Budoni, Sardinia (Baia dei Mori), Italy.
Open water, Mediterranean location situated a short walk from Budoni. About 30km from Sardinia’s capital, Olbia, Budoni offers flat water paddling (mostly) with some chop and local wind swell on occasion. Neilson Active Holidays have their Baia dei Mori Beachclub here which can make SUPing this area as easy as possible. It’s great for beginners and families alike.
During summer the usual afternoon thermal breeze hasn’t kicked in until about midday. Morning’s are mostly flat, calm and offer glassy conditions for stand up paddle boarding. The area is shallow for around 10-20 yards off the beach. There’s a protective spit to the right, although if holidaying here you’ll be under the watchful eye of Neilson staff.
From around lunchtime the Maestrale wind can ramp up and become quite gusty. At which point your SUP’s probably done until the following day (unless you attach a sail to it in windSUP mode). But with all the ‘toys’ on hand it’d be rude to not get involved with some other disciplines such as windsurfing or dinghy sailing.
Budoni’s wind can be offshore during the early part of the day. This can mean newbies will drift away from the beach. But as already mentioned Neilson staff will deliver paddlers back to the beach should they stray too far.
In each corner of the bay you’ll find rocks. But they’re obvious and not too hazardous. Other water users should be kept clear of. And there are some fishing pots to avoid. During the early part of the season, thick seaweed can wash up on the beach following winter storms. Local diggers are brought in to move it as the stink can be horrible. It also attracts flies as it dries off in the Mediterranean sun.
If you’re staying at the Baia dei Mori Beachclub you access the beach via a sand dune pathway from the hotel grounds. Budoni is split into two with the Neilson set up occupying the smaller bay. Walking through the pine trees takes you on Budoni’s main beach or back to the club depending which way you’re walking.
Budoni gets very busy in summer – the main beach at least. Neilson’s spot isn’t humming with general tourists but the hotel can be full through most of the season. Some locals do like to sun themselves on the beach as it’s public access. On the water, you’ll mostly be joined by Neilson guests.
The Baia dei Mori Beachclub has everything families need. Further afield you’ll find a selection of authentic Sardinian restaurants in the village. A couple of chilled out beach bars are situated on Budoni’s main beach. Or head even further to the numerous villages and towns for the full Sardinian experience.
Budoni is a popular part of Sardinia for holidays with a number of tour operators providing accommodation and all inclusive packages. Made up of villages and hamlets within close proximity there’s chance to experience authentic Sardinia here.
Seaside and Budoni’s main beach is a large expanse of sand and water that gets quite busy. Neilson’s Baia dei Mori Beachclub occupies a smaller bay split by a mini pine forested peninsula. Whilst not a private beach it’s a lot quieter here, apart from Neilson guests.
Supervised stand up paddle boarding, of a beginner to improver flavour, is what you’ll find here. SUP forms part of Neilson’s overall watersports programme. Some guided SUP trips are offered, as well as SUP Yoga in the mornings. Heading off on your own, however, isn’t possible with Neilson equipment. You’ll need to take your own gear and hire a car for this.
From a SUP fitness point of view a few laps around the bay each day will see you kickstart proceedings nicely. As the breeze starts to ramp up other disciplines, such as windsurfing and dinghy sailing, come into their own. Baia dei Mori Beachclub can be an excellent location for some windsurf blasting atop azure blue water.
If you’re an adventurous (and experienced) paddler Sardinia can serve up some decent surf conditions elsewhere on the island. Capu Manu is a famed reefbreak. But it isn’t for the faint hearted. Sardinia is often referred as the ‘Hawaii of the Med’ because of its wave conditions. But this is the Med so don’t be surprised if everywhere is flat.
Porto Pollo is another famed watersports location on Sardinia. Although PP is more wind orientated so windsurfing and kitesurfing is the order of the day here. If you’re able, and into this side of watersports, it can be worth hiring transport and heading to check the place out.
Back in Budoni and some of the family run restaurants offer typical, rustic Italian and Sardinian food. The food is simple but well done. They’re definitely worth checking out when you’re bored of the hotel fayre. Not that there’s anything wrong with this but when in Rome (or rather, Sardinia)…
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