SARDINIA

Home to some of the Mediterranean’s most seductive and exclusive beaches, Sardinia is a beach lover’s heaven and the perfect location for an Italian break without the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Located between Italy and Africa, Sardinia’s turquoise seas and white sandy beaches can easily rival those in the tropics. This is an island full of allure and intrigue, boasting a rich history and a whole host of architecture offerings. Once a natural stop for empires journeying to Europe the island has many architectural influences, from Phoenicians and Byzantines but the most obvious influence is the Spanish one. Furthermore the island has some magnificent rugged landscapes to discover and a fabulous cuisine, one thing the island has in common with its Italian neighbours. Its traditional specialities include roast suckling pig and stuffed wild boar.

Top Attractions in Sardinia

Alghero

This beautiful seaside resort on the northwest coast is one of the islands most seductive towns. Ruled by the Spanish between 1400 and 1700 this medieval town has an evocative historical centre and some fantastic beaches nearby. Wander its cobbled streets and visit its old quarters full of piazzas, a gothic Duomo and chic boutiques. Alternatively take a short drive to Capo Caccia and explore dramatic limestone caves best known as Neptune’s Grotto that dates back 65 million years. As one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area Neptune’s Caves also offers diving tours to it underwater caves full of archways and a whole network of tunnels.

Cagliari

Cagliari, the island’s hectic capital has an interesting historical medieval centre where steep atmospheric streets, fine museums and superb churches lay within 13th Century Walls and towers. Cagliari’s must see sight is its Roman Amphitheatre built between the 1st and 2nd Century AD. Gladiator fights would be held here against wild beasts that were kept in cages at the side of the arena which can still be seen today. Alternatively take a romantic walk along Buon Cammino for magnificent views across the valley.

Costa Smeralda

Located on the north eastern tip, Costa Smeralda is a stunning coastal destination and probably the best known area of Sardinia. Famous for its glitzy resorts, Costa Smeralda is a favourite holiday spot for celebrities and wealthy Italians. Its 10km stretch of sparkling white beaches and translucent waters are just a small part of what makes this coastal town so popular. Drawing thousands of visitors a year not many people will disagree that its beaches are among the finest in the world. Its Mediterranean waters offer the perfect conditions for snorkelling or scuba diving, with some secluded caves and reefs to discover, including some only reachable by boat. As an alternative from it beaches you can spend time wandering around its upscale boutiques, glitzy stores or indulge is some of Sardinia’s scrumptious cuisine.


Oristano

This small province on the eastern coast of Sardinia is home to some of the most breath-taking natural scenery on the island an ideal location for couples and solo travellers looking to explore Sardinia’s nature. With over 90km of unspoilt coastline there is plenty to keep you busy, from glorious sandy beaches, rock pools, hidden coves, lagoons and an elegant historical town centre boasting a vast number of medieval buildings. Alternatively take a daytrip to the impressive Punic and Roman ruins of Tharros at the nearby Sinis peninsula.

Sassari

As Sardinia’s second city, Sassari is one of the oldest cities on the island known for its art, history and culture. The city is full of architectural wonders from its neo-classical Piazza d’Italia surrounded by buildings from the neo-classical era to its fascinating buildings in its medieval town with a range of periods from baroque, new-classical and gothic. The city is also full of museums, not to be missed by history buffs. Its most famous is the Museo Nazionale Sanna which houses some archaeological treasures including bronze wear, weapons, bracelets and figurines of animals and humans as well as a gallery of Sardinian folk art.

The Maddalena Archipelago

Comprising of 60 islands and islet scattered of the north eastern coast of Sardinia, The Maddalena Archipelago is home to a coastline so pristine you’d be mistaken to think you were somewhere in the Caribbean. The area is home to some magnificent beaches, lapped by translucent crystalline water and white glimmering sandy bays making it the most popular and ideal location for boat excursions, scuba diving and snorkelling. Among the most famous it’s is “pink beach” owing its characteristic colour to the crushed seashells and innumerable skeletons of tiny marine life that is brought to its shores.

Nuoro

Nestled in the foothills of Monte Ortobene lies Nuoro, a land steeped in ancient history and one of the least known areas of Sardinia. Here you can enjoy Sardinian nature at its best with soaring mountains and lake as well as small isolated villages that still retain much of their old characters and customs. You’ll often see locals sporting typical costumes or working in craft shops trying to keep up the old traditions.

Olbia

Known as the gateway to the fashionable Costa Smeralda, Olbia is the least Sardinian town on the island. Mostly visited due to its airport the town has some first class museums and numerous trendy bars and restaurants that are normally abuss with tourists.

Best time to visit

Tourists visit Sardinia between May- June and September-October

There is one golden rule when visiting Sardinia and that is to avoid visiting in August when the whole of Italy and then some flood the island and prices go through the roof. The summer months can be exhaustingly hot so visit during May and June when the island is at its best. September and October are also good times to visit when the sea is still warm and temperatures are still around 23 degrees during the day. Sardinia’s tourism shuts down over the winter with some places staying closed until Easter.

Getting There

The main airports at Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero link Sardinia with major Italian and European cities. As well as the major international carriers, there are several no-frills airlines, although some routes are restricted to peak season times between April and October. Alternatively Sardinia is well connected to main land Italy by ferries from Genoa, Savona, La Spezia, Livorno, Piombino, Civitavecchia, Fiumicino and Naples, and from Palermo and Trapani in Sicily.

Getting Around

Sardinia is best explored by car although there is also an extensive transportation network in place that will get you to and from the main towns and cities.

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