Travelling around so much makes you long for something different and refreshing. In an ideal world, it won’t be too far away, and it won’t be too big that it can’t be thoroughly explored. And there should be plenty to do. We want unique adventures and fun things we just can’t get anywhere else. And the views. This place must have views to die for. The sort of views you will never forget and that you just want to stare into for an eon. Of course, if there are crystal clear waters and a stunning beach to boot, then I think I might be quite happy!
Can you imagine such a place? Sounds like a dream holiday. Throw in some fiery cultures and tasty cuisine too. Maybe some boutique shopping, and some history and architecture to check out. Warm sunshine and island attitudes. If only such a place existed. I would be on the next flight!
Fortunately, Sardinia really does exist, and it really does live up to the reputation. It is a large island in the Mediterranean and is home to 1.6 million people. This fiercely independent island is part of Italy but is self-governed, has its own flag and its own language. A tiny channel of water called the Strait of Bonifacio separates it from the French island of Corsica. It’s no wonder these two islands are favourite stops with the cruise liners.
To start your tour of Sardinia, you may want to start in the capital, Cagliari. This beautiful city has plenty to see. The Municipal Art Gallery is here and is well worth a visit for the architectural interest alone. There is also a Marina district to explore, and an area called Castello that boasts outstanding views of the city and beyond. If you are in Cagliari and you are keen to explore this city, why not take a Segway tour? After an orientation session to get to know the machines, you can switch on the audio guide and move through the city on this unique tour.
Segway tours are great fun, particularly in hilly cities like Cagliari. Be sure to take your time to see all the city has to offer, from beautiful gardens to the Royal Palace and Roman amphitheater ruins. This incredible city has so much to see and is steeped in a rich history from many different settlers through the ages. Finish your tour with some amazing shopping areas, and head to the Poetto beach for the gorgeous white sand dunes.
For more adventures, head to Alghero from your Sardinia villa. The jewellery made of red coral here is famous throughout the Mediterranean and is a local speciality. Medieval and Gothic architecture make this place incredibly characterful. Even the cobblestones in the streets are full of charm. The world famous Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra is home to the heads of babes killed by Herod, and remnants of the ‘True Cross’ are also on display.
Head out of town for just 45 minutes and take on the grottos of Grotta di Nettuno. These amazing caves are full of the most visually stunning rock and stalactite formations. Take a boat to the mouth in the summer, or dare to venture down the scary steps from the top of the cliff. Neither are for the faint hearted, but both will give you a fabulous adventure into a dark and fantasy-like world. When you arrive back topside, there are plenty of eateries offering up seafood risottos.
The most popular and most beautiful waters for this island are at the Costa Smeralda. The Italians come here in their droves, and even celebrities have stopped by for a dip. The whole island truly is like another world, with its unfamiliar languages and eventful histories. As such a prominent part of Europe, providing raw materials and safe ports, you may wonder why Sardinia isn’t much more popular. There really is no answer to that, but take advantage of this secret gem while you can!
There are so many ways to travel this lovely island. Boats, trains, cars and walks are all doable. By being situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, it is so accessible from most of the other Mediterranean countries. Equally, you can hop on to your next stop from here too. Make the most of three international airports, or enjoy a cruise that just stops in for the night, but do stop.
Sardinia truly is a gem in the glorious surroundings of the Mediterranean. There are mountains here and white sand beaches, and everything you can think of in between. Most visitors like to hike their way from place to place, but there are lots of travel options for this island. Even if you stayed put in one region or city, there is so much to see and do. The people who live here may be fiery and passionate, but they are proud of what they have, and quite rightly so.
Meet up with some locals in a bar or pay for a guided tour. The people you meet on the island are intelligent and funny, and keen to tell you their tales or the tales of the island. Take a slower pace on Sardinia than some of mainland Italy and enjoy what the island has to offer. The weather is good, and the options for food are plentiful, with flavours from all over the Mediterranean on offer. Even African palettes are catered for here. Take your time to taste some of the local delicacies too, although be sure to avoid the maggot filled casu marzu cheese.
If you are planning a trip to the island of Sardinia, you are going to need to pack some Euros and a Sardu phrase book. You may get by on some Italian if you struggle. There are local wines to look out for as well as local dishes you may enjoy. Being an island, fish and seafood are offered across most menus. Make the most of island life and book some time on a boat.