Sardinia: the Caribbean Pearl in the Mediterranean Sea
Welcome back to our blog.
Today we are continuing to navigate through the Italian Coast and try to keep summer refreshing by the Italian sea.
Today, we are talking about an island again, the second largest in Italy – Sardinia
Where is Sardinia
Located about 300 kilometers (190 miles) off the western coast of Italy, Sardinia is the second-largest island in Italy after Sicily and an autonomous region of the country. Sardinia counts almost 2000 km of coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe (and in the world). Inland it’s mountainous, arid and rugged with wheat fields, cactus, grape vines, bougainvillea’s and olives dominating the landscape.
For ease of travel, you might want to get to Sardinia by air. You can fly into the island’s capital, Cagliari, and land at the Aeroporto-Cagliari-Elmas, four miles from the city center.
Cagliari is located in the south of the island. The name Cagliari comes from the word Casteddu which translates to castle. Is quite fitting, as once it was a giant citadel.
Cagliari is an ancient and very picturesque city and offers numerous attractions.
One of them not to miss is the ancient city of Nora, one of the most important archaeological sites on the island. Visiting this archeological city, you will have the feeling of stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the atmosphere of the ancient Roman town, where you can discover the old neighborhoods, the luxurious villas decorated with mosaics, baths, temples, ancient cobbled streets and a splendid theater.
The area is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape. This little town is perfect as a first stop to start your visit in the Island but, wherever you are spending your holidays, be sure that one of the 7,000 archaeological sites will be in the nearby area.
For those adventure lovers to explore beyond the city, we recommend heading to Poetto beach. One of the best things to do is a walk down the promenade and take a short hike to the Sella del Diavolo – one of the most recognizable features of the city and well worth the walk!
Don’t forget, during your holiday, a visit to the Nuraghe and the tomb of giants. Nuraghe are very ancient stone constructions built during the bronze era. Usually for defensive purposes, they testify a thousand year old history.
Experience the pleasure of visiting these megalithic monuments spread all over the island: the most important complex is the one of Barumini (called “Su Nuraxi”).
Moving along the northwest coast of Sardinia, Alghero is one of the major cities in Sardinia. The architecture of Alghero still shows traces of the past Catalan domination: the old town and the beaches in the nearby are absolutely a must-see.
A little less than an hour’s drive, Bosa is smaller than Alghero, but boasts all the charm of a river city, and is a place where the Sardinian tradition has remained almost untouched until today.
Bosa has a rich and ancient history, in fact, the area was inhabited in prehistoric times.
Between Alghero and Olbia
Moving along the northeast coast of Sardinia, Olbia is a city that has so much to offer: history, nature, beaches, sports, nightlife and entertainment.
On your way to Olbia from Alghero, City of Castelsardo is halfway. This fishing town, filled with culture, bars and restaurants as well as ancient and natural sites for the history and nature lovers. Castelsardo is a lively town during the mid-season and summer months.
The surrounding area is characterized by Mediterranean scrub, while the coast presents rocky bays, coves and sand beaches suchas Baia Ostina and Badesi, Isola Rossa. Furthermore, Castelsardo is about 70 km (43 miles) from Alghero airport and only 30 km (18miles) from the port of Porto Torres.
Sardinia is dotted with small, little-known villages that contain all the charm and beauty of traditional Italian life. One of these is San Pantaleo, a lovely community in the Gallura region of Sardinia, about a 25 minute drive from Olbia Airport.
Gateway to the Emerald Coast
Olbia is the main town of the area equipped with an airport, a large port, and all the facilities you may need.
Chosen by many as a summer and beach destination, Sardinia is famous for its clear and pristine waters, awarded time after time, and for the variety of its coasts.
It is certainly popular for the Emerald Coast (Costa Smeralda), able to offer a mix between green clean waters by day and jet-set & fun by night, but it is likewise popular for the hidden coves and the wildest shores. In fact, this coastline, located north-east of Sardinia, is known as an exclusive summer holiday.
The beautiful and picturesque villages of Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo are the two cores of the social life in Costa Smeralda, with all their luxury villas, harbors, restaurants, cafes, elegant shopping centers, nightclubs and fashionable hangouts.
In Costa Smeralda, you will be certainly able to spend an unforgettable holiday enjoying secluded beaches with white sand and surrounded by granite rocks and green, shady woods, while bathing in transparent waters.
