Not gonna lie, if I could only go back to either Corsica or Sardinia, it would be Sardinia (sorry not sorry Corsica). Although I liked Corsica – the food, the old towns and the citadels, the beaches and no language barriers – I just love Italy, the local dishes we ate in Sardinia, all the colorful villages we visited and best of all, the amazingly beautiful beaches (plus it wasn’t windy AF in Sardinia). Similarly to my Corsica blog post, I realize Sardinia is not a country of its own and is part of Italy. However, having already written two blog posts on Italy, I figured I would keep Sardinia on its own.
Sardinia is another Mediterranean island, located just South of Corsica and East of mainland Italy. Similarly to Corsica, Sardinia was also invaded and ruled by different groups of people (Carthaginians, Romans, Spanish, French, etc.) which has also contributed to shape the local culture and food. With that being said, Sardinia remains a very Italian island, which is reflected through the language spoken by its inhabitants (surprisingly a lot of people spoke no English, only Italian) and the food. So, on to my review and recommendations for Sardinia!
After spending about a week and a half in Corsica, my mom and I took a very very early ferry from Porto-Vecchio to the Golfo Aranci Port, which is near the city of Olbia in Sardinia. The ferry took about 3 hours or so and was super comfortable, with about 3 restaurant options on board. Once we got off, we had to get a taxi from the port to the Olbia airport nearby, in order to pick up our car rental. This turned out to be a bit of a headache, as the only cab driver there spoke no English or French, only Italian and some very limited Spanish. We finally managed to arrange something with her and another couple in some broken Spanish/Italian and headed to the airport.
Once again, having a car in Sardinia is a must, as it really allows you to visit everything you want to without having to worry about how to get there. We started things off in la Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) in the seaside “town” of Capriccioli, then went to: La Maddalena Islands (by boat tour), Castelsardo, Alghero, Bosa, Oristano, di Is Arutas Beach and Cagliari. We spent about a week in Sardinia, which was pretty perfect. Account for more time though if you want to explore hidden beaches and see more of the island.
My Sardinia Recommendations:
7. Spiaggia del Principe (beach)
Warning, do not wear high heels to get to this beach, as its a good ten minute downhill trek in dirt and rocks before you get to the beautiful Spiaggia del Principe (Prince’s beach). Park your car for a couple euros per hour and make your way down to one of Costa Smeralda’s most popular beaches, named after Prince Aga Khan IV. We went there pretty early in the morning (around 10 am) so the beach was pretty empty and quiet, but as we were leaving, the car park was beginning to get crowded and more and more people were making their way down to the beach (I only wanted to see it). The walk down is beautiful, as you get to see different perspectives on the beach. The beach itself was pretty amazing, with its white sandy beach, turquoise and clear waters and jutting rocks. There’s a bit of a rocky part on the right side, which you can walk along and see different angles of the beach from.
If you have the time, Castelsardo is worth a quick detour and coffee stop, to admire its colorful cliffside houses. We stopped here on our way from Costa Smeralda to Alghero for half an hour maybe, the time to take in the views and enjoy a cappuccino before hitting the road again.
5. Spiaggia di Is Arutas (beach)
A bit hard to find and get to, but definitely worth it. While searching on Google for places to visit and top Sardinian beaches, I stumbled upon photos of Spiaggia di Is Arutas. This beach is also known as the arborio rice beach, because of the small and soft colorful pebbles that make up the beach area and replace your typical sand. This beach is a must, because it is so unique; I’ve never seen another beach like it. The water is warm, calm and best of all, there aren’t many people. There are also a couple of restaurants before you reach the beach, by the car parks, which offer delicious pasta dishes (see my next post next week of my foodie adventures and highlights in Sardinia!).
4. La Maddalena Boat Tour
We decided to do a La Maddalena Archipelago boat tour with Elena Tour Navigazioni, while in the Costa Smeralda. The first part of this tour was amazing and so so beautiful; I have never seen such beautiful beaches in my life before. Unfortunately for us though, it began to rain at lunch time, all the way through the afternoon, so the rest of the boat tour got kind of ruined. The tour takes you to two different islands (Spargi in the morning and a second after lunch) with stops on each for swimming, exploring and sunbathing and then also takes you to the actual La Maddalena island at the end, which has a little village with shops and restaurants. The boat tour is definitely worth it for the beautiful beaches.
On our way to Bosa, we stopped in Alghero for a visit and lunch. I really liked Alghero, because it was a big enough town with enough to see and explore to keep us busy for a few hours. We walked along the fortifications by the sea and then made our way inwards towards the narrow streets, shops and cafés. What I also really liked about Alghero was the beautiful hand painted flower pots hanging along the walls of houses and the strings of bicycle wheels and flowers hanging above the streets.
2. Spiaggia Capriccioli (beach)
Although the beaches were the best at La Maddalena, I put Spiaggia Capriccioli higher up on my list, as our hotel was a 5 minutes walk away. Therefore, it made it really convenient to come to this beautiful small beach. There is also a café right before you reach the beach, which offers delicious homemade pastas and pizzas for lunch. Beware though, Spiaggia Capriccioli is a very popular beach, even in mid-September. Both times we went there (mid-afternoon and before lunch time) the two sides of the beach were already packed full. The beach is very popular with the nearby hotels and resorts, as it is less windy on this side.
Bosa is one of these tiny Italian villages, hidden in the moutnains and full of beautiful colorful houses (which I love). I chose to spend two nights here, which is a lot if you spend two full days in the village (it is very small). We got in late afternoon on the first day, so we used the second day to explore. We walked all the way up to the old castle, which offered us views down below of Bosa. On the way up and down, we got to walk by all the beautiful colorful houses. Next, we visited the two local museums, with local Sardinian art. From one of the museums, you can get a pretty nice view of Bosa’s old castle and some of the colorful houses. Afterwards, we walked along the water on both sides, which gave us the opportunity to take photos of the very colorful side of Bosa and the less colorful side too (mostly just red and pink buildings). Bosa is a tiny and quiet village, perfect for a relaxing stay. Take the time to walk through all the narrow streets lined with colorful houses and for an Aperol Spritz on a terrasse before dinner.
*As mentioned, there were a couple other places we went to, which, in my opinion, you can skip out on. These include: Oristano (very small town nearby Is Arutas Beach with a nice church, but not much else) and Cagliari (this one was disappointing. I had done some research and made a list of things to see, but it wasn’t anything impressive. The plus side on going to Cagliari though is that there is an airport, so you can fly in or out of Sardinia from it, which is what we did).
UP NEXT: you guessed it, my foodie adventures and highlights for Sardinia!!
*All photos are my own (or taken by someone with my device, or of me)