Off the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, Tavolara Island (Isola Tavolara) dominates the horizon with its sheer cliffs that rise more than 500m above sea level. This limestone massif measuring 620m wide by three miles long is not just a beautiful island, it also has a surprising history. From 1836 to 1934, the island was an independent kingdom ruled by the only family who lived there: the Bertoleonis. The present King Tonino of Tavolara runs the only bar/restaurant on the island, which, apart from the rocky stretch of land in the south-west that ends in a long and sublime beach, is listed as a national park. The north-east is a NATO military zone. Nearby, the Molara and Molarotto Islands are also listed as a natural reserve.
Day excursions on Tavolara can be easily organised from Porto San Paolo. Just 2.5 miles away, it only takes about 15 minutes to get there.