Sardinia, Italie

The 13 essential things to do in Sardinia

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:43

Discovering Sardinia: A Mediterranean Gem

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sardinia is an Italian island that captivates with its natural beauty and rich history. Its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters rival the most sought-after destinations. Among its coastal gems, the famous Costa Smeralda stands out with its paradisiacal landscapes and luxurious resorts.

Beyond its beaches, Sardinia offers a fascinating archaeological heritage with its mysterious nuraghes, stone towers dating back to the Bronze Age, scattered across the island. The site of Su Nuraxi in Barumini, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-see.

Sardinian culture is also reflected in its authentic cuisine, where porceddu (roast suckling pig) and malloreddus pasta delight the taste buds. Picturesque villages like Bosa and Alghero, with their cobblestone streets and colorful houses, immerse visitors in a warm and authentic atmosphere.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find joy in the Gennargentu mountains, perfect for hiking, or in the Neptune Caves, with their impressive limestone formations. For diving enthusiasts, Sardinia's marine biodiversity offers an underwater paradise.

Sardinia is a destination where natural beauty and culture harmoniously meet, offering travelers an unforgettable experience. Whether it's relaxing on idyllic beaches, exploring historical sites, or savoring delicious cuisine, Sardinia has something to satisfy every traveler's desire for escape.

1 - La Pelosa (Stintino)

La Pelosa (Stintino), Sardinia, Italy

La Pelosa is a stunning beach located near the town of Stintino in northern Sardinia, Italy. It is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, soft white sands, and picturesque setting against the backdrop of the Torre della Pelosa, a historic tower dating back to the 16th century. La Pelosa is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches not only in Sardinia but in the entire Mediterranean region.

Visitors to La Pelosa can enjoy swimming in the clear, shallow waters, sunbathing on the soft sands, and taking in views of the rugged coastline and the nearby Isola Piana. The beach can get quite busy during the peak summer months due to its popularity, so it's advisable to arrive early to secure a good spot.

Aside from its natural beauty, La Pelosa is also popular among snorkelers and divers due to the rich marine life found in its waters. The area is protected and part of a marine reserve, ensuring the preservation of its pristine environment.

For those exploring Stintino and its surroundings, visiting La Pelosa is a must-do experience to enjoy the beauty of nature in this part of Sardinia.

2 - Cala Mariolu

Cala Mariolu, Sardinia, Italy

Cala Mariolu is a stunning beach located on the east coast of Sardinia, Italy. It's renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, fine white sand, and dramatic limestone cliffs that frame the coastline. The beach is named after the "mariolu," which in the local dialect means "thief" or "bandit," due to the area's history of pirates and bandits hiding in the caves along the coast.

Cala Mariolu is part of the Golfo di Orosei (Gulf of Orosei) and is only accessible by boat or by hiking trails from nearby towns like Baunei or Santa Maria Navarrese. Its remote location adds to its charm, offering visitors a secluded and peaceful escape surrounded by pristine natural beauty.

One of the highlights of Cala Mariolu is its excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with colorful marine life and underwater caves to explore. Additionally, the beach is relatively small, adding to its intimate and secluded atmosphere.

During the peak summer months, Cala Mariolu can get crowded, so it's advisable to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Overall, Cala Mariolu is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable experience on the beautiful island of Sardinia.

3 - Spiaggia di Tuerredda

Spiaggia di Tuerredda, Sardinia, Italy

Spiaggia di Tuerredda is a famous beach located in Sardinia, Italy. It is renowned for its beauty and the clarity of its waters. The beach features very fine white sand and a crystalline sea that ranges in color from emerald green to deep blue. It is surrounded by typical Mediterranean vegetation that adds to its natural charm. The location of Spiaggia di Tuerredda also makes it an ideal spot for snorkeling and other water activities.

4 - La Costa Smeralda

La Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy

The Costa Smeralda, located in Sardinia, is a renowned coastal region celebrated for its spectacular natural beauty and crystal-clear waters. It's a highly coveted destination in Italy, famous for its fine sandy beaches, secluded coves, and turquoise waters. The area is also known for its understated luxury, featuring celebrity villas, upscale resorts, and luxury yachts.

