San Teodoro is considered one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Sardinia. Located on the border between the Gallura and Baronia regions, it has always been famous for the stunning colors of its sea.
Although the main reason to visit San Teodoro is indeed the gorgeous beaches, San Teodoro has much more to offer: the village itself has a beautiful vibe and is loved especially by young people thanks to its vicinity to Costa Smeralda and its abundance of clubs and bars for a legendary nightlife.
If you are planning a trip to northeastern Sardinia, you should definitely consider San Teodoro as your base. This short guide selects the best places to visit in the area, as well as the best beaches, and shares some tips to plan your trip.
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The History Of San Teodoro
San Teodoro’s most ancient history is not very clear – the village didn’t seem to have a strategic role in the past. Several pre-nuragic and nuragic remains have been found in the area, and so have Roman-era relics, but the city has always been a marginal, small village. It is sometimes mentioned in chronicle books as a resting point for people going to Olbia, the main city in the Gallura region.
During the Middle Ages, San Teodoro was part of the Gallura Judgedom and became a Pisan possession afterward. Then, because of the pirates’ invasions and the recurring plague epidemics, it was completely abandoned. Many described the area as rural, surrounded by hostile landmarks, where only sheep and goat herders dared to adventure.
The city started to be repopulated during the Savoy era but became famous and prosperous only in the second half of the last century thanks to the creation of the Costa Smeralda concept nearby and the overall growing tourism industry.
What To See And Do In San Teodoro
San Teodoro is a small village and most people who visit spend their time at the beach, but there are a few attractions worth a couple of hours of your time.
Museo delle Civiltà del Mare
The Museo della Civiltà del Mare, albeit small, has a nice exhibit and traces the history of San Teodoro and the neighboring cities from their Punic times to the present, focusing on the commercial role these marine areas had. The relics shown here are a witness of how important the harbors in this part of Sardinia were throughout history, both as exchanging points and as strategic war sites.
Unfortunately, the museum is temporarily closed for renovation works.
San Teodoro Lagoon
Nature lovers and especially birdwatchers need to see this protected area! This pond is home to a multitude of rare species, both living here permanently and using the area as a resting point. The pink flamingoes are known to be numerous and easy to spot.
The best way to experience the area to the fullest is by booking a guided tour. This way, you’ll explore the area and will not risk doing any damage to the environment.
There is a tourist train that, for €3,50 per person, will bring you around San Teodoro and its most interesting areas. It’s a fun activity for both kids and adults, and it will show you all the highlights of San Teodoro without the bother of driving around yourself.
San Teodoro Churches
The small town is home to a few beautiful churches. These, albeit small and very recent, are a perfect example of the typical Sardinian rural churches, especially the one dedicated to the city’s patron (St. Theodore of Amasea, a Roman soldier who was martyrized in 306 AD).
The other two main churches, located respectively in the districts of Straulas and Montepetrosu, are dedicated to Sant’Antonio and Sant’Andrea.
Tavolara and Molara islands
Tavolara Natural Park is located right in front of the village. You can visit Tavolara island independently – boats depart regularly from Porto San Paolo, a quick drive from San Teodoro.
Alternatively, you can join a guided boat tour. For more information, click here.
Molara, next to Tavolara, is an even smaller private island that can only be visited on guided tours that depart from Cala Finanza, a 20 minutes drive from San Teodoro.
The Best Beaches In San Teodoro
The main attraction in San Teodoro are the incredible beaches – some of the best beaches in Sardinia. Here are my favorite ones.
This beach is one of the most popular in San Teodoro. The dunes of white, fine sand and the vegetation make for a unique view and give the impression of almost being on a lonely, desert island – except the beach get very crowded in the peak summer months. The water isn’t deep, so the beach is great for kids as well.
There is plenty of space for everyone because the beach is more than one km (0.6 miles) long and quite broad; it is equipped with all comforts and close to hotels and restaurants.
Often called “the little Tahiti” for its resemblance to a tropical beach, Cala Brandinchi is one of the most beautiful – and most intact – beaches in the area. It is equipped with every comfort and more, and it’s well suited for kids and inexperienced swimmers. The beach has also a historic value: this is the place where Giuseppe Garibaldi sailed towards Rome to conquer it and unify Italy.