You can even explore the area and find some wonderful cozy spots and beaches, such as Piccolo Pevero Beach, Cala di Volpe and Punta Capriccioli.
Of course, do not miss a visit to the La Maddalena Archipelago, a National Park which consists of seven islands that could be compared to a paradise on earth! The islands of the Archipelago della Maddalena fulfill every beach dream you could possibly have.
The best way to explore these beautiful beaches is by doing a boat tour of the Archipelago della Maddalena and, if you are lucky enough it may happen you will notice the person at the table next to yours drinking a nice cocktail in some elegant cafè… is your favorite movie star!
Discover these beautiful uninhabited islands, with some of the best beaches in Sardinia.
From the coast to the mountains
Come up the mountain road from the Costa Smeralda to visit this town hidden between the mountains and sea. This is a wonderful place to experience the best of authentic Italy.
San Pantaleo is best known for its popular Thursday morning market, and a handful of some of the nicest Sardinia boutique hotels are located right here. On Thursday mornings, the main street of the town is transformed from a quiet avenue to a bustling marketplace, full of activity and good aromas! You won’t be able to resist purchasing food here. Each stall has something new and delicious to offer.
Massive wheels of cheese, stacked in columns, fill one booth, while long sausages and boxes bursting with fruit fill another. Folk traditions are very important part of Sardinian culture: you will have the proof by taking part in one of the many local festivals.
The folk dances with traditional clothing are a must-see, as a witness to the joy in being together and to the strong link that binds people to the territory.
During your stay in Sardinia you can enjoy lots of different activities such as outdoor sports, water sports, walking and cultural excursions.
With such a beautiful coast and almost persistent winds, it is only obvious that one of the ultimate things to do in Sardinia is windsurfing.
If you are lover of this sport, bring your board or hire it and have one of the most impressive experiences.
One of the activities we are suggesting is also horseback riding into the wild Sardinia.
One of the best ways could be to horse ride in the outskirts of Alghero, in Porto Ferro surrounded by wide sand dunes. Let the horse lead you to charming timeless path and get ready for a delicious meal on your way!
Whatever the sport you choose, it’s a fact that exercising on the waterfront is what to do in Sardinia to stay fit.
Sardinian Food & Wine
Did you know the local food combined with genetic factors make this island one of the 5 “Blue Zones” of the world? In each of those areas the local population are the longest-living people in the globe and Sardinia is one of them!
Sardinian food satisfies the most demanding palates with its simple and natural ingredients, and with its delicious recipes made with the delicate and strong local products. There would be pages and pages to write about the Sardinia food but here are some examples of food and wine you can have while you are visiting the “Caribbian Pearl”.
Sardinia is well known for good cheese!
Look around and you’ll also see a lot of sheep, nearly 4 million of them—one of the highest densities in the world. The indigenous Sarda sheep is a domestic breed which produces the best milk for pecorino sardo cheese.
Sardinian cheese is well known such as Pecorino Romano DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) often paired with the famous pane carasau. This is a very crispy flatbread. It’s generally eaten with pieces of salami or cheese, but can also be modified into different dishes.
Surely the shepherd’s traditions helped to preserve antique recipes. Even though there is not a uniform culinary tradition, there are some delicacies that you can taste everywhere in the Island.
The wide choice of starters, of course, with local cheeses, sausages and olives (do not forget the universal known and suspected “Casu Marzu” – rotten cheese). The suckling pig, the “malloreddus” (kind of pasta), the “seadas” (delicious dessert with fresh cheese and honey).
Do not miss ordering a good bottle of “Cannonau” or “Vermentino” (there are many Sardinian wine cellars to choose from). Among the best-known wines we’d like to mention is Cannonau, a red with high alcohol content bottled in wood, Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine, Nuragus, dry and with a slightly acid note, Carignano, a red with a dry lingering flavour and Malvasia, a sweet wine ideal to accompany desserts and to complete your meal with a shot glass of chilled Mirto liqueur.
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the Sardinia Island and that you are inspired to learn more or see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend and if you are interested in learning more about traveling to this area or any other region in Italy, please contact us for more information.
Stay tuned for more blogs about other regions in Italy and be sure to click the link below for an example of tours we offer in the Sardinia Island.