“This land resembles no other place. Sardinia is something else. Enchanting spaces and distances to travel-nothing finished, nothing definitive. It is like freedom itself.” - David Herbert Lawrence
Before you go to Sardinia, you won’t be able to pack your bags if you don’t know what you’re going to do there.
So why should you visit Sardinia rather than another one of the Italian islands?
One of the main reasons tourists head to Sardinia is because it’s filled to the brim with treasures including 7 of Italy’s 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
You can find Sardinia is located in the Mediterranean Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea just to the south of Corsica and it's home to some of Italy's best beaches, mountainous areas, and plenty of unspoiled nature.
In addition to all the things to see, there are plenty of things to do. Whether you enjoy scuba diving, wine tasting, windsurfing, paddleboarding, or sunbathing, there's something for everyone in Sardinia.
Each Italian island is different so in this article, we’re looking at why you should visit Sardinia including the countryside, local culture, wonderful cuisine, and why it’s ideal for a trip.
Sardinia: A Natural Paradise
Sardinia is home to beautiful beaches with clear turquoise waters, grottoes and coves, and other cosy spaces along the Sardinian coastline. Whether it’s to bask in the sun or go hiking, there are plenty of places in Sardinia to visit. If you love white sand beaches, clear water, and great weather, Sardinia's got you covered.
Beyond the beaches, Sardinia is home to plenty of natural wonders:
- Giara di Gesturi, where there are unique horses and a reserve that’s been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
- The Maddalena archipelago, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
- Chia Beach, famous for its clear waters and Nora, one of Sardinia's many archaeological sites.
- The Grotta del Bue Marino, a wonderful natural site.
- Neptune’s Grotto, which you can reach on foot or by ferry.
- Cagliari, with its historic maritime quarter.
- The Necropolis of Pranu Mutteddu, with its rare standing stones.
To get to Neptune’s Grotto, you should know that you’ll have to climb 600 steps one way and then back.
As you can see, there’s a good mix of natural and historic sites, all adding to the beauty of the countryside. While the beaches aren’t the only reason to visit this island, they won’t disappoint, either.
So should you visit the north or the south of the island?
This is the age-old question that both tourists and Italians are still debating. In fact, Sardinia is home to famous seaside resorts and trips for all types of tourists.
The north of the island is home to sandy beaches, isolated coves, and breathtaking views that draw in an international jet set. It’s the perfect place for luxury holidays or romantic getaways.
As for the south of the island, it’s home to a mix of beautiful landscapes. It’s very popular during the high season so you may want to avoid it then. For family holidays in the low season, it’s perfect.
Discover Sardinia’s Culture and Identity
Sardinia is home to 1.6 million people and they’re very proud of their island and their identity. Sardinian culture plays an important role in everyday life and there are many traditional festivals organised each year. The five most popular include:
- Sartiglia, in the town of Oristano, is an event with a medieval vibe, acrobatics, and horse riding.
Sant’Efisio, in Cagliari, celebrates the patron saint of the Island.
- Sagra del Redentore, in Nuoro, is organised in honour of Chris the Redeemer at the end of August each year.
- Carnaval de Tempio Pausania, which takes place each year on Shrove Tuesday.
- The Carnaval de Mamoiada takes place in January and is famous for the costumes with black masks.
Sardinian festivals are about fun and history! These traditional festivals have a focus on Sardinian history and culture going back to the Middle Ages. Sardinia was very poor and was subjected to several invasions.
Did you know that Sardinia has a special autonomous status?
The language is also a major part of the Sardinian identity. While the inhabitants speak Italian, they also speak Sard (Sardinian), which was recognised as an official language in 1997. There are also dialects of the language including Campidanese, Gallurese, Logudorese, and Sassarese.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Sardinia! And then there’s the food!
Do you know Sicily? Italy's largest island?
Find out more about the island of Sicily off the coast of southern Italy, home to Mount Etna, an active volcano!
Italian Food, Another Reason to Visit the Italian Islands
Both Italian and Sardinian food is famous for just how good it is. It’s hardly surprising, really. Italy is famous for the dolce vita, fresh produce, and its unforgettable meals.
Taste is everything and a trip to Sardinia won’t disappoint!
Sardinia has its own gastronomical culture while also enjoying Italian influences. Fishing, farming, and herding have all left their marks on Sardinian dishes. Once you’ve done your trip around Sardinia, you’ll probably have built up an appetite. Here are some essential local dishes:
- Prawns in Vernaccia Wine.
- Chiusòni, a type of gnocchi made from durum wheat semolina.
- Panada, a bread soup starter with lamb.
- Cordula, goat or lamb intestines with peas and olives.
- Amaretti, for dessert, which are almond-based macaroons.
There are also speciality Sardinian cheeses, including Casu Marzu, a cheese that’s infested with maggots. While it’s very popular locally, Guinness World Records classed it as a dangerous food. Enjoy at your own risk!
Let’s not forget local specialities like Ozieri nougat with honey. You can also enjoy typical Italian dishes like olive focaccia, pizza, and limoncello, a lemon-based liqueur. Sardinian food is part of the local heritage.
Surely this is a good enough reason in itself to visit Sardinia!
Find out about Capri, another beautiful island.
Doing a Road Trip around Sardinia
Due to its size, Sardinia is a perfect destination to travel around for 10 to 15 days. Keep in mind that the Cagliari will be your first point of call since that’s where the airport is and there are direct flights from London and Manchester.
In general, you might want to focus on either the north or the south of the island to give you time to relax. You need to work out that suits your needs.
Did you know that in 2017, Sardinia was visited by 14 million tourists, up from 10 million in 2014?
This is a record increase.
It’s recommended that you budget for a trip to Sardinia as it’s a very popular tourist destination and prices for everything tend to increase during the busy tourist season.
Some of Sardinia's most popular destinations include Santa Teresa Gallura, Alghero, the Costa Smeralda and Porto Cervo, Sassari, and Olbia.
You’ll need a moderate budget if you’re going there with a travel agency. However, you can always save money by renting a room with a local, travelling by bike, or getting tourist passes to make your money go further. When it comes to food, you can always get the dish of the day around lunchtime or get a sandwich or focaccia.
So when are you going to visit one of the most beautiful places in Italy?
Of course, Sardinia isn't the only Mediterranean island worth visiting off the Italian peninsula. If you like a good sea view, suckling pig, or sand beaches, consider island hopping via ferries to see the other Italian islands.
Before you go to Italy or its islands, you might want to learn some Italian. Fortunately for you, there are many talented tutors on Superprof who can help you. In terms of private Italian tutorials, there are three main types: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials involve just the student and their tutor and are tailored to the former. Your tutor can work with your strengths and weaknesses and put together a programme for you. These tutorials tend to be the most costly but they're also the most cost-effective.
Online tutorials are similar but you're not in the same place as your tutor. Thanks to the internet, webcams, and video conferencing, you can learn a language online. Online tutors tend to charge less than face-to-face tutors because they have fewer outgoings and expenses and can schedule more tutorials each week.
Finally, group tutorials include groups of students learning together. If you and a group of friends, such as your travel companions, want to learn some Italian before you go, you can get group tutorials. With each student sharing the cost of the tutor's time, this type of tutorials tends to work out cheaper per person per hour.