Stretching approximately 55 km along the northeastern coast of Sardinia, near the town of Olbia, Costa Smeralda was developed in the 1960s by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV and a consortium of investors, with a strong emphasis on preserving its natural environment while offering an exclusive setting for luxury tourism.

Key towns in Costa Smeralda include Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo, and Cala di Volpe, each offering high-end services, fine dining restaurants, fashion boutiques, and vibrant nightlife during the peak summer season.

In summary, Costa Smeralda epitomizes preserved natural beauty and discreet luxury, attracting affluent travelers and beach enthusiasts from around the globe.

5 - Cagliari

Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Cagliari is an enchanting destination for travelers, nestled on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. This city is brimming with charm, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Here are some highlights to explore during a trip to Cagliari:

  1. Castello District: This historic quarter perched on a hill offers stunning views of the city and sea. Wander through its narrow medieval streets, visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and explore remnants of its rich past.

  2. Poetto Beach: Just minutes from the city center, this long stretch of white sand is perfect for sunbathing, swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean, or enjoying water sports.

  3. San Benedetto Market: Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this colorful food market, where you can discover a wide variety of fresh local produce, seafood, cheeses, and artisanal products.

  4. Molentargius-Saline Nature Park: Explore the biodiversity of this natural reserve, home to pink flamingos and a variety of other migratory birds. It's an ideal spot for nature lovers and hikers.

  5. Sardinian Cuisine: Don't miss the opportunity to taste Sardinia's culinary delights, such as burrida (fish stew), porceddu (roast suckling pig), and pane carasau (thin, crispy bread).

  6. Nora Ruins: A short drive from Cagliari takes you to the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Phoenician and Roman town of Nora, offering a fascinating journey through Sardinia's history.

  7. Local Festivals and Events: Immerse yourself in Sardinian culture by participating in one of the many festivals and events held throughout the year, featuring music, dance, crafts, and traditional cuisine.

Cagliari is a versatile destination that will captivate travelers seeking history, nature, gastronomy, and authentic Mediterranean culture.

6 - Alghero

Alghero, Sardinia, Italy

Alghero, in Sardinia, is an enchanting travel destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Here are some elements that make Alghero a great theme for travel:

  1. Fascinating History: Alghero is steeped in history, particularly due to its Catalan past. Remnants of this influence can be seen in its architecture, language, and cuisine. Explore the old town's ramparts, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the fortifications around the city to delve into its rich heritage.

  2. Spectacular Beaches: Alghero boasts beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Maria Pia Beach, with its sand dunes and shallow waters, is perfect for a relaxing day. For a more secluded experience, explore hidden coves along the coastline.

  3. Authentic Sardinian Cuisine: Discover delicious Sardinian cuisine at local restaurants. Don't miss traditional dishes like fregula (a type of pasta), burrida (a fish dish), and local cheeses such as pecorino sardo. End your meal with a glass of mirto, a typical regional liqueur.

  4. Preserved Natural Beauty: Surrounding Alghero is abundant natural beauty. Explore Porto Conte Natural Reserve for its spectacular cliffs, hiking trails, and diverse birdlife. A boat trip to Neptune's Grotto, accessible only by sea, is also a must-do.

  5. Local Crafts and Artisanal Products: Alghero is renowned for its talented artisans. Wander the streets of the old town to discover shops selling unique local crafts such as Mediterranean red coral, handmade ceramics, and silver jewelry.

Together, these elements make Alghero an unforgettable travel destination where history, nature, and culture converge to offer an immersive and enriching experience.

7 - Bosa

Bosa, Sardinia, Italy

Bosa, an enchanting town nestled on the western coast of Sardinia, offers a glimpse into a world of diverse landscapes and rich culture. This hidden gem beckons travelers with its vibrant history and picturesque charm. Here’s what you can explore during a visit to Bosa:

  1. Old Quarter of Sa Costa: Wander through the narrow, winding streets of this picturesque neighborhood, lined with colorful houses adorned with blooming flowers. Every corner reveals architectural surprises and panoramic views of the town and the Temo River.

