Sardinia vacation, the Caribbean of Europe. Endless beaches

Sardinia vacation, the Caribbean of Europe. Endless beaches

Sardinia Vacation in the Caribbean of Europe

Sardinia Vacation in the north or better in the south of the island? We could not decide on this question either and have therefore decided to make a direct comparison. So we split our holiday into a week “Sardinia’s South” and a week “Sardinia’s North”. After two weeks we can successfully say that both regions have their great charms. The south of the island (especially the southwest) is much quieter than the north. If you are looking for a region that is more developed and offers more opportunities, the north of the island is the better destination for you.

Sardinia vacation – the north rocks!

A little south of Olbia lies the small village of Budoni, which became our starting point. Of course, you can also spend the night in a much more sophisticated way. In Porto Cervo on the world-famous Costa Smeralda you are in the jet set and can pop the corks or take your yacht for a few cruises.

From Budoni you can also reach all the important points on the north coast by car. When planning your trip you should keep in mind that the routes on Sardinia take a bit more time than comparable routes in Germany. Vacation on Sardinia means in any case also in the north much beaches and still more sea!

Our “house beach” during our vacation in Sardinia

There are a large number of holiday apartments, houses and camping sites in Budoni and its surroundings. Through the usual online portals you will surely find a great accommodation according to your requirements. Our house was only 100 meters away from the beach – what a luxury. By the way, in September you travel already in the low season, so that you will have a lot of space on the beach. Also at the Cala di Budoni it goes fortunately very gently into the water.

Surroundings of Budoni

Just twenty minutes from Budoni is the town of Ottili, where you will also find a small harbour. In the ice cream parlour directly at the harbour you can also sit and enjoy a delicious gelato.

In the evening you should definitely go to St. Teodoro again. In the small village the city centre is closed for cars. You can walk through the streets of the city and look at the many small shops and boutiques or dine in one of the many restaurants. At the end of the evening we recommend a nightcap on the terrace of the bar directly at the market. By the way, you can also find the tourist information of the region at the market. The staff are very helpful and will certainly give you good tips for your Sardinia holiday.

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The North of Sardinia

On your Sardinia vacation, the chances of bad weather are really low. What is great for the tourists brings many problems for the locals. One day we had also just rain. What do you do on your Sardinia vacation in bad weather? It remains Olbia in the north, where you can move through the shopping centres. Alternatively, and especially if you also have a rental car, we recommend you to go to Alghero. The journey time of almost two hours is definitely worthwhile and the chance of better weather on the west coast is high.

Alghero in the north-west of Sardinia

After our “escape” from the rain we experienced Alghero and were very impressed. You’ll probably have to do a few turns for the parking lot. Italian city centres are not exactly designed for larger quantities of cars. Tip: Take the coastal road out of town, where it is quicker to find a parking space. You can enjoy the sea on the way along the protection wall towards the old town of Alghero and take some great photos of the old town including the defence tower. After the first snapshots we go directly behind the tower into the old town of Alghero with its many small alleys and squares. If you are a fan of Italian old towns, then you will love Alghero. Let yourself be enchanted by the life on site or enjoy the bustle with a delicious espresso in one of the cafes in Alghero’s squares. If you have had enough of the old town, you can also simply walk on the city wall, which separates the old town from the sea and on which you have a wonderful view of the sea, the harbour and also the old town. On the city wall can also take a wonderful break and recover again.

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Alghero and surroundings – the Grotta di Nettuno

There is still a sporty challenge for you on the west coast just north of Alghero with the Grotta di Nettuno. A stalactite cave awaits you, to which the access leads over a path with many stairs along the steep coast. The views are spectacular! If you prefer the comfortable way, you can also take a boat directly to the cave. The way over the stairs is definitely interesting. At the bottom of the cave you can buy a ticket for a guided tour. The cave is relatively large and has stalactite columns, some 12 metres high. You learn how fast stalactites and stalagmites grow and especially in which direction they have to grow. Make sure you take something to drink with you when the sun shines. You can only buy tickets at the cave but no drinks 😉 ! A visit to the cave is a good combination for a day trip in connection with a visit to Alghero!

Sardinia vacation means beach vacation

You will find many great beaches in Budoni and its surroundings. As a special recommendation we recommend you to visit the beaches in the National Park Oasi Biderosa. In the high season it makes sense to reserve one of the few tickets in advance, in fact only a limited number of cars and visitors are admitted. In the low season your chances are higher to get a ticket spontaneously on the spot. The guide at the park’s entrance will be happy to recommend a suitable section for the weather. You will have a great day on an almost lonely beach where time will certainly pass far too quickly.

