Northwest Sardinia, Italy: All the beauties to see

What you need to know before a trip to Sardinia

I have been to Sardinia three times and I want to go back there again. Even for a few trips I could not see all the beauty of this Italian island.

Sardinia has the most beautiful beaches in Italy. The water in the sea are unreal shades: light blue, emerald, azure and deep blue. All beaches are very different: some have an equipped descent, while others are completely wild, and you have to climb a steep mountain path to get to them. There are pebbles and colored stone chips and fine white sand. There are wide beaches, and then there are tiny ones where no one was there but us.

I was in different parts of Sardinia, totally different from each other. I met the sunset on the wild coast among the sand dunes, sunbathed on beaches like in Tahiti, and saw the Milky Way for the first time on a starlit mountain road.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to organize a vacation in Sardinia and what you can save on.

What you will learn.

Introductions.

☀️Weather.

The season in Sardinia is from May to September. During this time, the air temperature averages +28 °C , water temperature +22 °C . Winters are mild: +14 ° C outside, but it rains sometimes. In the fall and spring, Sardinia is around +19 °C .

️ Road

Airplane. Sardinia has three airports in Cagliari, Olbia, Alghero. Pobeda Airlines has direct flights from Moscow to Cagliari. A round trip flight will cost 15 thousand rubles.

️ Map

Resorts.

In northeastern Sardinia is the Costa Smeralda with the famous resort of Porto Cervo. This is a luxurious part of Sardinia with boutiques, yacht clubs and five-star hotels. Prices are appropriate.

In the same part of the island, there is a more democratic resort of San Teodoro. Near the town are popular beaches.

In the northwest is the most famous resort – Alghero, which is called a little Barcelona. A large part of its inhabitants speak Catalan. This part of the island is known as the Coral Riviera: there are red corals growing in the sea. Another resort in the northwest is Stintino. Its beaches are characterized by white, very fine sand.

In the south, tourists stay at the resort of Villasimius and in Cagliari, the island’s capital. It is usually not crowded, even during the season, and the beaches are not inferior in beauty to the more popular beaches in the north. The south of Sardinia is also famous for its nesting flamingos.

The eastern part of the island is the gulf of Orosea, known for its bays with azure water, rocks and grottoes. The closest towns to the bay are Cala Gonone, Santa Maria Navarrese and Arbatax.

West of Sardinia is famous for the coast of Costa Verde. This is a wild part of Sardinia, where many beaches are not equipped and can enjoy untouched nature. The largest city on this coast is Oristano.

In the central part of the island stretches Supramonte and Gennardgentu mountains. Mountainous landscapes, forests, waterfalls and mountain rivers can be found near the town of Nuoro.

Castelsardo is a good place to stay if you are planning a trip to the north and west of Sardinia. It has a beach and a good infrastructure. There were no crowds of tourists at the end of June.

The beaches of Sardinia

Poetto is a beach in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. It is one of the few on the island that is easily accessible by public transport. The bus goes from the train station in about 20 minutes.

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Despite the fact that Poetto is a city beach, the water here is crystal clear, emerald blue. Along the sea there is a comfortable promenade for cycling and jogging, and the beach itself is wide and sandy. There is also a separate area for dogs on Poetto.

At Cala Brandinca beach, I had the feeling that I was in Tahiti. There’s a narrow strip of sand where you can sunbathe and the sea is a gentle blue.

The parking lot at Cala Brandinca carries a warning: Spiaggia affolata – “beach with lots of people.” It turned out to be true. There’s another beach nearby, Lou Imposto, where the sand strip is a bit wider.

Lazaretto is a beach near Alghero. I liked the fact that the area around the beach is green and the water is very clear. There are fewer people there compared to the previous two beaches, and the entrance to the water is deeper. The sand is not as fine and white as on La Pelosa and Cala Brandinca, but the color of the water is still magical.

Cala Brandinca beach. The entrance to the water is very shallow: you have to walk a few meters to get to the depths.

On Pichinas I saw the most beautiful sunset. It is very wide. There are high waves and the sand looks like corn grits. The beach is on the west coast, Costa Verde. This is one of the wildest parts of Sardinia with untouched nature. The Costa Verde coast is famous for its dunes – kilometers of sand overgrown with Mediterranean plants.

