The large Italian island of Sardinia is often affectionately referred to as “the European Caribbean”. No wonder: Because the white, fine sandy beaches, the turquoise, clear water and the spectacular emerald coast – the famous Costa Smeralda – live up to this nickname. The versatile island is not just a jet-set paradise for the beautiful and the rich. Tourists of all facets will find their own heavenly spot on Sardinia to feel good – be it on a friendly hike in the rugged mountains inland, while relaxing in the picturesque old town cafés or on one of the wave-rich beaches to sunbathe and splash around with the whole family.
Nowhere else in Italy can travelers find a cuisine that is so clearly different from the rest of the country. In terms of culture and architecture, Sardinia is also unique. Even the language is very different from the Italian on the mainland. This exceptional local position enabled Sardinia to develop unique customs, festivals and traditions that visitors from all over the world can experience today. But these attractions are by far not all that the fascinating island has to offer. We introduce you to the most popular activities, beaches and places in Sardinia.
The 10 best places, regions and beaches in Sardinia
The island capital Cagliari and the south
Typically, a classic Sardinia tour begins in the capital Cagliari. There are good reasons for that. It doesn’t matter whether you hit the Bastione San Remy or the Piazza della Costituzione first: the ancient old town around the Castello quarter is one of the most beautiful areas of the island’s capital. A fortress and a breathtaking cathedral have been preserved and delight visitors and islanders with a panoramic view of the sea and the city.
From the medieval streets of Cagliari to the ancient ruins in the city of Nora, where the Roman trading posts were based at the time: the whole of southern Sardinia has an almost indescribable variety of historical cultural assets. Best of all, when you’ve had enough of sightseeing, you can be on one of the many sandy beaches in just a few minutes. The beaches are the most popular place in Sardinia in summer anyway.
Costa Smeralda – jewel of the island
One of the most beautiful coastlines in the world stretches from Capode Testa to the port city of Olbia. Because of the clear, turquoise-green sea color, the emerald coast got the name of the jewel of the same color. In the 1960s, the legendary towns of the Costa Smeralda were the “place to be” of high society. Even today, the port for private yachts in Porto Cervo is in great demand. The resorts that were created at that time resemble Greek villages or towns on the Riviera. In the evening, tourists enjoy a stroll along in Porto Cervo
the luxury boutiques and bars up to the piazza. The Museum of Modern Art (Kur: MdM) takes care of culture and keeps showing new exhibitions as well as a small collection with changing exhibits. Things are a little more modest in the small resort of Cannigione. Located on the Gulf of Arzachena, the lively small town offers a great view of Porto Cervo with its yachts and ships.
The dream beaches Grande Pevero, Rena Biance and Liscia Ruja are located on the most famous coast of the island. But if you don’t just want to relax on the beach , you should go to the fairytale town of San Pantaleo. The mountain village can be reached from Porto Cervo in around 20 minutes by car and is ideal for starting hikes in the mountains.
Alghero – For romantic strolls
In the 14th century hundreds of families from Catalonia moved to Alghero on the instructions of the then king and pope. Their influence can still be seen today: architecture and language are strongly based on Spanish. For example, the magnificent Gothic cathedral of San Franceso, open to curious visitors, holds masses in Catalan. The old walls around it are just as magnificent as the interior of the church. During an evening stroll you have a wonderful view of the sea and the sunset from here.
Valle dei Nuraghi – On the paths of ancient cultures
A cone of volcanoes surrounds the Valle dei Nuraghi. The flat, wide valley is dotted with rock formations and prehistoric nuraghe. There are large numbers of these towers in Sardinia. They are a relic of the nuragic culture that was on the island until the 16th century. Researchers speculate what significance these buildings might have had. It is uncertain whether they served as graves, defensive walls or places of worship. One of the largest nuraghi on the island is located in the Valle dei Nuraghi and is called Santu Antine. The curious can climb and explore the complex building and its towers via stone stairs – and enjoy the panorama at the same time.
