Are you planning to visit Sardinia but don’t know what to expect? Well, you are on the right page.
The second largest island in Italy, Sardinia is popular for its pristine sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and stunning natural beauty. In addition, the island boasts a wild hinterland and plenty of unique archaeological sites that are a must-visit.
Add in the rich culture of the people and their hospitality, and you get an experience that is truly memorable.
This ultimate travel guide will tell you everything you need to know before you visit Sardinia. This includes how to get there, where to stay, recreational activities to do, food and dining in Sardinia, and so much more.
Getting to Sardinia
As a visitor to Sardinia, you can reach the island through one of the three major airports, namely, Olbia, Cagliari, and Alghero. Usually, there are daily direct flights to Sardinia from Italy’s cities such as Milan, Rome, Naples, Venice, and Verona.
Additionally, you can also fly to Sardinia from other European cities, including Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Munich, and London.
If you’re in Italy and time isn’t of the essence, you can use the ferry to reach the island. There are five main ferry ports in Sardinia, and these are Arbatax, Olbia, Cagliari, Porto Torres, and Golfo Aranci.
Furthermore, there are other ferries from mainland Spain and France, but these can take up to 12 hours to arrive at Sardinia.
To get around the island, hiring a car is the best and easiest means, though not the cheapest. While public trains and buses will save you some money, they might not be a very reliable way of navigating the area.
Customs and culture in Sardinia
Sardinia’s culture and customs are similar to those of other Italian destinations. The locals have a deep attachment to the family unit, value traditions, and are generally laid-back in their behaviors.
This is mainly because many of them have grown in small villages in the hinterland where customs and traditions reign supreme.
In regard to religion, Sardinia is heavily influenced by Catholicism. As a result, attending mass is a must for the locals, and festivals celebrating Catholic Saints usually dominate the calendar. Here you can learn more about the religion in Italy.
When it comes to language, it is majorly Italian but with a Sardinian dialect. English is also spoken, especially by those who work in the tourism sector.
Places to stay in Sardinia
Sardinia boasts many world-class hotels that offer accommodation services to visiting tourists. The following are some of them.
Hotel Cala di Volpe
For the most memorable stay in Sardinia, check in at Hotel Cala di Volpe. This hotel, which is located on the breathtaking Costa Smeralda waterfront, is surrounded by the lush Mediterranean landscape.
In addition, it boasts a dazzling private beach, spacious suites, and a world-class spa and fitness center, among other facilities. Besides, the hotel also offers free parking for its guests.
Located in Porto Cervo, Hotel Pitrizza offers magnificent views of the crystal-clear waters of Costa Smeralda. Here, you can enjoy exemplary services in a refined establishment, thanks to the elegant and tastefully furnished rooms.
In fact, some rooms come with their own hot tubs and private pools, hence making the stay of any world tourist truly memorable.
Villa Las Tronas Hotel
With its location in Alghero, Villa Las Tronas Hotel is a convenient base to explore Sardinia’s northwest coast. The establishment features spacious rooms that are built with old-world architecture, comprising marble floors and crystal chandeliers.
Guests can enjoy the state-of-the-art spa, which comes with a Turkish bath, sauna, and indoor pool. What’s more, there is a seafront restaurant that mainly serves vegan dishes.
Hotel Li Finistreddi
Perched atop a hill within Costa Smeralda is the Hotel Li Finistreddi, an establishment that offers splendid views of the La Maddalena archipelago. The hotel features 19 executive suites with private entrances and three villas.
As a guest, you can relax by the hotel’s swimming pools or take a drive to the pristine sandy beach of Barca Bruciata.
Other top hotels in Sardinia include:
- Petra Segreta Resort and Spa
- La Villa Del Re
- Baglioni Puntaldia Sardinia
- Villa Del Golfo
Things to do in Sardinia
There are many recreational activities that you can do as a visiting tourist in Sardinia. Here are some of them:
Touring around the Castello district
If you love history, you should visit the Castello district in Cagliari. This is one of the oldest areas in Sardinia; hence it boasts a rich heritage with many significant landmarks located here.
