Places to Visit in Sardinia

by Guest

Sardinia is one of the largest island’s in the Mediterranean Sea. Here is our rundown of the best places to visit in Sardinia during your holidays there. But it isn’t visited by tourists in the same numbers as the Balearic Islands or Sicily. This is surprising. With a culture which is quite different from Italy, some of the best beaches in Europe (many of which are compared to those in the Caribbean), a wealth of history and culture, mouth watering food, challenging hiking trails through the mountainous forested interior, and a year round good climate makes Sardinia one of the jewels of the country. There is much to do and see on the island.

Pula Market

Sardinia has no shortage of food markets across the island, but one of the best is Pula Market. Every Tuesday, local farmers descend upon the outskirts of town to sell their delicious fresh produce. Wander through the market and buy up freshly caught seafood, fine meats, olives, olive oil, freshly baked Sardinian bread, fresh vegetables and fruit, and wines. Sardinians are rightfully proud of their produce and almost all restaurants used locally sourced ingredients. Even if you are not looking to buy, it’s still a wonderful experience to amble through the market, grab a coffee, or people watch.

Garibaldi Museum

Giuseppe Garibaldi was one of the most prominent figures in modern Italian history, and played an important part in the unification of the country. He is often through of as one of the greatest generals in modern history. His last days were spend at his home of the La Maddalena archipelago, just off Sardinia. His home is now a fascinating museum which chronicles his life and holds his personal belongings like watches, paintings, and clothing. It’s well worth the effort to beach the island.

Gola Su Gorropu

One of the most spectacular parts of the island is the Gola Su Gorropu, a gorge often likened to its counterpart in the USA. Ramblers wander through the gorge admiring the towering cliffs with rise dramatically 400 metres from the base. We always recommend taking a guided walk through the Gola Su Gorropu, but it is possible to do yourself if you have some hiking experience. Be sure to visit in the morning when the Sardinian heat is at its lowest. You’ll often have the gorge all to yourself. Hike through the stark Sardinian landscape and up the step sides looking up at the eagles which circle on the morning thermals. You’ll need at least a half day to complete the 10 kilometre trek which is well worth the effort.

Grotte di Nettuno

The Caves of Neptune are considered some of the most amazing in Sardinia. Located along the coast near the North Western town of Alghero, the caves were first discovered by fishermen in the 18th century, but have only be open to the public since the 1950s. Inside the cave teems with stalagmites and stalactites, as well as a huge 120 metres saltwater lake. Though it is thought to be over 4 kilometres long, only a couple of hundred metres of the caves are available to view. To reach the cave, one must first take a boat around the bay, or descend over 600 steps to the entrance which sits just a metre or so above the waters’ level. This means when the waters are choppy, it’s not accessible. The caves are famous as the filming location of the 70s movie Fishmen staring Barbara Bach. Below the waters’ surface there are more underwater caves which can be explored by scuba divers.

Cala Mariolu beach

cala-goloritze-beach-sardinia

If you are going to visit just one beach in Sardinia , make it Cala Mariolu. Without doubt, it is one of the most spectacular on the island. It’s small, but fringed by towering cliffs on all sides. The aquamarine waters are shallow with soft sandy seabed and perfect for families. Locals can be seen jumping from the rocks into the water, and tourists visit to snorkel and sunbathe. The beach never gets overcrowded because of the slight difficulty in reaching it. To get to Cala Marilou, you can either take one of the boats around the bay from Cala Gonone or Santa Maria Navarrese, or take a 6 kilometre hike from Piredda. The trail is beautiful, but quite challenging. If you decide to take the walk, be sure to carry plenty of liquids, wear comfortable shoes and a hat, and leave in the morning to avoid the fierce midday heat.

Roman Amphitheatre

Just outside the capital of Cagliari lies the two thousand year old Roman amphitheatre . Carved into the slopes of the Buon Cammino hillside, the seating is split into three types which were original offered to different social classes from senators to slaves. During its peak, the amphitheatre once held more than 10,000 spectators who came to watch the gladiators fight it out. This is much evidence to suggest that these fighters were also pitted against wild animals like tigers. Much of the site is open to the public, who can wander around an imagine what it may have been like to be part of the crowd during one of the battles.

Cagliari Cathedral

The capital’s cathedral is a fine example of 13th century architecture. Towering up over the Piazza Palazzo, the Gothic architecture is simply astounding. Over the years layers of restoration have created a unique structure which is well worth the visit.

Bronze Age nuraghe

Dotting the landscape of Sardinia are thousands of beehive shaped stone buildings which date back to the Bronze Age. While historians are still unsure of their use, most agree that they were either used as military outposts or used for religious purposes. Built over 2,000 years ago, these small stone ruins sit all over the island. Though there are simply too many to list here, highlights including Nuraghe Orrubiu, Nuraghe Santu Antine, and Nuraghe su Barumini. Some of these have been even been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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