Sardinia lies just under 200 km from the west coast of mainland Italy. It is popular with holidaymakers mainly for its idyllic, unspoiled beaches and relaxed atmosphere.

If you are looking for more than sun, sea and sand, Sardinia has plenty of cultural attractions too. The island’s position in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea has led to a succession of invasions; the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Genoans and Spanish have all left their mark.

Sardinia’s lesser-known interior holds Roman ruins, Genoan fortresses and baroque churches. There are also mysterious stone remnants of Sardinia’s native Nuraghic civilization, unique to the island.


Visit the fishing port of Alghero on the north-west coast. Extremely popular with tourists, this medieval town was a Catalan colony in the 14th century, and the Catalan influence is ever-present. Catalan is still spoken in Alghero, and there are several reminders of its Spanish links, including the Gothic Cattedrale di Santa Maria cathedral and the Chiesa di San Francesco, a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.

Sardinia’s capital, Cágliari, lies on the south coast. It’s small but has a cosmopolitan feel and several interesting sights. Be sure to take in the medieval castle, Il Castello, the Museo Archeologico di Nazionale, which has a fine collection of Nugharic artifacts and the splendid views of the port and the city from the Bastione San Remy.

Visit the Santa Cristina temple, a perfectly-preserved, stone, structure from Nugharic times which can be found in central Sardinia.

For Roman ruins, visit Nora, south-west of Cágliari, where you will find the remains of a villa with mosaic floors. The ancient city of Tharros on Sardinia’s west coast is also worth a visit for more well-preserved Roman remains.

For beautiful pristine beaches, visit the Costa Verde on the west coast. Spiaggia Scivu and Spiaggia Piscinas are highly recommended.

If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, explore the coves and beaches of Golfo di Orosei on the east coast by boat, or hike to the gorges of the Gola Su Gorroppu in central Sardinia. The delightful Maddalena Islands off Sardinia’s most-northern tip are also worth a visit.

Visit the famed Emerald Coast in the north and mingle with the Italian, yacht-owning super-rich.


Sardinia has a rich tradition of handicrafts, influenced by Pre-Neolithic, Neolithic, Roman and Byzantine cultures. Ceramics, jewelry, baskets, tapestries and carpets are all made on the island.

Pottery is produced in the main centres of Cagliari, Sassari and Oristano, as well as other towns across the island. You can buy jugs, tiles, flasks and other ceramic objects.

Silver and gold jewelry in traditional Sardinian designs can be bought at shops in many towns. Floral patterns are very popular. Northern Sardinia is famous for its red coral jewelry. You can also buy unique Sardinian wedding rings and butterfly-shaped pendants called Su Lasu.

For beautiful, hand-woven baskets, visit Flussio, Sinnai and Barbagia. Traditional tapestries and carpets made from Sardinian wool are produced across the island, with different villages using their own distinct methods and designs.

Check out Isola, which has branches in Cágliari and other towns across the island, for a range of quality handicrafts and souvenirs.

For fashion, try La Rinascenta department store in Cágliari or Porto Cervo on the Emerald Coast, which has all the big designer names.

Dining and Nightlife

In Cágliari, the Marina area, near the port, has the best selection of restaurants, catering to a variety of tastes and budgets. You will also find good restaurants and cafes in most town centres and tourist resorts.

Try Sardinian specialities such as porcetto (roast suckling pig), culurgiones (pasta filled with potato and mint), pecorino cheese and sebadas, a cheese and honey pastry.

You’ll find the pick of Sardinia’s nightlife in and around Cágliari. There are some lively bars in the area around the Castello, or head for the suburb of Poetto, a 15-minute bus ride from the centre of town. You could also try one of the clubs dotted along the southern coast – some are open-air. The Emerald Coast also offers a variety of options, from English-style pubs to chic, designer nightclubs.

Tourist Information

There are tourist information offices in most large towns. The one in Cagliari can be found at: Piazza Matteotti, 9 – 09124

  • Tel: (+39) 070669255
  • Fax: (+39) 070664923
  • Website: []


There are airports at Cágliari, Olbia (convenient for the Emerald Coast) and Fertília (near Alghero), which have direct links to several Italian cities with daily flights. Direct services from other European cities are more frequent in the summer.

Sardinia can also be reached by ferry from mainland Italy, Sicily, Tunis, Corsica and France.

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