Awarded time after time for pristine and clear water, Sardinia is an Italian island with the Mediterranean Sea acting as the boundaries of its beautiful beaches. What’s more, apart from some really picturesque beaches dotted with beach resorts, folk traditions play a vital role in Sardinian culture, so one can dive into the 1000-year-old history of this land and get to know more about its magnificent architecture and indulge in some really great culinary delights. Tourists do tend to get overshadowed by major locations such as Rome or Sicily, but Sardinia is Italy’s best-kept secret. Visitors to this charming location also have a variety of accommodation options to choose from, including luxury viilas and traditional hotels. So what are you waiting for? To make your vacation memorable, check out these top things to do in Sardinia, Italy.
The magical Costa Smeralda, literally translating to Emerald Coast, boasts clear turquoise water and quaint, charming villages. While exploring this stunning area in northeast Sardinia, the largest town you can find is the vibrant Arzachena. For an upscale vacation with magnificent landscapes, you can check out the seaside resort of Port Cervo. As for the gorgeous villages, one of the best that you can visit is San Pantaleo, an ideal place to get off the grid.
Apart from villas and yachts for accommodations in this region of Sardinia, you can find several bed and breakfasts providing ‘stazzi’ which are the distinctive traditional farmhouses.
Should you want to effortlessly explore Emerald Coast, take advantage of this small-group tour that will take you to the best hotspots on board a vehicle with air-conditioning and WiFi.
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes
With gorgeous narrow alleys, a thriving art scene and a rich history, Sassari is one of the best places to visit in Sardinia. Known for its cuisine and culinary culture, this tour in Sassari is perfect for those who want to explore the best local establishments. The host will take you on a stroll through the city’s lanes and regale as well as with the area’s history and lesser-known anecdotes. You will also be able to stop by the local bars and eateries to savour the regional delights.
Furthermore, the host’s cellar, where you can find organic wine and the local pecorino cheese, is also on the itinerary. This wine- and cheese-tasting tour in Sassari will make for a memorable experience on your Sardinia trip!
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
3. Explore the ancient hill district at II Castello
Castello is one of the historic districts of Sardinia. It served as a headquarter for military and civil authorities hundreds of years ago. Cagliari is the capital of this island. Among the various places to explore in Cagliari, Castello District, is the Elephant Tower and the San Pancrazio tower which was built in the 14th century. In northern Castello, one can even visit the botanical garden, Orto Botanico dell’ Università di Cagliari, which is spread over 5 hectares (12 acres), has over 2,000 species of plants: tropical, succulent and Mediterranean origins, and is an ideal spot for plant-admirers.
Orto Botanico dell' Università di Cagliari
Address: Via Sant'Ignazio da Laconi, 11, 09123 Cagliari CA, Italy
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 4 pm (closed on Mon)
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The locally grown variety of grapes, Cannanou (Grenache), is the most widely consumed variety of wine. Cannanou grapes are the most extensively planted, yielding high-quality of this ruby-colored drink. Generally, the red berry gives a sweet taste and is best complemented by dark chocolate, figs and baked fruit. Cannanou is rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant that acts as an excellent lubricator for cardiovascular diseases. A tour of the vineyards is a must for all oenophiles. Once in the vineyard, you’ll be accompanied by a knowledgable winemaker/guide who’ll demonstrate the different stages of wine cultivation.
Duration: 3.0 hour
5. Take a boat tour from the beautiful Golfo di Orosei
With the Mediterranean Sea acting as a boundary, the scenic beauty of Golfo di Orosei is truly the island’s best-kept secret. Hire a boat and drive around the length of the beach. If lucky, you can even spot dolphins frolicking around. Regarded as one of the best-hued beaches in the European region, and also the cleanest, this is a haven for all beach lovers. Dive into the pristine water and enjoy a glorious time in Sardina’s best-kept secret. After your time at the beach, you can shop around the locale and enjoy traditional cuisines.