Bay of Orosei

A little further south is the Gulf of Orosei, of which you will have already seen fantastic pictures on the Internet. You can even rent inflatable boats at the harbours and see the coast from the sea. Unfortunately, the weather has skipped our plans, so we have saved this point for our next visit. Our alternative program was at least as attractive:

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La Maddalena – the Caribbean of Europe in front of Sardinia

In the north of Sardinia you will find many small islands with beautiful bays, crystal clear waters and beaches “just like in the movies” with the archipelago around La Maddalena. In the port of Palau there are a really large number of providers who make trips to the island world every day. Have a look at some reviews on the popular portals. Most tours start at about 10.00 am. We recommend you to be in Palau in time. The route to the village is not very far, as with the other tours, but it can take some time due to the route. If you are there in time, you can also get a personal impression of the providers. You are spoilt for choice and can choose from a variety of ships depending on your budget. Our choice was due to our late arrival a sailboat. At the end of the day we were unknowingly lucky because the skipper was much more flexible with his boat than the big excursion boats. Like everything in life, it had its price. On the big boats you can go for about 40 €; with the sailors you will be there with about 80 €. For the price you will be driven through the incredibly beautiful island world and can refresh yourself on the many bathing stops in the Mediterranean. In any case we were glad at the end of the day that we didn’t go on the big boats. Our skipper and his wife showed us great beaches and also took care of our physical well-being with pasta and vino during the day. A completely successful day with an excursion, which we really like to recommend!

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The hinterland of Sardinia – Monti, Budduso, Bitti

In September you may not always get a direct hit with the weather. One of the less sunny days we still used to look at the mountainous hinterland of Sardinia. Our tour took us from Budoni to Monti, where we can recommend a stopover at the “Cantina Sociale del Vermentino” – provided you like white wine. The Cantina is a winegrowers’ cooperative, from which you can also purchase directly. Interestingly, the term fuel station has a completely new character there. In the far hinterland you drive through forests of cork oaks and can also take pictures of the plain around Olbia.

You should make a stopover on the way through the mountainous route in any case also in Buddusò at one of the nuraghi temples or places of worship. Nuragic culture was a culture that developed in Sardinia around 1600 B.C. (and which even then built very durable buildings). The tour continues to Orune, where you can see the mystical fountain Su Tempiesu. When you set off on this tour you should definitely be interested in archaeological sites! In the south direction Nuoro we used the connection to the motorway direction Budoni again, in order to drive after the round trip again to our beautiful holiday house.

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Conclusion of the Sardinia vacation

We can definitely recommend a vacation on Sardinia. The island is not as crowded as other islands (Balearic Islands, Gran Canaria, Tenerife). Depending on your interests you have to consider whether you want to have more hustle and bustle around you or whether the much quieter south suits you better. We will definitely go back to Sardinia again!

Sardinias Southwest beaches at Chia and Pula

Sardinias Southwest beaches at Chia and Pula

Sardinias southwest – great beaches near Chia and Pula

Right after our holiday in Sicily it was already clear that the Italian islands fascinated us. And so it was obvious to spend another holiday in Italy with Sardinia. The safety on a lot of sunshine and great beaches in combination with delicious food were decisive for our choice. The decision was exactly right! Like Sicily, Sardinia is a relatively large island – the second largest in the Mediterranean to be exact. You should definitely allow plenty of time when driving across the island.

For this reason we decided to spend a week in the southwest and another week in the northeast of the island to experience a lot of nature and culture. You are thinking about going to Sardinia and you are not sure where to go? No problem, we had no choice. On all coasts you will find amazing beaches and bays! A little bit more exciting was the question of how to get to the island without having to change trains several times. And that brings us to the first question:

Which airports can be reached on Sardinia?

When planning your trip to Sardinia, you should keep in mind the following airports as your destination on the island:

Olbia in the Northeast – IATA Code OLB Aeroporto Costa Smeralda 
Alghero in the northwest – IATA Code AHO Aeroporto di Alghero-Fertilia “Riviera del Corallo” .
Cagliari in the south of the island – IATA Code CAG Aeroporto di Cagilari-Elmas “Mario Mameli”

We chose Olbia in the north, as this airport is directly approached from Hamburg. Other direct connections from e. g. Hanover to Cagliari in the south were cancelled due to flight times or several stopovers. Fortunately, the flight time from Northern Germany is only just over two hours. So you are relatively fast in Sardinia. Once there, the next question arises: how do I get around the island?

Interested in Italian music?

