Sardinia is an island in the Mediterranean Sea east of Italy. While it’s sparsely inhabited, Sardinia offers visitors a lot to see and do with its stunning coast, interior mountains, and extensive history dating back to prehistoric times.
When Visiting Sardinia Did You Know?
- Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean. (Sicily is the largest.)
- Sardinia has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
- 7000 nuraghi — round stone fortresses — are scattered across Sardinia. Additionally, you will find ancient temples, tombs, menhirs — large upright standing stones — and remains of entire Bronze Age villages in Sardinia.
- Sardinia became a Spanish colony in 1479.
- In 1861, Sardinia joined the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
- Sardinia has the highest percentage of people over the age of 100 in the world.
- Some people believe Sardinia is the site of the Lost City of Atlantis.
Sardinia’s Beach Destinations
When people think of visiting Sardinia, they are usually picturing Costa Smeralda on the island’s northwestern coast. Certainly Costa Smeralda is home to dazzling beaches, ritzy hotels, and beautiful people. However, maybe you are a bit more adventurous and want to enjoy your dazzling beaches in a more secluded atmosphere. If that’s the case, consider Sardinia’s eastern coast and the beaches of Cala Luna, Cala Gonone, Cala Fuili, Cala Goloritze, and Cala Mariolou.
Cala Gonone is the center of tourism in the area with a number of hotels and restaurants. You might even think of Cala Gonone as the area’s “beach town”. It’s a great place to set as your home base with its many wonderful beachfront hotels. The hotels even offer room and board, with breakfast and dinner included in your stay, as is common throughout much of Italy.
The other beaches near Cala Gonone are primarily isolated coves accessible only by boat (either a tour boat or a small dinghy) or by hiking. All these beaches share the same incredible, brilliant, bright, clear, turquoise water, but otherwise there are some differences between them.
For instance, Cala Luna is a wonderful hike from Cala Gonone, passing through Cala Fuili along the way. Cala Luna is blessed with fine, soft sand and has a restaurant/bar onsite. It’s also a favorite spot for scuba divers because of the “pristine water and beautiful undersea views”. Other activities at Cala Luna include swimming, boating, general lounging, and rock climbing.
At Cala Mariolou many swimmers enjoy jumping from the rocks into the ocean in addition to the aforementioned swimming, boating, general lounging, and rock climbing. You can quench your hunger and thirst at Cala Mariolou’s casual beach stand.
Cala Goloritze is accessible only via boat or a 2-hour hike from the main coastal road. The approach is rocky and uneven, but beautiful. Cala Goloritze also has an amazing spire that technical climbers like to summit. Although there is some sand at Cala Goloritze, the beach is mostly “just a giant pile of boulders”, albeit with an amazing view!
According to Laura Boniello Miller, “The rustic feel and inaccessibility of the beaches leaves one feeling less like one of a bevy of tourists and more like one privy to a secret location. Yes, you can shop, but it isn’t the overwhelming overabundance of commercialism. Instead, it is a bit of a throwback to simpler times. Those looking for an active lifestyle beach vacation would greatly enjoy this trip. Sardinia is one of the top European beach vacations (and in fact, most of the folks we met were either mainland Italians or Germans). It’s one of the best-kept secrets that Americans just aren’t aware of.”
Planning Your Sardinia Vacation
Some things you may want to consider when planning your vacation to Sardinia are …
How much do you want to spend?
How do you want to book your vacation?
Are you interested in vacation packages or do you prefer to look for independent vacation deals from individual hotels and airlines? Booking a package is definitely faster and may be cheaper, but booking independently provides you with more choices and — contrary to popular belief — can even be less expensive.
Where do you want to go while you are there?
When planning your vacation to Sardinia you will want to orient yourself. Use this map to locate the places you want to visit.
What time of year do you want to visit? / What’s the weather?
Sardinia has a mild, 3-season climate. Temperatures range from an average low of 42°F in January to an average high of 85°F in July and August (5.55°C – 29.44°C). February is Sardinia’s wettest month with an average rainfall of 2.30 inches (5.84 centimeters).
If you have a bit of an adventurous soul, visiting Sardinia is a lovely, authentic European vacation destination.
Special thanks to Laura Boniello Miller for providing the information for this article.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin