As of 2023, I have had two opportunities to travel to Sardinia, in September 2003 and August 2019. For the first trip, we spent most of the time in Alghero, on the northwest coast. Since it was just before I got my first digital camera, I have very few photos. Besides the beaches and caves, my fondest memory is of a little pizzeria we discovered. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the name. The pizza was the best we found and the owner was very friendly to us. However, since we visited a few times, we noticed that he decided who he would chat with and if he didn’t like someone then he pretended he didn’t speak any English. It was very funny!
My second trip was to the northeast coast via Olbia. We hired a scooter and my friend drove us around, including across to Maddalena Island, which was amazing! Lots of beach time, seafood and pizza. August was very hot, but then again I think the weather in Europe has been steadily getting hotter over the years.
This is a guide for travel to Sardinia, including the whole island, rather than individual cities. Also, the recommendations are mostly from the 2019 trip, since my memory of the earlier trip are not as clear. Overall both places were very enjoyable!
- Olbia in the Northeast
- Maddalena Island by ferry from Palau
- My favourite beach Spiaggia Testa del Polpo
- Spiaggia di Cala Coticcio
- Spiaggia di Lu Impostu
- Roccia dell’Orso – Capo d’Orso
- Castello di Molara
- Capo Coda Cavallo beach
- Alghero in the Northwest
- Spiaggia La Pelosa beach
- Neptune’s Grotto
- Faro (lighthouse) dell’Isola della Maddalenetta
- Cattedrale dell’ Immacolata Concezione
- Cagliari in the south
- Tuvixeddu necropolis
- Spiaggia del Poetto di Quartu
- Eat the fresh seafood
Before you go
- Sardinia is an island that is part of Italy
- If you want to hire a car or scooter, you may want to book this in advance. Traffic is relatively slow so it felt safe to be on a scooter
- Summer months can be very hot and also very busy with tourists
- The currency is the Euro
- The official language is Sardinian, but everyone seems to speak Italian, and most people speak English
- Spiaggia means beach and there are a lot of them
- Take sunscreen as the sun can be strong
- Sardinia celebrates Carnival in February
- Wear good shoes to get to some of the more remote beaches, as you may need to climb on rocks
- In Olbia, we stayed at a cute guest house at Via Grazia Deledda, 19 booked through AirBnB. It was very reasonable, comfortable and located on a quiet street. Fortunately, it also had air conditioning
In the towns and by the beaches, there are plenty of snack bars. In addition to the usual fast food, they often offer fried seafood. That was definitely by top choice! We enjoyed a plate of fritto misto di mare at Capo Coda Cavallo beach
Also, pizza can be a snack or a meal, and there are lots of good places to try!
By far, our favourite meal was at Sa Carrera Ezza (Old Street) Restaurant in Olbia. Pietro and Carla were excellent hosts. There is no menu and you just tell them what you do not eat. The dishes are a delicious surprise, as is the wine. Pietro gladly joins for some drinks with each table.
Ping Pong Pizzeria in Olbia had huge thin-crust pizzas. Delicious and fresh, and served with the tasty local beer, Ichnusa.
We enjoyed a tasty seafood pasta at Ristorante da Paolo and the ambience was really cosy. Also the polpo (octopus salad) was amazing!
Cafe Cosimino Caffetteria Ristorante Vineria was a nice place for a casual meal, or just a coffee.
The restaurant we ate at on the Isola Maddalena has closed down but it was good. There were plenty of other places on that main street in town called Via Amendola.
Vermentino white wine from Sardinia is fresh and delicious. We had a couple different ones and really liked the Funtanaliras Vermentino di Gallura and Pariglia. For red wine, Cannonau is a grape variety unique to Sardinia. Almost all of the local wines I have tried have been excellent, and a bit different other areas of Italy.
If you are not a wine drinker, there is also a large selection of local beers including Ichnusa. It seemed to be a popular beverage to accompany pizza.
Finally, there are some excellent bars including cocktails. We loved the Mint Julep bar, which was pretty random for Italy.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, it is easy to find your way around and see the island. However, for the caves and other ocean excursions you may want to join a tour
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Most people speak some English because there are a lot of tourists
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: No, the island is large and there are many things to see, and even separate islands. It’s better to have a car or motorbike to get around.
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