Sardinia is a European pride and especially the coastlines are pure beauty. We had a sunny beach holiday around Villasimius and at the chic Costa Smeralda.
Highs & Lows
The crystal clear waters and sunsets
Many local tourists at the weekends
Corsica is one of my favorite travel memories in Europe, its was amazing and beautiful. I went there a few times and mostly around spring or autumn. This island is great all year round. Just avoid the mid of August, because there is the holiday “Ferragosto” and it seems all Italians are traveling for which reason everything will be more expensive.
The easiest way to get there is by ferry from Livorno or directly by plane to Cagliari. Although I usually don't like it when passengers rush out of the plane, I would recommend you hurry a little. Otherwise, you will stand in line for a long time before you can start off with your rental car. Trust me – the rental car is key in Sardinia.
My two favorite areas in Sardinia are the southeast and the famous Costa Smeralda.
But also in between, there are adventurous hikes, pre-Christian tombs and really charming chapels.
When I first came to Villasimius, my image of beach holidays in Europe changed completely. The beaches in south-eastern Sardinia look more like a postcard of the Caribbean.
It's best to explore early in the morning, because the Italians are not early risers. Even if not all Sardinians would call themselves Italian, there is a definite dolce vita on this island. So therefore I highly recommend taking some snacks with you to the beach. The fruits are amazing. My favourite is to buy the foccaccia and other pastries from the "Panificio Frau". On the same street (Via del Mare) you can have a nice coffee in the morning.
Italians like to play frisbee, volleyball and boccia on the beach. If you ask nicely, they'll surely lend you their treasures.
I have linked some of the beaches in the blog post. But I would like to describe my two favourites briefly.
The beautiful Punta Molentis is a small bay with white sand and shallow water that is truly a jewel in Europe. But don´t go on weekends; The locals know this and even coming from the capital Cagliari. I especially enjoyed climbing over the surreal looking rock formations of this headland.
I also loved spending the day at Porto Giunco. It's named after the stone lighthouse perched on the hill next to the bay. There is slightly deeper water here so you can swim better. I especially like the many rocks in the sand, which give you more privacy and protection from the wind.
If you want a change from beach hopping after a few days, I can recommend a day trip to Gola Gorropu Canyon. Here you can do several hikes, some of them very challenging. But make sure to bring a lot to drink, sun protection and proper shoes.
The Costa Smeralda is located in the beautiful north of Sardinia. In found this region offers you a fascinating contrast between breathtaking nature and luxury.
But besides glamour and luxury, you will also find simple Sardinian charm in small towns and idyllic villages.
When you arrive, you will notice that this region does not owe its name to the "emerald" for nothing. The water really "shines". And that obviously attracts a lot of people. But don't worry, you can also spend wonderful beach days here, just with much more infrastructure such as chic beach bars and nice cafes.
You will realize especially in the famous marina of Porto Cervo. I think its fine to just take a look and have a cappuccino/coffee at the harbor before returning to the quieter and more normally priced places. I accidently found the Stella Maris church, which is known for its special architectural style (=star of the sea). As far as I know, the church was built by a Muslim and is especially popular with sailors.
In this blog post, I have marked the places and beaches I visited. However, I would like to describe three of them in more detail.
Disclaimer: This is no secret. Spiaggia Capriccioli is one of the most famous, but also one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. I especially liked the many green olive trees that grow in this picturesque bay. However, I would only advise you to visit it in the low season, i.e. until June or then only again from September onwards.
Another idyllic bay on the Costa Smeralda is Grande Pevero. The beach is very easy to reach, so there is more infrastructure than in the south of Sardinia. But still, it's a beautiful beach.
I prefer it a little quieter and less jet-set. I therefore recommend you to go to Arzachena. It's definitely a great place to visit if you're interested in Sardinian history and archaeology. There are ancient places of worship and tombs that excited me much more than I expected.
Once you've had enough of all the luxury, I recommend a hike inland. From Golfo Aranci it's ideal because many different hikes start from here. I liked the combination of lonely hikes and lively Italian beach days.
Q & A
What would you have changed?I really enjoy exploring the history and back country. I should have done that, instead only checking out all the beaches.
Anything go wrong during the trip?At the weekend we came at 1pm to one of the beaches in the north and it was too crowded. So we needed to find another option and found Arzachena with all the incredible old ruins.
Restaurant recommendations?Good fish, pizaa and Sardinian Pasta at Al Vecchio Faro in Villasimius. And please make sure to have a ice cream of Il Gelato di Beppe.
Tips you would give a friend?Some of the Restaurants rent accomodations, which are much cheaper. I recommend asking at Restaurant Al Vecchio Faro. Super cute local family with clean and spacious apartments.
Packing tips?Bring games for the beach and at least a pair of swim glasses. In case you don't like carrying snorkel gear.
Transportation Tips?In case your not visit Sardinia for sport, please don't rent a bycicle. Its by far to hot and hilly for this.