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Magazine

Sardinia’s Green Train: slow is back!

Discover Sardinia on a vintage train, moving at a speed of 20 km per hour to fully appreciate every hidden corner of a magnificent land that is still wild.

18 July 2022

4 minutes

There's a way to get around by train where you don't need speed to get from one place to another, because your destination is actually the journey itself! That's right, getting on vintage trains, rediscovering the charm of travel as our grandparents knew it, and moving slowly through a landscape full of wonders gives us a new perception of the places we will travel through.

1. The slow train of Sardinia sets off from Bosa

Not high speed, but absolute slowness,so you can easily move over to the window as it frames the most stunning scenery. Let's make it clear, don't expect the comforts we're used to today with the latest generation of trains, in fact, you will find the experience quite spartan. For this reason, the offer is varied, with excursions that last less than an hour and a half and are considered suitable for everyone (including seniors and children). Just make sure you always bring plenty to drink. Then hop on board the Green Train and discover the areas between Bosa and Nigolosu and vice versa. Bosa is a characteristic village, home to the historic district of sa Costa, consisting of colorful houses that sit on the slopes of the hill of Serravalle, dominated at the top by the castle of Malaspina, dating back to the twelfth century. Nigolosu is a station in the middle of the countryside west of the town of Magomadas. Just think, this stop was inaugurated in 1888 and includes the only running track equipped with a platform featuring a metal tank (like those in the stations of the Far West). In summer, the excursion can be challenging: don’t expect air conditioning in these vintage wagons!

2. Slowly through Gallura

A train trip of three and a half hours to cover less than 60 kilometers: this is the essence of the experience that you can enjoy with the Green Train of Sardinia on the route that connects Palau to Tempio Pausania and vice versa. The rule of a good spirit of adaptability always applies, since you will be traveling in carriages from another era. The trip departs from Palau town, a few hundred meters from Palau Marina Station, on a journey that crosses all of Gallura from the sea to the mountains, until you arrive in Tempio Pausania, the highest point of the entire railway. In fact, after Arzachena, the journey continues steadily uphill, and the slow pace of the train offers a true immersion in nature, in a landscape characterized by Mediterranean scrub, cork oaks and granite cliffs. There is a short intermediate stop on this trip.

3. On a vintage train, with all the time in the world

A very fascinating section of the Green Train of Sardinia route is Arbatax-Gairo and vice versa, lasting about three and a half hours, with an intermediate break between the two main stations. Completed in 1894, the Arbatax-Gairo railway line connects the sea, in these parts hosting the monumental block of cliffs known as the Red Rocks, with the mountainous territory of the hinterland. At the entrance to the port of Arbatax, from the station on the sea, your journey begins through the areas of Villagrande and Tortolì. A stop in the pretty station of Lanusei is scheduled, where you can enjoy a spot of breakfast or a delicious coffee. After setting off again, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery towards the coast. Another short stop at Arzana station to stretch your legs and admire the scenery, then onwards, to the terminus of Gairo Taquisara, where you can visit the ghost town of Gairo Vecchio. If you're not organized with a packed lunch, which can be eaten outdoors in the nearby woods, you can eat in one of the properties you'll find on site. A nice slow return trip to Arbatax is scheduled for the afternoon.

4. To the heart of Sardinia by train

For travelers who love knowledge and discovery, the rail route that connects Mandas to Laconi (about three and a half hours one way, a little less on the way back) runs right through the center of Sardinia. All along the way there are glimpses of rare beauty as you not only travel slowly, but also back in time. In fact, this train journey allows you to travel just as people did more or less 100 years ago, without all the mod cons we are all accustomed to today. So, no padded seats, air conditioning, soundproofed carriages, electrical or USB outlets in the seats, bar or restaurant on board. These small sacrifices and inconveniences are however always rewarded by the unique experience of crossing a wild and uncontaminated nature, not yet affected by human intervention. Tip: it is a good idea to bring water in a bottle or flask, all year round, but especially in summer.