Cosmopolitan and beautiful in equal measure, the island of Sardinia has been a tourist favourite since the 1960s. An autonomous region of Italy, Sardinia actually lies closer to North Africa and so benefits from an almost tropical climate along its miles of stunning coastline. White beaches fringed by turquoise water as clear as glass are the major draw of Sardinia, with resorts like the Costa Smeralda attracting holidaymakers and superstars alike who come to lounge on the perpetually perfect beaches.
Sardinia has a long and complex history and the island has changed hands frequently over the ages. Each group of settlers have left their mark on the land but most notably, rare remains of the ancient Nuragic civilisation pre-dating the Iron Age scatter the land here, and in themselves have become landmarks of Sardinia, enticing curious explorers to visit each year.
The second largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia really is a region all of its own. Often described as Italy with the volume turned down, there are more than a few differences between this fascinating island and its mainland counterpart. However, if you’re a fan of fine weather, even better food, superb beaches and with just a pinch of historic charm for good measure, you’re bound to love Sardinia!
Sardinia is by and large, a playground for the rich and famous. Everyone from the Hollywood A-list to Christopher Biggins has been spotted soaking up the sun on the island’s stunning beaches. If you fancy yourself a spot of celebrity-watching or you simply have a few extra thousand euros lying around, Costa Smeralda is the place to be. The shopping district is simply a roll call of Italian designer royalty and the marina is home to a fleet of the grandest yachts around!
Away from the stunning beaches, scattered across the luscious countryside you can find relics of the ancient Nuragic civilisation, unique to Sardinia. The islands only world heritage site, Nuraghe Su Nuraxi near Barumini is the oldest Nuragic ruin in the world, dated at 1500BC. The ancient tower and surrounding fortified village compound is largely still intact and well worth a visit.
Remnants of bygone eras litter Sardinia, making the island a history mogul’s dream destination. Explore the fascinating capital city Cagliari, its old town district still guarded by 13th century towers, or why not venture to beautiful Alghero, lose yourself in the winding streets and eavesdrop on the locals speaking traditional Catalan.
No matter where you find yourself in Italy, one thing is guaranteed, you are going to eat well, and Sardinia is no exception. Fine wines, hearty pastas, tangy local cheeses and the freshest seafood are all found on a traditional Sardinian menu.
Pane Carasau is one of the simplest authentic island dishes. A type of Sardinian flatbread is served with cold cuts of meat and either smoked ricotta or pecorino cheese. It is the simplicity of the dish and its fusion of flavours that makes it so delicious!
Although not typically one of the most prominent wine regions in Italy, Sardinia is known for its Vermentino brand of white wine. Light, refreshing and aromatic, it is largely consumed across the island with meals.
Alternatively if you like your drinks to have a bit of a kick, sample the local “firewater”, Filu e Ferru. Sipped as a digestif, this colourless liquor made with fermented grapes and then flavoured with fennel will put some fire in your belly!