Imagine this: pristine strips of beach tucked away in hidden seaside alcoves and crystal clear waters as far as the eye can see. No, you’re not dreaming — you’re in Sardinia.
While Sardinia requires a little extra effort to get to since it’s not part of mainland Italy, the trip is worth it for the beaches alone. You won’t want to forget the sunscreen for this destination!
Sardinia is more off-the-beaten-path than popular places like Rome or Florence, so you might be wondering how to have a holiday on this heavenly Italian island in the Mediterranean. We’ve put together a guide that will help you plan your trip and give you information on Sardinia’s beaches so you can soak up the sun.
Planning Your Beach Trip: When To Go To Sardinia
If you want to make the most of the dreamy, transparent waters and exquisite Sardinian beaches, the best time to visit will be from the springtime into early fall — with one caveat.
If you’ve already read through our essential tips before traveling to Italy, then you know that visiting Italy in August can pose some challenges. Not only do temperatures soar, but many Italians go on vacation around this time to celebrate Ferragosto.
Can you still go in August? Of course, but months like April, May, and October may be preferable since they fall into Sardinia’s shoulder season — AKA that convenient gap between the high season and winter’s low season. You’ll find the weather a bit more unpredictable, and the springtime waters may still feel chilly, but you can still have a great time.
You’ll get the most reliably warm, sunny weather, and you’re more likely to beat throngs of visitors in June, early July, and September. September is often thought of as the best month to visit — the sea has had all summer to warm up, and restaurants and businesses still operate regularly even though the busy season has passed.
Getting There and Getting Around: The Best Way To Travel In Sardinia
You can access Sardinia by air or sea. The quickest way to get your Sardinian holiday started will be to fly in from elsewhere in Italy or Europe. A ferry allows you to bring your rental car with you, but be aware that mode of transportation will take longer.
We personally think it’s best to rent a car once you arrive in Sardinia to get around easily and to visit harder-to-access destinations. Public transportation exists, but it’s not the most efficient and won’t get you to some of the more tucked-away beaches.
Luckily, driving in Sardinia is less stressful than on the chaotic streets of Rome — it must be that island lifestyle. Unless you’re cruising around the center of cities like Olbia or Cagliari, you can use the superstrade or freeways to get around and the smaller strade provinciali or provincial roads marked with an S an SP to reach your final destination. Some of these strade provinciali may be single-lane country roads, so they’re especially scenic and make for beautiful drives!
How To Find Sardinia’s Best Beaches
When searching for Sardinia, Italy beaches, most include the word spiaggia (beach) or cala (cove) in the name — making them a bit easier to locate on a map.
You’ll be able to find some of these glorious beaches with no trouble, although others may be more off-the-beaten-path. More remote beaches may require driving on less-maintained roads, some more intense hiking, or you may want to go to the nearest dock in the morning to rent or hire a boat.
Which part of Sardinia has the best beaches, though? We firmly believe you can’t go wrong no matter whether you head north, south, east, or west! Many northern and eastern parts of the island are more mountainous and have beaches hidden in rocky areas. In contrast, the beaches in the south often have wide-open sandy strips, but you will encounter stunning spots everywhere.
What to Pack to Live Your Best Beach Life in Sardinia, Italy
As you plan your trip to Italy to explore all the beaches Sardinia has to offer, you’ll want to have a few items at the ready.
First, set aside extra cash on hand for parking. This shouldn’t add up to a lot — maybe €0.50 per hour — and it’s an excellent chance to use up some of those smaller Euro coins.
You will also want to consider your footwear. To get to some of Sardinia’s more secluded beaches, you may need to hike in from where you park. Having a solid pair of gym shoes, hiking boots, or sturdy sandals will make your journey much safer than a pair of strappy sandals or flip-flops.
Once you arrive, having water shoes may save your feet! Some Sardinia beaches have rocks or pebbles instead of sand, and they can actually feel quite painful to walk on. A pair of aqua shoes will make your excursion much more comfortable.
A dry bag will be your beach BFF. Whether you hike in or rent a boat, this will help to keep your valuables dry and safe.
And last, make sure to have some water. Especially with some of the harder-to-access beaches you don’t want to be without.
Where to go in Sardinia for Beaches
Are you looking for some bellissime beaches to add to your itinerary? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite and best beaches in Sardinia for you to experience.
Gulf of Orosei
Located in eastern Sardinia, this region is home to rocky bays, home to one of our favorite all-time beaches, Cala Goloritze. As an Italian National Monument, this one is accessible only by walking or taking a small boat and swimming in. You’ll find other beaches here, too, like Cala Luna and Cala Mariolu, and this is an excellent place for those who want to incorporate hiking into their beach days.
Costa Smeralda, or the Emerald Coast, is perhaps the most famous area in all of Sardinia. Located in the northeast, you’ll find beaches upon beaches here — along with luxury hotels, exclusive golf courses, and yachts.
The Maddalena Archipelago
The Maddalena Archipelago is near the Emerald Coast, but the secluded beaches here give us even more glitz and glam vibes than anywhere on the island. Navigating the islands at the northern tip of Sardinia can be tricky, so we recommend hiring a skipper for the day to enjoy these hidden gems.
Can’t decide between soft, sandy beaches or rocky coastlines? Villasimus has a bit of both. This southeastern section of the island has glimmering waters, and its marine-protected Capo Carbonara makes for perfect snorkeling and diving. It’s called Sardinia’s Pearl of the South for a reason!
Western Sardinia can sometimes have stronger waves, winds, and currents, so if you’re looking for something more rugged and adventurous (windsurfing, anyone?), you’ll want to head here. Oristano is the ideal home base to explore beaches like San Giovanni di Sinis or Spiaggia di Putzu Idu which offer plenty of water sport options.
Are you dreaming of a beach vacation in Sardinia? What part of the island do you most want to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
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