If you are planning for a trip to Italy, then you can consider spending some time in Tavolara Island, which lies along the northeast coast of Sardinia. This island is situated in the geographical region of Gallura in the town of Olbia across the Olbia-Tempio province. You can find one of the most amazing landscapes on Tavolara overlooking the sea, as there are restrictions on construction activities in this region. From a distance, the island seems as if a massive limestone is springing out of the sea. This rectangular structure is around 6 kms in length and 1 km in width. There are very limited number of civilian establishments along this island in the form of beaches, ports along with a few restaurants. Besides, there are landing points meant for the small boats, which provide connectivity to the port of Porto San Paolo. Just across the other island, one may be able to come across NATO military base, which is operated by the Italian navy.
History of Tavolara
The Romans referred to this island by the name of Insula Hermaea and in the Middle Ages it was used for the purpose of military defense. Towards the end of the year 1000, there was a group of pirates who settled down on the island. However, at the end of the 18th century, the Genose settlers arrived on this land and thanks to the fishermen from Ponza that looked for the lobsters and sea life, the local population grew up to 60 people, but it was soon abandoned again, around 1760. At the end of the 18th Century, the Bertoleoni family arrived on this beautiful island which was completely uninhabited by people. It is believed that these people worked hard, settled there and made a dedicated living through wild goat farming.
Joseph Bertoleoni who was the chief of the family paid a visit to the King of Sardinia and posed himself as the King of Tavolara. Thus during the late 800's, this island of Tavolara came to be officially recognized as a kingdom. Even in the recent times, one can come across a collection of the royal portraits of this family along with many other renowned royal family photos in the Buckingham Palace museum in London. Thus, Tavolara came to be recognized as one of the smallest kingdom in the world. Today, there are about 20 people living on this island along the descendants of this Bertoleoni family. In fact, they are not the owners of the land anymore but treated as custodians who are commited to protect and preserve this great island.
Attractions on Tavolara
You can visit the Museum of the Sea, which has a fascinating collection of archeological exhibits and provides a brief history of this wonderful island. Those who love to indulge in adventure sports like diving can find the Marine Park to be an exciting place to enjoy such activities. Punta Coda Cavallo is located along one of the most breathtaking coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. This place is located quite close to the Costa Smeralda and is spread across an area of around 15,000 hectares. You can watch the lovely crystal clear waters of this island and admire its natural scenic beauty.
Spalmatore di Terra is one of the best beaches found on the island and you can catch a glimpse of the breathtaking beauty of this awesome beach with golden sand. Visit the Spalmatore di Fuori to catch a nice glimpse of the seashore and see some of the natural scenic beauty along the gulf where restaurants are lined along the northern side of this islet. You can also explore the royal cemetery, which is just a short walk away from the Spalmatore di Fuori. Isola Rossa and Isola Piana are the two lovely islets found along the stretch of the sea located amidst the mainland of Sardinia and Tavolara.
As you pass by the seawater canal located amidst Tavolara and the mainland, you can find a Portuguese cargo belonging to the 70's with lot of tales of mystery surrounding this boat.
Getting to Tavolara
You can access this island from across the port of San Paolo using boats that get to the beach of Spalmatore di Terra. If you come here during the summer time, then you can take boat excursions starting from Golfo Aranci and stop at different places to explore Tavolara and its surroundings areas.
Hotels and Accomodation
There are no hotels on Tavolara Island; the closest are in the town of Olbia. Most of the hotels are designed in Sardinian style in the form of single storey cottages, which look stylish and unconventional. The rooms are of good quality and comfortable; from the windows you can look at the macchia and pine trees in the surroundings and sometimes at the islands of Molara and Tavolara. There are also plenty of hotels located along the South of Olbia that provide a panoramic view of the Tavolara Island.
Eating Out in Tavolara
On the island of Tavolara, you can find only a single select restaurant that caters to the needs of the travelers where one can find some of the best seafood specialties. Here you can find some of the portraits of the royal family and enjoy some great food amidst a wonderful ambience at the seaside. Mussels, crabs, lobsters are some of the seafood that you can relish here in this Tavolara island restaurant. Anyway, it is advisable to bring your own food and drink, if you are visiting this island during seasons other than Summer.
Tavolara is one of the fascinating islands along the Sardinian region where you can find nature's beauty at its best with sandy beaches and bays along with the seashore. If you are an adventurous traveler, then you can hire a boat from the locals and explore this island on your own as well.