A Jewel in Sardinia: Bosa

Multicolored houses Bosa

Discover Bosa in Sardinia

Bosa is one of those gems in the west coast of Sardinia that I immediately fell in love with. Why? In this charming town, with its multicolored houses along the river Temo, it feels like time stood still.

I hope this blog post gives you enough inspiration on how you can spend a day in Bosa. I have included a few extra tips on cool local events (Summer Carnival!), tasty lunch and dinner options, and a few interesting ancient sites you don’t want to miss.

Bosa is a town which allows you to fully unwind and relax which makes it the perfect Mediterranean escape!

Where is Bosa on the map?

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus). And in the northwest part of the island, you will find Bosa!

Zoom out on the map below for a better view of Bosa’s location in Sardinia (the red mark indicates Bosa).

Bosa is situated at the foot of the hill of Serravalle and is surrounded by a lush green rocky valley. However, you can easily spot Bosa while driving! Do you see the group of candy-colored houses on the photo below? That’s Bosa!

Bosa Sardinia

What can you expect during a visit to Bosa?

Bosa has around 8000 inhabitants and its compact size makes it very suitable for a day trip. Sightseeing in Bosa means exploring the picturesque alleys of Sa Costa, visiting a museum or ancient church, and soaking up scenic views from Castello Malaspina.

This town is maybe not for you if you’re into shopping at commercial stores, having all kinds of restaurants to choose from or doing lots of activities. There is enough to see in the area, but it’s all more chill.

I do think its beauty makes it more than worthy to include it in your Sardinian itinerary. If only for a brief stop!

Bosa Sardinia

Explore the picturesque harbor

In case you arrive by car (like us), park your car for free in Lungo Temo Alcide De Gasperi (we parked on this exact location). The photo below is taken about where we parked.

From here you are only 500 meters away from Bosa’s center. And you can immediately enjoy a breath of fresh air during a scenic walk along the river Temo which leads you to Bosa’s harbor.

Bosa Sardinia

During our walk towards the harbor, we took the stairs, next to the boats, to get even closer to the river. Being Dutch (and surrounded by canals, rivers, sea, etc.) I’m naturally drawn to water. While sitting by the river an old fishing boat and a couple of ducks passed by. Call me an old lady, but I really enjoy zen moments like these!

Apart from soaking up the sun and spotting birds I gave Michel’s birthday gift (from last year), a handy Fuji polaroid camera, another spin.

What I enjoy most about the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is the cool vintage photo effect! The camera comes with creative photo options, such as “party” or “double exposure”. And it even has a self-timer which is super convenient.

I like not having to search for a print shop and being able to pin all of my snaps directly to our bulletin board when we get home. Happy pics taken during our travels helps me to cope with post-trip blues and keep that holiday spirit alive as long as possible!

Looking for more inspiration on what to do with your pretty polaroids photos? Maybe my ‘Polaroid photo ideas’ Pinterest board can help you out.

Bosa Sardinia Fuji

In the beginning, it can be a little tricky getting the correct settings with the polaroid camera. Michel was either overexposed like Casper the Friendly Ghost or too dark and he looked sunburned. Oops!

But once you get the hang of it, setting the options (there aren’t that many) is a piece of cake. And, if you have a bit more patience (my struggle) I bet you will do just fine after reading the manual that comes with it.

Instax films can be pricey when you only purchase single packs. My biggest save hack is to only buy value packs. It’s also handy to have a small stock because you can only take 10 photos with one single pack.

After taking a ton of a few pics, Michel and I continued our Bosa tour by crossing the bridge Temo aka one of the coolest photo spots for snapping Castello Serravalle (or Castello Malaspina).

The castle was built in 1112 (!!!) by the wealthy Malaspina family and strategically placed on top of the hill of Serravalle. What does that mean? Well, an awesome panoramic view of Bosa!

Tip: Visit Castello Serravalle + Chiesa di Nostra Signora di Regnos Altos
If you are interested to check out the stunning view, then take the stairs in Sa Costa (old part of town). While you’re there don’t forget to stop by the Chiesa di Nostra Signora di Regnos Altos to admire the beautiful frescoes. A single ticket to visit the castle, the chapel and the Saint Pietro Church costs €5,50 (adults) in total.

Harbor Sardinia

Along Bosa’s peaceful harbor you will pass a few old tanneries. Bosa’s tanning tradition dates back to ancient Rome (or maybe even before that!). Over time the tannery business slowed down and it finally stopped in the second half of the 20th century. Most tanneries were located by the river Temo and close to the center for easy access. But far enough to keep Bosa free of bad smells released during the production of leather!

Tip: Visit the Museo delle Conce (Tannery Museum)
Step back in time and learn more about Bosa’s tanneries by visiting Museo delle Conce. The museum is located in an original 18th-century tannery and provides a nice insight on the leather process. Check out the original stone tanks (where leather hides were washed) and a collection of photos and tools that illustrate the entire tanning process. The entry fee is €3,50 (adults) which seems reasonable for any history enthusiast.

Thanks to the river, fishing remains an important part of Bosa’s economy. Therefore, the local cuisine is dominated by seafood. Yum! Besides fishing, locals get creative and design red coral and gold filigree jewelry. Most of these goodies are exported to the busy city Alghero.

Candy-colored houses

Although Bosa is a tiny town I think it’s one of the most beautiful towns of Sardinia. Bosa seems untouched by tourism and that’s because, every project related to the expansion of tourism in the area, is considered very carefully.

