Paris in Four Months

Sardinia

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Ahhh what a summer… I travelled to Sardinia for the very first during the summer of 2019 and fell head over heels in love with this Italian paradise. We decided to tour the northern part of Sardinia during our time away which I have absolutely no regrets about. There are plenty of things to see and to do and we could have easily stayed way longer. I also hope that I will have the chance to visit the middle and south part of the island sometime in the future as well, as I’m sure it’s just as beautiful. During our trip we moved around quite a lot to be able to visit a couple of different places while there but I’m sure it would be lovely to stay put in the same spot as well if what you’re looking for is a calmer holiday. Either way, below you can hopefully find some helpful tips if you’re planning on doing a similar trip to beautiful Sardinia!

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When to go

We decided to travel to Sardinia in August. I know that people have mixed feelings about this month. Vacation destinations are usually packed, prices are higher and you have to deal with huge crowds wherever you go. And I get it, it can be really busy along the coasts of Europe during this month but if this is the only time you can take a proper vacation, you can most definitely make it work. I was a bit hesitant to go during this time to be honest since I didn’t want to have to fight over spots on the beach but I’m so happy that we did because we ended up having an absolutely wonderful time. …And since I personally prefer to stay in Europe during the summer, you’ll have to live with the fact that it might be a little bit busier during this period.

I am sure that this place is absolutely magical in September, when the majority of the crowds have abandoned the island to go back to work and school for example. The beaches must be emptier, the prices a tiny bit lower maybe and definitely easier to find parking if you decide to sleep in one morning, haha. June and July might also be good months for a visit but since I haven’t been during this time myself I don’t want to say too much here.

Where to go

We decided to do the northern part of Sardinia by car. Why the northern part you ask? I honestly have no idea why we ended up taking this decision, haha, but post-trip I have to say that I have no complaints about our decision. I didn’t know anyone who could give us tips or suggestions prior to our trip but I think we managed quite well for being first-timers exploring Sardinia. I had heard things about Porto Cervo and the famous coast (loved by mega yachts and celebrities among others – think of an Italian Saint Tropez maybe?) around that town before but tried to do a little bit of research myself to understand where to stop while driving from Alghero to eventually end up in Olbia to take the flight back home. 

We decided to make stops along our way in Alghero, just outside Sassari, in Isola Rossa, Santa Teresa Gallura, La Maddalena, a little bit outside Palau and then close by to Porto Cervo. Where would I stop again if I could choose for a future trip?

ALGHERO

I definitely thought Alghero was a cute little city and a great start to our trip. The colourful houses lining the city streets reminded me of those typically adorable Italian countryside villages that I love so so much… The nature around Alghero, like Capo Caccia and the beaches around for example, were also so so beautiful and wild. Definitely worth a visit! The water was gorgeous and it was a great first taste of Sardinia for us. I would be more than happy to come back here again.

The countryside just outside Alghero was also quite charming and I would have preferred to stay overnight here instead of the outskirt of Sassari. Noting this down mentally if we ever decide to go back, haha.

ISOLA ROSSA

Isola Rossa was also a gorgeous stop and perfect if you just want to have some beach time. We didn’t stay too long here, it was more a little pitstop on our way but I can see this being a beautiful stop if what you’re looking for is calm, nature, beach and not much else – which is exactly what I wanted.

SANTA TERESA GALLURA

This was also a stop worth making. Perhaps not so much for the little city of Santa Teresa Gallura itself but because of the beautiful beaches all around. Unfortunately we found it quite hard to find decent food around this place but there was definitely no shortage of sand and beautiful water. We went beach-hunting around Capo Testa and found some really nice gems, a little bit further down around Rena Majore as well and on the right of Santa Teresa Gallura around Valle Dell’Erica we got lucky.

PALAU

We didn’t stay in the city of Palau, but rather a couple of minutes outside on the countryside at a beautiful little hotel called Tenuta Petra Bianca, nestled in between win yards (of their own) and mountain hills. The location was really great as you actually could visit Santa Teresa Gallura, La Maddalena and Porto Cervo (along with maaany other little villages and beaches) from here quite easily. It was also way better value for money than anything around Porto Cervo I have to say.

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When staying outside Palau we also visited the famous beaches for windsurfing around Porto Pollo – where you also found simple but tasty food for lunch way easier than at the other stops we’ve made before. The little area around Porto Rafael was also worth a visit – if nothing else but for a photogenic car ride. There are honestly so many little nooks, calas and corners all over Sardinia that I don’t think it’s ever possible to get bored if you’re up for some exploring.

LA MADDALENA

I fell head over heels in love with the island of La Maddalena, the wild island of Caprera and all the beaches around this area. We rented a little apartment in an apartment hotel while in La Maddalena and it was great to have the option to be able to cook for ourselves if we wanted to during some days or walk our way into the tiny little city centre of La Maddalena if we preferred to. I would love to come back here again and could easily stay for a longer time. Some other people that we ran into thought that it was a bit boring to actually stay on the island (many people just visit for the day) but personally I really enjoyed it and truly appreciate some calm downtime during my vacation (except for the days when you have to hike to the beach). The ferry from Palau took about 15min and was super easy to use and had many departures every day (we booked the ferry tickets online before).

PORTO CERVO

Would I stop here again if I ever made it back to Sardinia? Maybe not… It’s not that it isn’t beautiful, because just like many other places in the north of Sardinia, it’s beautiful but it’s definitely more expensive, definitely more crowded, definitely more “party” and you can definitely come across more of the people who would like to show off a little bit over here (I mean, we’re talking about a sailing yacht worth around 400 million USD parked outside the bay. Yeah, I’m not making this up). Since that’s simply not what I prefer during my vacation, perhaps this wasn’t right up my alley – but I am sure that many people adore it.