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Rent A Car Hire in Sardinia

You love to travel flexibly and don’t feel like using public transport, which may not stop at every bay for you? Then you’ll feel just like us. We have booked a rental car in advance on the Internet via well-known car rental portals. The costs for a mid-sized car were just under EUR 18 per day. The costs included all essential insurances, so that we could leave without any worries after our arrival. We recommend that you always take out a fully comprehensive insurance policy. The difference in insurance prices is usually very small. In the worst case scenario, you would really save money in the wrong place. After a thorough check of the car we had 2 big scratches included in the contract and then we went from Olbia from direction Chia on the runway.

How fast can I drive in Italy?

In front of us have been just about 300 km of driving distance on the highway-like SS131, which is also easy to drive. After a little more than three hours driving time we arrived in the southwest very happy. The last few kilometres we drove sporty and sporty in a Sardinian style over the country road towards Pula. Driving in Sardinia is not different than in other countries – but sometimes a bit more sporty. However, it is better to keep to the prescribed speeds of 50 km/h in towns and 90 km/h outside the city, as there are relatively many police controls. Often the locals drive at an “optimized” speed – don’t let it infect you. Some of the fines are also levied in Germany. It is important that you also drive with light during the day! The police are also happy to check out the parking areas on beaches. You should park your car on the paid parking lots. This is sometimes annoying and reminiscent of highway robbery, but it is still cheaper than a ticket for wrong parking. If you park your car incorrectly, you will be able to pay at least 28 euros, which you can transfer directly to the police at the post office. If you exceed a 5-day period, the fine increases again. Why can we be so specific? Because we tested it for you: -) The employee at the post office knew the procedure and carried out the transfer kindly. And that brings us directly to the activities we did in the south of Sardinia in one week!

Southwestern Sardinia – Chia and Pula

Our first week’s destination was the region around Pula and Chia with the Costa del Sud. If you are looking for a quiet region on the island, you are in the southwest of Sardinia really well looked after. There are hardly any bigger hotel complexes, but there are more beautiful beaches. This corner of the island is relatively sparsely populated. We have booked our accommodation via AirBnB. (Here you can get a voucher for your first AirBnB booking – Affiliatelink – does not cost you anything and helps me to cover the costs for the blog. With a fantastic view over the pine forests at Santa Margherita di Pula to the sea, we had an ideal starting point for the activities in the first week. In this corner of Sardinia we were very happy that we had a rental car.

What to do in the southwest of Sardinia?

The big goal in our summer vacation was clearly in the recreation and in the beach vacation! And Sardinia has fulfilled these points perfectly. The beaches are really fine sandy like the pictures we have seen before. The water is really as clear and turquoise as you can see in travel catalogues. In September it is particularly nice that it is pleasantly (bearably) warm and that the sea also has a refreshing temperature. Most of the beaches are shallow and are also controlled by lifeguards.

Beautiful beaches in Sardinia’s southwest

In the Chia area we can recommend the following beaches:

  • Spiaggia di Cala Cipola (parking at the car park Spiaggia Su Giudeu, cost 5, – / day), then 5 minutes walk over the hill to the beach in the protected bay.
  • Spiaggia Su Giudeu, same parking as the previous beach
  • The beach at Torre di Chia – in the evening the restaurant at the campsite is also very recommendable. It is kept very simple but served the most delicious pizzas in the region.
  • Spiaggia di Tuerredda (early arrival ensures good places. Parking 7, – / day, from the afternoon then staggered somewhat cheaper)
    The beach behind the port of Marina di Teulada. In the off-season, police also check whether parking is prohibited. 😉
  • Our “house beach”, hidden behind the pine forest, and really one of the more empty beaches: Spiaggia Riva dei Pini.

All beaches were easy to reach by car. What we recommend is to rent a parasol on site or buy it directly at the supermarket. The prices in the business were relatively low, so that few “daily rents” would have been significantly more expensive.

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Horse riding on the coast of Sardinia

Fortunately, on the way to Su Giudeu beach, we passed the riding arena of Giancarlo, which offers various tours and excursions with its horses. We decided to go on the evening tour along the coast of Chias to the lighthouse of the island at Capo Spartivento, which has now been converted into a luxury hotel.  The ride was a great experience – feel Lucky Luke or Winnetou / Old Shatterhand. Honestly, the horses are so good-natured and used to carry even less talented riders safely over rough and smooth. It was exciting to ride on the cliffs of the cape over the rocks at sunset. Giancarlo lived in Germany for a few years. He also gave us some tips about Sardinia. We would definitely do a tour again!

