The Little Continent
Backpacking in Sardinia
If you are planning a backpacking holiday in Sardinia on a budget, the best advice is to plan in advance wherever possible. Sardinia can be an expensive destination to visit, especially during peak months and around the Costa Smeralda region. If you are able to avoid the busiest summer months, July and August, you will find that accommodation will be more reasonably priced. Fortunately Sardinia is infamous for its long summers with fine weather, so avoiding the busy main UK and European school holiday periods can be beneficial with fewer crowds and cheaper prices. There are plenty of sights and attractions to see if you are backpacking in Sardinia and many of them are free of charge, especially the old historic ruins, beautiful beaches, and the island’s stunning architecture.
The best way to get around the island on a budget is by taking the bus or train. Hiring a car is often a great way to explore Sardinia but can often be expensive with the rental and fuel prices. Backpacking accommodation in Sardinia is not as common and there are only a handful of hostels on the island. However, if you stay away from the centre of popular resorts, you can find reasonable priced hotels and B7Bs. Camping can be a great option for those on a budget and who love the outdoors. Try and book flights and accommodation far in advance to avoid increasing prices and full up accommodation. Eating out in Sardinia can be expensive but like any other holiday resort, there are bargains to be found if you look around. Alghero is a popular region for backpackers in Sardinia.
Camping in Sardinia
Taking a camping holiday in Sardinia can be a great way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and experience the outdoor life. Campsites in Sardinia are of high quality and usually have great facilities including swimming pools, supermarkets, shops, and restaurants. The majority of campsites in Sardinia only open during the summer months April – September/ October. Unlike most hotels, you will you do not need to book a camping space in advance but it might be wise to during the peak months July and August. Some campsites have small bungalows available to rent out which can accommodate 1–4 people but these need to be booked in advance. Campsite prices can be very high during July and August but still considerably less than hotels during this time. A night’s camping in Sardinia for an adult costs from €10 - €18 and additional charges are applied for parking, showers, and electricity for caravans. A bungalow sleeping two adults can cost from €80 - €130 per night. Camping outside of legal camping grounds is not permitted in Sardinia but it could be worth asking private land owners if you can camp on their land.
City Breaks in Sardinia
The only problem with taking a city break in Sardinia is that you will find you do not have enough time to see and do all of the things on offer. Sardinia is quite an expensive tourist destination and you might find that you get your money’s worth by staying for at least a week. The island’s capital Cagliari is a modern port full of activity. The Old Town of Cagliari has both North African and Spanish influences, a magnificent archaeological museum, plenty of fine restaurants, and historic ruins full of culture and ambience, making it a great place to visit for a city break in Sardinia. Alghero is situated in the North West region of Sardinia and is another port with a beautiful harbour lined with yachts and boats. The Spanish influences are still apparent in this picturesque region and there is plenty to see and do on a city break, including shopping, visiting the nearby vineyards, and sampling the local Sardinian produce. If money is no object, visit the popular resort of Costa Smeralda for a city break in Sardinia. Its 10km stretch of stunning beaches, emerald coloured seas, and endless entertainment attracts visitors of all sorts, including celebrities, and footballers wives. Costa Smeralda provides an excellent but expensive option for a city break in Sardinia. Costa, Smeralda, Alghero, and Cagliari are all in close proximity to nearby airports, which is great if you just want to visit Sardinia for a city weekend break.
Culture and Arts in Sardinia
If you are looking to experience a culture and arts holiday in Sardinia, the sights and attractions are endless. From the northern region of Sassari, all the way down to the south of the island where the capital, Cagliari, lies, there is so much to explore. Discover the archaeological delights across the island with ruins of temples, thermal baths, city walls, and amphitheatres. Traditional Sardinian folk dances and music still exist on the island and traditional costumes are proudly worn during the many festivals on the island. Poetry and literature are important aspects of Sardinian arts and the island was home to the Nobel Prize winning Grazia Deledda. Taking a culture and arts holiday in Sardinia can open the mind and the heart especially through its beautiful paintings and sculptures. There is something to discover in every region whether it is a music festival, a museum, an art gallery, or an archaeological gem; perfect if you are seeking a culture and arts holiday in Sardinia.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Sardinia
A cycling holiday in Sardinia can be a fantastic and economical way to discover the island but be warned – the island is full of mountainous and hilly landscape which could prove to be a challenge for long distances. Roads are narrow and winding and can be dangerous, especially at night. Because of the island’s long and mostly dry summers, a cycling holiday in Sardinia can be exhausting if you are not used to intense heat. To make the most out of a cycling holiday in Sardinia, be prepared and try to become as fit as possible before your endure the journey. Bikes are permitted on most trains and are kept in a separate cart but an additional €5 must be paid, regardless of how far you are going. Bikes can be carried free of charge on ferries. It is against the law to cycle on highways in Sardinia. Bike hire in Sardinia is available in most tourist hot spots and the main towns and cities. Prices range from €8 - €25 per day.
