Reviewed on Sep. 18, 2020
Reviewed on Sep. 30, 2019
Reviewed on Jun. 29, 2021
This independent Italian region is known for luxurious coastal beaches and a wild, unexplored interior. The large Mediterranean island of Sardinia has some of Italy’s most beautiful beaches. Come to the island’s east coast with glamorous oceanfront resorts. For an altogether different experience, explore the unspoiled interior, where you’ll find secluded grottoes, imposing granite cliffs and ancient ruins from the various civilizations that have lived here over the centuries.
Investigate Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda or Emerald Coast. You’ll immediately see why this destination is popular among celebrities and millionaires. Glistening white sands meet deep emerald waters. The coastline includes some of the most expensive resorts on the continent.
The fishing port of Alghero has retained its unique character in spite of its popularity with tourists. Also known as "Barcelonetta" (Little Barcelona), the town exudes a distinctly Spanish ambiance. Wander through its gorgeous historic center, which is among the most well-preserved in Sardinia or explore the pristine beaches found nearby, including Le Bombarde and Lazaretto.
Venture toward the center of the island, a relatively untouched region known for its excellent hiking and bird-watching. Traditional ways of life persist in these remote regions, with many families still earning their livelihood as shepherds. Nuoro, one of the larger interior towns, is a convenient stopover for exploring the nearby Gennargentu mountain range as well as the region’s smaller towns and villages.
Don’t miss the mystical Nuragic complexes in various locations across the island. These prehistoric ruins were built by the Nuragic civilization, a society unique to Sardinia living on the island between 1500 and 500 B.C. One of the largest complexes is the Nuraghe Su Nuraxi, located in the village of Barumini, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
July and August are Sardinia’s busiest months. Visit during the off-peak seasons of April to June or September to October to avoid crowds. Sardinia is served by Aeroporto-Cagliari-Elmas, which is well connected to Italy and the rest of Europe. Although it’s possible to tour the island by bus and train, public transportation services can be unreliable. Consider renting a car for more flexibility.