Every corner of the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia has something to offer, from clear waters and white beaches to rustic cuisine and a culture of longstanding traditions. For anyone who has not yet experienced it, visiting Sardinia is love at first sight. Here's an introduction to some of the best beaches, restaurants and sights not to be missed.
On the southern tip of the island of Sardinia you'll find a breathtaking expanse of white sandy beach and turquoise waters at Su Giudeu. Parking is easy and only 200 metres from the sea, and you can also find a range of private beaches with umbrellas and sunbeds. If you fancy a stroll, you're sure to stumble across numerous hidden coves and secret bays away from the crowd.
On the northern side of the island, Costa Smeralda attracts the world's rich and famous, dropping anchor in the beautiful emerald bays. Skirting the coastline, you can also explore the dramatic cliffs and experience the solitude of this unspoilt natural environment.
Su Giudeu Beach
Not the go-to destination in Sardinia, but special and amazing in its own right, is the town of Cala Gonone. This secret seaside town is located on the east coast of Sardinia around 70 miles south of Olbia airport. As well as excellent snorkelling, there are numerous archaeological traces of the Nuragic Civilizaton dating between 1900 and 730 BC. Nuraghi, of which there are still around 7,000 on the island, are stone dwellings resembling medieval towers, with a distinctive beehive formation to the inside walls.
The town itseelf has a small port from where visitors can access boat trips to scenic spots up and down the coast, otherwise unreachable by road.
Top Attractions in Sardinia
On the mid-west coast of Sardinia is the quaint Italian town of Oristano. As you emerge from the narrow streets into the Piazza Duomo you'll be struck by the grand scale of this magnificent Baroque building. Oristano Cathedral or, Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, dates back to 1195.
Gennargentu National Park is located in the middle of the island to the east. It is the largest national park in Sardinaia with wide open views and pleny of indiginous wildlife for animal lovers. Dramatic mountains rise from the Mediterranean sea to over 13,000 feet, housing more Nuragic dwellings as well as the hidden mountain top village of Tiscali, one of the architectural highlights of the island.
If you're looking for adventure, you'll want to head to the Gennargetu Mountains situated within the national park. Considered the spiritual homeland of Sardinia, these dramatic mountains are dotted with small village communities many of which hold traditional festivals. Of special note is the Sardinia Carnival which takes place in villages across the island from mid January to late February each year. A huge part of Sardinia's heritage, this is believed to be a pagan celebration to mark the end of winter and the begining of spring.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Carnival s a spectacle of terrifying masks, satire, fireworks and traditional dance, with local treats such as home-made sweets, bean and pork stew and local wines. Head to Barbagia for one of the more dramatic gatherings, or to Mamoiada, where the event takes over the whole town for three days and nights of colourful celebrations.
Public transport in this area is limited so the best way to get around is by car. Many villages and towns are connected by single lane mountain roads but for great views it's worth heading up to the Punta La Marmora, the highest point on the island at 1834m above sea level.
If you're looking for relaxation, you can head to Villa Las Tronas in Alghero, a large villa converted into a hotel and spa. Almost entirely surrounded by the sea, here you can enjoy old-style elegance, luxurious treatments, a salt water pool and beautiful gardens.
If you want to explore by foot, another impressive hotel is L’Agnata di De Andre, a stunning manor house draped in ivy and set in a magical wooded valley in the north of the island, west of Olbia. The hotel is ideally situated at the foot of Monte Limbara, the highest peak in the area, and ideal for country walks.
Still in the north, Colonna Resort in Porto Cervo is another good choice for couples or familiesa. The five star beachfront resort has excellentt facilities with a private beach, and is set in over five hectares of parkland.
As a general rule, as in mainland Italy, the best place to enjoy the buzz of local Sardinia life is along the seafront promenade. These are typically lined with restaurants and bars, perfect for a refreshing Sardinian aperitivo while watching the world stroll by.
As you venture across the island, you will soon discover Sardinia’s unique take on pasta and bread, as well as the renowned local wines and cheeses. Dare to try the casu marzu pecorino, but first close your eyes! Taking a bite is said to cause an “oral-digestive riot,” as David Clark so dramatically put it.
For authentic local cuisine, S’Imbiligu, near Bosa, is one of the best restaurants in Sardinia. Located down a secluded path, this family run restaurant serves up fresh, simple food with all produce sourced from their own farm. They add a modern twist to traditional dishes, for example, the ravioli made from purple potatoes is exquisite. For something lighter, their selection of traditional charcuterie and cheese is the perfect accompaniment to an evening aperitif.
Travelling to and around Sardinia
Air, Road or Ferry
Sardinia has three main airports which connect with many international cities in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Public transport around Sardinia is not always available so visitors may want to consider hiring a car during their stay. You can also travel to by sea with one of the many ferry companies which operate to and from the island. Sardinian ports are connected to mainland ports such as Nice, Marseille, Toulon, Naples and Barcelona.
Many of the coves and bays of the island are unreachable by road and adventuring by sea offers a unique and unrivaled experience. If you’re looking to drop anchor and travel around Sardinia with ultimate style and freedom, you may want to consider a shared yacht ownership programme. Fractional yacht ownership is a more affordable alternative to sole yacht ownership with many additional benefits.