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Cycle in Sardinia's Blue Zone

Heather Dowd
Posted by Heather Dowd on Feb 8, 2024 6:36:00 PM
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The recent Netflix documentary Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones has but a spotlight on Blue Zones.

Did you know that there is a Blue Zone in Sardinia and that you can cycle there?

Cycle in Sardinia Blue Zone

What is a Blue Zone?

A Blue Zone is an area where there is a high concentration of people who live to be at least 100. To learn more, check out this blog post I wrote a few years ago all about the Blue Zones: https://www.tourissimo.travel/blog/blue-zone

Blue Zone in Sardinia

While all of Sardinia could be considered a Blue Zone, there is one area in particular where people live long, happy and healthy lives: the eastern Ogliastra and Nuoro provinces have the greatest concentration of male centenarians in the world. There are many female centenarians as well.

Cycle in Sardinia Blue Zone

What makes Sardinia a Blue Zone?


The traditional Sardinian diet is rich in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil. Fish is also a staple, along with moderate consumption of dairy, particularly sheep's milk and cheese. The diet is relatively low in meat and processed foods.

Cycle in Sardinia Blue Zone

  1. Antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Sardinian diet is rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are essential for heart health and overall well-being. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, while omega-3 fatty acids are known for their cardiovascular benefits.

  2. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a primary source of fat in the Sardinian diet, preferred over saturated fats like butter. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

  3. Cheese: Pecorino cheese, made from sheep's milk, is a staple in the Sardinian diet. It contains fats that are believed to be beneficial for human health, along with protein and calcium. Consumed in moderation, cheese can be part of a healthy diet.

  4. Fruits and Vegetables: Sardinians consume abundant amounts of fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These plant-based foods are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

  5. Legumes and Cereals: Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, as well as cereals like barley, are dietary staples in Sardinia. These foods are rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, providing sustained energy and promoting satiety.

  6. Moderate Consumption of Fish and Lean Meat: While fish and lean meat are part of the Sardinian diet, they are typically consumed in small amounts and reserved for special occasions or festivities. Fish provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, while lean meat offers protein and essential nutrients.

  7. Moderate Wine Consumption: Cannonau wine, a traditional wine in Sardinia, is known for its potential health benefits when consumed in moderation. It contains polyphenols and antioxidants that may promote cardiovascular health and overall wellness.


The lifestyle in Sardinia's Blue Zone tends to be physically active, with people engaging in daily activities like walking, gardening, and manual labor well into old age. Regular physical activity contributes to overall health and longevity.

Bike in Sardinia Blue Zone

  1. Daily Physical Activity: In the rural areas of Sardinia's Blue Zone, physical activity is integrated into daily life. Whether tending to farms, herding sheep, gardening, or walking to get around, inhabitants engage in regular physical activity without the need for formal exercise routines. This consistent movement promotes cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility.

  2. Manual Labor: Many inhabitants of the Blue Zone are involved in agricultural activities that require manual labor. Working the land, tending to livestock, and maintaining their homesteads involve tasks that require strength, endurance, and mobility. This continuous engagement in physical work contributes to their overall fitness and vitality.

  3. Walking and Hiking: The mountainous terrain of Sardinia's interior encourages walking and hiking as primary modes of transportation and recreation. Whether traversing rugged landscapes to reach their farms or enjoying leisurely walks through the countryside, inhabitants incorporate walking into their daily routines. This low-impact form of exercise improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and enhances mental well-being.

  4. Social Engagement: Physical activity in the Blue Zone often occurs within the context of social interactions. Whether working together in the fields, taking group walks, or engaging in communal activities, inhabitants enjoy the benefits of both physical activity and social connectedness. These social bonds contribute to overall happiness and well-being, further enhancing the positive effects of their active lifestyle.

  5. Maintaining Vitality: Despite their advanced age, Sardinian elders in the Blue Zone maintain remarkable levels of energy and vitality. Their active lifestyle, combined with a nutritious diet and strong social support networks, enables them to remain physically and mentally resilient well into old age. This vitality is evident in their ability to perform daily tasks, participate in community activities, and enjoy a high quality of life.

  1. Social Connections: Strong social ties and a sense of community are prevalent in Sardinian villages. Multi-generational households and close-knit communities provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, which are associated with better health outcomes.

