Sport & activities

Outdoor enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in Sant’Antioco. The island’s breathtaking coast and rugged interior provide the perfect arena for a whole host of activities, ranging from hiking and climbing to horse  riding, from quad adventures to mountain biking. Offshore, pristine waters offer yet more thrills and spills, windsurf, kitesurf, diving, snorkeling, kayak, canoe. All outdoor activities – from horse riding or pony school for children, from learning to dive and snorkel, to kayaking or climbing, wildlife-spotting to birdwatching,  coastal hiking to simple relaxing walking– are really unforgettable here around.

Swin in clear water, climb sea cliffs, breeze across the Med on a board or hike into Mediterranean schrub hills, or among the salt marshes; Sant’Antioco thrills with exhilarating landscapes, unique wildlife and boundless outdoor pursuits.

Only by hitting the trail can you appreciate how big, wild and boundlessly beautiful this Island really is. With its hilly terrain, inspiring scenery and extensive network of trails, it is an ideal hiking and cycling heaven. There is a huge variety of routes, from tough hill tracks to spectacular coastal paths, and whatever your level of fitness you’ll find something to suit you. For horse lovers, riding is a popular island activity, also for beginners.

Walk the vertiginous coastal path, where climbers spider up the limestone cliffs. The sea’s allure is irresistible to windsurfers on the north/western coast, while divers wax lyrical about plenty of fish and barracuda, just off Sant’Antioco and San pietro islands.

Sant’Antioco is combed with footpaths but routes are often unmarked and tricky to navigate solo. Consider hiring a guide from a local hiking business, or have good use of your GPS device: but, be careful, not all the island is dutily wifi covered thought;  big skies, sea breezes, your bum in a saddle – there’s no better way to escape the crowds and feel the nature around you, in total peace, say cyclists.

If hiking and cycling aren’t your cup of tea, Sant’Antioco also has some fine horse-riding opportunities. The island’s biggest equestrian centre is Carolina Ranch, where you can find also quads on rent, with guided adventure tours, a really beautiful experience, pony school and facilities for kids.

Set your spirits soaring by hiking its clifftop trails, exploring its sea grottoes (such as Is Praneddas or Porto Sciusciau) in a kayak, paddling to hidden coves at your own speed, or boating along the gulf to hidden coves – each more mind-blowingly beautiful than the last, in the meanwhile relaxing with a dive or a refreshing jump in the sea.

As rich and varied as its landscape, all the islands’s seas are a joy to explore. Sailors can search out hidden coves and island-hop around crystalline coastal waters, whilst divers can take to the deep to investigate underwater grottoes and sunken wrecks. Some of the best diving is off Sant’Antioco’s rocky islands on the south, or around the Isola di San Pietro. Tuna, barracuda, groupers, breed fish, even turtles, dolphins and (harmless) sharks can sometimes be spotted. For idyllic summer sailing, pick up a boat in Calasetta and set sail for the secluded coves of the Isola di San Pietro. 

Another must  is the go-to beach for windsurfing, flamingo-spotting and dune walking, or just birdwatching around the salt marshes which attract nesting, migrant and wintering birds in their thousands. With a little luck you may well spot other than pink flamingos, purple herons, little egrets, marsh harriers, sandwich terns and black-winged stilts. These place are best explored on foot or by bicycle, this way to not disturbe the birds.

Thanks to the constant winds that bluster around the island, Sant’Antioco offers world-class windsurfing and Italy’s best surfing. For those who prefer a slower pace, sea kayaking is an ideal way of exploring the coast’s many beautiful nooks and crannies. Windsurfers from across Europe flock to Sa Barra and Spiaggia Grande on the northwestern coast, to pit themselves against the fierce winds that whistle through the channel between Sant’Antioco and San Pietro. For kid and beginners Sa Barra is the best choice, with shallow water.

Kitesurfing is also popular here, with various schools catering to newbies and hardened vets, the best of wich is in Porto Botte, a few km away.