The Italian island of Sardinia has stunning beaches and luxury hotels

Sardinia’s famous Costa Smeralda, a 19.3 km stretch of dreamy coastline along the northeast, attracts travelers looking to immerse themselves in la dolce vita. And really, with the Italian island’s white sand beaches, turquoise waters, rugged coastline, ancient archaeological sites and fascinating culture and traditions, who could blame them? The Mediterranean island really has it all. By Dobrina Zhekova

Sardinia is the second largest island in Italy after Sicily and is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The island spans 9,305 square miles or 24,099 square km (or slightly larger than the state of Vermont) and is home to approximately 1.64 million people. The closest land to Sardinia is another island, Corsica, which is only about 12.8 km to the north. Sardinia is 201 km from the coast of mainland Italy and about the same distance from the coasts of North Africa.

The island – with its idyllic mountains and quiet villages, giving way to bustling resorts along its rocky coast – offers an abundance of activities for every type of traveller. Whether you want to bask in the sun, take in breathtaking views or sample the local culture, the island will leave a lasting impression on you.

How to get to Sardinia

Visitors can either fly to one of Sardinia’s three main airports (Cagliari Elmas Airport, Olbia Airport and Alghero Fertilia Airport) or take the scenic, albeit lengthy, ferry ride to Sardinia. ‘island. There are several daily flights between major Italian cities and the island, including Rome and Milan, and many of them are operated by budget airlines for as little as 8 EUR (INR 638). You can also fly to the island from many European cities, including London, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Brussels and many more.

If you’re not pressed for time (or want to bring a car), take a ferry from mainland Italy, France, or Barcelona. Sardinia has five ferry ports, so you can take the slow route whenever you want.

The best times to go to the Italian island of Sardinia

While many consider the Italian island a summer spot, Sardinia offers plenty to do and see all year round.

If you are looking for its perfect sunny beaches, the best time to visit Sardinia is during the high season between June and September, when temperatures are soaring. If crowded beaches aren’t your thing, consider stopping in late September or October, when the sea is still warm but most tourists have left the island.

Sardinia is also beautiful in spring – between March and May – when the flowers and trees are in full bloom and the weather is ideal for hiking. May is also when the Feast of Sant’efisio Cagliari takes place. It is a multi-day festival, where thousands of participants accompany the statue of Sant’efisio from Cagliari to Nora and back, on a journey of about 64.3 km.

Autunno in Barbagia takes place every fall and lasts three months. Visitors can enjoy cultural events on weekends dedicated to local crafts. And every winter the island celebrates Mamoiada Carnivalone of the oldest and most mysterious fiestas in Sardinia dating back thousands of years.

What to do in Sardinia

Image credit: Luca Panarese/EyeEm/Getty Images

Castle, Cagliari

Located on a hill in the capital of Sardinia, the historic district of Castello is one of the oldest districts of Cagliari and is home to many important monuments of the city. The narrow streets, flanked by ancient buildings, historic palaces and churches, transport travelers back in time. Some of the must-sees include Fort Bastione di Saint Remy for its panoramic views and beautiful classical architecture, Cagliari Cathedral and its bell tower, and the Archaeological Museum.

Su Nuraxi Nuraghe

The center of Sardinia is home to the only Unesco World Heritage and the most important archaeological monument, a striking example of prehistoric architecture called Su Nuraxi Nuraghe. A nuraghe is a stone defensive structure originating in Sardinia during the Bronze Age. The complex comprises a central stone tower that once reached almost 61 feet in height and four smaller towers connected by a curtain wall.

Porto Flavia

Located near Nebida in the southwest, Porto Flavia looks like it belongs in a ‘Game of Thrones’ scene. Built directly into the cliff and facing the sea, this port is considered a masterpiece of mining engineering which served as a loading dock. Two tunnels connect the port to a mine that once allowed workers to quickly load ores onto ships. Today, visitors can only visit the site by appointment and with a guide for security reasons. The hour-long tour includes a walk along the upper tunnel that ends on the terrace, which offers stunning views of the sea and coastline.