Multicolored houses Bosa

Make your way towards the Ponte Vecchio for more scenic views of Bosa. From this bridge, you can capture the multicolored houses along the river very well. The shades of pink, yellow, orange, blue and green turn Bosa into a real-life painting! If we had more time, and I had Monet’s painting skills, I would put up my canvas here for sure.

Bosa Sardinia

Be careful crossing Ponte Vecchio because cars are coming from both directions and there’s no pedestrian path. My left leg was basically glued to the left side of the bridge the entire walk because I was scared to get run over!

Bosa Sardinia

Tip: Visit Saint Pietro Church
Instead of crossing the Ponte Vecchio take a right before the bridge to visit the 11th-century Saint Pietro Church. This small ancient church is said to be the oldest Romanesque church in Sardinia! En route, about two kilometers, you are surrounded by the green valley of Bosa. It’s pretty scenic but, other than the cathedral, there isn’t much to see. If you have the time and are into visiting ancient sites, I would check it out. Otherwise, feel free to skip it!

Discover the ancient center

The narrow cobblestone streets of Bosa’s medieval center are a pleasant visit. I fell in love with the colorful streets of the old village Sa Costa. Walking is, in my opinion, the best way to explore the center of Bosa. Make sure to wear/bring comfy shoes because most streets are not smooth and flat.

The center of Bosa is pretty lively with locals who seem to be occupied by daily activities. Funny enough nobody seems to be in a hurry and everything is done at a slow pace. It reminds me of the Italian saying ‘chi va piano va sano e lontano‘ (which means something like ‘go slow and steady to win the race’).

Tip: Visit Cattedrale dell’Immacolata Concezione
To find more peace, stop by the 19th-century Bosa Cathedral to look at its impressive marble altar and frescoes.

Bosa City Center

Bosa as been inhabited since prehistorical times and was once part of the province of Nuoro. During that time Bosa gained wealth through many crafts. Today you can still see (and buy!) traditional crafts such as Filets di Bosa (tablecloths).

Tip: Explore Bosa’s Local Market
Every Tuesday on both sides of the Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi there’s a traditional market where you can get all kinds of local goods such as fresh fruits and veggies. And, if you love nougat, Bosa is the place to be! Besides food, update your wardrobe with clothes, jewelry, handbags or buy a traditional piece of artwork as a souvenir. Oh, and don’t forget to negotiate on the price once something has caught your eye.

Make sure to stop by Bosa’s main square, Piazza Costituzione, to chill at one of the bars, restaurants or coffee shops. Wine lover? Try the local wine Malvasia which is a tasty combo of fruity and floral aromas. Or enjoy a tasty ice cream at Bar Gelateria Isla Margarita. I don’t know about you, but Italian gelato is one my favorite!

Tip: Visit the Casa Deriu museum
Are you into art and history? Then visit the Casa Deriu museum situated in an elegant 19th-century townhouse. Here you will discover more about Bosa’s past, traditional furnishings, local artworks, and beautiful frescoes. The entry fee is €4,50 (adults) which is fair. The museum is small but overall it’s an interesting visit.

Michel and I had such a fun time exploring Bosa. It helps that this town isn’t overtaken by tourists. To me, Bosa is one of Sardinia’s finest jewels and an ideal place where you come back from fully recharged.

Multicolored houses Bosa

Local events in Bosa

In chronological order, I have listed a few of Bosa’s main events you might want to include in your itinerary. Please always check Bosa’s Event calendar to be up-to-date on the exact dates of these events:

  • The first week of January: The San Antonio fire is the start of Bosa’s Carnival season.
  • At the end of April: Bosa’s Beer Fest. Do I need to say more?
  • Every first Sunday in August: Santa Maria del Mare at Bosa Marina. Admire colorful boats passing, music, and watch the statue of the procession of the Madonna carried to the cathedral of Bosa.
  • Mid-August: Carnevale Estivo (Summer Carnival) has been created for tourists that visit Bosa during the summer. Enjoy traditional games and watch locals sing and dance in the streets.
  • Every second Sunday in September: Festa di Nostra Signora di Regnos Altos is a religious event, in honor of Virgin Mary, and celebrated with live music and traditional wine tastings.
Bosa Sardinia

Beaches near Bosa

You can easily combine your day trip to Bosa by visiting Bosa Marina. This beach is located about 3 kilometers away from the center and voted most loved by tourists according to the Blue Guide 2015. Things to do here include kitesurfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and pedal boating.

Curious to see more of Sardinia’s beautiful coast? These beaches are reachable within a 10-minute drive:

Where to eat in Bosa?

We had a delicious lunch at Bacco Bistrot (photo below on the right – review on TripAdvisor). We ordered a seafood salad, a typical sandwich, a beer, and a bottle of water for €18 in total. Go to this place if you’re into healthy food options, delicious ham & cheese platters, and love a glass of wine or beer.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for dinner but I researched a few of Bosa’s finest restaurants and added a few more lunch spots:

How to get to Bosa?

From Alghero Airport
The closest airport to Bosa is Alghero Airport. From the airport, you can rent a car (and drive by the spectacular coastal road!) or take the ARST bus. Both options will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

From Olbia Airport or Cagliari Airport
When you land in Olbia Airport or Cagliari Airport, the journey will take a bit longer. By car, it’s about a 2-hour drive from both airports to Bosa. The closest railway station is located at Macomer (about two hours from both airports).

From Macomer you can get on the bus (about one hour) or step in the Trenino Verde (this green train runs from mid-June until mid-September) for a scenic alternative to reach Bosa.

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