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Sardinia – magical flavors of tradition

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

With a lot of wonders, with breathtaking views over the emerald sea and beaches with snow-white sand … this is Sardinia, a very interesting island with natural colors, that mixes tradition with the pure and wild nature.

Well known as a paradise, Sardinia has a long tradition of being fiercely independent and separate with its own customs, speech and history. The variety of its coastline and the rugged beauty of its interior caters rather for the discerning traveler who is looking for an Italian holiday with a difference that still contains those essential Italian ingredients of beautiful seas and mesmerizing sceneries, exquisite wine and food and a wonderful Mediterranean climate.




Imagine yourself admiring the picturesque paths of the city, filled with traditional scents and with the ancient flavors of the Sardinian cuisine. The historic areas of Castello and Marina, two of the most popular historical districts in Cagliari are the perfect places to find typical objects such as exclusive ceramics, silver and gold jewellery, carpets and many other unique pieces of art and craft.

Every corner of this beautiful island has something exclusive to offer to each traveler. Here are the major attractions that you must take into consideration, once you step on the Sardinian land.

ALGHERO

Pictures of white sandy beaches, deep blue sky, turquoise sea, dramatic coastline with rocks and caves come to the tourist's mind at the sound of the word 'Sardinia'. Although one of the preferred summer destination for many people, Sardinia is still an undiscovered land.

The easiest way to reach this Italian island is by Ryanair which flies to Alghero, one of the most important and ancient towns of the north-west.

Situated in a charming position, with its long sandy beaches, cafés and port, is full of history: it was conquered 6 centuries ago by the Catalan colonists who called the town Barceloneta, little Barcelona. Today the memory of the founders of the towns still lives in the language, folklore and gothic architecture. Alghero is a lively town both in winter as well as in summer making it the ideal destination for a winter break. The coast around Alghero is characterized by secluded bays, jagged rocks and coves covered by bushes. Inland you will discover olive groves and vineyards where some of the most aromatic wines of Sardinia are produced.




ORISTANO AND SURROUNDINGS

Just over an hour drive south of Alghero, the coastline near Oristano becomes more rough and irregular with few sheltered areas and a landscape that changes continuously. The sea is crystal clear and rich in large fish. In the interior is possible to admire stretches of wild garlic plants, prehistoric constructions of nuraghi and ancestral villages. The small fishing town of Bosa is built on the mouth of the river Temo and during the Roman domination was an important economic centre. Today it’s a small tourist resort with shops, restaurants and cafes, and tourists can enjoy long walks along the palm-lined riverbanks. While in Bosa, it is worth a visit to the Serravalle Castle (the best mediaeval building in Sardinia) and to the Roman church of S. Pietro Extramuros. The 18-hole golf course of Is Irenas is an added attraction for golf players while carnival, 43 days before Easter is not to be missed with its joyful parades in all towns in Oristano.

CAGLIARI

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, built on a hill and developed in the direction of the sea with its modern quarters and industries. Soon after this town going towards the extreme point of the Teulada peninsula, the Sardinian coast becomes a real natural jewel with enchantingly blue sea, thick woodland and wide green valleys covered by Mediterranean vegetation. The coast is dotted with small, quiet bays and coves and white sandy beaches, a real paradise for snorkeling, nature lovers and bird watchers.

At Is Molas is possible to find one of the most important golf courses on the island, which is open all year round and hosts international competitions.




TORRE DELLE STELLE

From Cagliari to Torre delle Stelle (24 Km.), a coastline dotted with summer communities offering all the services that are necessary to enjoy the best of holidays. An area rich with white sandy beaches, small inlets and coves, where secluded beaches seem to spring up from a mountainous coastline.

Ideal for relaxation, while close enough to Cagliari, Sardinia's largest city. The closeness to 2,900-year-old Cagliari makes these locations a place to be for persons who have a thirst for ancient and medieval history, a city that may surprise even the most passionate.

Find a small hidden unpaved road on your own that leads to a small unpopulated beach or hike in the opposite direction, on a rocky trail filled with Mediterranean vegetation.

Find a little piece of Sardinia to call your own.




COSTA SMERALDA

The Emerald Coast, takes the name from the emerald colour of the sea, unique to the 55km stretch of coastline. It offers a wonderful choice of secluded beaches and small coves, making it a paradise for true sea lovers, and an 18-hole golf course. Porto Cervo is the most fashionable resort of the area, at the heart of the Costa Smeralda, with its renowned port, beautiful yachts and sailing boast. The town has a unique atmosphere with its small piazzas, designer shops, exclusive restaurants and boutiques, and luxury villas. During the lively summer months, it is crowded by artists, cinema and TV personalities who meet in the small 'piazzetta' of the center. In the other months of the year the town dies out and it is ideal for those who seek relaxation, tranquility and love to snorkel.

