The Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia is a holiday destination full of fascinating contrasts. Between the glamorous Costa Smeralda in the north and the historic island capital Cagliari in the south lies a fascinating landscape that has something to offer for every holiday wish. Lively resorts await you with everything you need for a perfect beach vacation.
You will find lonely stretches of land with romantic villages, whose charm you can discover on long hikes. Those who like it sporty will find excellent conditions for surfing, kiting and challenging hiking or climbing tours. If you are interested in culture and history, the numerous buildings from the eventful history of the island will inspire you.
Sardinia also has a lot to offer in culinary terms. Great wines grow on barren soil and the many small restaurants keep surprising you with delicious local specialties. It is worth planning one or more vacation days to explore this great island.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Sardinia. See map of Sardinia on DigoPaul.
1. Alghero and the Grotte di Nettuno
The small town in northwestern Sardinia is shaped by its Spanish past. The old town, surrounded by thick walls, is picturesquely situated on a rocky outcrop. A stroll through the medieval city center leads over narrow streets and steep steps to numerous historical sights of Sardinia. The Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria and the venerable Palazzo Guillot are particularly worth seeing.
Not far from Alghero is the Grotte di Nettuno, one of the most impressive stalactite caves in Sardinia. The entrance to the 4 km long cave system is just above sea level on a towering rock face. The cave is reached via a steep staircase with more than 600 steps, from which there are spectacular views of the sea and coast. If you like it more comfortable, you can also take a boat to the entrance of the cave.
2. The island capital Cagliari
The vibrant island metropolis is located in the extreme south of the island. The biggest attraction is the oldest part of town, Castello. The quarter is surrounded by a mighty wall and is prominently located on a hill. The panoramic terrace of the San Remy Bastion offers a wonderful view of the panorama of the city and the vast Gulf of Cagliari.
The cathedral Santa Maria di Castello is worth a detailed visit. The impressive church building dates back to 1217 and has been expanded again and again over the centuries. The facade and the magnificent interior show an interesting cross-section through all architectural styles from Romanesque to Baroque. Also worth seeing is the National Archaeological Museum, which gives a comprehensive impression of the history of Sardinia.
3. Castelsardo and the Elephant Rock
Close to the medieval town of Castelsardo is the Elephant Rock, one of the popular and much-visited sights in Sardinia. The Roccia dell’elefante is a weathered large boulder, the contours of which resemble an elephant. The unusual rock was used by the nuragi, the prehistoric inhabitants of Sardinia, as a burial place for the urns of the deceased.
The city itself impresses with its exposed location directly on the rocky coast. Castelsardo owes a high ranking on the list of “I borghi più belli d’Italia”, the most beautiful municipalities in Italy, to the lovingly cared-for cityscape. Here you will find great photo opportunities and ideal conditions for an extensive tour of discovery.
4. Sinis Peninsula and Tharros Ruins
The 20 kilometer long peninsula extends far into the open sea and is a nature reserve where flamingos and other rare bird species live. The Church of San Giovanni stands on Sinis, the oldest Christian sacred building in Italy. The area offers a variety of interesting sights.
The main attraction is the open-air museum with the ancient settlement of Tharros on the only 100 m wide southern tip of the peninsula. A stroll through ancient streets, past temples, houses and shops gives an idea of how Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines lived here almost 2,000 years ago.
5. Mamoiada and Orgosolo villages
The two villages Mamoiada and Orgosolo are on the edge of the Gennargentu National Park. The small community of Mamoiada is famous for its typical Sardinian masks, which can be admired in the remarkable collection of the Museo delle Maschere Mediterranee. Orgoloso lived for a long time from the myth of being the most notorious “bandit village” in Sardinia.
It is still unclear whether that was ever correct. Today you will not meet bandits in Orgoloso, but the murales. This is a variety of artistic wall paintings that have adorned the facades since 1968 and repeatedly take up new political, social or cultural topics and present them in an original way.
6. Gola Gorropu canyon
A hike through the Gola Gorropu gorge takes you into a breathtaking landscape. You cross one of the deepest gorges in Europe between up to 500 m vertically rising rock faces. Even the footpath to the gorge offers a wonderful landscape experience.
It runs through extensive forests with many holm oaks, which provide cooling shade even in midsummer. The light in the early afternoon is particularly pleasant when this sight turns into an almost magically illuminated natural spectacle. Make sure you have enough liquid in your luggage!
7. Barumini Nuraghe & Giara di Gesturi Natural Park
The nuraghi are among the most famous sights of Sadinia. Nuraghe is the name given to the prehistoric, tower-like structures, the remains of which can still be found frequently in Sardinia. The Nuraghe of Barumini is one of the best preserved collections of these typical structures, which were once used as residential and defensive structures, but also as places of worship and burial. The Nuraghe of Barumini is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The Giara di Gesturi nature reserve begins not far from the friendly town of Barumini. The Cavallini della Giara live here between the maquis and cork oaks. These are small wild horses that live together with sheep and semi-wild pigs in this largely untouched landscape. On the edge of the nature park you can admire other nuraghi, but they are much smaller than those of Barumini.
8. The legendary Costa Smeralda
This stretch of coast in northeastern Sardinia owes its famous name to the intensely shining emerald green of the sea. The Costa Smeralda stands for luxury tourism at the highest level and has a magical attraction for stars and celebrities from all over the world. Here you will encounter a fascinating coexistence of breathtaking scenery, countless opportunities for prestigious shopping and highly decorated, starred gastronomy.
All places on the Costa Smeralda were only created around 50 years ago and have been carefully fitted into the landscape. The architecture is mostly cautiously simple and luxury hotels or prestigious luxury villas hide behind inconspicuous facades. A stroll through the narrow streets of the glamorous main town of Porto Cervo will inspire you and a visit to a café in the famous piazzetta will give you a lasting, beautiful holiday memory.
9. La Maddalena Archipelago
The archipelago Arcipelago della Maddalena is located on the northern edge of the Costa Smeralda and offers a wonderful contrast to the pulsating hustle and bustle around Porto Cervo. The archipelago comprises seven large and numerous smaller islands, all of which surprise with dream beaches in great bays. The best way to explore the islands is with a rented motorboat, which, depending on its size, you can drive without a boat license.
The water is crystal clear and offers excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving. The most beautiful beach can be found on the island of Budelli. The Spiaggia Rosa, the “pink beach” owes its name to the intense color of the sand, which is interspersed with tiny pieces of red coral.
10. Wine tasting at a Sardinian winery.
The dry and sunny climate of Sardinia offers the best conditions for growing vines. In all restaurants and cafés you will be offered simple country wines that taste fantastic and go perfectly with regional cuisine. Top wines are made especially from the local Cannonau and Vermentino grape varieties, which are among the best of their kind internationally.
If you are interested in Sardinian wine, you should visit one of the hospitable wineries and taste their great wines on a guided tour. The Sella e Mosca winery in Alghero, which offers daily guided tours and tastings, and the Argiolas winery in Serdiana, where you can taste the award-winning top wines from this renowned winery after registration, offer good opportunities.