  2. Malaspina Castle: Perched on a hill overlooking the town, this medieval castle provides stunning vistas of Bosa and its surroundings. Explore its towers, ramparts, and museum for a deep dive into the region's history.

  3. Temo River: Sardinia's only navigable river winds through Bosa, offering picturesque boat rides and romantic bridges. Enjoy a stroll along its banks lined with palm trees and colorful houses.

  4. Coral Crafting: Bosa is renowned for its coral processing industry. Visit local shops to discover the traditional art of crafting coral jewelry and perhaps take home a unique souvenir from your trip.

  5. Bosa Marina Beach: Just a few kilometers from the town center, this sandy beach with crystal-clear waters is perfect for relaxation and water activities. Spend a day sunbathing or explore the underwater world through a diving session.

  6. Sardinian Cuisine: Don’t leave Bosa without savoring the delights of local cuisine. Taste specialties like culurgiones (Sardinian ravioli), porceddu (roast suckling pig), and mirto (myrtle liqueur) in the town’s trattorias and quaint restaurants.

  7. Local Festivals: If you're fortunate to visit Bosa during one of its traditional festivities, such as the Feast of Madonna del Mare in August, immerse yourself in the joyful and colorful atmosphere of Sardinian culture.

Bosa, with its authentic charm and tranquil ambiance, offers a memorable getaway where every corner reveals a new treasure to uncover.

8 - Castelsardo

Castelsardo, Sardinia, Italy

Castelsardo is a perfect destination for a travel theme centered around history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some ideas for a trip to Castelsardo:

  1. Explore Castelsardo Castle: Overlooking the town, this medieval castle offers stunning views of the sea and surroundings. Visitors can delve into Sardinia's history by exploring its towers, walls, and halls.

  2. Discover Local Crafts: Castelsardo is renowned for its traditional craftsmanship, especially its woven wicker baskets. Visit local shops to discover this unique craftsmanship and bring home an authentic souvenir.

  3. Stroll Through Picturesque Alleyways: Get lost in the narrow streets of the old town, where you can admire preserved medieval architecture and discover quaint craft shops, cafes, and restaurants.

  4. Beaches and Secluded Coves: Castelsardo is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and secluded coves. Take time to relax in the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean, and perhaps try snorkeling to explore the underwater world.

  5. Taste Sardinian Cuisine: Don't miss the opportunity to sample delicious Sardinian cuisine. Try traditional dishes like fregula (a type of pasta), porceddu (roast suckling pig), and pecorino cheese, accompanied by a glass of local wine.

  6. Excursions in the Surroundings: Make the most of your stay in Castelsardo by exploring nearby areas. Visit fascinating archaeological sites, picturesque hilltop villages, and spectacular natural landscapes.

9 - Gola di Gorropu

Gola di Gorropu, Sardinia, Italy

The Gola di Gorropu, also known as the Gorropu Gorge, is a spectacular limestone canyon located in the Supramonte region of Sardinia, Italy. It's often referred to as Europe's Grand Canyon due to its impressive scale and rugged beauty. The gorge is carved by the Flumineddu river, and its towering limestone walls can reach heights of up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) in some places, creating a dramatic landscape that attracts hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world.

Exploring the Gola di Gorropu is a challenging but rewarding experience, with opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and admiring the stunning natural scenery. The gorge is part of the Supramonte massif, a mountainous area known for its wild and unspoiled landscapes, rich biodiversity, and unique geological formations.

Visitors to the Gola di Gorropu can embark on hikes through the gorge, often starting from the nearby town of Urzulei or the village of Supramonte. The trek can vary in difficulty depending on the route chosen, but all offer opportunities to witness the beauty of the canyon up close, including its sheer cliffs, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear streams.

Due to its remote location and rugged terrain, it's important for visitors to come prepared with appropriate gear, including sturdy hiking shoes, plenty of water, and provisions for the journey. Additionally, it's advisable to check local weather conditions and trail information before embarking on any hikes in the area.

Overall, the Gola di Gorropu is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure in one of Italy's most breathtaking natural wonders.

