The center of Olbia holds many interesting monuments: among them, the 1747 Church of San Paolo, the Palazzetto Umbertino, home to the Municipal Library and of a collection of finds from the Nuragic period, and the Church of San Simplicio, one of the most fascinating examples of Romanesque architecture on the island, erected in the 1000s to 1100s using only granite.
Just a short distance from the town is the Cabu Abbas Nuragic Complex and the Sacred Well of Sa Testa from the 8th-6th century B.C., one of Sardinia’s most intriguing monuments.
In the Bay of Olbia lies the Island of Tavolara, essentially a huge slab of limestone that remains in pristine condition, thanks to the building ban imposed by the Municipality of Olbia. Regarded as one of the busiest summer destinations, the island is included in the Marine Protected Area of Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo.
Moving inland from Olbia, one arrives in Arzachena, a town that has experienced extraordinary success since the latter half of the 20th Century. The area around Arzachena features many archaeological sites of great interest, such as the Lu Coddhu ‘Ecchiuj and Li Lolghi (giant funeral monuments), the Li Muri Necropolis, the temple of Malchittu and the Ladas Dolmen, a monument from the 3rd-2nd millennium BC.
In the nearby village of Luras is the Ethnographic Museum of Galluras-Frammenti, reproducing the characteristic environment of the ancient Galluran civilization.
Then, Tempio Pausania is 25 miles from Olbia; the town is located on a granite plateau with the peaks of the majestic Monte Limbara Range in the background. This is a trekker’s dream, and also boasts an important cork and wine production center. Not only, but it is also a vacation destination famous for the therapeutic properties of the oligo-mineral waters of the Rinaggiu Springs and its thermal spa.
Although the province's interior is charming, undoubtedly it is the coast that gets most of the attention. Moving north from Olbia northward, past the luxurious village of Porto Rotondo and the Bay of Cugnano, the visitor arrives at the legendary Costa Smeralda (the name refers to the beautiful emerald, green and turquoise shades of the sea). The heart of the Costa Smeralda is Porto Cervo, nestled in a secluded cove and offering exquisite touristic accommodations, in addition to a well-equipped marina with space for over 700 boats. Life in Porto Cervo revolves around its piazzetta and the Church of Stella Maris.
Many a beach is worth visiting in Sardinia: Cala di Volpe, Poltu Quatu, Bajia Sardinia, Cannigione, the magnificent Capriccioli and Liscia Ruia beaches.
Still heading north past Porto Rafael, a sophisticated tourist village set in a small bay, one drives through Palau, another very popular destination with its famous Capo d’Orso Rock, to finally arrive in Santa Teresa di Gallura, the point on the island closest to Corsica, possessing a unique white limestone of the Bonifacio Coast.
Other remarkable features of the area around Santa Teresa di Gallura are Capo Testa, a massive granite promontory connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, the Bay of Tindari of coral-red rocks, Isola Rossa and Valle della Luna, an almost-desolate terrain characterized by the presence of granite rocks, naturally-eroded into animal-like shapes.
Lastly, the spectacular La Maddalena Archipelago is composed by a group of granite islands, the largest of which are La Maddalena, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Caprera, Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria. The magnificent environments of these islands and the surrounding waters, as well as the variety of shapes, colors and fauna make this place (now a National Park) one of the most breathtaking spots of the entire Mediterranean Basin.
In addition to the innumerable natural wonders, the Archipelago is famous for the National Garibaldi Museum, on the island of Caprera. The hero of the Risorgimento, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) spent the last years of his life on this island, with which he fell in love at first sight. He bought some land and built a house and accompanying structures: the estate has been used as a museum since his death.