Located in the Western Mediterranean, Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and is an autonomous region of Italy. Sardinia is divided into four provinces, and the capital city is Cagliari, where approximately 431,000 people live. If you are looking for the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the Italian mainland, then Sardinia is the ideal place to visit. If glitz and glam are your thing then The Costa Smeralda, which is littered with luxury hotels, breathtaking beaches, chic boutique shops and the odd celebrity, is the place for you.
However, if a more relaxed pace is more your cup of tea not to worry. Sardinia is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean and with good reason as there are plenty of spots on the island where you can really get back to nature and enjoy the great outdoors, including perfect swimming spots, rivers, gorges, amazing panoramic views and a number of National Parks. Sardinia has often been overlooked in favour or other Mediterranean islands in the past, however it is now becoming very popular with holidaymakers, so why not visit soon, as it is just waiting to be discovered.
How to get there – travel tips
There are 3 airports in Sardinia which offer regular flights to and from the island, they are Olbia, Cagliari and Alghero airports. It is very well-connected to its European neighbours via budget airlines, making the cost of getting there very reasonable. However, one of the most popular ways to get there, especially from mainland Italy, is by one of the ferries to Sardinia that run regularly from a number of Italian ports. Why not jump on one yourself and sail through the blue mediterranean waters. With crossing times of approximately 5 hours, it is a great way to get to Sardinia for a few days exploration, although longer is of course recommended.
Renowned for its ‘six month summer’ running from May to October, Sardinia basks in glorious mediterranean sunshine for half of the year, with average temperatures of 28.5 in July and August. Rain in Sardinia during the summer months is very infrequent, making it a perfect summer destination. Even winters in Sardinia are mild, with night frosts and snow almost never seen. However, the the island is quite windy due to the northwest wind that blows from France. During the summer months, the breeze is very welcome, but during winter it can make the island feel colder than it actually is.
5 Beautiful Spots Where You Can Get Back To Nature
There are so many spots in Sardinia where you can see nature at its best; it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. However here are 5 top picks that you should not miss as they are truly beautiful:
Asinara National Park
Asinara, which is also known as known as “Isola del Diavolo” – “Devil’s Island”, is the third largest island of Sardinia and has a very checkered history. It has been used as a quarantine location, a prison camp during the First World War, and an Italian high security prison until it became a National Park in 1997. The park is a protected area, it is open to the public however only after receiving authorisation from the Provisional Management Committee. It is home to centres for environmental education, cafes and points of interest. Mediterranean maquis completely covers the island and there is a wood of Holm oaks together with a small group of albino donkeys which add to the island’s charm together with numerous species of birds.
Gallura is a region in the northeast of the island of Sardinia and the landscape is characterised by granite rocks and harsh mountains. The main towns of the area are Olbia, which is the administrative capital, Tempio Pausania, Arzachena and La Maddalena. One of the island’s three National Parks is located in Gallura – the Archipelago of La Maddalena’s National Park,which is a geomarine national park and covers an area on land and sea of over 12,000 hectares and 180 kilometers of coasts. The area gets extremely busy during high season as people flock to soak up the natural beauty on offer here and enjoy the seaside towns and beautiful beaches.
The island’s wild east is perfect for hiking and there is no better place than Gola Su Gorropu, which is known as Europe’s Grand Canyon. The Gorropu Gorge, which is the result of incessant erosions by the Flumineddu river, is one of the deepest in Europe with the limestone walls standing at approximately 1,300ft. There is an admittance fee of €5 and unless you have a guide and are an experienced climber, you can only get so far down. There are three ways to get to the gorge – firstly by hiking to it, secondly biking to it and thirdly, if your budget permits, taking a jeep taxi to the entrance with the best time to visit being early morning before the powerful mediterranean sun becomes too hot to bear.
Mariolu Bay (Ogliastra)
Located in the east of the island, Mariolu Bay is quite difficult to get to, you either have to hike a fair way or take an organised boat trip. However, this means that the beach, which is made up of pink sand grains mixed with tiny white pebbles, is fairly untouched, making it the perfect place to relax and take in your surroundings. Many people refer to it as ‘heaven on earth’. The region of Ogliastra is perfect for lovers of nature, wild landscapes and fabulous local food and is a great place to escape from the north and the south of the island, where the main tourist hotspots are.
Sulcis Natural Park
Located in the southwest of Sardinia, Sulcis is famous for its ancient origins and traditions and is currently on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s Tentative List. It is the perfect place to visit if you are a water or nature lover, as the sea is great for swimming in. The area is also a surfers mecca with other water sports on offer too, including kitesurfing, windsurfing, diving and sailing. The Natural Park itself offers interesting guided tours suitable for the whole family where you will find out more about the area and its history.
It’s evident that Sardinia is a nature lovers paradise, where sites of natural beauty can be found in abundance. It is perfect for exploring.
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