Oh Sardinia! Beautifully rugged landscape–Tick! Pristine beaches–Tick! Balmy weather–Tick! If an island holiday is what the doctor ordered, then Sardinia–off the western coast of Italy–is where a heavy dose of salty air, mouth-watering local delicacies and friendly locals are served up daily. For those contemplating leaving the mainland behind, here’s seven reasons why Sardinia should be at the top of your island bucket list.
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1. The beaches are incredible
Crystal clear, azure water. White sand. Rocky outcrops perfect for snorkeling around. Sardinia’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. Most can be accessed by car, however there are some special spots like Cala Luna that can only be reached by boat or a long hike. For less commercialised coves and sandy strips, stick to the south-west coast.
2. It’s still under the radar
After navigating the canals of Venice and wandering the streets of Rome, you’d be forgiven for wanting to discover an authentic side to Italy minus the big attractions and crowds that they attract. Sardinia still remains under-the-radar on the international stage, so if you rub shoulders with anyone on the beach it’s likely to be Sardinians or mainland Italians. No English or Aussie accents here.
3. It’s wild
Whilst the north is brimming with resorts, yachts and gold chains, the southern part of the island showcases how rugged and undeveloped Sardinia really is. Empty beaches and towering seaside cliffs line the coast, and in the centre a dry desert-like landscape dotted with goats stretches from east to west.
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4. It’s the perfect size for a road trip
The best way to get around the island and explore its interior is by car. Start in Cagliari and head up the west coast taking the time to venture down unmarked roads and discover hidden beaches. From there continue north, or if you’re time short, cut across the dusty centre to the resort town of Cala Gonone. Tip: Roads are thin and often glued to cliff tops, issuing stunning views but also increased heart rates. Drive carefully.
5. You can stay in an agriturismo
Don’t know what an agriturismo is? Basically, it’s Italy’s version of a farm-stay. Much more affordable than a resort, staying at an agriturismo offers an insight into Sardinia’s culture that you may not have otherwise had. Often found in remote areas, most agriturismos offer a full dinner and breakfast that showcases regional dishes. A seriously great way to understand Sardinia and its people.
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6. Nature-heavy for hikers
If tying on your boots, filling a water bottle and loading up a backpack with munchies incites a case of butterflies, then blocking out time to hike on your Sardinia trip is a must. Experienced? Test yourself on the challenging walk to Gola Su Gorropu or the unforgettable Selvaggio Blu trek.
7. It’s a chance to become a discoverer again
Some of the best moments when travelling come when you totally disconnect, leave the plan behind and discover places unintentionally. The beauty of Sardinia is that not many websites, forums or blogs cover or list places to see and things to do. This means that you can take the control back a little and become a real adventurer, stumbling upon little towns by accident.