Address: Via del Mare, sn, 08028 Orosei NU, Italy
Website: Blue Driving
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)
Since its discovery in the late 18th century, the cave of Neptune- named after the Roman God of Sea, Neptune, has been developed as an iconic tourist spot. Be acquainted by the impressive columns that hold up the impressive grotto ceiling. Tour one of the finest and largest saltwater lakes in Europe. Reach this splendid stalactite sea cavern via a rented boat or through a 654-step staircase.
Duration: 8 to 10 hours
A fishing and resort town located in the southwestern coast of Sardinia, Carloforte is a busy waterfront at the Isola di San Pietro. Tour around the quaint island or swim in the sea, take iconic photos with the naturally dramatic rock formations of the sea, which formed as a result of the volcanic explosion, carving a hilly interior. Thus, it makes for an ideal spot to just drive about the sea and if lucky, one can even spot dolphins, falcons and various wildlife.
Duration: 8.0 hour
8. Go hiking in Gorropu Gorge
If you’re looking for adventurous activities in Sardinia, hike to Gola di Gorropu. Regarded as one of the most spectacular hikes overlooking the scenery of the magnificent Mediterranean Sea, a trip to the canyons is a must for all those seeking to try out something different. The hike down the gorge is better than the one climbing but also more tedious.
Address: S.S. 125 km 183, 08040 Urzulei NU, Italy
Website: Gorropu Gorge
Opening hours: 10am - 3:30pm (daily)
An archaeological site that was a former trading post founded by the Phoenicians, Nora is located in the southernmost part of Sardinia. It offers a wonderful landscape where one can visit the Roman theatre, Roman thermal baths and beautiful artwork of mosaics. Also, visit the “Tanit Hill” (Goodness Phoenician temple), The Opus Africanum (the Punic quarter) and Foro. The ruins are perfect for people who just want to unwind by the sea, in the calm weather. Also, enjoy a panoramic view from the southern side of Sardinia and Cagliari.
Duration: 4 hours
Asinara is the second largest island in Sardinia and during the First World War, this land acted as a prison camp, thus deriving its name, Isla del Diavolo which translates to Devil’s Island, as it was considered to be a quarantined location. Since the establishment of the national park in 1997, this has developed into an industrious community attracting a wide range of travelers. One can tour on a mountain bike, horseback or by tourist train. Bird watching is one of the most sought-after activities and you can spot falcons or magpie. Some of the indigenous animals of this locale are the Albino donkey, feral horses, various kinds of goats and pigs and mouflon of horned sheep.
Duration: 14 to 16 hours
Su Nuraxi di Barumini, a splendid architectural delight that was constructed during the 1600-1200 BCE period, is a unique defensive complex. These are circular defensive towers that act as a testimony of the exceptional Bronze Age civilization, giving us an overview of prehistoric architecture, highlighting the natives’ political and socio-cultural evolution. It is the only archaeological site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sardinia.
Duration: 4 hours
Explore the magnificent Sardinia
So, were you aware of the amazing things this quaint island of Sardinia has to offer? Have you made your itinerary yet? Go, explore these amazing locales before they become overcrowded with tourists. Plan with your friends and family, or just go solo! Before you visit, review this list and find out what not to miss in Sardinia for a perfect Italian holiday!
Frequently asked questions about the top things to do in Sardinia, Italy
1. What are some of the things that Sardinia is famous for?
Most famous for its beaches, crystal-clear turquoise water and rock formations, the charming island of Sardinia is worth visiting. The island also boasts a rich history, which you can explore in destinations such as Castello District and the city of Nora. Sardinia is also known for its wine culture, so tour the wineries of Cagliari and other cities.
2. Which things to do in Sardinia are absolutely a must-try for a tourist?
If you are a first-time tourist exploring Sardinia, you have to tour the wineries of Cagliari, take a boat tour from the beautiful Golfo di Orosei, or delve into the sea cavern of Neptunes Grotto. If you are in Sassari, you should also not miss out on this tour to discover Sassari and a secret cellar.
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