Most of the time a destination is one of three things: either so expensive that only the wealthy can enjoy its luxuries, so stormy that only surfers would ever have fun, or so far away that it’d only be worth going if you stayed a week or two. The Italian island of Sardinia is none of those things. Diverse and breathtaking, it’s not just a port of call for the rich and famous, but also a paradise for surfers and the perfect place for all of those who want to experience an unforgettable holiday. It’s about time I dedicated a fitting article for the island!
What could be more obvious than hopping on a plane and heading to the second-largest island in the Mediterranean? Getting to Sardinia couldn’t be any easier or quicker! With airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair offering routes, you’ll be guaranteed to get flights for bargain prices.
Once you’ve figured when you’re coming it’s just the question of where and how you’d like to spend your holiday. Are you craving for a luxurious hotel, or would you prefer a private holiday home? Many holiday homes in Sardinia come with a terrace complete with a view of the sea. Or would you rather be on the look-out for adventure and spend your nights under the open sky? Camping is another thing that I can really recommend doing on the island as it’s so incredibly easy to support yourself – there are supermarkets everywhere where you can get all the supplies you need to cook. Just be sure not to leave your food out for too long, unless you want to deal with the ants…!
Are you one of those people who like to unpack everything as soon as they arrive and head to the beach? To feel the sand between your toes, take a big run up and then jump in the sea – that’s when you know your holiday’s really began. Well, luckily in Sardinia there are some gorgeous sandy beaches waiting for you. Well, that’s still a bit understated – these beaches are simply heavenly. Some have already been included in the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful beaches. With a coast that’s 2,000km long and plenty of small bays along the way the beaches stand out due to the incredibly fine, gold, even nearly white sand, azure water and steep cliffs. You can see why Sardinia is often compared to the Caribbean!
As I’ve mentioned before, Sardinia is a true surfer’s paradise. On the north coast between Palau and Capo Testa there’s almost always perfect wind conditions, especially for windsurfers. However the most popular place for surfing is Porto Puddu near Palau – enthusiasts from all over Europe meet here to compare their surfing talents. The underwater world is just as diverse and varied as the island’s landscapes. Attractive coasts, sunken Roman galleys, rugged cliffs, rare species of clams and colonies of sea breams attract quite a number of diving fans to the island every year. You’ll be able to enjoy that Caribbean flair over at Spiaggia La Pelosa. The sand here is white and powder-soft and the sea shimmers in every shade of blue that the eye can see.
The beaches on the north-west coast are in Gallura. A very interesting area awaits you on the most glamorous and by far the most well-known coast, Costa Smeralda, with its emerald-green sea. You’ll also find more gorgeous beaches in places such as Olbia, Palau, Santa Teresa di Gallura and Costa Paradiso. The last one in particular really is a little paradise. The blue seas, red cliffs and fine sands between Isola Rossa and Portobello invite for a good spot of relaxation.
Costa Verde is the perfect place for snorkellers and anglers. It’s known as the Green Coast not for its flora, but because of the emerald green colour of the sea. Next to the long beach with very fine sand there are also huge dunes that tower up to 50 metres high, making it the largest dune landscape in Italy.
The coast near the capital Cagliari is just as popular, as its here where you’ll find the largest sandy beach on the island. There, you’ll also find pebbly beaches for holidaymakers who prefer those to sandy ones. If you prefer pebble beaches in general, then you should make your way to Monte Tinnari or Cala Sarranai – you’ll find pebble beaches there that shimmer in all shades of pink.
The east coast also has some great beaches on offer. In the heart of east Sardinia is a real gem – Ogliastra is a wonderful, breath-taking as well as picturesque landscape with great cliffs and hills. If you climb these hills you’ll even be able to enjoy an unforgettable view of the area. As well as a heavenly beach there are also lots of other sites of natural beauty that are just waiting to be discovered. Another popular destination, if not the most popular one on Sardinia, is Baronia, where more long, fabulous beaches and azure-blue seas await you. White beaches and rugged coastlines all invite you to whittle away the time.
