Crystal clear water, amazing food, and cheap accommodations. Three things most people wouldn’t associate with a European vacation – unless you’re going to visit Sardinia.

Sardinia is the perfect summer getaway in Europe if you’re looking for a place where you can chill out on the beach all day, catch a tan, and load up on delicious Italian food at night.

Visit Sardinia

When we booked our trip to Sardinia a lot of people asked why we would go there – somehow, it’s not a destination that is popular amongst European travelers – it’s only a hotspot for Italian vacationers. Back when we visited, we actually struggled to find much content on where to go or what to do there because there are so few visitors who aren’t Italian who visit each year. Personally, I love going to destinations where only locals go. When I’m on vacation I want to feel like I’m really away from home (both away from my Dutch and American homes) – so when we encounter a horde of American or Dutch tourists, I can’t help but cringe. It’s not that I don’t love my fellow Americans or my adopted people in Holland… it’s just that hearing the accents of people I’m normally always surrounded by somehow makes me feel like I’m not sufficiently far enough away!

Travel through Sardinia

I strongly recommend renting a car in Sardinia to get around. There is really no better way. Public transport is sparse, and the best way to see the island is to tour it by car so you can take in all the nature – and see as many beaches as possible.

We started at the bottom and drove back up to the top (to take the ferry from Olbia back to Genoa). Our original plan was to stay in Cagliari for most of our trip, but we left within a few days of arriving. Cagliari just wasn’t what we had expected. The beaches weren’t as nice as we had hoped – they were more crowded and a bit dirty. The city in general didn’t feel as relaxed as we had hoped for, so we opted to visit the nearby beaches of Chia and Mari Pintou on the days we slept there.

After we left Cagliari we headed north, guided by a blog post we found which mentioned the best beaches in Sardinia. We headed north to the town of Dorgali on the east coast where we stayed for a few nights before venturing farther north to stay in Olbia and travel to see La Maddalena Archipelago to discover even clearer waters and gigantic yachts.

When you visit Sardinia there are some must visits – we spent 9 days there and these were the highlights of our trip:

Visit Sardinia to see…Chia Beach – South Sardinia

chia beach

If you’re staying in the south near or in Cagliari, Chia Beach is a must visit. The water here is not nearly as blue and clear as the beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea side of the island, but it’s a beautiful beach none the less.

Find hotels in Sardinia

Visit Sardinia to bask in the sun at Mari Pintou – South Sardinia

Mari PintouMari Pintou is a must when you visit Sardinia. It’s also located in the south of the island, but it is east of Cagliari and also within striking distance of the city.

The water here is so warm it feels like you’re floating in a bathtub. It’s clear, it’s warm, and it’s the perfect place to let your worries float away from you on vacation.

Visit Sardinia to explore the beaches around Dorgali – East Sardinia

We used Dorgali as a jumping off point to explore the beaches on the east coast of the island which are only accessible by boat – and preferably by speed boat πŸ˜‰

There are tons of speedboat operators near Dorgali you can book a whole day trip with which can take you up and down the coast to admire the impressive cliffs dropping down into the water, the blue grottos, and beaches which you can’t reach by land. If you visit Sardinia, these tours are a must do – if you don’t go, you won’t experience the full beauty of the island.

Sardinia beach

Sardinia beach

Sardinia beach
Who knew the water in Europe could be so blue?

Sardinia beach

Visit Sardinia to see the bluest of blue at La Maddalena Archipelago – North Sardinia

In the north of the island a short drive from the port of Olbia lies La Maddalena Archipelago. If you thought the water looked clear in photos above, then strap yourself in, because La Maddalena boasts even clearer waters. Although there isn’t much to do besides admire the water and go for a swim, it’s a great stop during your trip. You can snorkel – but you won’t see much. Just book a boat tour and enjoy the clear waters – what more do you need to do on vacation?

la maddalena sardinia

la maddalena sardinia

Life in Sardinia

Sardinia is unlike the rest of Italy – and has tried to secede. We learned from our AirBnB hosts that the economy in Sardinia is pretty rough. There’s not much work for most people in the winter once tourist season has passed. Our AirBnb host told us that every autumn she gathers wood for the winter and gears up for several months of no work. Sardinia really depends on tourism, so you know, do your part and book your trip πŸ˜‰

What did I miss? What should I do on my next visit?

21 Comments

  1. I TOTALLY agree the the sentiment about not feeling far enough away when surrounded by other Americans (or too many people in general, for me)! Those waters look incredible and that is impressive coming from someone who lives in Hawaii!! I will definitely be adding this to my list!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      thanks for the comment! def add Sardinia to your list πŸ™‚ lucky you coming from Hawaii

  2. I’ve wanted to visit Sardinia ever since I tasted their wine. I didn’t know that it was so beautiful too! The color of that water – wow! Pinned for when I make it that way!

  3. Sardinia has fantastic, gorgeous beaches :-). These are sandy beaches, some with exquisite powdery white sand and all with that cliche crystal clear turquoise water everyone expects from Sardinia and the Mediterranean. When is the best time to visit this magical island in the Mediterranean?

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Well I visited in August when it was experiencing an “African heat wave”… so maybe not August πŸ˜‰ but definitely in the summer

  4. Wow! The water in Sardinia is incredible! I’m defiantly putting this on my list of places to travel to in 2017. Can’t wait to check out more of your guides! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      thanks πŸ™‚ hope you get to visit soon!

  5. Oh my that beautiful clear water is calling my name. I have been visiting Italy once or twice a year for the last couple of years but still havent been to Sardinia. Well those beaches and that water certainly look convincing enough!

  6. Oh my gosh. I live in Italy and have been to Sicily a few times. Sardinia has always been a “maybe one of these days…” sort of place, but THAT WATER, MY GOD. Thanks for all the ideas on which direction to go in, saving this for later for sure.

  7. I’ve had my eye on Sardinia for quite some time now! Your post and photos have made me want to go there even more! That turquoise water is perfection.

  8. WOWOWOW that water! Is it really that blue? The cliffs look absolutely stunning too. Looks like the perfect place for a summer holiday! How did you find the driving, was it as crazy as the rest of Italy?

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yes, it is really that blue! no editing πŸ™‚ the driving is not as crazy as the rest of italy, it is not super crowded so that helps !

  9. Sardinia looks like a place straight out of a fairytale movie! Definitely adding this place to my bucket list πŸ™‚

  10. Oh yes! I’ve been dying to go here for ages and have actually been thinking about Sardinia all day today and that perhaps it’s time to book a trip!! #blogpostsaturday

  11. Wow. The couloir of that water looks like Hawaii or Australia. So stunning. I’ll have to go one day!

  12. Omg the water looks AMAZING! I been to Italy many times but never south of Rome. Will definitely plan a trip to the south and include Sardinia!

  13. I’m already sold by the fact that it’s in Italy. Italy is my fave place in the world!! And that water is ridiculously beautiful!! It looks like a filter. What a place!

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