Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily) is often referred to as the Mediterranean’s answer to the Caribbean. And there are so many amazing things to do in Sardinia.
It has over 2000km of coastline, the majority of which offers blue flag beaches with turquoise sea’s and bright white (and sometimes pink) sands.
Sardinia is an Italian island, however it is extremely protective of its Sardinian identity and even has some autonomy from the state.
The island is home to over 1.5 million people and is visited by millions of tourists every year.
From coast to countryside, Sardinia has a lot to offer for the intrepid explorer. With stunning coves, caves, canyons, trails and Neolithic sites there are ample opportunities to go diving, hiking, climbing, canyoning, history hunting and so much more.
Sardinia is the perfect summer holiday destination; I have been here 4 times and each year have discovered something new and spectacular.
When is the best time to visit Sardinia?
Whilst Sardinia opens its arms to visitors all year round, the best time to visit is during the months of May-October where temperatures can reach over 30 degrees celsius. You will also find that most trip operators shut down between October-May so another reason to visit during the spring/summer months is that there will the more opportunities to go on excursions such as boat trips.
What is the best way to get to Sardinia
There are three main airports that serve Sardinia, these are Olbia (North East), Cagliari (South) and Alghero (East). You can fly into these regions from most London airports, and if you catch it at the right time you can get return flights for as little as £60.
The best airport to fly into for Northern Sardinia is Olbia Airport.
Budgeting for Sardinia
Unfortunately, Sardinia isn’t the cheapest place, but thankfully you can get coffee for as little as €1.50, an Aperol spritz for just €5 and a carafe of wine starting at just €7. In terms of dining out most dishes start from around €15+. You can expect to spend between €55-€100 for 2 people on both lunch and dinner
If you are thinking of going on an excursion or boat trip most prices will start at around €80 and prices will fluctuate depending on what time of year you are visiting
How to travel around Sardinia
Rent a car
If you want to experience the best of Sardinia then your best option is to drive/rent a car. There is no Uber on the island and taxi’s are also ridiculously expensive (it’s roughly €75 for a 20-minute journey). There are local bus routes you can use but the journeys are long and the buses are infrequent.
If you are looking to rent a car I would advise going with Maggiore. You can rent a car for approximately €340 for 1 driver, including full insurance.
Where to stay in Sardinia?
Santa Teresa di Gallura or Palau are some of the best spots to stay in Northern Sardinia as you are a midpoint between some of Sardinia’s most stunning beaches and national parks . Santa Teresa di Gallura/Palau are roughly an hours drive from Olbia Airport.
Click here to take a look at the accommodation we stayed at during our time in Northern Sardinia.
Alternatively, if you are driving through Europe and have a campervan, you can book a stay at some camping sites or find some wild camping spots. My best advice would be to download Park4Night and CaraMapas to help you find your perfect spot for the night.
10 best things to do in Sardinia
La Maddalena Island and La Maddalena Archipelago
The La Maddalena Archipelago is one of Sardinia’s biggest gems. The waters are crystal clear and the sand bright white (and sometimes pink, although pink beaches are protected from the public).
To get on to La Maddalena Island you can take the ferry from Palau. Click here to access the timetable. If you take a trip here make sure you head to Caprera.
Other islands in the La Maddalena Archipelago are only accessible by boat, so I would highly recommend booking a tour that takes you around to multiple islands. I always book with a company called Palau Excursions, it’s a great day out filled with food, drink, snorkelling and swimming.
Take a day trip to Corsica
You can catch the ferry from Santa Teresa di Gallura which takes you to the town of Bonifacio in Southern Corsica. If like me you like fitting in as many countries as possible on one trip, then this day trip to Corsica Island (belonging to France) is a great option.
Click here to look at the ferry timetable.
Capo Testa is located in the town of Santa Teresa di Gallura is one of the top rated beaches in Sardinia. The road running through town splits the beach into two parts so you have two sides of the beach to choose from.
If you fancy some food or a cocktail during your time here you can either head to Martini Beach Club or Cala Spinosa Sea Lounge.
