Recently Giovanni and I took a trip back to one of the most beautiful places I have visited in the Mediterranean, and probably the world so far: Sardinia (Sardegna). This beautiful Mediterranean island is the perfect holiday destination, and the more undeveloped south side of the island is ideal for anyone looking for a bit of adventure when they travel. With that in mind, here is my little travel guide to visiting the island.
A bit about Sardinia…
Sardinia is an Italian island located in the Mediterranean, on the south west coast of Italy. The second largest Mediterranean island in fact, with nearly two-thousand kilometres of coastline, it’s inland is more mountainous and hilly making for a gorgeous contrast to it’s golden beaches and crystal clear waters and providing plenty of hiking trails to explore.
There are three international airports on the island, the main of which is located in the islands capital and biggest city, Cagliari. The island is also accessible via numerous ferries connecting with mainland Italy and the French island of Corsica.
Weather & when to visit…
Due to it’s southerly location, Sardinia has a relatively mild climate all year round with temperatures of up to 14°C in the winter months and peaking around 30°C in the summer. We’ve visited both during peak season in the Summer and also in the winter; I personally think if you’re planning on doing a bit of exploring and hiking that it’s best to go before or just after peak season, so somewhere between April and June or September and October. During these months the temperature is between 13-20°C so more comfortable for outdoor activities.
Where to stay…
The north of the island is the more developed metropolitan area, with plenty of ports, tourist areas and nightlife. The south of the island however, possess more natural beauty, charm and culture; from the undeveloped landscape and coastline, unspoiled coves and beaches not to mention the hidden gem of Cagliari’s old town, Castello (which literally means castle), with its medieval architecture and romantic charm.
I can’t speak much to the north of Sardinia as I have only stayed in the south; I would recommend staying in or just outside Cagliari. Cagliari has its own airport, is a huge port town for cruise ships in the Summer and has the old town to explore also. A short drive outside Cagliari will bring you to the costal area of Muravera; Muravera is also a popular tourist area in the Summer, but less developed and commercialised. Muravera is close to many undeveloped and unspoiled beaches and coastline, with plenty of hiking trails to explore.
What to pack…
Sardinia is best experience on foot, so make sure you pack a pair of comfortable shoes suitable for hiking trails and even a bit of climbing if you’re feeling adventurous. Even in the winter when the sun is out during the day, the climate is warm despite the sea breeze, so I recommend packing light layers. However, because of the often cloudless skies the nighttimes can be cooler, so keep this in mind too when packing for winter time travel.
Mosquitos are common, and Tiger Mosquitos even more so on the south coast lines; if you are prone to mosquito bites make sure you pop into your local pharmacy before you travel to stock up on repellants and bite creams.
With nearly two-thousand kilometres of coastline it goes without saying that it’s worth packing your swimsuit to enjoy a swim in some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean; and if you are going to be surrounded by such stunning landscape and views all day long you will regret it if you don’t pack a camera too.
What to eat…
When in Italy don’t forget to try the pizza and gelato right? If you want a real treat for your taste buds, then seafood is the island’s speciality; one of my favourite dishes is pasta Bottarga, a simple spaghetti dish with Bottarga, which are a small salty fish eggs. The fruit in Sardinia is also amazing, make sure to try a local market during your visit to taste the locally grown sourced produce.
Experience the Island like a local…
- The best way to get around and discover the best views on the island is by car, I highly recommended renting one so you can see outside the main city and towns without needing to depend on tours or local transport.
- Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track, and explore some of the more hidden trails in the hillsides and old mining towns.
- Explore the less developed coastline rather than the tourist beaches in the towns and cites; you may have to hike a bit to get to them, but it will be well worth it.
- Research the trails and hiking routes before you go, and don’t be afraid to ask the locals for advice too, they are very proud of their beautiful island and happy to share advice on where to visit.