With its long stretches of white sand and a Mediterranean, turquoise coastline spanning almost 2,000km, Sardinia is set to be the next place on your bucket list you didn’t know you wanted to visit!
Just off the coast of Italy and North Africa, Sardinia’s luscious countryside and mountainous terrain at the heart of the island provides spectacular hiking trails with awe-inspiring views of the glittering sea. Nestled in the mountains, unspoilt landscapes consisting of gorges and waterfalls house rural communities, providing a look into traditional Sardinian life.
The enviable coastline of the island sees the rugged white cliffs provide privacy in the sandy bays. Set against this breath-taking backdrop, the inviting, crystal clear water provides you with a level of tranquillity that you never knew existed, making sure that you never want to return home!
Not only is Sardinia visually beautiful, but it is also rich in culture. Although an Italian speaking island, the language of Sardo is also widely spoken by its natives, with different variations popping up in each region. It is thought that the origins of the language have influences from the different cultures that have previously inhabited the island, drawing inspiration from languages such as Arabic, Spanish and Catalan.
The island celebrates its cultural heritage several times throughout the year, with each procession or carnival providing visitors with a chance to learn more about the historical importance of Sardinia. Festa di sant’Efiso, Sardinia’s most famous festival, dates back as far as 1657 and commemorates the vow put in place in order to defeat the plague that had wiped out half of the island’s population.
But Sardinia’s culture isn’t completely historical based. Sharing its fond love of food with mainland Italy, you can expect to substitute your stereotypical carb-saturated Italian diet with impressive seafood platters and antipasto. The differences are down to the Phoneians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Spaniards who invaded the country and influenced the food prior to the country becoming a part of Italy in 1861.
These food influences can be seen in most dishes, with Sardinians having their own spin on Italian classics, such as gnocchi and cured pork. Like their Italian counterparts, the use of pancetta and prosciutto can be widely found throughout the island. Although the natives alternative twist on charcuterie, salsiccia sarda, which incorporates elements of a sausage and salami, can be tried and tested too.
In terms of wine, the island has a multitude of drinks to discover dependent on where you are on the island. The vineyards of Sardinia are unlikely to grow varieties that you would typically find in mainland Italy, but it is because of this that you should make sure to sample some of the region’s finest wines!
In regards to the varieties that you are most likely to come into contact with, Cannonau would be high up on the list. Often known as Grenache, the strain of grapes used to make this particular wine are grown all over the island. It has been suggested that the grape originated in Sardinia and was transported to Spain in the 14th Century after the Aragonese occupied the island.
Across the translucent seas is the Maddalena archipelago, a group of seven scattered islands just off the coast of Sardinia and perfect for a day’s exploring. Or if you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to the island, why not take some time out to take in the sites of Costa Smerelda? Although during peak season this Northern stretch of paradise is occupied by tourists, the escape is a firm favourite with celebrities thanks to the beautiful collection of beaches it has to offer.
So where to stay? Despite Sardinia being a popular location with tourists, you’ll luckily never feel as though the island is too crowded. With such a wide varieties of villas in Sardinia with a pool, you’ll be spoilt for choice!