Zipline parc in the pine forest

You’re looking for something other than riding? On our last day in the south we tried out the only high ropes course in Sardinia, the Pula Adventure Park. The park is located in a pine forest between Pula and Chia. Please check the website to see if the park is open. In the low season, the opening hours are only on weekends at selected times and days. The park itself is divided into several difficulty levels. After a short briefing, it started right away. Once engaged in the system, the safety device could only be released again at the exit on the ground. It was a little unusual that the safety rope was routed at hip/shoulder level. In other parks, the safety device was placed above the head, so that in case of a fall, one hangs more or less directly in the safety rope. Irrespective of this, the park was also interestingly constructed. Especially the last lap was a lot of fun due to the many cable car tracks. The biggest challenge for the cable car sections was to grab the holding rope in time to stay directly on the platforms.

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Cagliari – Capital of Sardinia – Shopping and culture

Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, is located quite centrally on the south coast. From Pula you can reach Cagliari in about 40 minutes. If you are in the south, you should definitely have a look at the city centre with its many small alleys. Our start in Cagliari began with a visit to the old town near the palace. You can also see the Cathedral of Santa Maria directly at the palace. From there, you can take a lift or walk through the steps of the Bastion San Remy and walk to the pedestrian zone in Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. In the pedestrian precinct you will find many great shops. For Cagliari you should allow at least one day. If you like market halls, we recommend the market in the large Cagliari market hall in the San Benedetto district of Via Cocco Ortu 50, where you will find fruit and vegetables in the market hall on the upper floor. Butchers, bakers and cheese merchants also have their stalls in the market hall. When you go into the lower hall, it becomes much more lively. That’s where the fish merchants have the say and sell their goods. Take enough time to sit down in one of the many cafés in the city centre and enjoy the atmosphere with a delicious espresso or cappuccino. If you want to know more about Cagliari, you can also ask at the tourist office in the city centre.

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Pula and Nora

In the southwest of Sardinia it is a bit calmer. The next bigger place for us was Pula, which has a bigger supermarket and a small city centre. The Nora archaeological site in Pula is much more interesting, and it is said to be one of the oldest cities in Sardinia. The city was founded in the 9th century BC. Many cultures have left their mark on the city and some areas such as the Roman theatre and mosaics are surprisingly well preserved. In summer you can even see performances in the theatre. Entrance to the excavation site costs 7,50 Euro with a guided tour (you can only participate in guided tours).

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At the end of the tour, you will reach the Torre del Coltellazzo watch tower, from where you will have a great view over the sea and the bay. The tower was part of a series of signal towers on the coast of Sardinia, which were to alert the pirate attackers accordingly. If you like excavation sites I can recommend Nora to you. If you don’t find excavation sites so attractive, the beach in the bay directly in front of Nora is also a wonderful place for a stay!

Off to the west of Sardinia

Unfortunately, in September we do not have 100% certainty in Sardinia on sunshine. So we used one day and went to the west of the island. The first major stop was in Iglesias. The town had its great times with mining in the 15th century. with the mining of silver. In the last century, large quantities of lead and zinc were still produced. Today, mining in the city, is history. If you are going to Iglesias, you should definitely visit the old town with its many small streets, bars and shops. Ideally, you should visit cities in Sardinia in the morning or from late afternoon. Most shops are closed at midday (this also applies to some petrol stations!).

Lost Places near Nebida – abandoned mines

From Iglesias we drove towards the coast. If you are interested in Lost Places, the ruins at Nebida might be interesting for you. Okay, it’s not lost places in the real sense of the word. The buildings of the old mining companies and mines are nevertheless exciting. The way via the coastal road SP83 is worth the trip alone. In Nebida there is also a panoramic path with a great view of the cliffs of the coastline (directly at the entrance of the village, coming from Fontanamare).

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Sant’ Antioco – the small island in the southwest of Sardinia

Via a dam in the southwest of Sardinia you can also reach the small island of Sant’ Antioco. We visited the island for a short time on the way back to our apartment. The city centre of Sant’ Antioco is, like many of the other small towns, very charming.

NATO base in paradise

On the next drive to our apartment in Santa Margarita du Pula we passed one of the largest military training areas in Italy. The entire Capo Teulada is closed except for one beach “Le Dune”. Did you know that Sardinia is (unfortunately) a popular destination for the military as well? Many larger bases are in Sardinia. The beach “Le Dune” can also be closed by the Italian Ministry of Defence during manoeuvres. It is best to inquire first. Generally speaking, the places on Sardinia are not far apart by our standards. The location between the mountains with its serpentines increases the driving time considerably.

Highlights in the South of Sardinia

Our highlights in the southwest were the great beaches and the horseback riding trip along the coast. After a week we went to the northeast, where we also had a lot of great experiences! Here you can read more about the north of Sardinia. You may also check our post about Gran Canaria or the island of Tenerife, which we recently visited in January.