In Sardinia, the climate is Mediterranean and with mild winters and warm and sunny summers, a bit sultry but tempered by sea breezes. In the plains and on the coast, the average temperature of January and February is about 10 °C (50 °F), while that of July and August is about 25 °C (77 °F). The rains are not abundant.

For beach life, the best time to visit Sardinia is summer, from June to August. For swimming, the best time is from July to September, although in September, which in any case is still a good month, you begin to see the first periods of bad weather. In June, the sea is still a bit cool, while in May it's a little cooler, and sometimes even the air can be a little cold for sunbathing but perfect for long invigorating walks and bird watching.

April and May are suitable for hiking and visiting cities, while in summer it can sometimes be too hot. In October, the temperatures are mild or pleasantly warm, but the days are shorter and the weather can be a little more changeable.




Fulfilling tours in Sardinia

• Boat tour to La Maddalena Archipelago

Explore the stunning La Maddalena Archipelago by boat with this day trip from Sardinia. Visit each island in the gorgeous archipelago, with many opportunities for swim breaks or stopping at beaches. Explore the pristine scenery of this protected area with sandy beaches, emerald water and ruggedly beautiful islands.

You can also enjoy a midday lunch on the board while you get relaxed watching the views and feeling the fresh air. Don’t forget to bring up your camera because you are going to be mesmerized by the trip. The tour costs 47$ and the departure with the boat starts each day from Palau and crosses the beautiful island of Spargi.

• Wine tour at the Sardinian Wine Cellars

You will have the unique chance of discovering the wines of Sardinia on a delightful half-day tasting tour from Cagliari. You will visit several of the most acclaimed wineries on the island, where you’ll meet the winemakers, stroll through rolling vineyards and take a tour of production facilities. The local varieties of wine will be presented under the expertise of a sommelier guide, who will also offer you the chance of samplings of specialty food products and also a delicious brunch.

The departure point is in Cagliari, the tour costs 88$ and it lasts almost 4 hours.




• Cagliari City Tour

Once you get to Sardinia you must explore the capital city, Cagliari. During a 4-hour tour with a minivan will learn about the city’s history, but also about the modern treasures of the region. Your licensed professional driving guide will pick you up in a van from the harbor getting you closer to the history, nature and archeology of Cagliari. The tour costs 128$ and here are the most important sights that you should never miss:

 

  1. Sanctuary of the Holy Lady of the Good Air (with stop)
  2. Lighthouse and Cliffs
  3. Poetto Beach
  4. Molentargius Pond and pink flamingos
  5. Monte Urpino Panorama
  6. Phoenician Necropolis of Tuvixeddu
  7. Roman Amphitheater
  8. View from Giorgino

 

• Sardinian Countryside Home Cooking

Taste the feeling of being home and feel free to explore the Sardinian flavors with a real cooking lesson and lunch in the countryside near Alghero. You will also have the opportunity to prepare a traditional meal under the guidance of a traditional chef, who welcomes you into a farmhouse and shares the secrets of the Sardinian home cooking. When you arrive at chef Eugenio’s farmhouse, located just 5 miles (8 km) outside of Alghero, he and his wife will welcome you with typical Italian hospitality. Originally from the south of the island, they enjoy hosting visitors from all over the world to share authentic family recipes. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and savor a meal you won’t get in any restaurant, for only 67$.

Wine and dine in Sardinia

Sardinian cuisine comes from the poor sheepherders whose recipes focus on meat cookery and preserving foods of all kinds. Chivarzu is the name of the large, local bread made by the Sardinian women, while Carasau are the thin sheets of bread that kept men from starving for months. Bread was often served with game or wild pig.

Maialino arrosto is made by spit-roasting a pig over juniper wood. The other popular cooking method is called a caraxiu and requires digging a hole in the ground, placing a grill in the hole, and burying a small pig, sheep, or lamb inside. A wood fire is first started under the meat, and then another is made on top, creating a type of primitive oven.

Merca and Sa Tacculas are two ways to preserve fish or meat after they have been cooked or salted. In either case, the item to be preserved is rolled leaves to form small to-go packages. You will also find excellent sheep’s milk cheeses in Sardinia, like Pecorino Sardo DOP and Fiore Sardo DOP, both of which are aged to varying degrees.



Sardinians are also skilled fishermen. They mainly catch tuna, especially from Carloforte, and mullet. The prized mullet roe is cured to make Bottarga, a regional specialty. The lobsters from Alghero are also excellent.

Traditional home cooking in Sardinian calls for pastas served with rich sauces, like Malloreddus or stuffed with pecorino cheese like Culingiones. Sas panadas or baked stuffed pastry, are also popular. Along the coast, lobster meat and bottarga are often added to the pasta dishes.

During local festivals, you will find a wide variety of sweets made with honey and almonds like Gueffus or Seadas which are made with fresh cheese. The local Amaretti and soft Lady’s finger cookies were brought to the island from Piedmont.