10 - Giara di Gesturi Plateau

Giara di Gesturi Plateau, Sardinia, Italy

The Plateau of Giara di Gesturi, also known simply as the Giara di Gesturi, is a distinctive geographical feature located in the island of Sardinia, Italy. Here are some key points about it:

  1. Location and Geography: It is situated in the southern part of Sardinia, near the town of Gesturi. The plateau is characterized by its flat, rocky terrain and is surrounded by low hills.

  2. Natural Reserve: Giara di Gesturi is a protected area and is known for its unique ecosystem, including its Mediterranean vegetation and endemic wildlife.

  3. Wild Horses: One of the notable features of Giara di Gesturi is its population of wild horses, known as the Giara horses or Cavallini della Giara. These small horses are believed to be of ancient stock and have adapted to the plateau's environment.

  4. Visitor Attractions: The plateau is a popular destination for hiking and nature walks, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside and opportunities to observe the local flora and fauna.

  5. Cultural Significance: The Giara di Gesturi is not only a natural reserve but also holds cultural significance, with archaeological sites dating back to ancient times, including nuraghi (ancient megalithic structures).

Visiting the Plateau of Giara di Gesturi provides a unique opportunity to experience both the natural beauty of Sardinia and its rich cultural heritage.

11 - Sette Fratelli Forest

Sette Fratelli Forest, Sardinia, Italy

The Forêt de Sette Fratelli is a natural reserve located in Sardinia, Italy. Situated in the province of Cagliari, to the east of the island, it is notable for the following:

  1. Location: As mentioned, it lies in the province of Cagliari, in the southeastern part of Sardinia. It is one of the most important and well-preserved forested areas on the island.

  2. Ecosystem: The forest hosts significant ecological diversity, including plant and animal species typical of the Mediterranean region. Species such as cork oaks, pines, junipers, and other Mediterranean flora thrive here.

  3. Nature Reserve: The Forêt de Sette Fratelli is a protected nature reserve, established to safeguard its fragile ecosystem and biodiversity. It serves as an important area for conservation and ecotourism.

  4. Activities: Visitors can enjoy various activities such as hiking, wildlife and flora observation, and guided tours to better understand the ecological importance of the region.

  5. Access: Access to the Forêt de Sette Fratelli is typically by car from Cagliari or other nearby towns. Well-marked trails offer opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the area.

In essence, the Forêt de Sette Fratelli not only serves as a natural sanctuary but also provides visitors a chance to experience and appreciate the preserved Mediterranean ecosystem of Sardinia.

12 - Nautical Activities and Sports

Nautical Activities and Sports, Sardinia, Italy

In Sardinia, there are numerous water activities and sports you can enjoy, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and stunning coastline. Here are some of the most popular activities:

  1. Scuba Diving: Explore the rich underwater marine life, from underwater caves to historical wrecks.

  2. Snorkeling: Perfect for a lighter underwater experience to see colorful corals and fish in shallow, clear waters.

  3. Sailing and Windsurfing: The consistent winds of the Mediterranean make sailing and windsurfing very popular along the Sardinian coast.

  4. Kitesurfing: Take advantage of windy conditions on exposed beaches for thrilling kitesurfing sessions.

  5. Paddle Boarding: Paddle along the coast to discover secluded coves and rock formations while enjoying spectacular views.

  6. Jet Skiing: Rent jet skis from many coastal resorts for an adrenaline-pumping ride on the waves.

  7. Boat Excursions: Take a boat trip to visit neighboring islands like the La Maddalena archipelago or explore sea caves.

  8. Fishing: Whether from the shore or out at sea, fishing is popular in Sardinia, known for its tuna and Mediterranean fish.

  9. Canoeing and Kayaking: Explore rivers and quieter coastal areas by canoe or kayak, ideal for nature lovers and tranquility seekers.

  10. Glass-bottom Boat Tours: For those who prefer to stay dry while exploring marine life, glass-bottom boat tours offer spectacular underwater views.

These activities are available in many coastal towns in Sardinia, such as Cagliari, Alghero, Olbia, and Villasimius, providing a variety of options for all tastes and experience levels.