Family Holiday in Sardinia
Taking a family holiday in Sardinia can be full of memorable experiences with something to suit all ages. Sardinians like many Italians are family orientated people and children are welcomed on the island with great facilities and activities. With three main airports on the island, this makes it much easier for families to travel to their destination. Sardinia is a great place for families who love to explore, or who enjoy all types of sports. There are many water sports to enjoy including canoeing, sailing, snorkelling, wind sailing, and water-skiing. Horse-riding excursions, boat trips, swimming, or playing on one of the many clean and beautiful beaches, are just some of the activities available on a family holiday in Sardinia. Many resort-type hotels provide superb facilities for children including babysitting services and kids’ clubs. Sardinia can be expensive but discounts are available for children under the age of 12 on public transport and entry into some attractions and sights. Try and book accommodation, transport, and excursions as far in advance as possible to make you trip stress-free. July and August are the busiest months on the island due to the weather and UK and European school holidays so be prepared for crowds and higher prices if you are taking your Sardinian family holiday around this time of year.
Honeymoon in Sardinia
Sardinia is fast becoming one of the world's most popular honeymoon destinations. With its long stretches of white sands, turquoise waters, stunning scenery, towns rich in culture and history, romantic ambience, and gastronomic delights, what more could you ask for a honeymoon holiday in Sardinia? Whether you watch the sun setting with your newlywed, go snorkelling in the turquoise sea, walk hand in hand across white sand, dine out in a cosy restaurant, dance under the moonlight, walk the cobbled streets of the beautiful towns, take a boat trip around the caves, tour a vineyard, or seek adventure whilst exploring the historic ruins of the island, a honeymoon in Sardinia will leave you with a magical and memorable experience.
Shopping Holiday in Sardinia
A shopping holiday in Sardinia can be a great way to excess your luggage and empty your wallet. There are so many different types of shops across the island with the chic shops and boutiques of the Costa Smeralda, markets with local crafts, antiques and produce in coastal towns, and high-quality coral jewellery near Alghero. Different regions of Sardinia are known for different crafts traditions and one particular shopping must-have is the island’s traditional hand-made pocket-knife produced in Patada and Arbus. Coastal and tourist resorts can be expensive but the further inland you go the more you will notice the lower prices. Most of the island’s shops are independent. You will not find many of the high street chains you are used to at home but a shopping holiday in Sardinia will no doubt find you find a local treasure or gift to remember the island by.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Sardinia
If you are planning a walking and climbing holiday in Sardinia, there are a wide range of mountainous terrains, steep hills, and winding valleys to choose from. The spectacular cliffs and gorges provide a thrilling trek for the adventurous hikers. There are a number of routes to take for a walking holiday in Sardinia including the rugged paths of the highest point of the island, Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu, the limestone area of the Supramonte, and the prehistoric ruins of Sa Sedda 'e Sos Carros and Tiscali. More relaxing walks can be found in the north of the island around Monte Limbara, Alghero, and the Iglesiante area. If you are looking to take a walking and climbing holiday in Sardinia, don&rsquo;t forget to bring your walking boots, a stick, and wear comfortable clothing. The heat can be intense during the summer months so prepare yourself for any long hikes or treks.
Wine Tasting Holiday in Sardinia
If you are looking to capture the essence of Italian flavours, take a wine tasting holiday in Sardinia. With its numerous vineyards across the islands, Sardinians are proud of their local wine and have been producing it for thousands and thousands of years. The flavours of the grapes are powerful and vintners have recently had to tame the alcohol content in order to produce some lighter varieties. There are many award-winning vineyards scattered throughout the island and many are open to members of the public for a tour and some sampling. A wine tasting holiday is not complete without discovering the region’s local speciality. In Sardinia this is a fortified wine called Vernaccia, produced in Oristano, and usually served as an aperitif. Wine is very affordable in Sardinia and a bottle of table wine in a restaurant averages between €12 – €20. During November Millis is home to the Rassegna del Vino (Festival of Young Wine), where some of the island’s best wine producers get together to show off their finest wine products. Some of the greatest vineyards are located in the northeast area of Sardinia in Tempo Pausania and Berchidda, the northern region of Alghero, and Oristano.
Beach in Sardinia
There are plenty of idyllic, isolated coves and unspoilt Sardinia beaches for those willing to explore. Beach holidays in Sardinia are particularly popular with watersports enthusiasts, with rewarding water-skiing, windsurfing and surfing. Despite the advent of low-cost airlines, which although they have increased access to (and the popularity of) Sardinia, have also unrealistically raised the expectations of travellers as to what is available outside of the peak season months of June, July and August, often leading to disappointment. The island does not cater to year round mass "beach holiday" tourism. This is particularly true of the north and east of the island, in the resorts served by the airport at Olbia. One should always research what is open and available in the Sardinian resorts surrounding the airport that you choose to arrive at before you book. Just because the flight looks cheap and the airport that you fly from in the UK is convenient, there may well be a downside at the other end.