Additionally, if you get bored of sunbathing there is a local nature reserve nearby where you can hike and get some stunning views of the beach and surrounding area.
This is one of the best areas to come if you are a keen scuba diver. It’s also the place to come if you like to party and to socialise on your holiday. Make sure you head to Phi Beach and Nikki Beach to find some of the best bars in the area. Phi beach is also a great place to watch the sunset.
If you want to explore and experience a billionaires playground then Porto Cervo is the place to come. It’s home to some amazing superyachts and the famous Billionaires nightclub.
Cala Brandinchi is the perfect place to catch the last bit of sun before you head home as it is located just 25 mins from Olbia Airport. Further to that It’s also just a great beach to visit if you are staying in this area.
When you arrive you will have two car parks to choose from either north or south. The beach isn’t that long and it’s quick to walk from one end to the other so don’t worry about what car park you choose. It’s important to note that parking here can be quite expensive. It cost roughly €8 for 3 hours
Sassari is one of the oldest settlements in Sardinia and also the second largest city in Sardinia. If you are a history buff then Sassari is a great place to visit and there are monuments and historical buildings a-plenty
Here are some of the monuments and hotspots you can visit in Sassari:
- Cattedrale di San Nicola
- Piazza d’Italia
- Chiesa di Santa Maria di Betlem
- Piazza Castello
Asinara National Park
Asinara is a tiny uninhabited island in the province of Sassari. It is the perfect place to visit for hiking among the rocky cliffs, followed by relaxing on stunning beaches. You can get to Asinara by ferry leaving from Porto Torres or by boat leaving from Stintino harbour.
Castelsardo is a small, picturesque town built on an old medieval fortress. Its views are like that of a miniature Positano (Amalfi Coast) so it’s definitely worth a little trip there for the day.
Best places to eat in Sardinia
Not only does Sardinia have amazing views but the food here is also to-die-for. I’ve never had a bad meal here and the food repertoire stretches from delicious pastas to fresh fish caught directly from the Mediterranean Sea.
Here are some foods you MUST try on your trip to Sardinia.
Gnocchetti alla Sarda
Don’t be fooled by the name, this dish does not contain gnocchi, it actually uses malloreddus pasta which happens to hold a similar shape to gnocchi but in miniature form. This is a tomato based, sausage pasta dish which is so delicious and is best served with lashings of pecorino cheese on top.
This is a wafer-thin light and crispy bread (kind of like Sardinia’s answer to a poppadom). You will almost certainly get with every starter when you eat out.
This is a traditional sardinian dessert which are deep-fried pastries filled with pecorino cheese and drizzled with honey. Essentially, it’s like a sweet ravioli. Not to everyone’s taste but definitely worth trying if you want the full Sardinian Experience
A delicious white wine that is grown and produced predominately in Sardinia. This is a great accompaniment to all of your Sardinian dinners.
Cozze Alla Marinara
Cozze Alla Marinara is a great starter and my favourite of all time. It’s a simple but delicious dish of mussels marinated in garlic and white wine sauce.
Mirto is a liqueur that is popular on the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Capraia. Mirto is made from the Myrtle leaf which grows all over Sardinia. Mirto is an acquired taste, but again if you want to try something authentically Sardinian then put this on the list.
Visit an Agroturismo for Porchetta Su Porcheddu
All over the island, you will find a huge choice of Agrotourismo’s. These are independently owned farms of which parts of the land have been transformed into restaurants and accommodation. The food provided is organically produced fresh from the farm.
If you visit an Agroturismo I would highly recommend trying Porchetta Su Porcheddu which is a suckling pig that is cooked slowly on a spit and usually accompanied by roast potatoes.
Author Bio: Christina is 28 from Hertfordshire and runs the blog The Curly Commute. During the 9-5 Christina works in recruitment, but the rest of her time is spent doing, dreaming or reminiscing about all things travel. She makes it her mission to go on at least 7 a trips year and practice her amateur photography skills along the way. Her favourite country in the world has to be Sri Lanka; the food, the views, the wildlife and the people make it the perfect place to be. You can also find Christina on Instagram.
If you on a bigger trip exploring more of Europe check out my guides to France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb.
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