Leave a normal beach behind and take a boat to the archipelago of La Maddalena. Located in the north of Sardinia, the group of rocky islands is a national park and a beautiful spot for a day away from the crowds. La Maddalena is reached by ferry or private boat hire from the port of Palau. There are seven main islands among other small outcroppings, and aside from La Maddalena, they are sparsely inhabited or completely uninhabited (except by a profusion of fish and seabirds!) They're known for the powdery sand beaches, protected coves, and beautiful natural scenery.

You'll find the Casa di Garibaldi house-museum on Caprera, where the famed military hero lived for a number of years, and the Naval Museum in the city of La Maddalena, with historic finds from sunken ships, and other displays. But mostly, a trip to the archipelago is about beautiful beaches and breaking from the ordinary to swim in a secluded spot, snorkel or dive amidst the colorful fish or to see underwater Roman ships, and to enjoy the vibrant colors of nature - green shrubbery, white sand, cobalt sea and sky and brilliant sunshine. In fact, the Sardinians say that the sea and sky meld together here.

La Maddalena: The most developed of the islands, there is a city with hotels, restaurants, shops and other services along with the primary ferry port. From here you can rent boats to visit the other islands.

Caprera: One of the more popular spots, it's named for the wild goats that live in the hills ("capra" means goat). Garibaldi lived here, and there is a nature preserve for the migratory and sea birds. A bridge connects it to La Maddalena.

Budelli: A great choice for the beaches, as there are several fine ones to choose one with powdery sand and few crowds. A particularly pretty one is the Spiaggia Rosa, the pink sand beach. Snorkelers will enjoy the fish that frequent the rock crevices here.

Razzoli: The closest to Corsica, it is home to dolphins, turtles, and seals, making it a lovely choice for nature lovers.

Santa Maria: A few houses are scattered here, otherwise it's undisturbed and flatter than the other islands with low scrub and easily accessible strips of sand.

Santo Stefano: Tiny but atmospheric with the beautiful Cala Fumata and nice views from Punta dello Zucchero at 100 meters above the sea.

Spargi: The most isolated and therefore less frequented island, get a boat and enjoy the solitude.

Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!

Haven't visited yet? Have questions about La Maddalena Islands? Ask them here!

Enjoy the comfort of a vacation home in Sardinia.