Written by Nora Fahmi
This comes as no surprise given the varying landscapes, climate, architecture and dialects from one area to the next.
In fact, the number of ways to experience the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea will have even the most zealous travelers scratching their heads. But rest assured, beach lovers, adventure seekers and culture addicts can all find their fix!
Located on Sardinia’s southern tip, the ancient port city of Cagliari is the island’s capital. With its international airport, it is an easy starting point to explore the island. Built on seven hills, there’s no shortage of beautiful views over the city and the Golfo degli Angeli. With its distinctive mixed heritage, Cagliari is dotted with fascinating architecture: the Punic necropolis of Tuvixeddu, the Byzantine Basilica of San Saturnino, the Roman amphitheatre and the Pisan towers, to name only a few. Cagliari’s Sardinian name is Casteddu – which means castle – and it’s precisely in the castle district, atop one of the seven hills, that one can truly breathe in the city’s medieval charm. But the island’s capital is not only about magnificent architecture, it also boasts a long coastline where the popular sandy beach of Poetto becomes the meeting point on lazy summer days and lively nights.
Luxurious Forte Village resort
A 45-minute drive south of Cagliari is all it takes to reach the Forte Village resort – a splendid oasis of peace and quiet. Founded in 1970 by Charles Forte, the resort encompasses an impressive seven five-star hotels. Along with a wide range of restaurants that serve local and international cuisine, guests can relax and pamper themselves at the Acquaforte Thalasso Spa. The award-winning Forte Village resort is, without a doubt, a top choice for a special family getaway.
“Alghero is the perfect blend of history, beaches and local traditions,” says Fabio Piras, local barista and aspiring chef. “Its very unique character is a result of having once been a Catalan colony. Even today, you’ll still hear a form of ancient Catalan, called Algherese, spoken in our city. Restaurant menus are written in both Italian and Catalan. This cultural medley is an important source of pride for us.” Located in the northwest of the island, Alghero is one of Sardinia’s most enchanting and best-preserved medieval cities. Its striking historic centre is where most of the action takes place and where piazzas lined with cafés are popular with the local crowd. From Alghero, several beaches can easily be reached: Lazzaretto, Maria Pia, Le Bombarde and Mugoni, amongst others.
Breathtaking Costa Smeralda
Sun and sand worshippers: Costa Smeralda is waiting for you. The northeast of Sardinia harbours a stretch of 20 kilometres of stunning beaches. This famous coast is where celebrities and paparazzi flock to each year. Costa Smeralda is indeed the happy marriage of breathtaking scenery and exclusive establishments. Numerous trips to the area are necessary to experience all of the coast’s beaches. But a first round can include the following: Spiaggia del Principe for its mesmerizing turquoise waters, Piccolo Pevero for its lush natural setting and Capriccioli for its unparalleled views.
Spectacular Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo, the vibrant heart of Costa Smeralda, is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Commissioned by Prince Karim Aga Khan, along with other investors in the 1960s, the village was destined to become the pearl of the coast. This little corner of paradise is often the (very expensive!) home base of beachgoers. Those who prefer establishing their vacation nest in a more affordable area along the coast should still head to Porto Cervo to enjoy an aperitivo while peeking into the impressive yachts that dot the crystal clear waters.