James and I have just returned from an amazing eight night tour of Sardinia. I received lots of requests through my Instagram Stories to do a full post on our trip so buckle yourself in as it’s going to be a meaty post.
I’ll start by saying the Sardinian roads in June were very quiet and we could go thirty minutes without seeing another car. We easily found free car parking spaces and never had to queue to get in to the towns. Unfortunately I don’t think you would be able to cover so much ground in July and August as the island gets extremely busy.
We flew in to Cagliari by Easyjet from Stansted and paid €1.30 to take the seven minute train journey to the city centre. One way not to start your holiday is get your Primarni slider stuck on the train step and fall face first in to the carriage. This may or may not have happened to me and my husband may or may not have laughed hysterically. We made it to Cagliari relatively unscathed and headed up to our apartment.
The first place we laid our heads was a quirky AirBnB located in the heart of the historic district of Castello. We really liked the little apartment which was owned by a designer with a real eye for detail. We leisurely meandered around the city walls and soaked up the quiet atmosphere.
Everyone heads to the coast on the weekend so in the unseasonably high heat (around 37 degrees) we decided to beat the crowds and instead have a mooch around the Botanical Gardens. Now Kew this is not. Directed by the university it’s an educational facility rather than a cultivated garden but I was a big fan of the impressive cactus display. We spent a couple of restful hours relaxing under a palm reading our books before heading back for a brilliant tuk-tuk tour of the city. Claudio our driver took us out as golden hour was approaching and it was amazing to climb the steep narrow streets of the city on wheels rather than foot. As sunset fell we dropped in at the Molentargius Natural Park to see flamingos in their natural habitat and ended up by the beach before driving back in to town for dinner.
We made our way back to the airport to pick up the car. Most of the hire car parks seemed to have buckets housing leftover beach umbrellas so my top tip here would be to grab yourselves one so if any opportunity arises for a quick beach stop you’re armed with a beach-side essential.
We hit the road (and the supermarket) and stopped about an hour later at Costa Rei, on the South-East coast for a picnic on the white powdered sand. This was the first time we’d really seen the turquoise waters and realised how gorgeous the beaches really are.
Using the epic Strada Statale 125 Orientale Sarda road we weaved up through the mountains and a few hours later found ourselves in the seaside town of Cala Ganone. I only booked accommodation a month before travelling and it was slim pickings by this time. However our B&B was very sweet and unbelievably clean with a great balcony overlooking the sea.
On out third night we had one of the best meals of the whole trip at La Favorita. The squid ink pasta was utterly divine.
Our plan had been to hire our own boat for the day but the sea was so choppy only guided excursions were allowed out. We were disappointed but with fuel our own boat would have come in at about €120 so this €70 option was a bit more favourable. Instead we joined ten other passengers on a mini-cruise exploring the down-right amazing coastline visiting wild beaches only accessible by boat, swimming in the translucent waters and twisting through the dramatic caves and grottos. We ended the trip with a three hour laze on the beach at the Cala Luna. Heavenly.
As we reached the half way point of the holiday we left Cala Ganone and headed north. The roads took us into the swanky, yacht laden areas of Costa Smeralda and we stopped off at Porta Cerva for our daily picnic. It was unbelievably quiet here and far from the bustling and blingy town I expected. I had promised James supercars but there were none so we had an ice cream and then jumped back in the car to make the one hour journey to Santa Teresa di Gallura which turned out to be my most favourite town of the whole trip. Filled with pastel painted guest houses and plenty of bars and restaurants Santa Teresa was absolutely charming. We checked in to our very traditional Sardinian hotel and were advised by the super friendly hotelier to head up to Capo Testa later that evening with a few drinks to watch the sun go down. For me the whole experience was unforgettable and would be the one thing I would tell anyone to do on a trip to Sardinia. The huge contoured granite rocks around the lighthouse made for such a dramatic setting. We ended the evening with a fabulous meal at Azzurra. We’d heard great things about this place and if you can get past the very bright lighting and interesting music choice (they were playing Renegade Master at one point) then you’re on to a winner.
We deliberated about heading to Corsica for quite a while as the return ferry from Santa Teresa to Bonifacio was around €100. However we decided to board the 12 o’clock crossing as foot passengers and an hour later walked on to dry land in Corsica. I was really taken by Bonifacio and adored the shuttered facades of the historic houses. The approach in to the town is really striking with buildings precariously propped on the edge of the cliffs and we were both really glad we took the time to visit.
On the last stint of the road trip we navigated west heading for Alghero with a slight deviation to visit one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Pelosa Beach in Stintino is absolutely awe-inspiring. We stopped for lunch and a quick dip in the clear water before travelling to our final hotel.
I’d deliberately booked a bit of luxury to end the trip and Wine Resort Ledà d’Ittiri didn’t disappoint. Set amongst the olive groves and vines just outside Alghero, Ledà d’Ittiri is a boutique six-room guest house with a beautiful pool and stunning rooms and impeccable food. We spent the afternoon in Alghero and then got ready for dinner. A friend had recommended we visit Sa Mandra and we really enjoyed the evening here. This outdoor restaurant offers a traditional Sardinian experience where plate after plate of local food is brought to the table. We were completely and utterly stuffed.
We visited the brightly coloured town of Bosa around an hour away before heading back to the hotel for a fabulous wine and olive tasting afternoon. Our host Annamaria took around twenty of us into the fields to learn about the grapes and the wine making process before we sampled the wine and ate local delicacies. For our final meal we ate al fresco in the hotel garden at one of their dining evenings.
We didn’t stray too far on the last day so spent all day on a nearby beach with showers (I use the term loosely here) so we could freshen up before getting our Ryanair flight out of Alghero back to Stansted.
So there you have it. Probably one of my longest posts on RMS but I hope you’ve found it useful. We absolutely loved Sardinia; the scenery was stunning, the food was delish and the people were so charming. If we were to return again we’d definitely head north and visit more of the area around Santa Teresa and Stintino.