The strong Sardinian wines stand up to the strong flavors of the food. Look for Vernaccia, Cannonau, Malvasia, and Giro. Mirtu is a popular Sardinian digestive liquor made from berries.

Here are the best options where you will find great Sardinian food:

• Dolceacqua

This restaurant mixes traditional Sardinian cuisine with that of Liguria, the mainland region from which the owners hail. It’s gathered increasing plaudits in recent months for its inventive, modern approach. The menu includes the signature dish of Genoa, trenette al pesto, also the fresh sea bream and tuna mains, and such calorie-rich desserts as zabaglione and tiramisu, all elegantly presented. The wine list takes in all the top Sardinian labels.

Address: just steps from Olbia’s train station and main drag
Prices: you’ll spend €40–50 a head here for a three-course meal, wine and coffee
Opening times: daily, 12.30pm–2pm and 7.30pm–10.30pm; July to mid-September open evenings only, 7pm–11pm
Reservations: essential in summer, and at weekends for the rest of the year
Payment type: Cards accepted

• I Frati Rossi

This is the top dining spot on the Costa Smeralda, located a mile or so inland of Porto Cervo. There’s a breathtaking panorama of the coast from the broad veranda. The menu offers such feasts as aragosta alla catalana, the local lobster dish, and as a dessert the “three-chocolate symphony” or the ricotta ice cream. There’s an impressive wine list too.

Address: Località Pantogia, 22km from Olbia
Prices: main courses from €18; a three-course meal will be around €40, plus drinks
Opening times: Tuesday–Saturday, 12.30pm–2.30pm and 7.30pm–10.30pm; Sunday- 12.30pm–3pm, but from July to mid-September it is opened daily.
Reservations: essential in summer and at weekends for the rest of the year
Payment type: cards accepted

• Antica Trattoria

This restaurant is considered to be a sweet little place, with a very friendly atmosphere, where you can serve a generous buffet of antipasti. The fresh pastas, such as gnocchi galluresi, are very popular here, and there is a variety of pizzas that you can taste each evening. The courtyard garden is open in summer for dining al fresco.

Address: Olbia centre
Prices: set-price menus are €15–€25
Opening times: Tuesday–Sunday, 12.30pm–2.30pm; 7.30pm–11pm
Reservations: not usually necessary
Payment type: cards accepted

• Il Ghiotto

Ideal for either a low-cost lunch stop or a full evening meal, this restaurant offers a wide-ranging tavola calda (a buffet of hot and cold items, including pasta, meat and seafood) by day, and a complete menu in the evening. You can also choose takeaway items from the local specialties – fine wines, liqueurs, cheese or the local carasau bread.

Address: Piazza Civica, Alghero
Prices: pastas and snacks are €5–10, dinner mains from €12
Opening times: 7.30am–10pm, closes around midnight in summer.
Reservations: not needed
Payment type: cards accepted

Traveling around Sardinia



Visit the capital, Cagliari.

For a taste of the Sardinian history, don’t miss the chance to explore the city that was founded in the 9th century BC by the Phoenicians, when the Carthaginians made it an important trading base. Since then the city, under various rulers, has inspired many writers and displays a rare, unusual beauty.

Try File 'e ferru

This is a liqueur made from marc. In the past it was heavily taxed so producers used to bury it. Its name refers to the piece of iron wire they used to mark the hiding place.

Visit the Museum of Sardinian Life and Tradition

Here you can see traditional costumes, musical instruments and photographs of life on the island.

Visit Sassari

Sassari is Sardinia's second largest city and it is situated on a beautiful stretch of coastline. The main sights are St. Nicholas Church, Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo Giordano, Piazza Italia and the Rossello Fountain.

Explore Parco Arcipelago di la Maddelana

Here you can see dolphins playing. The park covers the entire area of a single town and contains more than 700 different plants.

Visit Garibaldi’s house on Caprera

Garibaldi spent the last years of his life on the island of Caprera and his house is now a museum. Ferries leave regularly from Palau on Sardinia’s north coast or, if you are already on La Maddelena, you can reach it by boat from there.

Once in your life, take your time to explore the magical land of Sardinia, the perfect place to experience your exclusive luxury holiday that you have always dreamed of.

 
Events in Sardinia

Events

When

Where

Details

Cagliari SAGRA di Sant' EFISIO 1st to 4th May Cagliari (Sardinia) One of the biggest and most colorful processions in the world. Several thousand pilgrims (wearing costumes dating back to 1657) accompany the statue of the saint on foot, carts and horses.

Nuoro SAGRA del REDENTORE (Feast of the Redeemer) 27th to 30th August Nuoro (Sardinia) Colorful procession in Sardinian costumes.
Oristano SA SARTIGLIA 24th to 26th February Oristano (Sardinia) Medieval procession and jousting of masking knights.
Sassari CAVALCATA SARDA (Sardinian Cavalcade) Next to last Sunday in May Sassari (Sardinia) Traditional procession of more than 3,000 people in Sardinian costumes.