Cala Domestica is a cozy beach with emerald water on the west coast. There used to be mines there, so the remains of warehouses, mines and tunnels can be seen.

The beach is divided into two parts. The main bay is sandy. If you pass through the arch in the rock, you will find yourself in a tiny bay of La Caleta. It is a very romantic place: couples like to stay there in the evening when the beach is empty.

Cala Golaritze is a beach in the bay of Orosea on the east of the island. It can only be accessed from the town of Baunea on foot along a mountain path. The boat will be able to look at it only from a distance: by law you can not approach it more than 300 meters.

Cost of a tour of the archipelago’s islands per person

Sightseeing and entertainment

Mostly go to Sardinia for the natural beauties. But there are also museums, churches, cozy towns. Here are the sights that I found interesting.

Orgosolo is an unusual town with murals on the walls of houses in central Sardinia. The houses are painted with funny pictures, images on the history of the city and world events. It feels like being in an open-air art gallery.

The church of San Lorenzo is in the town of Porto Rotondo in the northeast of the island. It is decorated with thousands of figures carved from Russian pine. In addition to wood, the architects used glass in the decoration of the church. For example, there is an unusual door in the shape of a cross, made of several layers of glass.

Bosa is a cozy town with colorful houses not far from Alghero. It is pleasant to wander there through the narrow streets, look into the shops of local artisans, have lunch in one of the restaurants. A very beautiful panorama opens from the fortress: vineyards, roofs of houses and the sea.

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Abandoned mines are in the west of Sardinia, in the town of Montevecchio. Ore had been mined there since the 19th century, and mining ceased in 1991. Since then, Montevecchio has become a ghost town.

The tour of the abandoned mines shows the premises of the enterprise, the house of the mine owner, ore mining equipment, railroad cars for its transportation, and the miners’ abandoned dwellings. See the official website for details.

The Garibaldi Museum is on the island of Caprera, northeast of Sardinia. General Garibaldi, the national hero who unified Italy, spent his last years here. The museum has many of the general’s personal belongings that tell the story of his life.

The museum is also worth a visit for the nature. The island of Caprera itself is very picturesque: it offers an impressive view of the sea.

Museum of Mediterranean masks. In one of the cities of Sardinia, Mamoyade, every January the inhabitants hold a carnival. Its two main characters are the somber Mamutones and the merry Isohadores. Mamutones wears a black mask, his head is covered with a black kerchief, and on his shoulders are the skins of black sheep and bells. Isohadores always wears a white mask, a beret, and a red jacket with bronze bells. An embroidered handkerchief was tied around his waist and a lasso was in his hand for catching animals.

I tried to understand the meaning of this confrontation, but I could not: the tradition is ancient, and there are several versions of its origin. Anyway, the masks and robes of the characters look very spectacular. You can see them in the museum.

Carnival in Mamoyada takes place every year in early January. Photo: Giovanni Musio / Flickr

Money.

On our trips around Sardinia, we paid with cards and cash. For small purchases, it’s better to have change: the card might not be accepted. You’ll also need coins to pay for parking lots. It often happens that parking meters don’t accept paper money or cards.

Transport

The most convenient way to get around Sardinia is by car. The public transport system is not very well developed. There are intercity buses and trains on the island, but there are no direct connections between some towns, and after 9 pm buses do not run. Many beaches can only be reached by car.

You can rent a car at the airport or in major cities. There are offices of various rental companies, such as Locautorent, Maggiore, Hertz, Sixt, Avis, Europcar. In addition to a B-category driver’s license, you may be asked to show a credit card in the driver’s name.

Lodging.

Traditional food. Despite the fact that Sardinia is surrounded by the sea, Sardinian cuisine is full of meat dishes. For example, in the mountainous part of the island, they cook pig on a spit – porchedda. Once on a mountain road we met a whole flock of wild pigs – the future porcheddu.

It costs a kilo of pecorino.

All the guides to Sardinia usually write about the Sardinian cheese cassu martsu, but I had no desire to try it. It is a pecorino in which cheese fly larvae are launched to speed up the fermentation process and make it soft. Some people remove the larvae, while others eat this delicacy directly with the live insects. You can’t find this kind of cheese in the supermarket: the Sards mostly make it at home.

