Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. From the picturesque Emerald Coast lined with sparkling water and white sand to little known sites and local hideaways, this Italian island offers something for even the most discerning of travelers.
Getting There and Getting Around
When planning your Sardinia holiday, it’s a good idea to have a basic knowledge of the island’s layout and culture. As it is a part of Italy, the official language is Italian and this is what the majority of signs will be written in throughout the island. There are three airports on the island, the largest being Cagliari Airport in the Sardinia capital. For the majority of visitors flying internationally, Cagliari will be where you land, but the Olbia and Alghero Airports also service some international flights as well as domestic flights from mainland Italy. Once you arrive, a hire car is an excellent option to get around the island. This will give you full freedom to travel among the eight provinces without having to rely on public transportation which has a tendency to run a bit slow. However, if you enjoy trains and visit during the spring the Trenino Verde runs all over the island and offers spectacular views that can easily be missed while driving. It’s not the quickest way to travel but it is well worth planning a short ride as an excursion; the sights you’ll see on this little green train are truly breathtaking.
So What Do You Do on a Sardinia Holiday?
While the most obvious answer to this question is to go visit some of the incredible beaches, there is much more to see and do than lounge around on a beach for the whole trip.
For anyone interested in archeology, one of the most unique locations to visit on the entire island is Su Nuraxi Barumini. These astounding Nuragic ruins are nearly 4000 years old, built by a civilization dating back to 1800 BC. The site is located in Barumini, about an hour north from Cagliari.
For history buffs interested in more recent events, the Museo del Carbone in Carbonia provides a fascinating look inside an actual mid-century coal mine and includes an underground visit to the tunnels in addition to standard above-ground exhibits. Exhibit information as well as tours are provided in both Italian and English to cover a wide range of audiences.
If you’re interested in seeing something a little more quirky and off the beaten path, a trip to San Vero Milis may be in order. There you will find Su Pallosu’s Colony Cats, a feline oasis housing over 60 cats that roam among its grounds. This is a must see for any animal lover; the owner/caretakers are always willing to give free tours to the public where you can learn the history and mission behind this odd place and its furry inhabitants.
Finally, one of the most important things to do while in Sardinia is to immerse yourself in the local cuisine. There’s no better way to do this than to try some of the specialty dishes served on the island. Most notably is the Sa Burrida commonly served as an antipasto. This distinctive dish consists of dogfish marinated in walnut vinaigrette for 24 hours to produce the perfect bite to start your culinary adventure with.
There is so much to experience in Sardinia that there really is something for every type of traveler. With a little imagination and a few great suggestions on places to go, you can start planning your dream Italian vacation from the spectacular beaches on the Emerald Coast to the truly unique inland venues and vistas of this fascinating Mediterranean island.