Check out my post The Best Guide To Cala Brandinchi.
This beach is the symbol of San Teodoro, famous not only for its colors but also for the unmistakable fragrance of junipers and wild lilies filling the air. La Cinta is about 5 km (over 3 miles) long and can be reached by foot from the city, and although it’s often very crowded, it’s a place you should never miss when in San Teodoro. It is equipped with every comfort – and if you are interested, you can even sign up for kitesurfing lessons.
This is another beach equipped with everything and loved by many. Its symbol, a turtle-shaped rock, is one of the most photographed places in Sardinia. The water is not deep and the beach is a mix of pebbles and sand, making the place a must-go for tourists. You can choose among several coves to sunbathe at or simply enjoy a walk exploring the whole beach.
Capo Coda Cavallo
Located inside the protected Marine Area of Tavolara, Capo Coda Cavallo is a stunning beach famous for the fact that its waters are always still: no matter the wind, there are no waves thanks to the place’s geological shape. And because of this, the beach (and the area in general) is a paradise of biodiversity.
If you like snorkeling, you shouldn’t miss a trip to this beach: you might spend hours underwater and continuously see something new and fascinating.
This is not a very famous beach but it’s beautiful, nonetheless. The area is particularly good for snorkeling, and the colors of the water and sand are simply stunning. If you are looking for a peaceful, not-so-crowded place where to spend a relaxing day, you should definitely visit Lastra Ruja beach.
You can reach this beach directly from the city center, it’s a 700 meters (0.4 miles) walk. Cala d’Ambra is quite famous and crowded but worth your time: the clear, shallow water and soft sand are enough to attract tourists from all around the world.
The beach is also a renowned spot for wind and kite surfing, diving, and snorkeling. It is equipped with everything you may need for your day, so you won’t have to worry about bringing your own umbrella or lunch unless you want to.
Practical Information To Plan Your Trip
How to get to San Teodoro from Olbia
Olbia is the closest airport and harbor to San Teodoro, so it makes sense to use it as a starting point to get there. Here’s how to get there:
BY CAR – San Teodoro is only about 30 km (18.6 miles) from Olbia. You just need to follow SS131 southbound – there are plenty of road signs leading you there.
BY PRIVATE TRANSFER – If you don’t think you’ll need a car once you get to San Teodoro, book a private transfer to take you there from the airport. You can do that here.
BY BUS – There are two bus stops in Olbia where you can hop on and go directly to San Teodoro. The line is ARST 514 and the stops are SS125 loc. La Traversa and Via Gramsci. You can get the tickets at a nearby tabaccheria shop or at the vending machines.
Where to sleep in San Teodoro
There are plenty of excellent accommodation options in San Teodoro. Here are just a few suggestions:
- B&B Limone – This Bed and Breakfast offers free parking and all the comforts you might need. It’s pet-friendly and located close to the beaches. You can choose among continental and buffet breakfast options and enjoy them on the terrace or in the garden.
- Hotel Il Viandante – Located in the city center, the rooms are all furnished with traditional furniture made by local artisans and are equipped with every comfort. Free parking and a pool are available. The hotel is very close to several restaurants and pizzerias. You can book a shuttle service to the airport or the harbor.
- Residence Sardegna Summer Li Cuppulati – Located very close to the La Cinta Beach, this residence offers apartments with everything you might need. It is pet-friendly and offers free parking and a shuttle service. Couples and young people love it, especially for its very central position.
Make sure to also read my post The Best Hotels In San Teodoro.
San Teodoro is a very special place in Sardinia, with a lot to offer and a lot to discover. Make sure to spend at least a week there to make the most of the incredible beaches – I’m sure that you will go home satisfied after a holiday there, no matter how short or long.
Looking to extend your Sardinia holidays? Make sure to read my posts:
- The Best 10-Days Itinerary For North Sardinia
- A Quick Guide To Olbia
- The Ultimate Guide To Costa Smeralda
- A Brief Guide To Arzachena
- The Complete Guide To Santa Teresa Di Gallura
- The Best Guide To La Maddalena Archipelago