Sardinia is a beautiful island and is in fact the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a
mountainous interior crossed with bike and hiking trails. The fact that it's off
the main land means it's less crowded with tourists, making it a brilliant choice for a relaxing Italian escape. My partner and I spent a week on the Island, starting off at the capital, Cagliari and driving up the east coast. We would have loved to tackle the whole island, but you would definitely need at least two weeks to see each town properly. Besides, it's a good excuse to come back for a second visit!
So here are my top 3 bucket list things to do in Sardinia to help you experience the best the island has to offer!
1. Hire a speedboat for a day
From the port of Tortoli on the east side of the island, you can hire a speedboat for 120 euros for the full day! As I learnt throughout the day, driving a speedboat is actually harder than it looks. It takes good core strength to hold the wheel and battle the waves, but if you're comfortable with this I couldn't recommend it more.
Spend the day visiting beautiful white sandy beaches along the cove, which are only accessible by boat. Some of the beaches, however, won't allow the boat to be docked too close to shore, so be prepared to swim a little (or in my case, have your partner drop you off at the pier and let him swim to and from the shore wearing a life jacket, ha).
Bring with you a packed lunch (some resorts offer packed lunches, towels and umbrellas for day trips) dock the boat and pull up the shade for a rest and a nibble in between beach spots.
One of the must see locations on the cove is Grotta del Fico cave. Dock the boat on the pier, climb up the cliff side stairs and you'll enjoy gorgeous scenery from above and entry to the cliff that is pocketed by caves.
Stalactites and stalagmites crowd the cavity while unusual, delicate crystal-like sculptural formations throughout the caves are spectacular. It was first explored in 1957, and opened to the public in 2003. Since its opening, it has been deemed one of the most beautiful and important of the caves on Sardinia.
2. Eat & drink at a local Agriturismo
Agriturismo is a combination of the words for "agriculture" and "tourism" in Italian. Starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1970s, small scale farming in Italy became less profitable and farmers abandoned their farms. By 1985 a legal definition in Italy had been created for Agriturismo, which allowed for the rehabilitation and restoration of many abandoned rural farm houses and estates. Nowadays, these estates are a place for visitors to live, eat and experience local Italian life and food.
Most Agriturismo's produce wine, olive oil, also grain, cheese, honey and jam. They often farm their own eggs, dairy and meat and offer rustic accommodation and a restaurant serving local specialties, prepared with their own products of the farm.
We did some research and found Agriturismo Il Nuraghe on the east coast of Sardinia. After visiting a few Agriturismo's on the island, this one was by far
the best. Antipasto platters and pickled vegetables to start, several pasta dishes, a mountain of freshly made lamb and beef, side dishes and dessert. Oh, and let's not forget the giant jugs of home made white and red Sardinian wine they plonked on to our table!
The quality of the ingredients and the flavours in each dish were just phenomenal. For a foodie like me, this was heaven on earth and cost only €35 per person.
There was something reminiscent of my childhood about the way the old Nonna stuffed biscotti in my bag on the way out, this was a special place.
3. Spend a day hiking
Locals will tell you that the best way to discover Sardinia's beautiful coastlines and diversity is on foot, the island is a perfect walking destinations.
Sardinia is a very mountainous country and therefore offers a variety of walking experiences. These range from gentle rolling hills, beach and valley walks, to mountain ranges in the centre of the island up to 1,800m high.
If you prefer nothing more than a gentle picturesque walk, you'll find plenty of paths to choose from along the coast. Or if rugged terrain and mountain peaks are your preference, head further inland with a guided excursion and up to the summit of the scenic mountains for some stunning views of the
Be sure to take some time to walk through the local towns in the evening as well. You'll find some amazing photo opportunities, fresh produce, cobblestoned streets, markets and street stalls selling cool little knick knacks.
With every new country I visit, I like to bring back a souvenir to add to my travel cabinet and this is where I found a gorgeous little ceramic pot as a reminder of our time on this beautiful Island.