Things to see in Sardinia
Sardinia really does have a bit of everything; perhaps its standout feature comes in the shape of its hundreds of beaches with beautiful azure water that can be found on each of its coastlines.
There's so much more to it than that though, it's impossible not to feel an acute sense of history with archaeological sites such as Nora, Tharros or any of the many Nuraghe sites such as the UNESCO World Heritage listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini which date back some 3,500 years. Also, you can't fail to be touched by the dozens of pretty villages such as Bosa or Castelsardo while cities such as Cagliari and Alghero provide their own unique charms.
Sardinia can boast three of Italy's national parks - the huge, sprawling Gennargentu National Park in Nuoro Province with its diverse terrain and wildlife, the stunning La Maddalena Archipelago of islands where you'll find some of the best beaches and the very special Asinara National Park, an island where the typical resident comes in the shape of a donkey! Continuing the quirky there's the tiny island of Tavolara with its population of 20 residents that includes its own royal family.
Things to see in Sardinia overview
Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is an island that captivates with its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture. From its ancient ruins to its azure waters, Sardinia offers a diverse array of attractions and experiences that appeal to travelers seeking history, natural beauty, and authentic Mediterranean charm.
Sardinia's history is as diverse as its landscape. The island was inhabited by the Nuragic civilization, leaving behind enigmatic stone structures called nuraghe that dot the countryside. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Byzantines also left their mark, resulting in a cultural mosaic that shapes the island's identity. Later, Spanish and Italian influences further enriched Sardinia's heritage.
Sardinia is accessible via air and sea. Three major airports—Cagliari Elmas Airport, Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, and Alghero-Fertilia Airport—connect the island to various destinations. Ferries from the mainland and nearby islands offer a scenic way to reach Sardinia. Rental cars or public transportation are recommended for exploring the island's diverse regions.
- Costa Smeralda: This glamorous stretch of coastline is famous for its crystal-clear waters, luxury resorts, and upscale boutiques. Porto Cervo, a chic town, is the heart of Costa Smeralda and offers a blend of stunning beaches and high-end amenities.
- Nuragic Sites: Explore the mysterious nuraghe, ancient stone towers that served as defensive fortresses and settlements. The UNESCO-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini is an exceptional example of this unique architecture.
- Cagliari: The capital city offers a vibrant mix of history and contemporary life. Discover the medieval Castello district, the panoramic Bastion of Saint Remy, and the bustling Marina area. The Cagliari Cathedral and the Roman Amphitheatre are must-visit sites.
- Grotte di Nettuno: Located near Alghero, these stunning sea caves are accessible by boat or a spectacular cliffside stairway. The intricate rock formations and hidden chambers create an awe-inspiring underground world.
- Gennargentu National Park: For nature enthusiasts, this park is a paradise. With rugged mountains, deep gorges, and picturesque lakes, it's a playground for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring pristine wilderness.
- Archipelago of La Maddalena: A paradise for sailors and beach lovers, this group of islands boasts pink sand beaches, clear waters, and an idyllic atmosphere. The island of Caprera is home to the final resting place of Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi.
- Tharros Archaeological Site: Located on the west coast, Tharros offers a glimpse into Sardinia's ancient history. The ruins of a Phoenician city and a Roman town showcase the island's strategic significance.
Sardinian cuisine reflects the island's history and geography. Indulge in dishes like "porceddu" (roast suckling pig), "malloreddus" (Sardinian pasta), and "pane carasau" (crispy flatbread). The island is also known for its cheeses, including pecorino, and its renowned "bottarga" (cured fish roe).
Local Festivals: Sardinia's festivals are a vibrant celebration of its heritage. Experience the "Sartiglia" in Oristano, an equestrian event that combines medieval tradition with daring acrobatics. The "Cavalcata Sarda" in Sassari showcases colourful costumes and Sardinian traditions, and "Sant'Efisio" in Cagliari is a grand procession honoring the city's patron saint.