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We tried kulurjones, something like our dumplings with potatoes, pecorino cheese and mint. Coulourjones are usually served with tomato sauce.

With young pecorino in Sardinia they make a dessert called seadas. Pecorino is stuffed into a pastry loaf, fried in butter and drizzled with chestnut honey. Photo: Joselu Blanco / Flickr

Internet.

We didn’t have internet in our rented house, so we used our cell phone. My Iliad operator had almost no signal anywhere. But my boyfriend’s operator TIM worked: in our experience it has the best coverage in Italy. But that’s because we lived far away from civilization. Close to big cities we didn’t have such problems.

What to bring back from Sardinia

Safety rules

Driving on the serpentine mountains in Sardinia by car can be dangerous. There is a speed limit of 90 km/h in the countryside, 50 km/h in the city if there are no other signs. In remote areas of the island you need to be careful: wild animals can cross the road.

For help on the road, you can contact a car rental agency, as well as the Automobile Club of Italy (ACI), which will send a tow truck if necessary. Telephone ACI 803-116 or 800-116-800 for foreign mobile operators. An ambulance can be called here at 118. The general number for emergencies is 112.

If something happens.

There is no consulate in Sardinia. If you have any questions, you should contact the embassy in Rome.

Address: Via Nomentana, 116, Rome 00161. Phone: +39 06 442-356-25 . Call on weekdays from 8:00 to 12:00. E-mail: consitalia@mid.ru.

We are looking for people who travel independently. If you have organized a vacation in Russia, CIS countries, popular resorts or more exotic places – share your experiences with us.

Irina Sorogina

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Sergey Sidorov

We rented a car in Cagliari (arrival and departure). We stayed in the village of Cala Gonone at the Cala Luna Hotel. Very nice little hotel almost on the coastline. A cozy little village. There are five beaches, some of the best in Sardinia and Italy in general. I strongly recommend to look at this option!

When planning a trip to San Teodoro you should keep in mind that every year in the first week of September there is a week-long electronic music festival SunAndBass, which means that for the festival period (06.09 – 15.09. 2019): a) the city will be jammed in general at the end of May, when ticket sales for the festival start b) the music will be quite loud – from 3 to 7 pm on La Cinta beach (but the beach is very long, so it’s easy to find a place where you can’t hear the music anymore if you want) – from 7 to 11 pm in the city center in Ambra Day or in Bal Harbour – from 11 to 5 am in Ambra Night near Cala D’Ambra beach c) all day on the route La Cinta – City Center – Cala D’Ambra will ride the special The timetable can be found near the tourist center. The timetable can be found near the tourist center, which is next to the only bus stop (near the bridge and the hypermarket Eurospin) e) after 8 pm, the city center is converted into a pedestrian-only area and a daily fair opens, where you can buy, for example, jewelry from red coral and drink cocktails in a stall pineapple d) some bars (eg, Drinkite, La Posta) do a discount on cocktails (5 euros for any instead of 7-10), if you say “I came on sunandbass” e) will be easier to zabuka tour of the coast on the boat f) will be strained with cash in ATMs. But apart from a couple of bars, you can pay by card everywhere.

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And also San Teodoro is worth visiting for the agriturismo – it’s a daily mini-fest of farming/rural food. Usually you have to book seats there a little in advance (a day or two) and then you can enjoy in an evening, for example, roasted suckling pig + many different mini-courses plus a constant refill of wine (all included in the single price of the “ticket” something like 35-50 euros)

Near San Teodoro, there is a town called Budoni, where regular buses go every 2 hours for 2-3 euros on the route Olbia – San Teodoro – Budoni (and back). In Budoni: a) at the time of sandbeys is a little easier to find a place to stay b) has its own rather large, but wild beach c) for 2 euros you can arrange yourself an hour ride on a regional serpentine bus with amazing views and passing through many picturesque mountain towns and villages d) can buy very cool home young red and white wine at 2 euros per liter, sold in a fruit store, owned by the Russian-speaking Svetlana

What to see and taste in north-west Sardinia

What to see and taste in northwestern Sardinia

Cape Capo Caccia holds many secrets. If you want to know the legends of Sardinia and admire the dizzying views of the cliffs, which are 300 meters high, come to Capo Caccia. Here you will find beautiful beaches, cozy coves, clear sea water and snow-white sand.

