Italy is one of my favourite countries in Europe, I love the food, the diverse landscapes and history, so I’m trying to work my way around it. I’ve ticked off Florence and Venice and this summer I visited Sardinia.
Sardinia is one of the Mediterranean’s largest islands, it’s about the same size as Wales. It sits off the south-west coast of Italy and was an ancient Roman province, along with its neighbouring island (the now French) Corsica.
It has an incredible rocky landscape of mountains and cliffs, as well as white sand and crystal-clear waters. The coastline stretches for around 1,850 km and is blessed with hundreds of secret hidden bays and beaches.
The best time to visit is early summer before the crowds come. We flew from London to Cagliari at the end of July and it was quite busy. The flights are average (over £100 return), but it is worth it as Sardinia (or Sardegna as Italians call it) is perfectly unspoiled – it’s where many Italians choose to spend their summers.
To make the most of the natural landscape and beautiful beaches, I would recommend renting a car to explore the region fully. It’s a great destination for all travellers, whether a romantic getaway, solo or with friends. I travelled with my family this time and it seems like a good place if you have young children too.
It’s a popular tourist destination, so there is plenty of accommodation to suit your needs – hotels, apartments, camping. We stayed on the south side of the island, in Santa Margherita di Pula and rented a villa just a five-minute walk from the ocean.
Here are some of the best beaches in Sardinia…
Is a famous surfing spot along Chia bay, it’s relatively hidden away, and stretched for just 150m. The beach is lined with trees for shade and the sea is great for watersports or snorkelling! There’s not much in the way of bars or restaurants, so be sure to pack a picnic.
Chia is one of the larger, more popular beaches in Sardinia, with peach sands and turquoise sea. There are two small ‘islands’ you can swim to and climb in the sea, but wear shoes as the rocks can be painful but the view from the top is worth it!
Is just 1km south of Chia beach and has several reefs that make it perfect for snorkelling or diving (as well as the clear sea). The most beautiful thing about this place is watching the flamingos that flock to nearby lagoons in the summer.
Santa Margherita di Pula
This was our local beach, situated in front of the village of the same name. It had soft sand with shades of pink and calm shallow waters. The small beach was quiet, uncrowded and the sea was clean and bright blue… we preferred the calm over some of the busier, more well-known beaches.
Where to eat…
Sardinia has one of the highest populations of centenarians in the world, and I’m putting it down to the diet. Italian is my favourite kind of cuisine, so I gorged myself on Sardinia’s fresh fish and pasta.
We stumbled across this restaurant in Sant’Anna Arresi when driving back from the beach. It had only opened a week before it arrived and I loved the upscaled furnishings. The waiter was attentive, there was a small menu but the food was cheap (between 7-11 euros for a large main) and so tasty.
Visit their Facebook here
An affordable, simple and casual restaurant where you can sit on the deck on the Santa Margherita di Pula beach. Perfect for a bite to eat after a day in the sun, I had a giant tuna steak which was tasty and fresh, with crispy handmade fries.
Visit their Facebook here
L’Oasi di Fabrizio Senis
Also on the Santa Margherita di Pula beach (we like to eat local), L’Oasi is a more upmarket restaurant looking over the sea. It serves mainly seafood, all fresh and delicious. I ate tasty handmade ravioli with crab, as well as antipasti.
Visit their Facebook here
This was a gorgeous restaurant, a short drive from Chia beach. It had a beautiful garden and terrace where you could eat outside. They are known for their pizzas, served at lunchtime, but we were too late. The traditional Fregola pasta was a very yummy substitute.
Visit their website here
Things to do…
You’re surrounded by gorgeous beaches, so go explore hidden coves and bays – rent a car or, even better, a boat and discover as much of the island as you can
Another great way to discover the island is on horseback. We went on a hack at a local maneggio as the sun was setting. The horses were healthy and well-trained and our guide was great!
Shopping in Cagliari
Best to try to do this on a day when you arrive at/leave from the airport. Cagliari is a picturesque old town with winding cobbled streets, small shops selling souvenirs and a cathedral.
Give the beach a break and discover some of the mountains and ruins in Sardinia. There are so many great hikes to go on, where you can explore archaeological sites and views over the Island.
Scuba diving or snorkelling
Did I mention how clear the water is in Sardinia? (Yes, you did *sigh*) Their bright blue ocean is so well-protected it’s perfect for checking out reefs and fish – you can even go on snorkelling tours!
Visit Sant’ Antioco
One of the most untouched areas of Sardinia, Sant’ Antioco is a small island off Sardinia. We visited the little seafront which had old fishing boats, colourful villas and shops, a small church and ancient catacombs.
Thanks for reading my guide to Sardinia – if you’ve visited and have somewhere to recommend, please let me know in the comments! CC xx
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