Sardinia, a 24,000 square meter Mediterranean island with about 1.6 million inhabitants, is today an autonomous region of Italy. However, the island was first settled by Greeks, who, already in the Neolithic era, named it “Sandalyon” for its shape. The largest and oldest cities include the regional capital Caligari in the south, as well as Sassari, Quartu Sant’Elena, Olbia, Alghero, Nuoro, Oristano, Carbonia, Selargius, and Iglesias. Some of the cities are also the capitals of some island provinces. Due to its almost 1,900 kilometer-long coast, Sardinia has of course been a popular destination for sailors, skippers, surfers, and other water sport enthusiasts for a long time. The coastal regions are divided into the Costa Smeralda in the northwest, Costa Rei in the east, Costa Verde in the southwest, Costa Paradiso in the north, and Costa de Sud in the south. The most popular beach among tourists is the Emerald Beach (Costa Smeralda) between Palau and Olbia, with many visitors, but Costa Paradiso, tucked between Isola Rossa and Portobello die Gallura, lures many with its small, hidden bays. Costa Verde on the Golfo di Gonnesa is a calmer region, but the “King’s Coast”, between Punta di Santa Giusta and Capo Ferrato, is a livelier area, and Costa de Sud is framed by Capo Teulada and the town Pula. Further coastal and beach towns with nice bathing opportunities and mooring available for sport boats are Arabatx by Tortoli, San Teodoro, Budino, Capo Comino near Sinsicola, Berchidda, Cala Libretto, and bays which are sometimes just accessible by water, such as Porto Quao, Cala Biriola, Costa di Cala Sisine, Costa di Cala Luna, Costa Goloritze, Costa di Cala Marilu, and Cala Gonone on the Golfo di Orosei. If you are unsure what route to take around the region, Yachtico.com has an itinerary for Sardinia available here.
With its many picturesque grottos and rocky shores, Sardinia is a beloved and highly regarded destinations for divers. Especially well-liked are Capo Caccia in the northwest, with numerous tunnels and caves, and Olbia, where you can dive among the ruins of a crashed plane. Other well known dive sites are at Capo d’Orso on the northeast coast, in the bays of Capo Testa in the north, the Grotta del Bue Marino in the Golfo di Orosei, and the Grotta di Nettuno in Alghero. The nature preserve on Capo Caccia in the north is quite popular, and on the Sinis peninsula in the west, Capo Teulada and Isla Rossa, La-Maddalena-Archipel national park, around the small Asinara and Mal di Ventre islands, and on Punta Coda Cavallo peninsula with its two islands Tavolara and Molara, diving is allowed but with restrictions, due to nature conservancy efforts. For the best surfing in Sardinia, the northern coast at Santa Teresa, between Palau and Capo Testa, is the place to go. Situated in the windiest strait between Sardinia and Corsica, it offers the best waves on the island for surfing. In Porto Puddu by Palau, surfing fans and strong-wind enthusiasts from all over Europe meet to take advantage of the excellent conditions. At San Teodoro, Torre di Bari and Marina di Gairo on the eastern coast you will find popular surf points and in the south, surf and wind fans gather at Costa del Sud and Capo Carbonara near Villasimius. All over the island, nature conservation is taken very seriously. At some places fishing is strictly prohibited, and other locations allow the pastime only with restrictions. In the area around the island Maluentu, as well as north of San Giovanni di Sinisi, the sport is strictly forbidden. If you do go fishing, there are some rules: sea urchins may only be gathered between November and May, and only by hand. Perch may only be caught once a day, and the sale of those as well as other types of fish is generally prohibited for hobby fishers. That means you can just fish for yourself, not to make profit off of your catch. Spear fishing is another fun activity in Sardinia, but also one with restrictions. Some types of seafood, which are both easy to catch and plentiful in the coastal waters, are shrimp, crabs, squid, sea bream, moray eels, and weeverfish, among others. Manicapo, Capo Mannu and Sa Marigosa all have a good reputation for being rich fishing grounds. For fishing in the inner part of the island, the lakes Lago del Coghinas, Lago di Gusana, and Lago Omodeo as well as the Coghinas, Flumendosa, Tirso and Temo rivers have carp, catfish, trout, eels, and bass ready to bite at the fishing lines. These waterways are also the best areas for canoeing and kayaking. Almost 40 marinas are distributed throughout Sardinia, most of which are in the northeast on the Golfo Aranci near Olbia and Palau as well as around Caligari in the south. Further marinas and moorings are in or around Alghero, Fertilia, Porto Conte, Stintino, Porto Torres, Castesardo, Santa Teresa di Gallura, La Maddalena, Cannigione, Poltu Quatu, Porto Cervo, Portisco, Porto Rotondo, Punta Marana, Baia Caddinas, Puntaldia, Porto Ottiolu, La Caletta, Porto Corallo, Capitana, Su Siccu, Perd’e Sali, Cala Verde, Sant’Antioco, Carloforte, Portoscuso, Buggerro, Oristano, and Bosa.
Equally marked with the beautiful rocks typical of the island, Sardinia’s hinterland as well as its many beaches are both charming and demanding climbing areas. Some excellent hiking and climbing locations are at Tacchi di Jerzu in the Ogliastra mountains, and in the areas around Cala Conone, Cala Luna, La Poltrona, Cala Fuili, Grottone Biddiriscottai, Cala Fighera, Villagreca, Baunei, Dorgali, Masua, Domusnovas, on the Isola di San Pietro, Monte Maccione, Supramonte mountain, and on Capo Caccia near Alghero. True happiness will be found on the back of a horse in Sardinia, and you can pick one up at Scivu Beach on Costa Verde and the stables at Mandra Edera near Abbasanta. A lovely excursion opportunity is the annual horse show in Santu Lussurgiu in June. By foot and as a hiker, the Gennargentu Mountains and its highest point at Punta La Marmora (1834 meters) are worth the climb. Other interesting hiking destinations include the elephant rocks southeast of Castelsardo in the Sassari province – which has been used for almost 4,000 years as a worship site; the nature preserve Parco dei Sette Fratelli (Park of the Seven Brothers) which is known for its many red deer, in the Sarrabus-Gerrei region in the southeast; the Barabagia Plateau in the east, with its holly oak and sweet chestnut trees; and the central region Sarcidano features the deep-blue Lago del Flumendosa as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site of the prehistoric Nuraghe Su Nuraxi Towers in the central area Marmilla. Para gliders are happy to take advantage of Europe’s highest natural jumping point at the Golf of Orosei, from which they fall 120 meters. Before or after, it’s best to build up some strength with typical Sardinian specialties, such as the sheep’s milk cheese pecorino, the thin shepherd’s bread pane carasau, porcheddu (grilled suckling pig), culurgionis (filled pasta), seadas (cheese turnovers with honey), and of course the always-fresh fish and seafood available all over the island.
The new platform for yacht charters – already operating successfully in many countries around the world – is Yachtico. Browse the many sailboats, motorboats and houseboats at YACHTICO.com, including almost 300 available in Sardinia, built between 2000 and 2013. The weekly prices start at about 900 euros and go up to very luxurious yachts and catamarans for about 12,000 euros. Popular and well-known boat races and regattas in Sardinia take place in Baia di Mezzo Schifo in Palau and Porto Rafael and the Swan World Cup and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo.