Six of the Best Towns to Visit in Sardinia
The sought-after holiday destination of Sardina captures the hearts of all who visit, and with pristine, desert-island-esque beaches, fascinating history and excellent food, it’s not difficult to see why. The large Italian island is renowned for its festivals, hiking trails and fine wine to name just a few, but it also boasts an array of charming, atmospheric, quirky towns and villages that provide an authentic taste of the Sardinian way of life. For anyone looking to do something a little different this summer, escaping the tourist hotspots to venture further afield, we’ve explored just six of the best towns, cities and villages to visit during your stay in our holiday villas in Sardinia.
Carloforte is the only settlement on the small and secluded island of San Pietro to the south-west of Sardinia. The quaint centre of the island is home to 6,000 Sardinians and captures the hearts of all who visit with its narrow, winding streets, impressive sea views and fascinating historical architecture. The island nature of this destination means that there is no shortage of beautiful beaches, with some fantastic bays including the Hirin beach, the Giunco beach, La Bobba, Puntanera, Lucchese and Guidi. Head west to Capo Sandalo to see the iconic lighthouse of 1864, where you can admire the sea views as they unfold in front of you; the perfect spot for a picnic. One of the best things to do during a day trip to Carloforte is to visit the salt plains, where you can see pink flamingos in their natural habitat.
Hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in Sardinia and colloquially known as Riviera del Corallo, in response to the red coral backdrops. Alghero is somewhat of a hub of Sardinian culture, combining the best of Italian lifestyle with other international influences, including Catalan. Located in the north west, Alghero is popular with all who visit Sardinia, and the population has been known to quadruple during the peak months of July and August. This is, of course, not without reason, as thousands upon thousands flock to admire its medieval centre and make use of the fantastic restaurants and bars, all of which makes for a truly fantastic atmosphere.
The jaw-droppingly beautiful medieval village of Castelsardo is nestled amidst the Gulf of Asinara. Steeply-sloped streets, traditional squares and charming craft shops await your visit to this gorgeous part of Sardinia which makes for the perfect day trip during your holiday. The village is home to the 12th-century castle of the Doria, a must-visit for those with an interest in history, and you may also explore the Museo dell’intereccio; a museum dedicated to the ancient art of using hay, palm and raffia threads to create Sardinian baskets. Other points of interest include the elephant rock, the cathedral of Sant’Antonia Abate and Lu Bagnu beach.
A small town in the south-west of Sardinia and home to around 7000 inhabitants, Pula is most well-known for its proximity to the ancient remains of the Roman[?] archaeological site of Nora (VIII BC). An open-air museum has managed to preserve temples, the baths, the forum and the amphitheatre from this historic location. Those arriving during the summer months should research any concerts, festivals and events that might be happening in the amphitheatre whilst they’re visiting. Other attractions of note include the Church of Sant’ Efisio and the relaxing beaches of Santa Marghertia di Pula.
A beautiful fishing village on the west coast, Bosa boasts a colourful, atmospheric old town set next to a river that leads down to the sea. There are an array of fantastic shops and restaurants in the town, as well as a thriving market on Tuesday mornings. The castle that overlooks the town only adds to the overall ‘old-world’ vibe and life seems to pass you by at a gentle, relaxed pace during a day spent in Bosa. The village is renowned for lace-making and you are likely to see women producing hand-made products in front of their home. Somewhat surprisingly, Bosa comes to life after dark during the summer, with a host of lively clubs and bars to choose from all over the village.
Sardinia’s second city, Olbia, is home to some of the island’s most spectacular beaches, including Marinella, Pittulongu and Porto Istana. The port of Palau is not far from this settlement, meaning the pristine sands, turquoise lagoons and deserted beach havens of La Maddalena island are just a ferry ride away. The name directly translates as ‘happiness’, and Olbia has been somewhat of a gateway for the island, driving much of the economy of Gallura and the surrounding area. The Basilica di San Simplico is one of the region’s most important churches and the beautiful architecture is the oldest evidence of Christianity on the island. The city looks out over an idyllic gulf, encompassing the Tavolara Marina, and restaurants here will serve some of the freshest seafood in Italy alongside an array of fine wine and other Italian delicacies.
That concludes our pick of the towns awaiting exploration on the island of Sardinia, so you know exactly where to head upon arrival and can start planning your holiday! If you have any questions about any of the destinations mentioned here, or would like to discuss a particular abode, don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Essential Italy team today who would be more than happy to help. Check out our other recent blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Sardinia for more information on how and when to visit. Have you been to Sardinia and feel that we have missed a hidden gem off of our list? Let us know via the comments across our social media channels.