Introducing holidays to Sardinia
Sardinia gets a lot of attention in these health-conscious times for the extraordinarily long lives of many of its inhabitants. Forget the diet and the traditional focus on strong family ties for a minute and focus on the weather and beauty of the Mediterranean’s second largest island – you’d want to have a long life if you lived here.
Blessed with a wonderful climate – it’s closer to Africa than Italy – and beaches that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean, Sardinia has become a magnet for the most discerning – or at least the richest – holiday makers on the planet.
You don’t need platinum cards and an appetite for bottles of vodka coasting several thousand pounds to enjoy this extraordinary island though. The beaches of the Costa Smeralda are where the oligarchs and Serie A football stars park their yachts each summer and away from the marinas and billionaires’ nightclubs they’re free for anyone to enjoy.
The rest of the coast can be just as beautiful, and stretches of the south coast near the fascinating island capital of Cagliari are easily as beautiful as the more famous northern shores.
You’ll love the island lifestyle and the food while you’re here, and if you have a history buff in the family there are some beautiful ancient sites to explore.
Life’s a beach
The rocky bays and white sands of Sardinia will have you in raptures as soon as you see them. The incredibly clean and clear waters – the Smeralda in Costa Smeralda means emerald and pays tribute to the green waters – will have you longing to dive in. Water sports, diving and boating are big attractions on Sardinia and you’ll find facilities in or near most beaches.
To list all of the beautiful beaches on the island would take forever. But some you should definitely try to take in might include secluded Arruttas on the Sinis Peninsula; water sports favourite Putzu Idu; best family choices Chia or Spiaggia Su Portu; or the lonely splendour of the Costa Verde’s Spiaggia di Piscinas.
The Capo Testa bays are surrounded by startling granite formations, while Spiaggia della Pelosa is perhaps the beach that best deserves the Caribbean comparisons. For the best of the Costa Smeralda take a stroll to Spiaggia del Principe, named after the Aga Khan, the prince who really turned on the world to this extraordinary coast.
If you’ve come to Sardinia for the unique experience of small-island life then get an extra strong version of it by going offshore to the Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena, on the island of La Maddalena. The beaches here are as good as those on the Costa Smeralda and come with the added bonus of real remoteness and the island’s small town is very pretty. Sea views – particularly at the west end of the island at sunset – here are particularly spectacular.
Ditch the flip flops and slip into something sturdier for the day for a trip to Capo Testa, famous for its weird rock formations and beautiful views across the short sea passage to French Corsica to the north. If you’re up for some serious walking – and are prepared for the heat – you can follow coastal paths around much of Sardinia’s best coastlines.
Porto Cervo is one of the most exclusive and expensive resorts in the world but you don’t have to go through the doors of overpriced restaurants to enjoy a day out here. Spend your time gawping at the floating palaces in the marina, browsing in exclusive luxury shops, or just taking in the astoundingly beautiful local beaches.