Things to do on Sardinia

Many travel sites may have a long list of historical, scenic, and tourist-oriented spots that all appear on "must-see" lists. However, the traveler to Sardinia knows that it is a nature lover's paradise. The list of things to do then becomes a basic list of geographic features such as "beaches", the "sea", "coastline", "mountains", and more.

A short list of the best things to be sure to do during your stay is most useful when it is divided by regions. The geography of the island is easy to remember when you learn the names of the largest towns or cities.

Olbia and Costa Smeralda

This a region that reunites the wildness of a Seychelles-like sea to the glamour of yachting clubs, designer villas and A-list night clubs, bars and restaurants. The Aga Khan turned Sardinia's Costa Smeralda into an eco-sensitive millionaire's paradise in the 1960s and it still lives today up to its fame, whereas Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo may be considered as the Italian version of St Tropez. Northernmost Gallura coastal areas are home to windsurfing and nature preserves where one can swim with dolphins while visiting the famous La Maddalena Park. Olbia is a must-see with a fascinating historic center, impressive boutiques, and many of the island's best wine bars and cafes.

Sassari, Porto Torres, Alghero and the northwest

There is much to see and do in this area, from Sardinia's second largest city after Cagliari (Sassari) to the charming town of Porto Torres, travelers can experience urban appeal and natural beauty. The coastline is rocky and full of cliffs and coves, but inland are many historic finds along with unique areas resulting from previous years of foreign rule. Here too is charming Alghero, a medieval city long considered one of the most beautiful in all of Sardinia. Sassari is a university town that has a modern atmosphere and is continually earning a reputation as a very cultured and contemporary spot.

Cagliari 

Compared to ancient cities like Jerusalem and Rome, it is a graceful and "golden hued" location where travelers can enjoy: a Marina district dotted with cafes and shops, a wonderful beach (Poetto Beach), the famous hilltop citadel of Il Castello, four amazing museums at the Citadella dei Musei, the Bastione San Remy (a stairway taking travelers from the Piazza Constituzione to the Bastione San Remy), a botanical garden, the 13th century Cattedrale di Santa Maria, and the Torre dell'Elefante. The city is home to an impressive range of cafes, restaurants, shops, and more.

Nuoro and the east

Long considered the wildest of Sardinia's regions, visitors tend to head to the mountains of Supramonte or to the dramatic sea cliffs at Golfo di Orosei. There are many nuraghi here, as well, and the Grotta di Su Marmuri is considered a treasured landmark and home to enormous, natural caves.

Iglesias and the southwest 

If untamed coastline, islands, and the historical background of Sardinia is of interest, this is the region for you. Here you can spend time in Costa Verde's white sand beaches, explore coves in Iglesiente and Costa del Sud, or take a day trip to Islan San Pietro. Iglesias, as the biggest town in the region, is a former mining town full of museums and surrounded by the rolling hills. It is also where visitors enjoy the finest nuraghi. Bronze Age settlements dot the island along with roughly 7,000 "nuraghi". These are megalithic edifice built somewhere between 1900 and 730 BCE. Related to the Nuragic civilization, they are a must see during a stay. Among the most popular and impressive is the Nuraxi su Barumini set in the verdant countryside, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and wonderfully preserved.

Oristano and the west

This central region offers excellent beaches, rolling hills, archaeological treasures and treats, and one of the finest medieval cities in all of Europe - Oristano. With a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere and well-kept historical district, it is described as a charming discovery by most who pay a visit. This region is also described as a "foodie's" paradise due to the excellent farms and restaurants around Monti Ferru. The famous S'Ardia horse race occurs in Sedilo each year, too.

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