Travel Guide to Sardinia, Italy

Taylored Tours Sardinia Travel Guide

Explore Sardinia in Italy! An island located west and south of Corsica, it features stunning beaches, gripping nightlife, and buzzy resort towns. Or you could head inland for a tranquil agricultural area with a small-town feel. You’ll find beauty around every corner in Sardinia! Want to learn more? Read on…


Sardinia lies roughly 190 miles off the western coast of the country. The island is physically closer to the French island of Corsica than to the coast of the country to which it belongs (only 8 miles). This means that there are basically two ways to get to and from Sardinia from the Italian mainland – by air and by sea.


Perfect for Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you love nature and the outdoors, you’ll love Sardinia. The entire island is stunning, and 25% of the island is environmentally preserved.

Beautiful Mountains & Beaches

The island makes up nearly a quarter of the total length of the Italian coastline. Much of Sardinia’s coast is mountainous land, with high and steep rock formations. The highest mountain in Sardina is Punta La Marmora at 6,017 feet. However, there are also some incredible beaches across the region:

  • La Pelosa Beach—North
  • Cala Corsara—North
  • Is Arutas—Central
  • Putzu Idu—Central
  • Cala Domestica—South
  • Porto Pino—South

The Coast is Full of Caves

To this day more than 300 caves are known. The caves and grottoes can be explored, either by foot, with ropes or swimming.

Among all the caves, the most famous is the Grotta di Nettuno, Neptune’s Grotto: formed around 2 million years ago, the grotto goes for 2.5 miles. Inside the grotto, you can find a sandy beach, and even a lake!

The Parks

There are 3 National Parks on the island (Asinara National Park, Arcipelago do La Maddalena National Park & Gennargentu National Park), and 10 regional parks.


Cagliari

Taylored Tours Cagliari Sardinia

Cagliari, the capital city, is home to about 150,000 residents. It’s an ancient city, occupied by a huge variety of civilizations. Cagliari has one of the largest natural harbors in the Mediterranean.

Like Rome, it is built on seven hills. Its Sardinian name means “castle”, in reference to the citadel, its historic centre, which dominates the city.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of architecture, from the old Castello on the hill to an ancient Roman amphitheater to the 1930s structures found in some of the pre-World War II-built neighborhoods.

Cagliari also has a long strip of coastline – Poetto Beach – with powdery white sand, it’s great for relaxing after sightseeing.

Taylored Tours Beaches Sardinia

Costa Smeralda

Taylored Tours Costa Smerelda

Costa Smeralda, the Emerald Coast, consists of miles and miles of picture-perfect bays, coves and white sandy beaches. As if that weren’t enough, the perfectly clear green and turquoise waters seem to come straight out of a Caribbean dream.


Asinara

Taylored Tours Sardinia Asinara

Asinara is the second largest island of Sardinia after Sant’Antioco. It houses a great variety of habitats. The island has an extremely odd historical, environmental, and legal status. It is known as “Isola del Diavolo” (“Devil’s Island”), since it was used as a quarantine location, as a prison camp during the First World War, and as one of the most important Italian high security prisons during the terrorist period of the 1970s and during the struggle against organized crime, until the establishment of a National Park in 1998.

Asinara: the name is Italian for “donkey-inhabited” is home to a colony of wild albino donkeys.

The island is virtually uninhabited by humans, and forms part of Italy’s national park system as a nature and marine reserve.


Nuraghe

Taylored Tours Sardinia Nuragne

Sardinia has over 7000 prehistoric archaeological sites. The most famous historic artifacts on the island are the mysterious Nurgaghe monuments that date back to 1500BCE.

What is most remarkable about the Nuraghe buildings is that this unique form of Bronze Age architecture is not found anywhere else in the world – these buildings are unique to the island of Sardinia.

Nuraghe are made of large blocks of Basalt taken from the extinct volcanos of the region and are notable for being combined without the use of any bonding materials.


The Language

Taylored Tours Sardinians

The first language of Sardinia is Italian, although the Sardinian language, Sardo, is still widely spoken. A rich language, Sardo varies greatly from area to area, even from village to village, with Latin, Arabic, Spanish and Catalan influences reflecting the turbulence of the island’s past.


Traditions and Festivals

Taylored Tours Traditions Festivals Sardinia

The island hosts a feast of festivals and events throughout the year from colorful carnivals to religious processions. This is your chance to experience a piece of true Sardinia.

Many of the island’s festivals have been ongoing for centuries and reveal a lot about the Sardinian people and their history. Festivals in Sardinia often have a religious theme, but there are a plethora of others that celebrate annual events including the fish festival in July where you can sample fried fish or the International Jazz festival in August, one of the most important festivals in Sardinia.