The district is dotted with narrow streets, ancient buildings, and historic palazzos that take a visitor down memory lane. Some of the must-see places include the Cagliari Cathedral, Bastione di Saint Remy, and the Archaeological Museum.
Beach hopping around Costa Smeralda
There are many beautiful beaches in Sardinia, many of them found at Costa Smeralda. Costa Smeralda is a coastline that stretches up to 20 kilometers and is dotted with several pristine and beautiful sandy beaches.
They include Cappricioli, Spiaggia Rena Bianca, and Porto Istana, so you’ll have to choose one and explore it fully. Remember that it can get really crowded here, so try to go early or on a weekday.
Boat riding around the La Maddalena archipelago
A boat ride around the La Maddalena archipelago is a must-do for any visitor in Sardinia. You’ll be able to see all of the seven islands and listen to stories about the coastal landscapes from the experienced captain.
The boat rides are normally organized and undertaken by private tour companies, so you’ll have to prepare your budget accordingly.
Bird watching at Molentargius Nature Reserve
In Sardinia, there is a lot of wildlife. If you love bird watching and nature in general, Molentargius Nature Reserve in Cagliari is the place to be. Here, you can admire the different species of birds, including elegant pink flamingos in their nesting areas and as they fly over the skies.
Apart from flamingos, the nature reserve also has other animals, such as wild boars, turtles, and mouflons.
Food and dining in Sardinia
When it comes to food and drinks, Sardinia impresses, just like other Italian travel destinations. The culinary traditions of the people are deeply rooted in the past and are based on natural and homemade food products.
If you are into wines, Sardinia boasts its own vineyards, which produce exquisite wines such as Cannonau Reds and Vermentino White. You can try these at any of the wine bars on the island.
Sardinia also has its own specialty breads and pastas. You can stop by a bakery and purchase a tasty loaf of civraxiu, which is a round loaf with a soft center and crispy crust. Seafood is also a favorite on the island, with octopus, lobster, and tuna featuring heavily on the menus. Meats such as goat, lamb, and pig are also available in plenty.
Best time to visit Sardinia
Furthermore, there are several festivals happening around this time, including the Feast Of Sant’efisio Cagliari. Be that as it may, there is a lot to do in Sardinia all year round.
If you love the sun-drenched beaches, visit Sardinia when the temperatures are high, and that is between June and September. This is usually the peak season, so tourists are many.
However, if you don’t like crowds, consider visiting around October when most tourists have left, and the sea waters are still warm. Moreover, winter, which falls between November and March, also has several festivals, including Carnival di Mamoiada.
Did you know that Sardinia is one of the autonomous regions in Italy?
Tips to save money when in Sardinia
Here are some extra tips for visiting Sardinia:
- Always hire a smaller car. This way, you’ll save cash, and you’ll also be able to move through Sardinia’s narrow streets and alleys easily.
- Rather than dining out the whole vacation, purchase your food at the local markets or grocery stores and bakeries, of course. This way, you’ll stretch your traveling cash further.
- Try to travel during the low season. At this time, accommodation is usually cheaper than during the high season.
What is Sardinia famous for?
Sardinia is famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches, historic sites, and world-class hotels. Additionally, it's also popular for its warm and friendly people.
What is the best time of the year to go to Sardinia?
The best time to go to Sardinia is between April and June when the temperatures aren't that high, and the sea waters are warm.
Where can a tourist stay in Sardinia?
There are many hotels that offer accommodation in Sardinia, such as Hotel Cala di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Villa Las Tronas.
What leisure activities can I do when visiting Sardinia?
There are many activities you can do, such as sightseeing, boat riding, beach hopping, bird watching, and touring historical sites.
Is Sardinia good for tourists?
Absolutely. The people are welcoming, and there are many recreational things you can do that will make your stay memorable.