• Sardinia, Italy
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    Sardinia

    By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
    The crystalline waters of the Mediterranean, comparable only to Caribbean lagoons. A mountainous hinterland perfect for adventurers. A culture rich in traditions. It's not difficult to spot the secrets to Sardinia's touristic success.

    Travel guide

    A European treasure

    A treasured holiday destination, even amongst Italians, Sardinia is one of Europe's greatest pearls. Crystal clear water and some of Italy's finest sand beaches attract visitors from all over the world year after year, whilst its enviable position far from the mainland has left it free to develop a unique culture just as captivating as the gently lapping Mediterranean Sea.

    A culture of invasion

    With its strategically important position in the centre of the Mediterranean, Sardinia has always been at the heart of the many invasions and counterinvasions that plagued Europe for many long centuries. Amongst the various people who have made the island their home, we find Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, all of whom have left their own mark on Sardinia.

    All natural

    Nature is one of the island's most important assets, from its picturesque coastline, surrounded by blue water with pink rocks hiding just beneath, to the lusciously green mountains which populate its interior. It may have a small land mass, but Sardinia is without doubt one of Italy's wildest regions, with rocky peaks emerging from an almost arid landscapes and forests stretching uninterrupted for miles up steep mountainsides.

    Beach tourism

    It may have a wild interior, but Sardinia owes most of its economic success to seaside tourism. It started off in the area around Alghero in the 1950s and slowly extended towards the Costa Smeralda, in the north-east. This gorgeous stretch of coast quickly became one of the island's most visited areas, gathering many of the world's most luxurious establishments and attracting jet setters from all over the world.

    Capital Cagliari

    The province of Cagliari extends over much of the island, covering the large swathe of land from Nuoro in the north to the Carbonia-Iglesias in the extreme south west. The eponymous capital of the region is a real treat for both architecture and vitality, a city that must be discovered on foot whether you wander through the narrow streets of the centre or along the seafront. The province is also one of the most popular places on the island to enjoy the sea, with some of the best beaches including Poetto, Tueredda and Porto Piscinni.

    Charming towns

    As you descend towards the south-western tip of Sardinia, you'll come across charming towns such as Pula, Santa Margerita di Pula, Chia and the intimate Porto Pino, part of the Carbonia-Iglesias province and known for its picture-perfect beaches. To the east of Cagliari, head out on the open road to the coastal village of Villasimius. Once a small fishing village, it now holds a myriad of bars, cafés and boutiques to entertain the many tourists who come to enjoy its white sands and beautiful harbour in the summer.

    Our Editorial team's advice

    The tip of the southwest of Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places on the island where the cliffs slope down sharply into the sea,making for a spectacular display at sunset. To avoid missing out on this impressive panorama, head to Sant'Antioco coast opposite the San Pedro island at the end of the day.

    pros

    • +Wild nature.
    • +The Costa Smeralda creeks.

    cons

    • -Expensive accommodation.
    • -The limited number of historic sites.

    Traditions

    In Italy you can spend your evening roaming the streets. It is a tradition, 'the passeggiata' or evening stroll where you meet and chat with people (and those conversations may continue late into the night in huge outdoor cafés). It is also your ultimate chance to enjoy one of the famous Italian ice creams!
    You can actually bargain in the markets when you're buying souvenirs; start by asking the price from the seller, then offer him two-thirds of the amount. However, do not bargain for the sake of it, you should buy the item once the trader accepts your offer.

    Food

    Italian cuisine is undoubtedly a big part of its appeal. Start with the antipasti, a varied appetizer made of seafood, marinated eggplants, artichokes and herrings soaked in oil. Try the pasta, lasagna or the countless types of raviolis and then for your main meal opt for a seafood dish (preferably swordfish, bream or mackerel) or something meat-based (lamb, stuffed veal shoulder or grilled beef). If you want to taste real Italian pizza, order it plain and simple, with just tomato and mozarella. As for wine, you will not only find chianti and frascati, but also salerno of Naples, marsala of Sicily and cannonau from Sardinia.

    Ideal Weather Search

    Find weekly weather forecasts for Sardinia . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Sardinia . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Sardinia .

    Souvenirs

    You can bring back gourmet specialties, like olive oil, sauce and condiments, dried pasta, honey, panettone and almond biscuits. Fans of Italian fashion offers something for every taste, among some of the desinger luxury brands like Gucci, Moschino and Prada. There are also some lovely coral jewels and a ceramics available, perfect for presents and keepsakes. Shops are open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm during the week.

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