SO…WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT SARDINIA?
Sardinia is an amazing travel destination in Italy, perfect to soak up the sun, marvel at nature and enjoy some fancy fun. One of the best ways to discover all the beauties that this island has to offer is an on-the-road trip, even better, if you visit Sardinia in the off-season.
Today I want to give you some tips about the best things to see and how to plan your road trip to Sardinia by car, it will be a blast I can guarantee you (as a local!) Let’s do this!
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN SARDINIA: FROM THE SEA TO THE CULTURAL SIDE OF THE ISLAND
SARDINIA COASTS & BEACHES
The Sardinian coast has almost 2000 km of beaches, cliffs, and hidden coves just waiting for you to discover and enjoy them to the fullest! Below is a list of the main coasts of Sardinia and what makes them so special!
SOUTH SARDINIA COAST:
The beaches of southern Sardinia are those historically slightly less touristy and cheaper compared to those of the north but they are equally beautiful: Tuerredda e Su Gideu beach on the south-west and Villasimius and Costa Rei on the south-east coast, just to give you the most famous examples.
If you choose Cagliari as a base, you can visit some of the most beautiful beaches of southern Sardinia, the salt flats of Cagliari and the beautiful and little-known San Pietro Island with Carloforte, where we speak a unique dialect, variant of the Ligurian.
SARDINIA NORTH COAST:
The expensive part everyone knows about north Sardinia is obviously the Costa Smeralda area, very posh but still worth a visit if you have the budget! But don’t get fooled, people always associate north Sardinia Costa with Costa Smeralda but in reality there is so much more to it:
Santa Teresa di Gallura, Costa Paradiso, Stintino with its awesome “La Pelosa beach” and many other places along the coast that are well worth a visit and if you are on a tighter budget are also perfect for a smashing Sardinia vacation!
SARDINIA WEST COAST:
The west coast near Oristano and Nebida is among the wildest part of Sardinia. Very popular amongst the campers and people with caravans, it’s the less discovered area and probably the cheapest one too. The main places you can’t miss along the west coast are: Pan Di Zucchero/Nebida/Masua (breaking views awaits!), Piscinas, with the highest sand dunes in Europe, Cala Domestica beach, Is Aruttas, San Giovanni di Sinis and the marvelous Tharros ruins nearby.
SARDINIA EAST COAST:
The eastern coast has some of the most beautiful coves, and it happens to be my absolute favorite for its mix of mountains, cliffs over the sea and spectacularly clear waters. The beaches in the Golfo di Orosei area are the best you will see in Sardinia. I made an article with my personal top 10 beaches in Sardinia and guess who made it to n.1? 🙂
Yep, one of the beaches in that area! But I’m not the only one here, there are so many articles online putting the beaches from the East Coast of Sardinia among the most beautiful in Europe: Cala Goloritzè, Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu, Cala Biriola and Cala Sisine are the best!
SARDINIA CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
Sardinia is not just about its beautiful sea. There are towns and villages to see, parks and hiking trails. The Barbagia, for example, one of the wildest inland areas of the island, is definitely worth a visit. Let’s see in detail what Sardinia has to offer besides the beaches. Not to mention the beautiful “Murals” of Orgosolo and the Mammutones parade.
Get to know the Sardinian’s people ways and atmosphere and enjoy their company, even if we don’t speak English a lot, we are one of the most welcoming population in Italy. Reserved at first but ready to give you everything we have!
WHAT TO SEE IN EAST SARDINIA:
Moving about 300 km to the north you can discover some of the most beautiful coves of eastern Sardinia, such as Cala Luna, the location of the film Swept away in the azure sea of August. There will be so much to tell about what seeing in East Sardinia, that’s why I am covering that on an article I’m about to finish, but I can guarantee you that this part is top notch for EVERYTHING. From trekking/hiking, snorkeling, culture, gastronomy, and food, traditional villages… it really has it all!
Here is a short but very nice video of the top beaches you can’t miss in East Sardinia: JAW DROPPING!
See for yourself 😉
WHAT TO SEE IN NORTH SARDINIA:
In the north of Sardinia, there are interesting cities and towns being Alghero and Castelsardo the most popular ones. Visit the Caves of Neptune and the Maddalena Archipelago for some breathtaking scenarios. I actually think that a boat trip at The “Arcipelago della Maddalena” should be mandatory for everyone!
North Sardinia also offers cultural experiences with the visit to some small Nuraghes (Nuraghe Palmavera is the one closest to Alghero) and for people into water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing & co, this area of Sardinia is perfect. Isola Rossa is the perfect spot for water sports lovers, check it out!
WHAT TO SEE IN SOUTH SARDINIA
The south of Sardinia is one of my favorite corners of the island (maybe because I was born in the area?) 😉
Usually less touristy than other places, it has wonderful beaches, ponds and salt flats where pink flamingos fly, archaeological remains and trails to discover on foot. Not to mention the beautiful and little-known island San Pietro with its lovely town of Carloforte, where they speak a unique dialect: a variant of the Ligurian region’s dialect. Below is a list of other things you can’t miss:
EXPLORE THE BEACHES:
Among the unmissable beaches of southern Sardinia, there are Cala Pira which is a real corner of paradise, CalaSinzias in Castiadas, the beaches of Villasimius especially suitable for windy days and, in Costa Rei, the beach of Santa Giusta, with the famous Scoglio di Peppino.
TREK TO “LA SELLA DEL DIAVOLO”:
Climb up on the Devil’s Saddle on foot or by bicycle starting from the beach of the Poetto di Cagliari. This trek is so underrated, relatively easy, even without a guide, and you will be rewarded with one of the most amazing views ever. Don’t forget a good camera or mobile phone as you would want to take LOADS of photos!