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…So there you go! I am sure that you can find many other places to visit if you’re making the same tour but this is just where we ended up stopping along our way.

where to stay

I have to say that finding beautiful accommodating for an ok price wasn’t easy this time. Unfortunately we were disappointed by so many of the places that we booked… I really wish that I had more suggestions about where to sleep to share with you all but it was quite the challenge to find something I truly would want to recommend. It might be our fault as we didn’t book our stay very far in advance but we were either met by bad service, awful sterile decor or places that were way, way too overpriced… Was it us? Was it August? Was it bad luck? I’m not entirely sure. But I do have to say that I’ve visited places in the past where I’ve gotten much much more for the money we spent. So a suggestion would definitely be to be prepared for steeper prices if this is where you’d like to go.

What do to

I am sure there are a million things to do while in Sardinia and I don’t even know half of them but we truly enjoyed beach-hopping (the beaches and the waters are just beautiful), hiking and a little pasta-making class while there. It really depends on what kind of traveller you are but I would say: bring your sneakers (some beaches can be very hard to get to and flip flops just won’t be possible), be prepared to get up early (so that you can enjoy those beaches without humongous crowds) and don’t be afraid to get lost and explore a little bit. And do rent a car!

One night we decided to learn how to make fresh pasta at this adorable little farm, not too far outside of Alghero which I can recommend while in Italy. I’m sure there are plenty of different cooking classes available and it’s a fun thing to do together if you have the time. I also read that the island offers many wine-tasting classes that you can book online as well. I found ours by doing a little Google-search and reading reviews.

Our favourite activity was also driving around to find different calas (smaller beaches that you most of the time have to find by a little walk) and beaches, marking down our favourite ones and coming back to them later on. There are so many different ways of enjoying the beach in Sardinia; public beaches, beaches with beach clubs, beaches with parasols and sun-beds for rent, beaches without – there’s really something for everyone depending on what you prefer when it comes to this.

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If you’d like to move around (which I highly recommend that you do) you definitely need a car. Or a scooter. It’s a lot of ground to cover and I would never rely on buses, trains or taxis if I were you. It’s just not possible here.

If La Maddalena makes it onto your itinerary during your trip, a lot of people also like to rent boats (not just in La Maddalena of course but especially here). It’s probably much easier to beach-hop if you have the possibility to get to them all by boat. Some beaches took us about 30 minutes to reach by foot (and it wasn’t all that easy 😅) but I’m sure they can be reached a lot quicker, and most likely, a lot more comfortably by boat. There’s also a beautiful “archipelago” around La Maddalena which only can be reached by boat if this is something that sounds tempting to you. To be honest, the beaches around Caprera were the beaches that really took our breath away. So wild, so beautiful and the water was something out of a postcard…

You can also make little day trips to many different villages all around if you need a pause from the beach-going (never thought this would happen but it actually did). Again, there are so many cute places to see and to visit and I’m sure you can find many with a bit of research. One of the villages I fell in love with was San Pantaleo, nestled up in the mountains just outside Porto Cervo. I also wanted to make a stop in Tempo Pausania but we didn’t make it there this time. Oh well, there’s always a next time!

WHERE TO EAT

Besides finding cute and memorable hotels, where to eat was our second biggest challenge while in Sardinia. It might sound strange since it’s Italy we’re talking about here – and yes, it came as a bit of a shock to me too, but it was honestly not the easiest (even if it’s just a good pasta we were craving). I guess this can be the case for many areas during super-duper-high-tourist-season but we were definitely hoping for more.

After a few days into our trip, we realised that our best option was seeking out little Agriturismo places (= farm restaurants), which you most of the time can find outside the cities in the countryside, for delicious and simple food.

We managed to try quite a few and quickly understood the concept all of them had: a set menu, most of the time consisting of antipasti (depending on the place the starters would vary anywhere in between 2 and 8 plates), which then was followed by two pasta-dishes (most of the time this would include the traditional Sardinian “Malloreddus”-pasta for example), followed by one or two meat-dishes (pork is a big thing here) and finished off by a traditional Sardinian dessert and Mirto (a Sardinian liqueur). This menu would vary anywhere in between 28-40€ per person if I remember correctly and we most certainly did not leave hungry.

I personally much preferred these dining experiences while in Sardinia then the normal restaurant that most of the time left us disappointed… A couple of our favourite Agriturismo restaurants were: La Colti, Miyaya and Li Nalboni but there are plenty if you do some research! I would highly recommend trying it at least ones while there to get this authentic and charming experience.

As for dining at a traditional restaurant inside the cities, I don’t have much to recommend I’m afraid, haha. But here are a few places I noted down during our trip: Osteria Madras Lentas (Alghero), Al Refettorio (Alghero), SardOa (Alghero), Paradise Bar (for drinks at sunset, Rena Majore), Calaveras (beach bar, Porto Pollo), Nini Vineria (wine bar, La Maddalena) and Dolci Distrazioni (gelato, La Maddalena).

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PLEASE REMEMBER…

If I can ask anything of you, it would be to please remember to pick up after yourself wherever you go. If you visit a town, city or beach, please remember not to litter and to bring everything you brought there with you back. It’s a privilege to get to enjoy nature’s beauty so please take care of it. It breaks my heart when I see other travellers leaving cigarette butts, plastic or any of their trash behind. Pick it up if you see it and let’s take care of these beautiful places so that we have a chance to enjoy them in the future as well.

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