Sardinia’s beaches are the biggest draw, whether you choose the super luxurious Emerald Coast lounging at Spiaggia Liscia Ruia or venture further south to Spiaggia Portopineddu and Spiaggia di Monte Cogoni. The latter, found in the sleepy village of Chia, has shallow child-friendly waters and is a hotspot for scuba diving. Three miles from Chia, the beachside resort of Santa Margherita di Pula is home to the expansive Forte Village Resort, a collection of stylish hotels with fantastic facilities and a long stretch of beach. Between Cagliari and Carbonia, Porto Pino beach is one of the most beautiful on the island, with creamy soft sand dunes, a colony of flamingos and views out to Isola La Vacca. Or venture northwest to Spiaggia Porto Ferro, where unique orange coloured sands give way to turquoise blue waters.
In the medieval capital of Cagliari there’s eight miles of magnificent coastline to explore along with tiny churches, restaurants, ancient walls and a sprinkling of museums. Flamingos flock to the ponds year round but June is the best time to spot them as they come to nest. Back in the exclusive resort of Costa Smeralda look out for exclusive events held throughout the summer months and head to the chic town of Porto Cervo for stylish cafés, restaurants and bars.
The popular resort of Baia Sardinia has a beautiful setting opposite the Maddalena archipelago and is one of the more affordable destinations along the Costa Smeralda. The town is known for its excellent watersports, particularly windsurfing, and its glamorous nightlife. For a plush taste of life at sea, hop on a boat to one of the seven islands of the Maddalena archipelago where you’ll find fine white sands, clear blue waters and plenty of snorkelling opportunities.
Scattered throughout the island are over 7,000 ancient megalithic structures known as nuraghe, built between 1900 and 730 BC. These Bronze Age towers have mystified historians for centuries and the most impressive examples can be found at the UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini.
Where is Sardinia
Just 120 miles from mainland Italy’s west coast, Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea beautifully propped between the Balearic Islands and the Italian peninsula.
Car hire allows you to explore the more remote parts of the island and travel easily between towns but if you’d rather not drive yet still explore, the rail network connects you to mountains, forests and coastline. Travelling by boat takes you to offshore islands and secret coves and bicycle hire is a fantastic way to explore inland Sardinia along many a scenic trail.
Pick up Italian Tod’s loafers and Pucci resort wear from the high-end boutiques around the piazza of plush Porto Cervo or head to Porto Rotondo for a similar luxury experience. For more authentic shopping, capital Cagliari’s cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways are packed with independent shops, jewellery stores and souvenir outlets as well as handmade patisserie treats. Shop for the finest olive oil, saffron and gourmet foods, and head to the mountain village of San Pantaleo for beautiful handmade ceramics. At Forte Village you’ll find the luxury brands Versace, Gucci and Dolce&Gabbana, high street shops including Diesel and Pinko, and Barbie and Little Marc Jacobs for kids.
Food & drink
There’s stylish water’s edge dining, warm and welcoming beachside trattorias and bustling restaurants in the hubbub of central squares, all filled with catch-of-the-day favourites and local Sardinian specialties including crispy Su Porcheddu (roast suckling pig) and Zuppa Gallurese (lasagne based), as well as lobster, mullet roe and sea bass. Dine alfresco with spectacular sea views, in medieval cities overlooking cobblestoned streets and in family run restaurants where pride of place is fresh seafood and local wines. Head to Olbia for wine bars, Porto Cervo for swish cocktail bars and Alghero for a lively passegiata.
GMT +1 hour
2 hours to Olbia, 2½ hours to Cagliari
A service charge of 15-18% will usually be added to your bill.