13 - Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events, Sardinia, Italy

Here are some notable festivals and events in Sardinia throughout the year, offering a unique cultural experience:

  1. Sagra di Sant'Efisio: Held on May 1st in Cagliari, this festival celebrates Sant'Efisio, the patron saint of Sardinia. It features colorful processions in traditional costumes, folk dances, and a festive atmosphere.

  2. Cavalcata Sarda: Taking place in Sassari in May, this parade showcases Sardinia's equestrian culture with hundreds of riders in traditional costumes.

  3. Autunno in Barbagia: This autumn festival occurs in several villages in the Barbagia region, highlighting local craftsmanship, gastronomy, and cultural traditions.

  4. Berchidda Jazz Festival: Held in August in Berchidda, this jazz festival attracts internationally renowned artists and is a must-visit for music enthusiasts.

  5. Carnival of Mamoiada: Known for its traditional masks called "mamuthones" and "issohadores", this carnival takes place in Mamoiada and embodies Sardinian folklore.

  6. Sant'Antioco: Celebrated on December 13th in Sant'Antioco, this religious festival honoring Sant'Antioco includes processions and traditional events.

These events are just a glimpse into Sardinia's rich festival tradition, where each region and town has its own unique celebrations that showcase the island's cultural diversity and heritage.

Sardinia - Where to Stay?

In Sardinia, there are several interesting cities to visit, each offering its own charm and unique attractions:

  1. Cagliari: The capital of Sardinia, located on the southern coast of the island. Cagliari boasts a picturesque old town (Castello) with medieval alleyways, fascinating museums such as the National Archaeological Museum, and a beautiful waterfront promenade.

  2. Alghero: Situated on the northwest coast, Alghero is famous for its Catalan architecture, well-preserved ramparts, and beautiful beaches. It's a great place to explore Sardinia's Catalan culture and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

  3. Olbia: Olbia is a lively port city on the northeast coast of Sardinia. It often serves as a gateway for travelers arriving by ferry from mainland Italy. Olbia also offers lovely nearby beaches and a pleasant city center for strolling and shopping.

  4. Sassari: The second-largest city in Sardinia after Cagliari, Sassari is located in the northwest of the island. It has a rich history and interesting architecture, along with several museums and art galleries.

  5. Oristano: Situated on the west coast of Sardinia, Oristano is a historic town known for its archaeological remains, such as the nuragic site of Tharros, and traditional festivals like the Sartiglia.

Each city in Sardinia has its own atmosphere and attractions, whether it's historical sites, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, or cultural events. It's worth exploring different regions of the island to discover its diverse offerings.

Sardinia - How to get around?

To visit Sardinia, there are several ways to get around depending on your preferences and budget:

  1. Car Rental: This is often the most convenient method for exploring the island, providing flexibility to visit remote areas and secluded beaches.

  2. Public Transport: Sardinia has bus networks that connect major cities and some tourist sites. However, schedules can be limited and travel times longer.

  3. Biking: If you enjoy cycling, Sardinia offers beautiful coastal roads and inland paths that are perfect for cyclists.

  4. Organized Tours: Many agencies offer guided tours to popular tourist sites and natural attractions on the island.

  5. Boat: To explore the coasts and access beaches that are inaccessible by road, consider boat tours or renting a boat.

Your choice will depend on your personal preferences, specific itinerary, and the level of comfort you seek during your stay in Sardinia.

Sardinia - Best period

The best time to visit Sardinia depends on what you're looking for:

  1. Summer (June to August): This is the peak tourist season in Sardinia. Temperatures are hot, often above 30°C (86°F), and beaches are bustling. It's ideal if you want to enjoy the sun and water activities.

  2. Spring (April to May) and Fall (September to October): These are very pleasant times to visit Sardinia. Temperatures are mild, around 20-25°C (68-77°F), and there are fewer tourists compared to summer. It's perfect for exploring the island, hiking, and discovering historical sites without the intense heat.

  3. Winter (November to March): Sardinia has a mild winter climate, with temperatures typically ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50-59°F). It's a quiet time with fewer tourists, but some tourist attractions may have reduced hours or be closed.

In summary, summer is the peak tourist season with hot weather and crowded beaches, while spring and fall offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The choice depends on your personal preferences and the activities you wish to enjoy during your visit to Sardinia.

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:43

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