The coastal city of Olbia has a wealth of interesting attractions for travellers to discover. It is known for the medieval San Simplicio basilica, built in the late 11th century. A pretty square surrounds the basilica while inside, you can admire the ornate pillars, columns and apse. When heading east, you'll stumble upon the palm tree-lined waterfront that leads to the Museo Archeologico di Olbia, a stunning modern museum designed by Italian architect and engineer Giovanni Macciocco. Delve into local history via an exhibition of fascinating artefacts including Roman amulets, pottery and relics from the Nuragic civilisation. Not to be missed are the remnants of a Roman ship that was unearthed in the old port. Continue your discovery of Olbia’s history with a visit to the Nuraghe Riu Mulinu, an archaeological complex located on a hilltop. The site also offers superb views of the city and the surrounding hills. Additionally called Cabbu Abbas, it is characterised by a large wall with two entrances. Inside the complex is a small circular nuraghe (ancient stone fortification) with one tower.
Outside of the city, there are several places that are easy to reach when you rent a car in Olbia. Just over an hour's drive from the town proper is the pre-historic monument known as the Giants' Grave where you'll learn of burial rites during the Bronze Age. The tomb in Olbia is impressive - 28 metres long and 6 metres wide while the sepulchral gallery is more than 10 metres in length. No visit to Olbia would be complete without going to one of the amazing nearby beaches. With your car hire, you can load the boot with supplies and hit the road. Lu Impostu Beach in San Teodoro is a wonderful expanse of white sand and shallow crystal clear waters. If you'd like a longer stretch, its neighbour, La Cinta Beach, boasts 5 kilometres of powdery sands and plenty of water sports to keep you and the family occupied. You’ll also be treated to the wonderful sight of pink flamingos, red herons and mallards. And don't miss a trip to the Arcipelago di la Maddalena National Park, a marine park consisting of several islands and islets. The bigger islands are collectively known as the ‘seven sisters.’ Maddalena, an inhabited island, is the most important and features pristine beaches, gorgeous seascapes and amazing wildlife. About 25 kilometres away from Olbia is the world-famous Costa Smeralda with beautiful beaches and turquoise-coloured waters. The resort town is also known for having some of the most expensive real estate in Europe. Come here for the gorgeous beaches, golf facilities and upscale resorts and hotels.
The topography in Olbia is characterised by coastlines, hilly areas, mountains and some sand dune areas. Flat areas are not common. The town enjoys a Mediterranean type of climate, while travel related services are the main sources of income. Alongside this, agriculture, fishing and mining play important roles in the local economy. Local cuisine features plenty of seafood, rice, meat and pasta, while the wine industry is also getting recognition with Vermentino di Gallura and Torbato bottles being something to discover.
Olbia is served by an airport and a ferry connects it to mainland Italy. If you rent a car in Olbia, it is best to do it before your arrival. You can usually collect it from the rental location, which may be at the airport or in the city centre, and return it to the same place. Note that people drive on the right side of the road. Be prepared for narrow roads and hairpin bends, while signage is clear and the roads are generally very good. All EU licences are recognised. There are no motorways in Olbia, or Sardinia for that matter, so you cannot drive fast as the roads are winding and narrow. In addition, you might encounter flocks of sheep when driving outside of the city. Remember to respect the speed limit which is 90kph on secondary roads and 50kph on built-up areas. If you rent a car in Olbia, note that your blood alcohol level (BAC) should not be more than 0.05%, and there are random spot checks.