Sardinia is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. In addition to beautiful beaches along 2000 km of coastline, there are many mountains and valleys where thousands of prehistoric dwellings known as “nuraghi” are located, so it is a really great Mediterranean destination for fans of the so-called beach holidays, as well as for those who love mountains and historic sites.
What not to miss in Sardinia?
Asinara National Park
Cala Luna beach
Since Sardinia is widely known for its beaches, we single out our TOP 5 beaches:
Sardinia, Cala Goloritzè
The beautiful white sandy beach of Cala Goloritzè is located north of Arbatax in the south of the Gulf of Orosei. You can reach the beach by road or sea, and trekking lovers love the section from Su Portedda to this part of paradise.
The 30-meter-high rocks obscure the view of the beach and the turquoise blue and incredibly clear sea, which is a bit colder here than in other parts due to underwater water sources. There are no facilities like cafes on the beach and you can enjoy the silence.
Spiaggia del Principe, Sardinia
Spiaggia del Principe was named after Prince Aga Khan who faithfully returned here for a swim. This is not surprising considering that it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Costa Smeralda. The white sand on this small beach is lined with stones and is truly the jewel of Sardinia.
Porto Giunco, Sardinia
Porto Giunco Beach is located near the town of Villasimus, some 40 km from the main town on the island – Cagliari. It looks like a Caribbean beach because of the contrast of white sand and turquoise sea. A big plus and motive for coming here is that there is Lake Notteri nearby where you can watch the pink flamingos.
Su Giudeu, Sardinia
Su Giudeu is one of the most beautiful and very spacious beaches in the south of Sardinia, surrounded by sand dunes up to 20 meters high. To the right of the beach there is an islet, in fact a huge rock on which goats can be seen grazing in the spring. Su Giudeu is located in the Chia region, where you will find two more beautiful beaches: Sa Colonia and Porto Campana.
Cala Luna, Sardinia
Cala Luna is one of the wonders of the Gulf of Orosei and a symbol of the east coast of Sardinia. It is located between Barbagia and Ogliastra.
Cala Luna Beach, which has several natural caves that protect bathers from the sun, can be reached by boat from nearby tourist destinations (Cala Gonone, Santa Maria Navarrese and Arbatax) or on foot if you like challenges because the road is really difficult.
Fascinating nature and animals
Sardinia rarely comes to mind as a destination for lovers of nature and wildlife, but you will be surprised how special it really is. The Piscinas sand dunes, the so-called Little Sahara on the island, are the highest in all of Europe and are located next to some of the most beautiful beaches on the west side of the island (Costa Verde). Dunes stretch for several kilometers, and taking sand is strictly forbidden.
You may not have expected them in Italy, but you can see pink flamingos in the lagoon near Cagliari and several other places on the island (especially if you visit the Molentargius Natural Park).
And you can easily see dolphins because they live in the port of Cagliari. But perhaps the most special animals on the island are the wild horses in the Giara region. Small horses are the last examples of wild horses in Europe. Although many think they are ponies, they are actually real horses that are only small in stature and have been like that for 10,000 years. It is strictly forbidden to disturb or feed them.
Asinara National Park is located on the uninhabited island of Asinara, northwest of Sardinia, and can be reached by boat from Porto Torres or Stintino. On the island you will see the popular albino donkeys (Asinara donkeys), descendants of white donkeys who arrived here from Egypt during the 19th century.
Food and drink
People in Sardinia live very long, and many say it is because of a relaxed lifestyle and good food. They eat a lot of seafood, from lobsters and sea urchins to octopuses and squid to various shellfish, but also pork and goat, and lots of vegetables and spices, especially saffron brought to the island by the Phoenicians and today is one of the most common spices in local cuisine.
A lot of dry bread is eaten on the island, also a lot of sheep cheese. For example pecorino romano and “pecorino sardo.
