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The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, maddalena national park, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena

Maddalena Archipelago National Park (Sardinia)

Just off the northeastern tip of Sardinia, embedded in the vast Tyrrhenian Sea, lies the archipelago of La Maddalena. Created in 1994 the stunning national park, consisting of 62 islands, is home to an incredible array of nature and animals.

Despite the many islands, there are seven main ones: La Maddalena, Santo Stefano, Caprera, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria and Razzoli. Of these, La Maddalena is the only island inhabited by humans.

Maddalena Archipelago National Park
click to enlarge

La Maddalena is located in the stretch of sea between Sardinia and Corsica known as Bocche di Bonifacio. The islands are full of rare creatures and expansive coral, which Park Authorities are desperate to preserve for many future generations.

In response, humans are forbidden in some parts of the National Park. In tourist hotspots, anybody tempted to take a souvenir in the form of sand, stones or shells may find themselves slapped with a fine.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Spiaggia Capriccioli

Over the years, the islands have been associated with notable Italians. In 1855, Giuseppe Garibaldi purchased half of the island of Caprera and decided to spend the remainder of his life there. Twenty-seven years later, he passed away in his tiny house Casa Bianca, which was then converted into a museum using proceeds from his will. During his time there, he planted the island’s first pine trees. A dense pine forest now blankets part of the island.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Giuseppe Garibaldi - Photo: Daniel Ventura

In the early 1990s, Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach) was closed in a desperate attempt to retain its precious ecosystem. As such, the archipelago waved goodbye to all inhabitants - except for one man.

Famously, the island was home to Italy’s Robinson Crusoe, Mauro Morandi, who remained in sole residence on Buddeli for thirty-two years. Finally, he was evicted in 2021 after increasing pressure from Italian authorities.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Mauro Morandi - Photo: guardiavecchia.net

Humans are still prohibited from accessing Pink Beach, due to the island’s pink sand (caused by corals) being stolen by visitors desiring souvenirs. However, due to the stunning nature of the archipelago, visitors can still enjoy some incredible beaches.

Spiaggia di Monte di Rena is home to an immaculate long stretch of beach with crystal clear water. It’s the perfect place to bring the family and enjoy a picnic. If you prefer something quieter, you may instead enjoy the sheltered Bassa Trinità Beach. This beach has fine white sand and incredible sunset views.

Spiaggia di Tegge is one of the most interesting places on the islands. It’s a beach made not of sand, but of flat granite boulders. However, it is incredibly picturesque, has lots of rockpools and is an incredible place to visit solo.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Cala Francese - Photo: sardegnaturismo.it

Cala Francese beach is known for its green shrubbery, bleached white granite landscape and emerald sea. It’s one of the islands’ most beautiful beaches and perfect for snorkelling or sunbathing on the rocks.

Finally, Capocchia du Purpu beach is worth a visit. It’s a remote lagoon which is difficult to get to. However, it’s absolutely worth the wait.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Capocchia du Purpu - Photo: leadorablee.org

Intriguingly, it is named after a rock formation which looks like - you guessed it - an octopus head. With jaw-dropping blue seas, it’s easy to come here alone and feel like you’re the only person in the world.

La Maddalena and its islands are home to some stunning nature and rare animals, all together in a unique conserved environment. Mediterranean maquis and myrtle cover the land, whilst sperm whales, dolphins and Caretta turtles can be seen in the brilliant blue sea. Even better, scientists are discovering new species all the time. Local environmentalists, and conservationists, will hope that this lasts long into the future.

The national park of the Maddalena archipelago, Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
Caretta Turtle - Photo: intotheblue.it

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