  2. Environment: The clean air, natural beauty, and temperate climate of Sardinia's interior contribute to a healthy living environment. Access to fresh, locally grown produce and minimal exposure to pollution may also play a role in the longevity of the population.

Family is Everything

The strong emphasis on family and intergenerational connections in the Sardinian Blue Zone is a significant contributor to the overall well-being and longevity of its inhabitants. Here's how the close-knit family ties positively impact the community:

  1. Respect for Elders: In Sardinian Blue Zone communities, elders are revered and respected for their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. They play an integral role in family life, and their opinions and advice are valued in decision-making processes. This respect fosters a sense of belonging and purpose among the elderly, contributing to their mental and emotional well-being.

  2. Multi-Generational Living: It's common for two or three generations to live under the same roof in Sardinian families. This multi-generational living arrangement provides mutual support and care across different age groups. Elderly family members contribute to the household by sharing wisdom, helping with childcare, and participating in daily activities, while younger generations provide assistance and companionship to their elders.

  3. Active Participation in Social Activities: Elderly individuals in Sardinia's Blue Zone are actively involved in social activities and community events. They are not isolated or marginalized but instead remain integrated and engaged members of society. This active participation promotes social connections, reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, and enhances overall well-being.

  4. Role in Childcare: Grandparents often play a significant role in caring for grandchildren in Sardinian families. This arrangement not only strengthens bonds between generations but also provides practical support for working parents. The involvement of grandparents in childcare activities keeps them mentally and physically active, contributing to their sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  5. Transmission of Traditions and Knowledge: Older generations serve as custodians of cultural traditions, ancestral knowledge, and practical skills. They pass down valuable insights about agriculture, food preparation, craftsmanship, and community rituals to younger family members, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage and sustainable practices.

  6. Emotional Support and Lower Stress Levels: The strong sense of familial support and belonging in Sardinian families helps to lower stress levels and promote mental health among all members, including the elderly. Knowing they are loved, respected, and valued by their families provides a sense of security and emotional well-being, which in turn contributes to their longevity.

Bike in Sardinia Blue Zone


A Sense of Belonging and Purpose

The sense of belonging and interconnectedness within the community in Sardinia's Blue Zone villages is integral to the overall well-being and longevity of its inhabitants.

  1. Cooperation and Mutual Support: In small, tight-knit communities, cooperation is not just a choice but a way of life. Residents work together to tackle common challenges, whether it's maintaining village infrastructure, organizing events, or supporting those in need. This spirit of mutual support fosters a sense of unity and belonging among community members.

  2. Inclusivity and Respect: Every individual, regardless of age or background, is valued and respected in Sardinian villages. There is no room for exclusion or discrimination; instead, everyone is encouraged to participate and contribute to the community's well-being. This inclusivity promotes social cohesion and strengthens bonds among residents.

  3. Religious and Cultural Traditions: Religion plays a significant role in the lives of Sardinian villagers, providing a framework for community rituals, celebrations, and moral guidance. Regular attendance at church and adherence to religious teachings help reinforce social norms, ethical values, and a sense of collective identity. Festivities and religious observances bring the community together, fostering solidarity and shared experiences.

  4. Stress-Free Lifestyle: The harmonious rhythm of life in Sardinian villages, guided by nature and the changing seasons, promotes a sense of tranquility and contentment. There is less pressure to conform to hectic schedules or societal expectations, allowing residents to live at a slower pace and savor life's simple pleasures. This absence of chronic stressors contributes to better mental health and overall well-being.

  5. Natural Balance and Seasonal Living: Sardinian villagers embrace a natural, balanced lifestyle that aligns with the rhythms of nature. They prioritize seasonal foods, outdoor activities, and restorative practices that promote physical and mental health. Living in harmony with the environment fosters a sense of connection to the land and a deep appreciation for the beauty and abundance of nature.

Cycle through Sardinia's Blue Zone 

Our Sardinia Coast to Coast tour traverses the island from Alghero in the north to Cagliari in the south and visits the Blue Zone area (towns on Orgosolo and Oliena) along the way.

Bike in Sardinia Blue Zone


Topics: Destinations, Cycling, Tourissimo Tours

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