A Complete Guide To Bosa Sardinia

A Complete Guide To Bosa Sardinia

Bosa Sardinia, is known as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy – and for a good reason. This town of no more than 8500 people is colorful; it is on the hills, yet right by the sea. A placid river flows through it and there even is a hilltop castle. In case you are wondering, let me be clear: it would really be a pity not to visit Bosa during your trip to Sardinia.

Bosa was first founded during Phoenician times and prospered during the time of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages it was repeatedly invaded by Arab pirates; but in the 12th century the Malaspina Family built a protective castle that proved vital to defend the town.

When the Savoys arrived to Bosa in the 19th century, they established a lucrative tanneries business. Tanneries are still visible, but this craft has been abandoned decades ago.

The castle and the tanneries are only two of the things to see while in Bosa. The Medieval center is a lovely place to explore. But there’s more – continue reading this post for guidance on what to see and do on Bosa Sardinia, and for tips on how to plan your trip there.

view of Bosa

A gorgeous view of Bosa from Malaspina Castle

15 Things To Do In Bosa Sardinia

Walk up Malaspina Castle

If you only visit one place when in Bosa Sardinia, it has to be the Malaspina Castle. This was built by the Malaspina family in 1112, when they moved to the region from Tuscany. Not much remains of the original structure (just the walls and the watchtowers), to be honest – and some may tell you it is not worth visiting because of that. But admission is very cheap and the views are absolutely breathtaking. So make sure to go.

The castle is open daily from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, but keep in mind that it often observes reduced opening hours in the winter months, so unless you are traveling in the summer you may want to double check before visiting.

Visit Our Lady de Sos Regnos Altos church

Inside Malaspina Castle there are the remains of a 4th century chapel, Nostra Signora di Regnos Altos, where there is a 14th century fresco that depicts various saints and martyrs, including St. Lawrence and St. Christopher. It’s definitely an interesting sight.

Explore Cattedrale dell’Immacolata

Built over a Romanesque church, Bosa’s Cathedral dates to the early 19th century. It’s a good example of Rococo style, and its highlight is the marble altar and Emilio Scherer 19th century’s frescoes.

Sant’Antonio Abate Church

Located on the southern bank of Temo River, crossing the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), this church dedicated to Sant’Antonio the abbot can only be visited during Sant’Antonio Abate festival on 16 and 17 January, and then again during Carnival. If you are in town at that time of year, make sure to stop by.

And Cattedrale di San Pietro Extramuros

This lovely church is located 2 km outside the village, walking upstream along the river from Sant’Antonio Abate Church. The cathedral was built in 1073 and is thought to be one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Sardinia. The apse was modified in the 12th century and the facade in the 13th – it’s in Gothic style.

Go to Museo Casa Deriu

This museum showcases local crafts and arts and it is located in a beautiful historical building that dates from the 19th century. Each floor hosts an exhibit about a different historical period of the city. The first floor hosts temporary exhibits and traditional embroidery; the second floor is dedicated to the original decor and furnishing of Casa Deriu (the townhouse where the museum is located); and the third floor is dedicated to Melkiorre Melis, one of Sardinia’s most important modern painters.

Practical Information: Museo Casa Deriu is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Admission is € 4.50 and includes a ticket to visit Pinacoteca Atza.

Bosa

The beautiful, colorful buildings along Temo River

And to Museo delle Conce

Located in the former tanneries which were in use until after WWII and on the south bank of the river, this museum is a good place to visit to get more insights on how the tanneries worked. On the ground floor you can see the original stone tanks used to wash the leather; on the second floor there is a photo exhibit that illustrates the tanning process.

Practical Information: Museo delle Conce is open daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Admission is €3.50

Attend Bosa Carnival

Carnival is quite a big deal in Sardinia, and each village has its own celebration. Though the most famous carnival is that of Mamoiada, Bosa Carnival is worth attending too – and it has the benefit of being significantly less touristy.

