Top Sardinia Destinations
Sardinia surprised us! The second largest Italian island is one of the best kept secrets. We had no idea there was so much natural beauty – mountains, forests, marshes and even deserts, where you see wild flora and fauna – cistus and gorse bushes, aromatic herbs, Sardinian deer, pink flamingos, wild horses and a variety of birds. It was hard to come up with just a few of our favorite top spots in Sardinia!
A spectacular coastline with wind carved cliffs and pristine beaches that rival those of any we had seen along the Mediterranean coast. The crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and perfect weather beckon sun lovers to come here for a perfect holiday and La Dolce Vita!
It was early morning and the sun was rising over the emerald sea as our Holland America Cruise ship moved into the Bay of Olbia, passing hundreds of mussel beds as we made our way to the Port of Olbia. From here, we met our guides, Sophia and Onnis to show us their island.
Onnis and Sophia shared an overview of the island with us as we headed north. Sardinia has 8 provinces – Cagliari (regional capital), Carbonia-Iglesias, Nuoro, Olbia-Tempio, Oristano, Medio Campidano, Sassari and Ogliastra. From the vast mountains in Gennargentu, to the UNESCO prehistoric Barumini Nuragic site in Cagliari, Roman ruins in Tharros, and the small 17th century “stazzis” shepherd dwellings – these world wonders have left traces of past civilizations.
Active travelers love this island where they can trek, cycle, kayak and sail in the Stintino and Baia Sardinia areas. Culturally, there are several traditional festivals, like the Festival of Sant’Efisio in Cagliari, one of the most religious and folkloric events on the island. One could easily spend more time on Sardinia, and discover its amazing beauties.
But we only had a day, so here are our recommendations on what to do in Olbia and the surrounding area.
WHAT TO DO
Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast):
This resort community is famous for attracting the “rich and famous” crowd, VIPs, celebrities, who flock here to lay on the finest beaches, bask in the Sardinian sun, look out at the sea as mega yachts arrive, play golf, or shop at haute designer boutiques. There’s plenty of “people watching” at the main Porto Cervo piazzetta and the promenade. Night clubs, bars make for a colorful nightlife here.
Church of Stella Maris:
Next on our Sardinia destinations we stopped to stroll the beach path ways, and get a gelato ice cream here. Decided to order a local favorite called Myrtle, made from the island “mirto” berries. It’s got a unique flavor and the gelato is blue in color. We found a lot of souvenir products, like Mirto liqueur bottles wrapped in soft cork that was extracted from the island’s oak forests. This was definitely one of our favorite top spots in Sardinia!
Sardinia’s National Park is located off the northern coast where you can boat between the “Seven Sister” islands, through inlets, Budelli’s pink sandy beach, and fishing villages. Maddalena can be reached by ferry from Palau. You’ll enjoy a panoramic drive around Maddalena and visit the charming town center. Many locals and visitors like to go sailing, kayaking, horseback riding and mountain biking here.
We drove inland from the coast, and arrived to a small hilltop town with a tiny piazza, church and cafes. It’s one of the sweetest, unspoiled little towns, surrounded by dramatic mountain rock landscape.
For our last top spot in Sardinia take a walk the main street if you want to shop and buy handcrafted goods or homemade breads. There’s a little shop that makes handmade sandals while you wait, called Amalia. And there are delicious handmade pasta, breads and cakes of Sardinia at Anticas Licanzias. Visit the Church of San Paolo Apostolo built in the 18th century, the Palazzetto Umbertino, and the Romanesque Church of San Simplicio, built in the 11th century with granite. In Piazza Margherita, you’ll find a Roman cistern. Just outside of Olbia are the prehistoric sites including Cabu Abbas nuraghic complex and the Sa Testa holy well.
Global Adventuress would like to thank Sardinia Happy Tours for our private tour of this stunning island.
We also would thank Travelpro for the carry-on spinner suitcase, a favorite of travel crews and avid travelers, as well as DK Travel for the travel guide book.
GUIDE & DRIVER
We went on a private day tour with Happy Tour in Sardinia and had a fantastic time! Our guide Sophia Lazarro was excellent.
Holland America Cruise Line We went on the Holland America Mediterranean Cruise and stopped at the Port of Olbia, Sardinia, and had an amazing day!
TRAVEL PRODUCTS & SERVICES
DK Travel: Excellent travel guide books with helpful maps, inspiring images, and lots of great information to help you plan your travels.
TravelPro: High quality luggage, preferred by flight crews, frequent travelers, and the Global Adventuress Team.
TRAVEL INFORMATION & ADVISORIES
U.S. Passports & International Travel: The U.S. Department of State provides helpful information at this site including passport & visa requirements, embassy locations, and safety & security.