Destination of the Week: Sardinia
Sardinia is a land of white sand beaches, aqua waters, vibrant festivals and unique culture. Explore coastal trails, climb mountains, kayak through secluded coves and hang out with the rich and famous in the Costa Smeralda.
The island’s history, in itself, takes you on an adventure into the Bronze Age, with towers, settlements and remnants of a fascinating heritage. Combine all that with delectable cuisine, including local wines and cheeses, and you have yourself an unforgettable island holiday.
What to do
To delve straight into the history of Sardinia, visit the Museo Archeologico and the church of San Simplicio, in Olbia. Explore the ‘Giants’ Tombs’ and the nuraghi, which are towers that are symbolic of Sardinia’s Stone Age past. The seaside resort of Alghero, with its Catalan flavour, is the perfect place to stroll through historic streets and town walls with scintillating ocean views.
For glitz and glamour, head to the Costa Smeralda on the northeast tip of the island, with luxurious resorts, marinas and celebrity visitors. Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari, offers an atmospheric medieval centre with steep streets, 13th-century walls and towers. Inland Sardinia is made for the outdoor adventurer and animal lover, with pine woods, unique wildlife and endless hiking options.
As for the best beaches, take the time to explore as many as you can and decide for yourself. Try Poetto Beach for water sports, surfing and activities, Spiaggia Del Principe for stunning clear water and snorkelling and Cala Luna, or ‘Moon Cove’, with its dramatic backdrop of cliffs and crescent-shaped, white sand beach.
Where to stay
Choosing a place to base yourself in Sardinia is easy, with a huge range of options for accommodation. What’s not so easy, is deciding whether you want the vibrancy of the Costa Smeralda, the serenity of the Costa Verde, the medieval atmosphere of Cagliari or an inland adventure in the heart of the wilderness.
Cala di Volpe (£££)
Located in Porto Cervo on the Emerald Coast, Cala di Volpe is a little town within a town, with tennis courts, restaurants with bay views, a fitness centre and a spa with beauty treatments. Best of all, there’s a gigantic salt-water swimming pool and a private beach a short boat ride away, complete with lifeguards.
Hotel Catalunya (££)
If you’re looking for a hotel in a fantastic city location, but within easy reach of the beach, Hotel Catalunya in Alghero is just a short walk from the historic centre. It has a lounge and a restaurant, a bar with panoramic views, family rooms available and guests receive free entry to a private beach club.
Hostel Marina (£)
Located in a 16th-century monastery in the heart of the old town of Cagliari, Hostel Marina brims with historic charm. You can book rooms with private bathrooms, there’s 24-hour reception, Wi Fi, a TV lounge, a garden bar and, best of all for night owls, no curfew imposed at night.
Where to eat
Famous for a Mediterranean diet that helps you to live a long and healthy life, Sardinia is a foodie heaven. Expect to indulge in the freshest of ingredients, including lean lamb, suckling pork, eggplant, rich tomatoes, lobsters, octopus and cheese.
Dal Corsaro (£££)
If you’re in Cagliari and you’re in the mood for fine Italian haute cuisine, Dal Corsaro is the place for you. Think silver cutlery, antiques and excellent service, mixed with a menu of local ingredients to create dishes like squid tagliatelli and seafood antipasto.
La Vecchia Costa (££)
La Vecchia Costa is a restaurant the whole family will enjoy in Porto Cervo, with an extensive menu of pasta, seafood and pizza, made from fresh ingredients and served in an open, welcoming environment.
When you feel like a cosy hangout after a day of exploration, DriMcafe, in Oristano, offers vintage furniture, a selection of books and art and a menu of coffee, cake and comforting risotto at great prices.
Featured image credit: (c) istock/thinkstock