Don’t let the many articles and stories about Porto Cervo’s opulence or elite guests make you feel you won’t enjoy a visit. While it is accurate to say that it rates as one of the most luxury-loaded spots in all of Europe, it is also very accessible to more traditional travelers. Tucked into Sardinia’s gorgeous Costa Smeralda, it reigns supreme as a playground for the rich and famous, but is also able to draw in many more visitors thanks to a new visitor’s terminal in the town of Olbia. Allowing major European airlines to land, it has actually doubled visitation to the region.
This has allowed for an entirely new level of accommodations and traveler’s services to appear, making it an accessible spot for all. This does not mean that Porto Cervo, or the Costa Smeralda, are by any means crowded. It simply means that a far more laid-back atmosphere prevails and glamour has been toned down to a more appealing level.
What to Do in Porto Cervo
Most visitors to the region arrive with one thing in mind – the beaches. However, as the area does have that reputation for opulence, there are many fine restaurants, amazing shops, and plenty of non-beach things to see and do in Porto Cervo. Of course, we shouldn’t overlook any of the beaches in the region.
So, let’s begin with one that most describe as a hidden gem but well worth the effort of finding. This is the beach known as Spiaggia del Pevero. Three short kilometers south of Porto Cervo, it is ideal for families and couples, and it has many facilities that allow you to savor hours there, or just enjoy a quick drink at the bar. There is also the charming Cala Granu Beach nearby as well, and it is but one kilometer north of Porto Cervo. With facilities and good snorkeling, it also looks out over what many call the prettiest bay in the Porto Cervo area.
If you are interested in some more local sightseeing, most agree that the church of Stella Maris is a must see, and that a few hours at Paese, with its mega yachts is a lot of fun.
However, if you speak with anyone who is familiar with Porto Cervo, they always agree that simply walking through the new and old sections of the town is a wonderful experience. Utterly picturesque, with its rows of pastel-hued houses and opulent buildings peering out over the water, it is also home to some of the most costly housing in all of Europe.
The village proper is at the southeastern end of the port and home to low-key bars, restaurants and local shops. The newer marina is where the more exclusive shops and boutiques are found. The nightlife, gourmet dining and exclusive hotels are here, though not all are tucked into Porto Cervo, as so much of the town now climbs up into the hills surrounding the harbor area.
Know the History
It really helps to know a small bit of history in order to appreciate the sights of Porto Cervo. While sitting at a café or restaurant enjoying your authentic Sardinian meal, note that many of the buildings date only to the 1960s or later. The end result of a vision of the Prince Aga Khan IV, the entire Porto Cervo setting was created in order to develop the area while retaining much of its original architectural style.
Today, even the new buildings have the same look as some of the oldest, original structures. This does not stand in contract with the new port’s many modern amenities and services. Enjoy a stroll through town; savor the squares, the narrow streets, the beautiful buildings, and all against the backdrop of the stunning Costa Smeralda.