Southern Sardinia features long expanses of perfect sandy beaches and probably the most translucent turquoise sea you will find anywhere in Europe. The southern coast of this wonderful island provides an ideal environment for the ultimate beach holiday on Sardinia.
Santa Margherita di Pula
On the southern tip of Sardinia, Santa Margherita di Pula has a superb sandy beach and is close to the city of Cagliari, ablaze with cafés, restaurants, shops and the interesting old quarter 'Castello'.
Chia, one of Sardinia's most scenic and uncluttered coastlines, where rocky promontories separate reclusive sandy coves. A 16th century campanile stands guard over the Punic settlement of Bithia.
Founded during the 8th and 9th century BC, Nora houses the remains of Punic and Phoenician sanctuaries, a magnificent Roman villa, amphitheatre and stately forum.
Sardinia's sophisticated northern shores, such as the Costa Smeralda and Baia Sardinia, are interspersed with near-deserted sandy coves and rocky inlets. This stunning stretch of coastline contrasts with the remote, rugged landscape inland, where the beauty is of a wilder nature.
Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo
Stretching for 30 pristine miles across the island's north east corner, Costa Smeralda has idyllic sandy beaches. Cervo boasts a luxury yacht club and marina complex and stylish boutiques.
Baia Sardinia, a small village set in a beautiful little bay with fine sand and clear water. Here, life centres around the beach and the piazza where there are a few small shops, bars and restaurants.
For those avid to discover a characteristic Sardinian town, Oliena is a perfect example, set in the Cedrine valley at the foot of Monte Corrasi. Shaded streets are lined by whitewashed houses with painterly courtyards, reposing in a languid atmosphere neighboured by gnarled olive groves, terraced vineyards and scented almond trees.
Those in search of less obvious exposure find languid coves at Cala Capra, a sandy stretch shaded by low wooded hills in an area of unsurpassed Sardinian natural beauty.
An old Catalan town and picturesque port, Alghero is a fusion of Italian and Spanish flavours. Explore the ancient ramparts and medieval walled town before taking a coastal walk past the craggy cliffs, vineyards and olive groves of the Coral Riviera. Beach bums will flock to the 5km stretch of golden sand, and foodies will savour local delicacies such as fresh lobster served up in the renowned but reasonable restaurants.
Couples Holiday in Sardinia
With over 1800km of coastline and a situation equidistant between Italy and Tunisia, Sardinia lies in the heart of the Mediterranean. It has an exclusive reputation and an exquisite coastline, making Sardinia is the perfect place to spend a romantic holiday or honeymoon on the beach or surrounded by nature.
The only minus is that Sardinia is not the ideal destination if you are a couple on a budget. Sardinia is quite a costly holiday destination and accommodation, although beautiful, is expensive. Search our Sardinia accommodation deals for the latest hotel and self-catered holiday villa offers.
Below is an introduction to each of the areas in Sardinia – all of which are excellent choices for those looking for a relaxing couples holiday.
Alghero & the North West
Sardinia’s north west coast shelters the most attractive seaside resorts on the island, interspersed with some really spectacular coastline – from dramatic rugged cliffs to dazzling sandy beaches. Alghero is a popular resort town in this area, with a distinctive Catalan character, quaint narrow streets and a charming harbour-front; ideal for romantic walks.
Wild and remote, the landscapes of Central Sardinia are spectacular, with valleys, gorges, canyons, forests and towering mountain peaks. Sardinian culture has been more preserved here than elsewhere on the island so you can be sure to experience the real Sardinian way of life in the local towns and untouched mountain villages. It could be said that if you were to go looking for the ‘real’ Sardinia you would head for the mountainous heart of the island – here is where you will find the rural Sardinians living life much as it was at the turn of the last century. The coastal part of this region also has some of the island’s best beaches and some stunning cliffs; perfect for couples looking for a holiday retreat.
It has taken much longer for visitors to discover the incredibly wild, beautiful and unspoilt region of Southern Sardinia. Outside of the busy capital and port of Cagliari the south is less commercialised than the north of the island; and the southern coastline boasts stunning beaches and crystal clear seas. It is teeming with dramatic mountain ranges, interesting wildlife and prehistoric sites.
This region’s real lures are its pristine, untouched beaches that punctuate most of the southern coastline. Yet there is a good deal else to draw couples here: the dramatic sweep of the inland Sulcis mountains, the character filled town of Pula with its neat piazza and fine restaurants; and the capital itself which throbs with typical Sardinian energy.