Bosa – small but nice
The small town of Bosa is a delightful maze of pastel-colored houses, imposing villas, medieval streets and farms in the countryside. If you walk along the river and over an old stone bridge, you will come across a hill on which the Malaspina Castle is perched. If you don’t feel like doing this short hike, you can also go up by car. Inside the castle there are unusual frescoes and a chapel from the Middle Ages. The renovated mansion called Casa Deriu houses an art gallery as well as a museum showing furniture and recreated rooms of the gentlemen of the time
Olbia – shopping paradise
If you are in the pretty coastal town of Olbia, you should make a detour to the cozy old town. The fourth largest town on the island is particularly busy in the summer months. Boutiques, bars, restaurants and shops are lined up here. In addition, you should definitely visit the main street Corso Umberto, which is an excellent place to dine and stroll. Viale Aldo Moro, a popular shopping street in Olbia, also has a lot to offer. Those interested in culture should visit the Roman Viaduct and the Museum of Archeology. The Basilica of San Simplicio and the Villa Tamponi are also beautiful to look at. The Auchan and Terra Nova shopping centers and a fashion outlet are just outside the city.
Porto Pollo – water sports and cool beach cafés
Sports fans will get their money’s worth in Porto Pollo. A paradise on earth for active vacationers: in the MP Pro Center, vacationers can rent a kayak for fair prices, try stand-up paddling or register for a surf course. Those who prefer it more relaxed can watch wind surfers on the beach at Spiaggia di Barrabisa or simply relax on the water. In addition, cool beach bars and stylish cafés pamper guests with cold and hot drinks and small snacks.
Santa Teresa Gallura – For art lovers who also like to lie on the beach
The northern peninsula of Santa Teresa Gallura is an absolute highlight in Sardinia. With the gentle valleys, beautiful sandy beaches and the high waves that crash against the Tafoni rocks, it is probably one of the most beautiful corners of the whole island. The friendly bay of Cala Spinosa with its traditional lighthouse invites you to explore it extensively on foot at any time of the year. But the small peninsula is a popular vacation spot, especially in summer. Because not only the dream beach Rena Bianca as well as numerous pubs, bars and restaurants are booming. From July to September, a fun art market on the main streets of Santa Teresa also draws a lot of visitors.
Castelsardo – The real “La dolce vita”
Tourists in Sardinia should pay a visit to the hilly town of Castelsardo to stroll through the picturesque streets with the quaint, Italian flair. The village impresses with its unique mix of tourist attractions and preserved naturalness. Here tourists can experience the real Sardinia through the eyes of the locals. The alleys of the winding old town lead to a castle, which serves as a wonderful vantage point and offers great panoramic views of the landscape. The basket museum is also worth seeing and tells of the traditions of the residents.
Isola Rossa – summer, sun and lots of fun
The town of Isola Rossa is particularly attractive for families with children and teenagers. The crystal clear water slopes gently here on the beaches so that even the smallest vacationers can safely and safely experience the sea. Older children and teenagers can attend a diving course here. Excursions to the sea by pedal boat or canoe are also popular. Especially practical for families who already have enough to lug with sand toys and full bags: parasols and loungers can be borrowed on the beaches for a fee. In the bay between Li Caneddi and Isola Rossa, an international surfing competition takes place every year on La Marinedda beach, which is also very interesting for spectators.
Flights, ferry & Co .: Arrival and transfer to Sardinia
Many roads lead to the rough Mediterranean island. In addition to easyJet, Ryanair and Condor, Lufthansa and Eurowings also serve the three airports in Olbia, Cagliari and Alghero. Depending on where passengers start from in Germany, the average flight time is only two hours. This means that holidaymakers can travel to Sardinia quickly and usually inexpensively.
Alternatively, it is also possible to arrive by car. This has the advantage of being able to continue to explore the area flexibly on site. But the cost of the crossing is not particularly cheap. Here it is worthwhile to compare all prices and offers. If you come without a car, you can rent a rental car on the island if necessary. In the Italian city of Genoa, 193 kilometers away from the island, the ferries to Sardinia start , which stop both in the east of the island and on the north coast. Those traveling by car can expect a crossing time of up to twelve hours. In Sardinia there are buses and airport shuttles that take travelers from the airports to the surrounding areas. If you want to get to your destination directly, it is best to use a taxi.