A road runs all around the perimeter: 45 kilometres of breath-taking panoramas. Granite and porphyry mark out jagged areas, coves, inlets and beaches, while the interior is made of gentle hills. La Maddalena lends its name to the whole archipelago, of which it is the largest island, and the national park of which it is the administrative centre.

It was a military naval base for many years, as witnessed by the Nino Lamboglia naval museum. Its strategic position in the Mediterranean has marked its history: in 1793 the French army led by a young Corsican officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, tried to invade, but was held back by the fleet commanded by Maddalena-born Domenico Millelire. Among others, the island also attracted the attention of Admiral Nelson. Today it captures the holiday dreams of lovers of natural scenery and extraordinary beauty.

The town is the only one in the archipelago: La Maddalena, founded in 1770, faces Palau, a 20 minute ferry ride away. The stone-paved alleyways of the centre open onto 18th century buildings, including the town hall and the Santa Maria Maddalena parish. The small harbour of CalaGavetta has a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who lived out his last 26 years in Caprera, linked to La Maddalena by the Passodella Moneta, and famous for the Compendio Museale Garibaldino.

You can admire the suggestive scenery along the road to Spalmatore, a delightful cove.Three kilometres from the centre is the Cala Francese inlet: between the Mediterranean brush and the granite quarry, you can discover tranquil inlets and incredible beaches. In the south, along the Padule se road, you reach the Nido d'Aquila, near the military fort. Not far off is another spectacle, Punta Tegge. To the north, beyond the Strangolato isthmus, are coves of white dunes surrounded by wind-sculpted rocks and beaches: don't miss Bassa Trinità, CalaLunga and Monti d'Arena.

Set out from La Maddalena to explore the other islands in the park: Santo Stefano to the south, Budelli and the famous Spiaggia Rosa, Razzoli, Santa Maria and Spargi to the north.