The name of Capo Caccia, situated on the northwestern coast of the Italian island, in the province of Sassari, is translated as “Hunting Cape” – in the 19th century the nobility used to hunt wild pigeons here. Today photographers from all over the world hunt for breathtaking views of the local marine reserve AMP di Capo Caccia. It is home to giant vultures with a wingspan that can reach three meters, and the surrounding sea depths are home to the red coral Corallium rubrum, so prized by jewelers. Coral harvesting and related handicraft production for centuries has been a characteristic feature of the local culture and has given its name to the whole area, the “Coral Coast”.

It is in this part of Italy are the famous grottoes of Neptune (Grotte di Nettuno) – underwater and above water caves, where in 1979 the movie “Monster Island. You can get to the grottoes only on fair weather days from the nearby town of Alghero on boats with glass bottoms. Or you can go down to the water from the cape of Capo Caccia along the Escala del Cabirol (Capricorn’s Ladder), which has 654 stone steps. In the grottoes is the underground salt lake Lamarmora, and underwater is a popular cave among divers Nereo, named after the father of the sea nymphs Nerei. It is considered the largest sea cave in the Mediterranean.

At the top of the cape, at a height of 186 meters, overlooking the Gulf of Alghero and the nearby island of Foradada, is the highest lighthouse in Italy. However, it is not accessible because it is considered a military facility. Just below the lighthouse is another grotto – Grotta delle Anfore, from which you can see the entire marine reserve and mountain ranges of Sardinia. It can only be reached on foot by climbing a special stone path – the ascent takes about an hour.

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The nearest town to Capo Caccia, Alghero, where one of the three airports of the island is located, is called “little Barcelona”. Indeed the atmosphere and architecture of this tiny and very cozy town reminds you a lot of the main pearl of Spain. And about 40% of the local population speaks Catalan.

For fans of active leisure here are several schools windsurfing, diving and yachting, which can also be rented if you do not learn anything.

Seafood and fish in different combinations are the cornerstones of the local cuisine, but the world-famous Algerian lobster is considered the region’s main gastronomic asset. Here it is served in almost every restaurant.

Grotta delle Anfore

Capo Caccia

There are no hotels in the village of Capo Caccia, located in the bay right at the foot of the cape. Only a few cottages that Italians are happy to rent out. House in a typical southern Italian style here can be rented from €5000 for three weeks.

In the mountains around the village there are wild deer and wild boars. However, when meeting a person, they behave very friendly and do not pay attention to anyone.

For lovers of outdoor activities, there is one of the best windsurfing schools on the island and bicycle rental SardiniaCycling.

There are a lot of cyclists here. Firstly, the landscape is ideal for mountain biking, and the state of the roads is something to envy. Secondly, many of the historical and simply beautiful places are inaccessible to motorists. Therefore, cycling here is both a fashion and a necessity. Not surprisingly, it is actively supported and developed by the local authorities: every year the island hosts the Giro Sardinia cycling race.

In Capo Caccia, as in any other real Italian village, there are no stores or supermarkets, but there is a very good restaurant and bar Pischina Salida, where they cook only freshly caught fish and seafood. The best dish and the pride of the restaurant is Spagetti alle vongole. And one can also taste the typical Sardinian wines – Vino CapoCaccia and Rosso di Alghero, produced by the famous Sella & Mosca cellar in this region.

But the most famous and popular alcoholic drink of Sardinia is mirto. The best mirto, both red and white, is made by farmers, but there are also factories on the island to make it.

The shrub from which mirto is made

The Sards love their drink so much that they make literally everything with it: ice cream, yogurt, chocolate, candy, and even soap. And each family carefully keeps its own recipe for the production of this liquor and passes it on as an inheritance.

The best mirto is made in the province of Sassari because the main ingredient, the wild myrtle plant, has been produced there for decades. This Mirto di Sardegna is made from the leaves or berries of the myrtle shrub, and each family mixes berries and leaves in different proportions. The color and flavor of the myrtle depend on the proportions of fruit and herbs: from sweetish honeydew to dark purple with a bitterness. You should drink it only chilled and keep it in the freezer. Rest assured, a real myrtle, not factory-made, will never turn into ice.

Photo: Maya Gimaeva / Flickr

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