Neptune’s Grotto

Sardinia
Image Credit: marcociannarel/Getty Images

This two million year old cave in Capo Caccia, Alghero, is one of the most visited natural wonders of Sardinia. Reaching its entrance is either by boat or by a staircase built into the side of a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. Once inside, visitors discover a magnificent world filled with marvelous natural sculptures called stalactites and stalagmites. . The cave is also home to one of the largest saltwater lakes in Europe, Lago Lamarmora.

castelsardo

Castelsardo, often ranked as one of the most charming villages in Italy, occupies a hill in the northwest of the island. With its landscape dominated by the perfectly preserved medieval castle Doria, its colorful houses cascading down the cliffs and the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, Castelsardo seems to come out of a fairy tale.

Porto Cervo

The jewel of the famous Costa Smeralda of Sardinia is this small seaside resort which, in summer, becomes the glitzy playground of the international jet set. Its picturesque harbor fills with luxury (mega)yachts and its streets teem with celebrities, socialites and political dignitaries, enjoying the Sardinian sunshine and a dolce vita lifestyle.

Where to stay in Sardinia

Hotel Cala di Volpe

italian island
Image Credit: Courtesy of Cala Di Volpe Hotel, A Luxurt Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda

SP160, 07021 SS Capriccioli, Italy
+39 0789 976111
Marriott.com

Located on the beautiful Costa Smeralda, the glamorous waterfront Hotel Cala di Volpe offers guests spacious suites, a dazzling beach, Olympic-sized saltwater pool, golf course, wellness center, -being and a spa, among other high-end facilities. While lush Mediterranean landscapes surround the property, it’s an eight-minute drive from bustling downtown Porto Cervo.


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Hotel Li Finistreddi

Loc. Micalosu Via le Finestrelle, 07021 Cannigione
+39 0789 869144
finistreddi.it

Perched on a hill in the heart of the Costa Smeralda, this nearly 15-acre property offers views of Sardinia’s Emerald Coast and La Maddalena Archipelago. Hotel Li Finistreddi has three pool villas and 19 suites with private entrances and sea views. During the day, guests can relax by the property’s two swimming pools or take a shuttle to the sandy beach white from Barca Bruciata.

Petra Segreta Resort & Spa

Via Stazzu Malcusa, 07026 San Pantaleo
+39 0789 187 6441
petrasegretaresort.com

As the only Relais & Châteaux property in Sardinia, the sprawling Petra Segreta Resort & Spa offers its guests a memorable experience in the idyllic setting of the beautiful Costa Smeralda. The resort, nestled in 12 scenic acres of verdant forest, has 25 rooms and suites housed in traditional Sardinian stone houses with private patios and modern interiors. The resort’s fine-dining restaurant, Il Fuoco Sacro, is one of the best on the island and in mainland Italy and serves its guests delicious “dishes full of modern Italian flavors”, according to the Michelin Guide.


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The Villa del Re

Località Su Cannisoni, 09040 Castiadas CA
+39 070 775 3009
Lavilladelre.com

This adults-only boutique hotel is set in picturesque grounds on the south-east coast of Sardinia and offers breathtaking views of the crystal clear turquoise waters of Costa Rei. The property’s facade evokes traditional Sardinian architecture, while its 50 rooms and suites are all about soothing palettes and timeless elegance. The private beach and chic infinity pool are perfect for soaking up the warm Sardinian sun with a cocktail in hand. The hotel’s poolside restaurant, Bella Vista, lives up to its name and offers guests beautiful sea views and delicious Mediterranean dishes.


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Villa Las Tronas Hotel & Spa

Lungomare Valencia, 1, 07041 Alghero SS
+39 079 981818
Hotelvillalastronas.it

With its Belle Epoque architecture inspired by a classical tower, its gardens and its spectacular location, Villa Las Tronas is a unique base from which to explore Alghero and the north-west coast of Sardinia. The 24 spacious rooms all have old-world charm, clad in marble or parquet floors, crystal chandeliers, and vintage furniture. The hotel’s spa includes an indoor pool, Turkish bath and sauna, while the beachfront restaurant offers a seasonal vegetarian menu.


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7Pins

Location Mucchi Bianchi, 07021 Baja Sardinia SS, Italy
+39 0789 99880
7pines.com

This brand new resort opened in July 2022 in a secluded cove in Baja Sardinia. With 76 bright and spacious rooms and suites overlooking its gardens or the sea, 7Pines is an elegant retreat just a short drive from the bustling town of Porto Cervino. The two pools nestled among palm trees and surrounded by loungers and cabanas are the epitome of Italian chic, while those who prefer cooling off in the Mediterranean can head to the resort’s main beach or explore the secluded coves around the property.

This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com

(Main and feature image credit: Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images)

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