Typical dishes in Sardinia are butàriga (or botargo – an intense and salty delicacy made from fish, usually mullet), carne a carraxiu (young pig, lamb or june buried in the ground and covered with myrtle leaves cooked for hours) and porceddu (baked) young pig).
Of the pasta, the indigenous is fregula, then there are specially wrapped ravioli culurgiones and gnocchi in the form of shells malloreddus.
Beer has been produced in Sardinia since the Bronze Age, and the island consumes the most liters of beer per capita in all of Italy, about 60 liters (and the Italian average is 28). Most beer is consumed in the Nuoro region, about 100 liters per person. The most widespread beer is the light lager of Birr Ichnus.
One million hectoliters of wine are produced annually in Sardinia. Red wine from the island is known to have 5 to 10 times more antioxidants than other species. It is a species of Vernaccia. The praised digestive is Mirto liqueur, which can be red or white.
When is the best time to visit Sardinia?
Although summer is the best time to swim, be prepared for big crowds and prices in July and August. We therefore recommend May and June. If you still want to go in the middle of summer, keep in mind that the period after August 15 to September 1 can be challenging because many hotels and facilities are closed due to Ferragosto. September is also a great option, but not autumn because storms can hit Sardinia.
How to get to Sardinia?
Sardinia has 3 airports: Cagliari, Alghero and Olbia. The island is connected to other parts of Italy by regular routes, and direct low-cost airlines such as Ryanair connect Sardinia with other European countries.
You can also reach by ferry from many cities such as: Livorno, Genoa, Civitavecchia, Bonifacio, Ajaccio, Marseille, Nice, Toulon, Palermo, Barcelona and Savona.
Transport in Sardinia
Although there is public transport whose lines connect all major cities and villages public transport can be slow and does not go to all locations.
Where to stay in Sardinia?
If you do not go exclusively to the so-called. beach vacation, it is recommended that you find accommodation in one of the larger cities such as Cagliari and Alghero from where you can easily reach the rest of the island by car.
Cagliari is located just a few kilometers from the ancient city of Nora where the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans traded. Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, famous for its Catsello hill and 13th-century cathedral, but mostly for two things: the May Day festivities and the nearby Molentargius salt lake with a variety of birds, including pink flamingos.
The best time to be in Cagliari is from 1 to 4 May when the “parata di Sant’Efisio” festival takes place when people from places all over Sardinia come to the city in their traditional costumes and take part in a parade in honor of the island’s patron saint.
Don’t be surprised if in Alghero, a town on the northwest coast of Sardinia, you hear a language that more closely resembles Spanish than Italian. There are even some inscriptions in Spanish. Namely, in the 14th century, the Pope presented Sardinia to the king of Aragon from the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to avoid the island falling under the control of Pisa and Genoa. The territory was donated by about 400 families from Aragon and Catalonia on the condition that their base be Alghero, and the local population was displaced. Masses are still held in Catalan in the church of San Francesco today. Alghero is surrounded by ancient walls and is famous for its stone-paved center.
The emerald coast (Costa Smeralda) stretches from Olbia to Capo de Testa and there are some of the most beautiful beaches, so if you came to Sardinia for swimming and sunbathing, it may be convenient to take accommodation in one of the villages and coastal towns. The Emerald Coast was developed by Aga Kham in the 1960s when he built a number of resort villages for the wealthiest clientele. These villages resemble the Greek islands, and the center of all of them is Porto Cervo, a small village with a marina.
Cala Gonone is a coastal town in the Nuoro region and is an ideal choice if you are planning to visit Cala Luna beach. It is located on the east coast of Sardinia in the Gulf of Orosei, and is hidden by the high hills on which it lies. The golden sandy beaches at the foot of Cala Cartoe, Ziu Martine and Cala Osalla offer a peaceful holiday.
Here you will find many cafes and restaurants, and be sure to spend one of the days on a day trip to Cala Luna, which takes 2 hours.