Secret Italy: An Insider’s Guide To Sardinia
Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy delves into the history of Italy’s most beautiful islands, and tonight’s episode is all about Sardinia. Here’s our essential guide to the Italian isle and some travel tips on how to make the most of your holiday there…
It’s just a short distance away, but Sardinia is home to hundreds of powder-soft beaches, stunning natural scenery and all the delicious food and wine you’d find on mainland Italy. Best of all, summer starts early in Sardinia, so you can enjoy a break here from the beginning of May and still head home with a tan.
What you need to know…
Time difference: +1 hour
Flight time: 2 to 3 hours from UK airports
Lauguage: No it’s not Italian, it’s Sardinian (or Sardu), although thankfully most people speak English
Best time to visit: May/June – when it’s not too hot and not too crowded
Sardinia is the same size as Wales and boasts the same lush vegetation and natural scenery, just with more beaches and less rain. And yes, it’s even home to around 4 million sheep.
According to some scholars, Sardinia might actually be the site of the Lost City of Atlantis.
The island is one of the top 5 healthiest places to live and has the highest number of centurians. The Sardinian greeting, ‘A kent‘annos’ even translates to ‘may you live to 100’.
The Costa Smeralda was used as the location for James Bond driving his Lotus Esprit out of the sea in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
There’s a colony of mini albino donkeys in Asinara, off the coast of Sardinia.
One of the more unusual delicacies is casu marza – a cheese filled with live maggots… Perhaps give that one a miss?
4 Free things to do in Sardinia…
Sample the food at San Benedetto market
Italy’s largest indoor market covers 4,000 square metres and 2 floors of local cuisine – cheese, meat, fruit and freshly caught fish. The market workers will entice you with free samples of gourmet fare and it’s a great way to try the local dishes. It’s a must-do if these glowing TripAdvisor reviews are anything to go by.
See hundreds of pink flamingos
And over 180 other species of birds. The Molentargius Saline Park has a flamingo-filled lagoon that’s made up of both fresh and seawater areas which are free to enter every day from 7am to 8pm.
Sunbathe on the world’s best beaches
Sardinia’s biggest claim to fame is its beaches, of which there are hundreds to choose from. There’s Cala Brandinchi, which boasts glowing white sand and shallow water, Cala Luna, which is a moon-shaped cove backed by limestone cliffs, and there’s even a pink beach called Spiaggia Rosa. Trust us, they have to be sunbathed on to be believed.
Step back in time in Castello
This historic part of town is located on a hill where you can get spectacular panoramic views over the Gulf of the Angels, the Devil’s Settle and the surrounding neighbourhoods. You can get a taste of traditional Sardinia just by strolling around the pretty cathedral and its crumbling fortress walls, or nip into one of the many art galleries and museums.