VISIT NORA RUINS:
One of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Sardinia is located in the province of Cagliari, near Capo Pula. Bonus tip: The ruins face a lovely gulf, with amazing views over the sea and a super nice beach nearby (Nora/Su Gunventeddu) where you can spend the rest of the day to relax after your visit to the ruins!
WHAT TO SEE IN NORTH -EAST SARDINIA
The Maddalena archipelago can be easily reached by one of the many boat trips and is definitely worth a visit (as I said before: It should be mandatory!). The Costa Smeralda has many beautiful beaches: the Pevero, the Principe beach, and LisciaRuja are just a few. Going south towards San Teodoro there are many unmissable beaches, one of these is Lu Impostu and Cala Brandinchi, also renamed as Little Tahiti (guess why?);).
If you want to peek into luxury and huge yachts, take a trip to Porto Cervo or Porto Rotondo. Tip from a local: You don’t have to book your accommodation in there, even penniless people can visit these places, all you need is find your accommodation in some smaller villages like Arzachena and San Pantaleo and take a cheap bus for a day trip. Don’t forget to pack a “cocktail dress”, even if it’s from the market around the corner, no one will check it for the label at the entrance 😉
WHAT TO SEE IN NORTH- WEST SARDINIA
The coast of the north west of Sardinia starts from Santa Teresa di Gallura connected to Corsica by just one hour of navigation. Continuing west you will meet the beautiful Stintino, just in front of the Asinara Park, which is another spot you won’t want to miss. Take a day trip to the Asinara Island, make friends with its lovely albino donkeys and enjoy the nature and the pristine beaches.
Capo Testa (don’t miss it if you love some serious scenic views!), near Santa Teresa di Gallura, is another spot well worth visiting. A granite promontory designed by the wind and the sea to form surreal landscapes.
WHAT TO SEE IN SARDINIA BESIDE THE BEACHES:
Sardinia is not just sea. There are archaeological remains, abandoned villages, villages and castles, culture, gastronomy and ancient testimonies of fascinating civilizations.
NORTH SARDINIA BEYOND THE BEACHES:
In Arzachena, in the Gallura area, you can visit some interesting Nuraghic complexes and the tombs of the giants, ancient collective tombs with monolithic stems to delimit the entrance. At Capo Testa, in addition to the nuraghe, you can visit the old lighthouse and take a walk in the surreal environment of the Valle della Luna, where the granite forms strange and imaginative rock formations.
It’s called Valle Della Luna for a reason: the name means “Moon Valley” because it actually really resemble the lunar landscape. Well, I haven’t been to the moon (yet) but I take for good the pictures we have from NASA 😀
SOUTH SARDINIA BEYOND THE BEACHES:
In Pula, in the province of Cagliari, there are the remains that can be visited in a Phoenician city. It is called Nora and is located on the edge of a peninsula connected to the coast by an isthmus (see above the Nora ruins). Some more sights worth visiting are the Is Zuddas Grotto and Porto Flavia on the south-west coast.
WEST SARDINIA BEYOND THE BEACHES:
Bosa is one of the most famous and loveliest places to visit in Sardinia. It is a village with colorful houses guarded at a distance from a lovely castle. It is located in the province of Oristano, not far from the mouth of the river Temo. Tharros ruins, also very close to Oristano is another area you can’t miss, facing the shore, they combine culture/Sardinian history with some great views.
NORTH SARDINIA BEYOND THE BEACHES:
Castelsardo is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is located in the Gulf of Asinara and the view from the historic center sweeps over all its coasts, including those of Corsica. The medieval village was built by the people from Genova still has the characteristics of a time with the colorful houses perched on the promontory.
GETTING AROUND SARDINIA: USEFUL TIPS:
With this useful guide, you will know exactly what you do and how to plan a great Sardinia itinerary based on the geographic areas of this incredible island. If you want to explore more than a place you should hire a car to visit everything and make the most of your time there.
For more in-depth info, I’m completely an article solely dedicated to transports/roads in Sardinia and what you have to watch for when renting a car! Stay tuned and Subscribe to know when more articles about Sardinia will be released!
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY RECAP OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN’T-MISS IN SARDINIA! FOR MORE DETAILED ARTICLES ON MY BEAUTIFUL ISLAND YOU CAN HAVE A LOOK AT THE DEDICATED SARDINIA PAGE
DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SARDINIA!
- Where To stay in Sardinia for Couples: A Local’s guide!
- One week in Sardinia: the Best Itinerary For you!
- Best Sardinia Beaches You can’t miss on Your Trip
- Fabulous reason to Visit Sardinia in Low Season
- Amazing Things To Do In Sardinia in Summer
- Best Costa Smeralda Beaches With Map
- Costa Smeralda Best Hotels & Resort (Cheap & Luxury)!
- Sardinia By Car: The Ultimate Guide on How To Get Around the Island!
- Sardinia Photos: My 15 favorite Instagram Pictures!
- Sardinia Travel Guide: Unmissable Places To See and Things To Do!
- Sardinia Holidays for Families: Where To Stay with your kids!
- Sardinia Solo Travel: A Backpackers guide by a Local!
- Sardinia Camping: Your Guide (By a Local)
- Sardinia Travel Guides
- Sardinia in 2 weeks: Best Itinerary
- Sardinia in 3 weeks: Best Itinerary
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Well done! Extremely useful information for planning and executing an adventure in Sardinia. Thanks for sharing knowledge of your home island. I look forward to the remaining articles. 🙂
Thanks David! Glad it was useful 🙂