Sun, sand, and spritz on Sardinia
“The sea around Sardinia is emerald green and the beaches are reminiscent of those you find in the Caribbean, but here they are surrounded by rugged limestone cliffs and mountains,” Irene Wright, Key Account Manager at SAS, tells Scandinavian Traveler.
“The city of Olbia in northeast Sardinia is a good base for exploring the Costa Smeralda and the little villages nearby, such as Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo. Costa Smeralda means ‘Emerald Coast’ and it’s an appropriate description. This is where the Italians themselves come on vacation.”
It’s not just the Italians who visit here though. Prince Karim Aga Khan has also built a few residences in the area. In fact, he’s one of the men behind the development of the village of Porto Cervo, known for its extravagant nightlife and luxurious hotel. Today the value of one square meter of land in some places here is an incredible €300,000, according to real estate broker Engel & Völkers.
“A lot of people ask me if it’s expensive to travel to Sardinia, but it’s not,” Wright says. “There’s a wide range of prices and you can even package your own trip to suit your budget. Personally, I stay at small affordable hotels and drive around from village to village. Sardinia is small enough that it takes less than four hours to drive from one end of the island to the other. But remember to book your car in advance during the high season, as there’s a limited number of cars available to rent.”
You can also rent a boat.
“A couple of times I’ve rented a small boat and set out from Baja Sardinia for the small bays along the coast or the Maddalena islands. The water here is so clear that I’ve often thought it’s only a meter deep, but it’s actually maybe ten.”
The beaches of Sardinia have played roles in a few Hollywood movies. Cala Gonone, one of many spectacular beaches, shared the screen with Madonna in the movie Swept Away. The beach is located at the edge of a group of rugged cliffs and you can stay in the hotels around here from €100 per night. Sardinia also appeared in Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me as long ago as 1977. Then it was Capriccioli beach that showed off its soft sand and a sea that’s perfect for long snorkeling trips.
The most famous beach is still Spiaggia del Principe, as it’s rumored to be Karim Aga Khan’s favorite. Although there’s little chance of him laying out his beach towel next to you. Khan and his friends prefer to stay in their houses or on their yachts, according to the papers at least.
There’s nothing wrong with the beaches of Costa Smeralda, but why not head down the coast to Cala Goloritzè, which is about a couple of hours’ drive south of Olbia. Here the pine trees lean precariously out from the cliffs that enclose the beach. Does it look fabulous? Oh yes! That’s why this beach is considered one of the finest in Europe.
If you want to spend a few nights living in luxury, you should take a look at Hotel Romazzino, which is located right by the sea in Porto Cervo. Here you can choose between a room or a villa with a private garden and pool. All lightly and brightly decorated in the Italian style. The hotel, or resort in fact, has large outdoor areas and is located right by the beach. If you don’t feel like going out to eat in the evening, the hotel has both a bar and a restaurant. And if you have your heart set on getting married there, the hotel also does weddings.
Baja Sardinia, Arzachena 07021, Olbia Tempio
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Prices from NKr12,270 per night.
Hotel La Rocca
This gorgeous resort is steeped in old-fashioned, elegant charm. Breakfast is served in a beautiful garden where the sun filters through the ancient olive trees, and if you fancy a swim, you can take the private shuttle bus to the hotel’s own beach 800m away.
Hotel La Rocca
Prices start at €196 per night for a double room.
Food and drink
The S’Ollastu restaurant serves up playful dishes based around local produce. You can dine in the beautiful surroundings outside in the summer, although the restaurant is also charming inside. S’Ollastu has received a positive mention in the Michelin Guide.
Costa Corallina, Olbia
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Visit a vineyard
If you’re interested in wine, there are lots of vineyards you can visit. Tenuta Masone Mannu is around 10km outside Olbia. Here you can enjoy a guided tour, sample the wines, and have lunch. Expect traditional cuisine involving meat and pecorino cheese.
Tenuta Masone Mannu
Loc. Su Canala, Monti
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This farm restaurant is located north of Alghero. You can stay overnight in this rural setting, or just come for a locally sourced meal. Make sure you’re really hungry when you arrive though! It costs around Nkr400 per person for a six-course menu, including drinks.
Str. Aeroporto Civile, 21
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Shopping in Sardinia
Although Porto Cervo has only a few hundred permanent residents, it has fashion and accessories enough for everyone, with boutiques such as Roberto Cavalli, Missoni, and Tod’s. Porto Rotondo is also a good place to shop. If you love shoes, you should take a peak in Il Sandalo on Piazza Deiana, which sells sandals that would make Jackie Kennedy green with envy. There are also some interesting stores to be found in Sardinia’s unofficial capital Cagliari, in the south of the island. There are food markets all over Sardinia, so make sure you buy some pecorino cheese and a little wine.
If you want to dance outside as the sun goes down, head for Phi Beach in Baja Sardinia. It occupies a terrace by the sea, right next to the fortification Forte Cappellini. The parties here are unforgettable, with DJs and bands setting the mood well into the night. You can also eat some aperitivos in the bar, perhaps accompanied by an Aperol spritz, before the party gets started.
If you want to experience the rich lifestyle of Porto Cervo without breaking the bank, we recommend taking a breather at down-to-earth bar Lord Nelson.
Piazza della Marina, Porto Cervo
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Published: April 8, 2019
Last edited: April 11, 2019