Bosa Carnival starts with a burning pyre in front of Sant’Antonio Abate church. It consists in parades that culminate in the celebrations of martedì grasso (Shrove Tuesday). On Shrove Tuesday, morning celebrations consists in locals dressed in black lamenting the passing of Carnival; whereas in the evening people are dressed in white to hunt the giolzi, a manifestation of the carnival that is thought to hide in people’s groin. Make sure to attend to discover how the giolzi are caught!

Santa Maria del Mare festival

Celebrated during the first week of August, during this festival fishermen form a procession of boats to accompany the statue of Virgin Mary from Bosa Marina to the Cathedral. Fireworks and traditional dances add to the celebrations. It’s still quite local, so go before it changes.

And Bosa Beer Fest

Bosa Beer Fest has been launched in recent years and takes place at the end of April. It literally is a celebration of Sardinian craft beer. If beer is your favorite drink, it’s a must.

Drink Malvasia

Speaking of drinks, I should probably mention that Bosa Sardinia is an important center for the production of Malvasia, a dessert wine. To discover more about this grape and the wine that’s made with it, make sure to join a guided tour that goes to local vineyards – several tastings are included.

Enjoy the beaches

Not far from Bosa Sardinia there are several good beaches to spend a day roasting in the sun and swimming in the clear waters. Bosa Marina is the most easily accessible one; but if you are looking for something unique go to Cumpoltittu, a tiny cove of white sand nestled among gorgeous rock formations, and with the clearest waters you could hope for.

Go for a hike 

The surroundings of Bosa offer great hiking and even birdwatching opportunities. The best areas for that are those of Capo Marrargiu Bio-marine Park and the Nature Reserve of Badde Aggiosu, Marrargiu and Monte Mannu.

An easy hike is the one that goes to Managu beach, formed as a consequence of a volcanic eruption. If the weather is nice, during the hike you even get to see Capo Caccia in the distance.

Another hike goes to Torre Argentina and departs from the parking lot located on the left side on SP49 on the way from Bosa to Alghero. The trail is mostly easy to follow and, crossing an area that reveals the (very old) volcanic origins of Sardinia, leads to a watchtower where you can enjoy a beautiful view.

Visit the nearby nuraghe

There are two nuraghe at easy driving distance from Bosa. Nuraghe di Santa Cristina is very easily reached as it is located right off SS131. It’s an important complex that dates back to the Bronze Age, and you’ll be able to see the best preserved well temple of Sardinia. This is accessed via a very steep staircase of 24 incredibly well preserved steps. On the other side of the nuraghic village, Nuraghe Santa Cristina is a single tower of about 7 meters located in a beautiful olive grove.

Another nuraghe that can be visited from Bosa is Nuraghe Losa, one of the best preserved in Sardinia. It dates to around 1500 BC and the central tower is about 13 meters tall.

Stop by Cuglieri

Not many people who visit Sardinia go to Cuglieri. It’s a pity – this village, perched on a hill at almost 500 meters above sea level, is lovely. I feel like mentioning it here as it is an easy drive from Bosa, and the way there is rather scenic. The main highlight of the village is the gorgeous Basilica di Santa Maria della Neve. You will love the view of the church as you approach the village, and you will love the views of the sea from the village itself.

Bosa Sardinia

Bosa – with the Malaspina Castle on top of the hill

Practical Tips To Organize Your Trip To Bosa Sardinia

Where to stay in Bosa Sardinia

Despite being small, Bosa has some great accommodation options. You can opt to stay in the village or closer to the sea, in the area called Bosa Marina. Personally, I’d rather stay in town for more eating and drinking options, and use the car to explore the beaches and nearby areas. These are the best options:

How to get to Bosa Sardinia

The closest airport to Bosa is that of Alghero, which is well connected to Italy and to the rest of Europe by regular and budget flights. There are five daily buses that connect Alghero Fertilia Airport to Bosa. The ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. There are two daily buses connecting Alghero city center to Bosa. If you plan to move around during your stay, you may be better off renting a car directly at the airport and drive to Bosa from there. You can check the prices and book your rental car here.