Delightful places with all kinds of things to do!
The island’s fascinating capital of Cagliari, in the deep south of Sardinia, is definitely worth a visit. It’s located between Pula and Villasimius and with 168,000 inhabitants it’s the largest city on Sardinia. Surrounded by dreamy beaches, it’s not just made for relaxing at the bays – you can join a remarkable sightseeing tour too! The impressive Santa Maria di Castello cathedral, with its mismatched building styles, and Roman amphitheatre (and also the largest building on Sardinia!), should definitely be seen up close. But the centre of town is also a cool attraction with its palazzi with majestic façades, small markets, streets with huge cobblestones, cosy cafés and a wonderful location directly at the harbour.
You should also visit the Old Town of Cagliari, also known as Castello. It’s located on the top of a hill which offers an unbelievable view of the Golf of Cagliari. Dark, narrow streets with old buildings and massive walls characterise this neighbourhood. In the city itself you can go shopping in small, cute boutiques or go shopping to your heart’s content in the island’s largest shopping centre, La Rinascente. If you’ve still not had enough, there’s always the markets during the week!
The charming little town of Alghero, the most important centre of Sardinia, shouldn’t be missed. It’s one of the places visited most often by tourists and is situated on the north-west coast along the Riviera del Corallo. As the name implies, there’s a large amount of coral deposits here. The twisting, old streets and the churches, palaces and monuments dotted around the place mark the traditional and charming Old Town from Alghero and it’s perfect for spending the day wandering about.
It doesn’t matter where you go in Sardinia – there’ll be restaurants that you just can’t afford to miss. So, it’s about time to look at the cuisine in Sardinia a little closer. The main order of affairs generally revolves around bread, cheese and meat. Particular importance is especially placed on bread – back in the old days it was more important for men that a woman could bake a good loaf of bread instead of being beautiful or intelligent. On top of all that most of the islanders are shepherds or goat herders, so their staple diet as they were out on the fields was the deliciously baked bread.
A speciality on Sardinia is the wafer-thin bakedCarta di Musica bread or pane frattau, with tomato sauce and a fried egg in the middle. Of course the Sardinians don’t just live off bread – they also eat lots of grilled or roasted meat that’s heavily seasoned with herbs. Sheep’s or goat’s cheese is often served as an accompaniment.
But what would Italy be without pasta of course! Definitely not Italy. On this island there are only three types of pasta that are important. First is malloreddus – small pieces of pasta seasoned with saffron which are served with tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. Then there’s the small ciciones, which are also prepared with saffron and are often served with meat. The third speciality are culingiones – a type of ravioli stuffed with spinach that are also served with tomato sauce, chopped basil and grated pecorino.
If you’ve already tried all the regional specialities, then you can do it like the locals: besides coffee they like to drink a grappa, also known as anaquavite, or a mirto, a delicious sweet myrtle liquor, after their meal.
Nightlife on Sardinia
If you’re not completely stuffed after your meal, you should definitely go out and explore the Sardinian nightlife. In individual towns there are bars and clubs where you can bring your day to a good close. Particularly popular with the islanders is the Castello quarter and Piazza Yenne in the centre of Cagliari. From there it’s on to the clubs, most of which combine both bars and clubs.
Costa Smeralda is above all famous for its exclusive and extraordinary parties. Flavio Briatore owns the Billionaire’s Club here, where jetsetters come every year to celebrate. Stars like Beyoncé and Jay-Z or Madonna are often seen here. If you want to see more of the celebrity life, then just have a look at the massive yachts at the harbour during the day. When it comes to the sheer amount of millionaires, Monaco is nothing compared to Sardinia!
In love with Sardinia
So – have you fallen in love with Sardinia as much as I did when I first went there? I can promise you you’ll never want to go to the Caribbean again once you’ve explored the bays of Sardinia for the first time. Why endure a long-haul flight when you can enjoy a dream holiday in paradise that’s just two hours away? If you follow my deals you’ll definitely find a bargain very soon and you’ll be able to explore the island for yourself.