura has one of the best beaches in Sardinia, Spiaggia de Rena Bianca! 

Then you can stay somewhere around Stintino to discover the famous La Pelosa (needs an advance booking) – good accomodation options are Karamare and Nure

After that, you can stay in Alghero!

Finally, if you’re planning to visit Cala Goloritze (needs to be booked in advance as well), you can stay in B&B I Cinque Mori or B&B Boladina Experience.

Now, let’s talk about Alghero and compare Alghero vs Olbia! 


Alghero is the most beautiful large city we saw in North Sardinia. It has a pretty sizeable historical Old Town, a nice promenade, a variety of restaurants and shops and a plentitude of beaches located very close to the city centre. It reminded me of Catania in Sicily (read this post about our 7-day road trip around Sicily), although, Catania is much larger and more impressive! However, just like Catania, Alghero has both nice beaches and a beautiful Old Town! 

The only downside of Alghero is the fact that the water temperature is a bit colder on the West Side of Sardinia and the beaches are not as impressive as Costa Smeralda beaches. On the other hand, you have La Pelosa much closer to you!

Where to stay in Alghero

In my opinion, these hotels and guesthouses are a great option for staying in Alghero: Casa Giglio, MaBi or “Here” Mini Loft. 

The best tours to take from Alghero

When staying in Alghero, you can also take the following tours:

Snorkelling and Capo Caccia Cliffs tour 

Wine and olive tasting at a local farm 

Full-day sailing excursion 

Home-cooking class with a 4-course meal 

Alghero vs Olbia

In our opinion (both of us agreed) that Alghero is a much better place to stay in Sardinia compared to Olbia. It’s really lovely and it’s a joy to walk there in the evenings! Even at 11pm, there is a lot of life and in some cases, it looks like life just starts at 11pm in Alghero. The beaches are nice and if you’re staying in an apartment or hotel room that’s located between the beach and the Old Town, you will be able to enjoy both!

If you pick to stay in Olbia, you will have to drive to the beaches and you might find the restaurant and bar offerings in Olbia Old Town slightly underwhelming. You might not feel very safe walking there at night, especially if you’re staying slightly outside the Old Town! 

I hope that this article helped you to make up your mind and choose a place that suits your needs in Sardinia. While for us Alghero was a much better option, you might find Olbia more convenient for you! 

Here are some other articles you might find useful:

4 days in Sardinia: our itinerary – from Olbia to Alghero by car

Where to stay in Sardinia without a car

The best place to relax in Tuscany: Il Ciocco

The best beaches near Pisa and Cinque Terre

The most photogenic locations in Milan and Bergamo

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