How to move around Bosa Sardinia

Bosa is small and easy to explore. However, if you want to explore the surrounding region, I recommend renting a car. You can check the prices and book your rental car here.

When to visit Bosa Sardinia

Bosa is a lovely place to visit year round, but if you want to fully enjoy all that it has to offer, try to visit in the spring and summer months, when businesses are open and when festivals take place. It’s when it’s going to be busy, but it won’t be overwhelmingly crowded.

Other useful information

You may find a guide book about Sardinia a great resource to plan your trips and for more insightful information. These are some good options:

As for any other trip, I recommend getting a good travel insurance for your trip to Bosa and Sardinia. Check out my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get your travel insurance here.

Further readings about Sardinia

For more readings about Sardinia, make sure to check my other posts:

Make sure to also read my post 17 Reasons To Visit Italy As Soon As Possible.”

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Discover what to see and do in Bosa, Sardinia - via @clautavani

Where to go in Sardinia: the North-West and the West Coast

Where to go in Sardinia: the North-West and the West Coast

Villanova Monteleone, yet one reason to visit Sardinia

Villanova Monteleone, yet one reason to visit Sardinia

Isola dell’Asinara and Stintino:

Let’s face it, sometimes we want to get away from it all. Are you looking for where to go in Sardinia for when you feel like staying immersed in nature and enjoying more more of the best beaches in Sardinia? Then, visit Isola dell’Asinara. It is not hard to get there: from Castel Sardo or Alghero, go to Stintino. You won’t have any problem in finding a cheap bed and breakfast for one night. The following morning, hop on a ferry from the harbour of Stintino to Fornelli. My advice if you have little time is to book the guided tour of the island on a jeep (you can look for one of the companies running the tour on the official webpage of the island, which unfortunately is only in Italian). This way you will visit various sites of historical and natural importance, among them the historic jails in Cala d’Oliva and Fornelli, the sanatorium, and the beautiful beaches of Cala Sabina, Cala Trabuccato and Cala d’Arena, where the sea is clean, transparent and full of fishes. This is a protected area so nobody can go fishing. If you have more time, and are looking for more fun things to do in Sardinia, you can go on one of the many free hikes or opt for a biking tour (a bit harder, under the sun!). Finally, Asinara is also great for diving.

Yes, Asinara is THAT gorgeous! Here are some of the best beaches in Sardinia

Yes, Asinara is THAT gorgeous! Here are some of the best beaches in Sardinia

Asinara was originally a fishing community, which later on became a criminal and leper colony, to be finally turned into a maximum security jail which hosted, among others, mafia boss Totò Riina. It was finally turned into a National Park in 1997. The island made the national and international news when, from 24 February 2010 for over a year a group of redundant workers of Vinyls (a petroleum company based in the nearby Porto Torres) occupied the old prison of Cala D’Oliva in a protest to be returned to their job.

If you visit Sardinia do not skip Asinara

Flowers at the jail window: if you visit Sardinia do not skip Asinara

My advice is to spend at least one night on the island. There is only one hostel, in Cala D’Oliva. This used to be a guest house for prison guards and it is rather plain, but the atmosphere is relaxing. There is no kitchen use but meals (dinner and breakfast) are included in the price and are consumed family style. You can also have packed lunches. There are private rooms and dorms, all with shared bathroom. The place is clean and the staff friendly, and you will have plenty of chances to get to know other guests. After dinner, go for a walk to look at the stars and enjoy the silence. In the only bar in Cala D’Oliva, where guests of the hostel meet for after dinner drinks, you will be soon enough reached by Andrea, a goat who will go around begging for salt and pats; you will see boars walking around, a number of cats and white donkeys.

Donkeys are the only inhabitants of Asinara, together with boars, cats, goats...