Sardinia’s traditional costumes reflect the deep-rooted history of the sunny island. With colorful, high-quality fabrics and artistic embroidery, they are much more than mere clothing – they are a symbol of cultures, origin and religiosity and are worn with pride.


The Food

Taylored Tours Food Sardinia

Free from mainland influence, the cuisine in Sardinia reflects tradition and family, and when you sit down to dine, you may expect a wide variety of delicious food and libations.

Meals in Sardinia are an excuse to celebrate and enjoy time with loved ones and friends. A meal typically features appetizers, multiple courses, plenty of side dishes, veggies, cheese, dessert, wine, and of course, coffee. Chefs, whether in mama’s kitchen or a 5-star restaurant, neither stint on portions or hurry you to finish. Traditional mealtime can last several hours. Be prepared to be entertained, informed, replete and sated.

Whether dining in upscale restaurants are at a local farmhouse, you will enjoy the rich heritage that is the Sardinian food culture, basking in the flavors and aromas that live on in ancient traditions and recipes. Hotels, restaurants, and Bistros across Sardinia provide time-honored and protected regional cuisine, such as:

• Cagliu (Callu De Crabettu) – Among the older cheeses in Sardinia, this extraordinary offering is produced by filling a baby goat’s stomach with milk. After the goat is harvested, the belly full of milk is preserved inside the abdominal wall, which then forms the rind on the completed cheese.

• Pane Caresau (Caresau bread) – Also referred to as ​​Carasatu, or Crasau, the traditional slim, and crispy bread can be up to a meter wide and is made from wheat flour, yeast, water, and salt. Carasau bread can be found in most Italian supermarkets. It is a staple at mealtimes.

• Proscuitto di Pecorino – This time-honored cured meat is created from mutton taken from a special breed of Sardinian sheep. It is distinguished by its extended pear shape as well as powerful yet relatively sweet flavor.

• Pecorino Fiore Sardo – This traditional hard cheese is produced from whole sheep’s milk. It requires approximately half a year to develop fully, by which time it features a dark yellowish or brownish rind. The flavor will become spicier the more the cheese is aged.


The Wine

Taylored Tours Vineyards Sardinia

Another essential part of the Sardinian cuisine is the local wine. Among the most well-known offerings are Cannonau, a red with a substantial alcohol content. Other regional favorites are Nuragus, a dry wine, Carignano, a red with a lovely flavor, and Malvasia, a sweet wine perfect to complement desserts. Additional wines produced domestically are Moscato, Vernaccia, Vermentino, and Nasco.

The vineyards in Sardinia are spread out over a variety of terrains, including the fertile plains close to the seashore and the rugged hills of Jerzu and Tertenia. Since there is limited space on the island, the grapes have been lovingly tended for generations, with always the thought of tomorrow and looking ahead.


Best Time to Visit

Sardinia clear water Taylored Tours

The best time to visit Sardinia is from April to June when the flowers are in bloom, the sea waters are warm, and the temperatures haven’t yet reached their July and August highs.

Still, summertime in Sardinia has its perks: For instance, the Tyrrhenian Sea (east of the island) and the Mediterranean Sea waters are incredibly refreshing this time of year, and a vibrant lineup of festivals and events fill the calendar.

September and October offer travelers mild weather and fewer crowds, while the months between November and March constitute low season with chilly temperatures and fewer tourists.


Sardinia is a Great Road Trip Destination

Taylored Tours Sardinia

It is the only region of Italy to not have a motorway. A great indication of the island’s relaxed pace of life, driving around is surprisingly stress-free. And 100% of the roads are completely free!

The main roads are generally good, the minor roads tend to be narrow and bendy, but they offer some spectacular scenery.


Long Live the Centenarians!

Taylored Tours Centenarians Sardinia

Sardinia has been identified as one of five regions in the world that have high concentrations of centenarians. There are approximately 530 people who are 100 or older, or 33.6 for every 100,000 inhabitants.

The genes of Sardinians, for the most part, have remained undiluted. Researchers discovered a genetic marker, called M26, as one found in many of the centenarians on the island and is now associated with longevity.


Italy’s unrivalled cultural heritage, diverse landscapes and celebrated food and wine make it an unmissable destination. There are so many superb places to go, it can be difficult to know where to begin, but Taylored Tours can help you create an itinerary that reflects your interests, takes in the main sights and reveals some of Italy’s lesser-known charms.



Ciao!
I’m Cindi Taylor, the founder of Taylored Tours. I started Taylored Tours because I believe deeply in the power of travel. Anything I can do to get you out exploring the world makes me happy!

Taylored Tours offers custom travel planning services to destinations around the globe, full of immersive experiences.

Ready to see the world and immerse yourself in new experiences and cultures? 

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Happy Travels!

Cindi Taylor, Taylored Tours

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