The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. An autonomous region since 1948, Sardinia offers a unique vacation; combining the crème de la crème of Italian style with tranquil island life – as well as its own language and culture. Visitors come from all over the world to unwind on the immaculate beaches of the Maddalena Archipelago, or hike the wilderness trails of the rugged Gennargentu National Park. Sardinia’s size also means that no matter where you are located, all its attractions are easily accessible by land, air, or sea – allowing for flexibility at all times.
Why stay in a hotel on Sardinia? Some of the island’s most loved destinations
Cagliari: Incredible sunsets and sublime architecture
Located to the south of the island, Cagliari serves as Sardinia’s capital, and is an important port-of-call for history buffs and fans of iconic Mediterranean architecture. It is crowned by the ancient Il Castello castle, which sits proudly on a hill overlooking the ocean. Cagliari is one of Sardinia’s most aesthetically Italian cities, seen in its tree-lined boulevards packed with cozy cafes, friendly locals, and gorgeous pastel-colored buildings. An ancient port city, Cagliari dates back to before the Roman period, and examples of thousand-year-old pottery, mosaics, and other excavated artifacts can be found at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, located in the center of town. The sea-facing Marina District – which was once inhabited by fishermen and traders – is now a spider’s web of narrow streets peppered with hidden piazzas, traditional bars, and a variety of exquisite restaurants – it’s the perfect place to spend a romantic evening after admiring the spectacular sunset from Il Castello.
Alghero: Enchanting old town and rich history
Encircled by ancient walls and famous for its prehistoric history, Alghero enjoys its location in the northwest, across the Mediterranean from the Spanish mainland – the influences of which can be found all over the city. A dialect of Catalan is spoken here, and the impressive Gothic structures of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria and Chiesa San Michele would not be out of place in Barcelona or Madrid. The charming city center is alive with trendy restaurants, cobbled streets, and local color, plus the pristine beaches to the north and south of the city provide every opportunity imaginable; from sunbathing and swimming to snorkeling, kayaking, and beach combing. Alghero is also the place to learn more about the ancient nuraghe civilization, who settled on the island around 1,500 BCE. They built over 7000 beehive-like stone structures all over the island, and one of the most impressive places to see this is the nuraghe Palmavera, located 30-minutes away from Alghero by bus in the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte.
Maddalena Archipelago: Luxurious relaxation in northern Sardinia
The Maddalena Archipelago is located just off the north east tip of Sardinia, and is quite literally a small slice of paradise. Consisting of seven islands all ranging in size, the archipelago has been a dedicated national park since 1994, and is one of the most untouched in Italy. The islands are famous for their rugged landscapes, transparent water, and fine white sands, but a real treat can be discovered on the isle of Budelli. Known as the Spiaggia Rosa (or Pink Beach), the sand here appears to take on a pink hue thanks to the shells of local marine life. The best way to explore the archipelago is to captain your own yacht and take to the water, exploring all the hidden coves and isolated beaches along Maddalena’s shores. You could also try your hand at scuba-diving and snorkeling, and discover spectacular flora and fauna beneath the ocean surface, or simply relax on-deck under the warm Italian sun. Finish your day by mooring in the historic harbor town of Cala Gavetta, and enjoy a freshly caught catch-of-the-day at one of the many exceptional marina restaurants found there.