Donkeys are the only inhabitants of Asinara, together with boars, cats, goats…

Once you (sadly) leave Asinara, since the ferry lands in Stintino, don’t miss the chance to spend a day in one of the best beaches in Sardinia (as well as possibly the most crowded, to be honest!): La Pelosa. Fighting for a few centimeters of sand will be the price to pay in order to enjoy the gorgeous, calm sea. But it will be worth it!

La Pelosa, one of the best beaches in Sardinia. Or in the world?

La Pelosa, one of the best beaches in Sardinia. Or in the world?

Alghero and Bosa:

From Stintino it is fairly easy to reach Alghero, also known as “little Barcelona” for its catalan linguistic roots. Alghero is where to go in Sardinia if you want to feel somewhere yet more diverse. It is vibrant, lively, packed with restaurants and bars, nightlife, it is simply pretty and a must see. Near Alghero there are the some of the most famous (and crowded, but access is free) and best beaches in Sardinia: Le Bombarde and Il Lazzaretto. A bit further away and harder to reach, the gorgeous Argentiera, with its transparent water and its old minerary village behind.

Things to do in Sardinia: go to the beach AND visit a mine, all in the same day

Things to do in Sardinia: go to the beach AND visit a mine, all in the same day – Argentiera

Near Alghero there also is Capocaccia, from where you can access the Neptune Caves (you can walk down the over 600 steps, and then back up, to keep extra fit). This is also where you can go on one of the best dives in Sardinia.

Things to do in Sardinia: diving in Capocaccia

Things to do in Sardinia: diving in Capocaccia

Looking for what to do in Sardinia on a lazy afternoon? About 40 minutes south by car, there is Bosa, a lovely colorful small town on the river Temo. From the Castle of Malaspina you can admire a great view.

Visiting Bosa: what to do in Sardinia on a lazy afternoon - a view from the Malaspina Castle

Visiting Bosa: what to do in Sardinia on a lazy afternoon – a view from the Malaspina Castle

Where to stay and eat

There are many hotels and b&bs in Alghero, geared to all budgets: it is a top tourist destination. Book in advance as rooms sell out quickly. There are also a number of camping sites: among them La Mariposa, Camping Village Laguna Blu, and Torre del Porticciolo.

One of the best activities when you visit Sardinia is going on a sunset walk on the beautiful bastion overlooking the sea, and across the small streets of the historic centre, with its many lovely shops and boutiques. You can eat in one of the many restaurants. For a good pizza, go to Il Vecchio Mulino. If you are in search of a romantic atmosphere, Quintilio is right outside town and has a spectacular view over the city, the bay and up to Capo Caccia. Go there at sunset, for an aperitif or for a light (and a bit expensive) dinner of fresh seafood. For after dinner drinks go to Baraonda.

Less touristy destinations:

Ok, that is slightly an overstatement, but anyways these are some of Sardinia best beaches which are not as crowded, a bit harder to reach but equally beautiful: Is Aruttas beach with its white crystals tiny pebbles;

Sardinia best beaches: is Aruttas

Sardinia best beaches: is Aruttas

Funny rock formations at Is Aruttas

Funny rock formations at Is Aruttas

S’Archittu, with a rock formation in the shape of an arch. In the Sulcis area, Masua Pan di Zucchero

Masua Pan di Zucchero - sunset on the South West coast is a must when you visit Sardinia

Masua Pan di Zucchero – sunset on the South West coast is a must when you visit Sardinia

Buggerru and Cala Domestica (the latter also offers a beautiful and free trekking through a well signaled path) all deserve a visit, possibly in addition to a tour of the old mines.

Where to go in Sardinia: Crazy gorgeous fjords in Cala Domestica

Where to go in Sardinia: Crazy gorgeous fjords in Cala Domestica

Last but not least, Porto Pino, famous for its sand dunes.

Find out more things to do in Sardinia on my post “A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia.”