Emerald Coast largest town
A magnet for celebrities and tourists
An ancient history, a lively present

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Olbia/Emerald Coast Sardinia

Crystal-clear waters and wild nature

Wedged into the coastline, Olbia is the largest town you’ll see on an MSC Mediterranean cruise around north-eastern Sardinia, its recent phenomenal growth due to the huge influx of tourists and cruisers bound for one of the Mediterranean’s loveliest stretches of coast, the Emerald Coast.

Olbia has a first-class museum, plus numerous bars and restaurants, usually abuzz with tourists. Long a magnet for Italy’s glitziest celebrities, in the 1960s the five-star development of the Costa Smeralda helped to transform the economy of the entire island.

With its typical rustic-red architecture, Porto Cervo, the main resort on the Costa Smeralda, embodies the dream of an idyllic Mediterranean village without any of the irritations of real life. Graffiti- and litter-free, Porto Cervo exults in its exclusivity, with a glittering yachting marina as its centrepiece.

You can enjoy many cruise excursions from Olbia: La Maddalena island invites aimless wandering and offers a variety of sandy and rocky beaches in mostly undeveloped coves. The beaches on the northern and western coasts are most attractive, particularly those around the tiny port of Madonetta, 5 km west of La Maddalena, and at Cala Lunga, 5 km north of town.

Attached to the main island by a causeway is neighbouring Caprera, the island on which Garibaldi spent his last years. Santa Teresa di Gallura is Sardinia’s northernmost port. The town gets extremely lively in summer, with a buzzing nightlife, but the main draw is the beaches, many enjoying superb views over to Corsica, just 11 km away.

There’s one stretch of sand right at the edge of town, but some of the finest beaches on the whole island are a short bus ride away, with Punta Falcone and La Marmorata to the east, and, 3 km west of Santa Teresa, Capo Testa, with its wind-sculpted granite rock formations.

Must see places in Olbia

  • A short cruise to Maddalena Island

    A short cruise to Maddalena Island

  • Porto Cervo

    Porto Cervo

  • The Nurages

    The Nurages

Discover our excursions

3 results found




    After leaving the port of Olbia by coach, the first stop on this enjoyable tour will be in San Pantaleo, a lovely little village located in the hills of the amazing Costa Smeralda, the Emerald Coast. Look forward to a short stop in the village to stroll around, browse in the small shops and visit the craft workshops. The excursion then continues up through the northernmost part of the island to Santa Teresa di Gallura, a coastal resort that faces the Strait of Bonifacio and Corsica. A guided tour of this small, but pretty town will follow, after which you will also have some free time to stroll around on your own. Return to the port. Please note: a helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        5 h

      • Adults$59.00Price per person

      • Children$42.00Price per person




      Beautiful by name and simply gorgeous by nature, the verdant Costa Smeralda is one of the most exclusive stretches of coastline in the whole of Sardinia and a popular holiday playground for the super-rich. This panoramic tour of the Emerald Coast begins with a scenic coach ride, during which a stop will be made to take pictures at Cala di Volpe. You will then make your way into Porto Cervo and the resort’s lovely piazzetta. After enjoying some free time, you will continue on to the Baia Sardinia, a pretty cove with a lovely beach of white sand. You can then spend a little time at the beach, before you make your way back to Olbia for additional free time for you to enjoy, Return to the pier and your ship. Please note: a helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adults$59.00Price per person

        • Children$42.00Price per person




        A short coach ride from Olbia will first take you north to the coastal town of Palau to board a ferry for the crossing to Maddalena Island, one of the seven main islands making up the Maddalena Archipelago located in the Straits of Bonifacio between north-eastern Sardinia and Corsica. While Maddalena Island looks back on a long military history, even once hosting Admiral Nelson and his fleet, it is now a designated national park – the Parco Nazionale Arcipelago di La Maddalena. The island’s granite coastline and verdant interior provide a rich natural habitat for a variety of wildlife and its unspoiled beauty draws tourists from around the world. A coach-based sightseeing tour will be followed by some free time to spend exploring the surroundings at your own pace. The island’s wonderful scenery is well worth a photo or two, so do remember to bring your camera. The leisurely tour is brought to an equally relaxing close with your return journey back to Olbia and the ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level

          • Duration
            5 h

          • Adults$72.00Price per person

          • Children$52.00Price per person

        The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.


        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


        History, gastronomy and fashion
        History, gastronomy and fashion

        A cruise to Italy is an emotional roller coaster. Rome is a tremendous city quite unlike any other, and in terms of historical sights outstrips everywhere else in the country by some way.
        Liguria, the small coastal province along the north-west coast, has long been known as the “Italian Riviera” and is accordingly crowded with sun-seekers for much of the summer.
        In Veneto the main focus of interest is, of course, Venice: a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. Tuscany in central Italy represents perhaps the most commonly perceived image of the country, with its classic rolling countryside and the art-packed towns of Florence and Pisa.

        The south proper begins with the region of Campania. Its capital, Naples, is a unique, unforgettable city, the spiritual heart of the Italian south. Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, has underrated pleasures, too, notably the landscape of its Gargano peninsula and the souk-like qualities of its capital, Bari.

        As for Sicily, the island is really a place apart, with a wide mixture of attractions ranging from some of the finest preserved Hellenistic treasures in Europe, to a couple of Italy’s most appealing Mediterranean beach resorts in Taormina and Cefalù, not to mention some gorgeous upland scenery.

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