Sardinia – Sun, Sand, Sizzle

I went to the Italian island of Sardinia for a four day break with 6 friends of mine a couple of months ago. We didn’t do much there but to chill on the beach, but since we had an awesome time its worth sharing anyway.

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. It is quite far away from Italian mainland but just a few miles south of the french island of Corsica. Sardinia is not as crowded as Sicily, and not as developed as a tourist destination as other Italian destinations. The capital is Cagliari which is to the south of the island.

We went to a place called Santa Teresa which is on the northern tip of Sardinia. The plan was to stay in a sea-facing apartment owned by parents of one of the group members. We flew to Olbia, which is a port in the north-east and serves as entry point to the posh resorts off the north-east coast, the likes of Porto Cervo on the Costa Smeralda (the Emerald coast), where the rich and famous of the world descend in their yatchs in the summer. We obviously had no plans whatsoever of celebrity-spotting, not even footballers and pop divas, so we headed straight to our less posh but much nicer destination a bit further north.

The apartment was wonderful with great views across the mediterranean (we could see the island of Corsica sitting in the balcony!) and the local harbour. We actually ended up spending quite a bit of time in the balcony enjoying long meals.

The view

A whole day was spent taking a boat cruise from Santa Teresa to the islands of La Maddalena which turned out to be the highlight of the trip. The sea and the weather were amazing and the beaches were golden. The cruise was run by a local operator and charged 30-35 euros (can’t remember correctly) with lunch provided on-board. They stopped at a couple of beach resorts where we could disembark and explore the islands or get into the water.

Cruise

The major stop was at the La Maddalena island where we had time to explore the market on the island, the main square and have the mandatory cappucino / gelato halt.

La Maddalena Square

La Maddalena Market

In fact during the trip we had so much ice cream that I probably would have had in the entire last year in London. Since we were in Italy, we dedicated most of our breakfasts and dinners to truly authentic Italian fare. Sardinia specialises in seafood which I enjoyed to my heart’s content, and we sampled (and brought home) the local Cannonau red wine.

In Santa Teresa itself, the beach was beautiful. It was crowded as expected, the Italians from the mainland had started visiting for their summer breaks. There were many families with kids and an equal number of couples and groups. It was really hot as well! The temperature was 35 degrees so spending the whole afternoon on the beach was actually a challenge, and all of us ended up getting deep tans. The time on the beach flew by very quickly as the water was cool (but not cold at all) and shallow so one could play around for ages, the sand was soft and there were beautiful people everywhere one looked. This density of so many beautiful people in a single stretch of land could be possible only in Italy.

Santa Teresa Beach

Santa Teresa

The main piazza (square) in Santa Teresa town was very lively in the evenings, when everyone rose from their siestas and came out for a bit of chat with friends. There was dancing and music on the streets and the bars were lively. There wasn’t too much shopping to be done except for the usual souvenirs, so we focussed our expenditure towards food and drink. Also enjoyed a beautiful sunset into the sea to mark the end of our trip.

Sunset

If one wants to explore the island, the key thing required is a car (best to hire right at the airport or even before you travel). The public transport on the island is nothing to be talked about. And it is not as easy to get around if you do not speak any Italian. This means that there are less English tourists (which is really a good thing, trust me…!) but also means that its best to plan the entire trip beforehand. Since the island is huge, it would be best to decide which part one wants to explore. Other areas worth visiting are around Alghero in the west and Cagliari in south.  There is enough archaeology and nature-related sites on the island to keep the enthusiast interested, but from my viewpoint, it essentially beckons those on the lookout for sun, sand and lots of sizzle.

11 Comments

  • Sudhir says:

    Nice pics, especially the blue sea. The bit on siestas is an interesting read. Well written post with informative tit-bits.

  • Smita says:

    I’ll go back and read the post again.

    I just wanna applaud – Rahul is back!! clap clap!

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Absolutely brilliant write up with some excellent pictures. I enjoyed every bit of the post.

    Be it the Welsh countryside, the Scottish Highlands, the beautiful Cornwall, the London Eye or the streets of Delhi, you are at charming ease writing about these wonderful places.

    Though I vaguely remember having read something about Sardinia, I believe it has a strong historical background too.

    Thank you for sharing this enchanting information about Sardinia.

    As Smita has said, good to see you back after an interval.

    Would look forward to your next post.

    God bless you.

  • JATINDER SETHI says:

    Rahul, why no pictures of you and friends on such an exotic place.All those beautiful pics up could have been an excellent backdrop.?

  • Rajeev says:

    It was a pleasure going through you brilliant post with pictures to match.

    That observation about ‘beauty density’ was the gelato icing on the cake:-)

    The pictures are simply breathtaking, as always in your posts.

    And for the readers’ benefit, is it possible for you to throw some discreet light on the obseravation about non-english speaking/english speaking toursist?

  • nandanjha says:

    Somehow every time you write here, someone or the other would say that you are writing after a long time :) and thats not true. You are at No 3 in terms of total no of posts as of now. So either people forget you easily (which I dont think is the case) or they want more of you.

    4 days on sun-n-sand-n-sizzle must be a good fun. It seems fellow ghumakkars are more interested in beach photos :) Dont oblige them, we should probably get out and see for ourselves, esp the high beauty-density areas.

    Out here in Noida, its so humid that when you take a chilled pint out from refrigerator , you can actually create a glass-ful of fresh water created naturally on the outer surface of glass pint, its so humid. Oh.. may be I just got the bright idea of making a de-humidifier.

    Great post Rahul.

  • Rahul says:

    Ya I know, tell me about getting forgotten! lol.. Thanks for the positive comments guys.
    Thanks Ram Uncle, the historical background of Sardinia is torn between Italy (Rome, Genoa, Pisa) and Spain (Iberia), with influences from North African invasions. The big cities carry a lot more history which we did not have a chance to visit unfortunately. Will do so next year when we plan to visit again.
    Jatinder, we obviously did a lot of posing in front of the cameras too, but just did’nt know which one to pick and post :)
    Rajeev, English tourists many-a-times leave the places very anglicised (e.g. Spanish destinations of Costa del Sol, Canary Islands, also South Wales etc) so the native charm in the scenery, food and language is lost. Sardinia still retains that in my opinion.
    Jha, we did not carry cameras on the beach (or rather did not take it out of our packs), though we would’ve been spoilt for choice if we had decided to sneak in a few pictures from around :)

  • jaishree khamesra says:

    Sea, gelato, siesta………rekindled my one of the lovliest vacations, at Italian Reviera.

    Your write ups are always beautiful.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Beautiful Post Rahul. Yesterday we read two beautiful posts – Yours and that of Nandan and saw photographs on another beautiful post by Manish Chachra (Its so big that it will take some time for me to go through it). I must say that the quality of posts on ghumakkar is becoming better and better and we are having enormous pool of information :)

    Sardinia – We considered going to Sardinia from Genoa, so your post brought back those memories. I also discussed about this possibility with a guy from Sardinia. Sardinia in my opinion is quite less developed (in terms of infrastructure) than the mainland of Italy esp north. But then and may be that’s why it has its own rustic charm. And yes limited public transport was one of the limitations. It seems they are also keen on keeping their different identity intact, different from rest of Italy.

    As ever your post, and beautiful photos virtually took us on the tour. And yes you can see that how eagerly we, your fans, wait for your posts :)

  • Rahul says:

    Thanks to the sweet couple for your equally sweet comments :)

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