The Italian island of Sardinia is an enchanting retreat from the bustle of life on the mainland. Snorkel in sparkling blue waters, ride a Vespa around narrow village streets and dine on freshly caught seafood on sunny waterside restaurant terraces.
Sardinia’s rich history dates back to Roman times and you can still find ruins from the empire dotted around the island. Marvel at medieval buildings and Gothic cathedrals in the capital city of Cagliari. Hike up to Il Castello, a walled hilltop fortress overlooking the Gulf of Cagliari and view the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria, which contains a treasured local icon of the Virgin Mary.
Discover Catalan history in the coastal city of Alghero. Alghero was founded by Catalan conquerors, which explains why a Catalan dialect prevails here. In the Costa Smeralda area, marvel at luxury yachts and expensive real estate occupied by celebrities and global business leaders. Dance all night at an exclusive club in Olbia, one of Costa Smeralda’s most popular towns for nightlife. South of Olbia is San Teodoro, known for its beautiful beach and lagoon where pink flamingos gather.
Spot wildlife in the Gola Su Gorropu gorge, where rugged limestone landscapes are crisscrossed by hiking trails. Look for golden eagles soaring above the ravines. To visit the mountains of the Gennargentu, head to the Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei del Gennargentu, Sardinia’s largest national park.
The Sardinian coast is fringed with white-sand beaches. Among the best swimming spots is Santa Teresa di Gallura, which features clear, shallow waters and fine pale sand. Head to the dunes of Spiaggia di Piscinas on Sardinia’s wild coast for remote hiking trails.
Start your vacation by flying into Cagliari, Costa Smeralda or Alghero. Seasonal flights serve departure cities across Europe, while more frequent flights operate between mainland Italy and Sardinia. Rent a car to reach remote areas or stick to the major cities and towns, which are served by buses and walking paths.
Sardinia offers an enticing mix of natural beauty, sun-dappled beaches and historic ruins.