Best places to stay in Sardinia
Built on seven hills the city of Cagliari shelters a very interesting neighbourhood. Once you enter the medieval walls you will find the elegant cathedral and stone pulpits dating from the 12th century. In the Cittadella dei Musei there are four museums of which the best is definitely the archaeological collection. A caféteria perched on the walls of the old city is a great place for a spot of lunch.
Before you head off to find the shops and other attractions in Cagliari make time to visit the impressive second century Roman amphitheatre. Sit for few moments under the giant rubber trees and imagine what life must have been like so long ago.
Convivial pavement caféterias offer shady places to watch life stroll by from opposite the port in Via Roma, while Via Manno is great for designer shops, the churches of Stampace should not be missed and the Marina area has the most bars and restaurants. Sardinian specialities are available in restaurants to suit every budget and many places offer fixed price menus.
B&B’s and hotels are easy to find and offer good quality accommodation.
Try to find somewhere to stay around the port area as that is where most of the action takes place day and night. The local city beach is called Poetto and becomes a bustling meeting place on hot summer evenings when the bars come to life and the music starts to play.
You will need deep pockets and a healthy bank balance to stay here but you are on holiday after all! This is definitely not a backpacker resort; it is more mega yachts and luxury spas. As the sun sets on another perfect day the yacht club in Porto Cervo is the ideal place to be sipping a sundowner before moving onto one of the many restaurants serving top quality local and international cuisine.
You will need to wear a bit of bling to mix in with the jet set and celebrity crowd that frequent the resorts but just enjoy the ambience and worry about the bill later on! There are not many resorts that have their own branch of top London retailer Harrods, but Porto Cervo has just that.
In the marina there is always some form of entertainment happening including live music and dancing until the small hours. Premium designer boutiques have window displays ready to tempt you into parting with your money before settling down for a cocktail or two to get over the shock at the prices.
Accommodation can be found in luxurious five star hotels perched up on the hillside with views across the marina and gently curving sands. For a relaxing self-catering holiday there are villa and apartment rentals scattered throughout the town and surrounding area sleeping up to twelve people.
Alghero makes a great place to stay in Sardinia, the historic centre and port are teeming with life but in the back alleys peace and quiet can still be found. The town has the densest concentration of bars and restaurants in Sardinia, including great fish bars that have the fish delivered every morning direct from the boats.
There are long streets full of shops to explore, mediaeval churches and a very busy marina to sit and enjoy a drink in. Make sure you walk round the old town walls from where you can look down to the sea and admire the Capo Caccia cliffs – the best views are at sunset. From the port you can take boat trips to other parts of the coast and some of the outlying islands.
One of the must-see attractions in Alghero is the Grotta di Nettuno. The marine caves with their stalactites and stalagmites and 120-metre-long saltwater lake show off a spectacular array of rock formations which are artfully illuminated to demonstrate their beauty. For accommodation Alghero has hotels of all standards, tiny little hostels and a good selection of self-catering apartments as well as private villas.
This sleepy seaside village makes a fantastic relaxed base for anyone wanting the beach close by and maybe to disconnect from the hectic world for a few days. There are just enough bars and restaurants to serve the needs of the hungry visitors and locals and a few small shops sell the basic everyday necessities. For a wider selection of bars, shops and entertainment the bigger town of Palau is a few kilometres away.
Porto Pollo is connected to Isola dei Gabbiani by a very thin strip of sand with shallow water on both sides. The sheltered inlets, the transparent waters and the fine sand make this resort paradise for everyone that visits it. The beach is pretty amazing and there is a large car park, beach umbrellas and sunbeds for hire, pedal boats and many other amenities.
There is an excellent kitesurfing school aimed at all abilities and offering lessons to novices. Experienced surfers can choose from the gentle winds one side of the sandy strip or the ride the stronger currents on the other.
Sailing trips along the picturesque coast allow visitors to get a different perspective of the island and also stop off at other beaches if you fancy a change of scenery. If you can tear yourself away from the sand and surf the archaeological site of Filitosa, is close by where the famous sculpted menhirs always attract a few visitors.
There are several hotels and apartments in Porto Pollo or visitors can opt to stay on Isola dei Gabbiani in top quality bungalows with amazing sea views. There is a well-equipped campsite on Isola dei Gabbiani and many visitors choose to bring their campervan or tent.
The second largest city in Sardinia it is one of the oldest cities on the island and home to considerable art collections. The neoclassical architecture is beautiful and includes the vast and elegant Piazza d'Italia, the Teatro Civico, Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Giordano The baroque façade of the 13th century Cathedral of St. Nicholas is stunning and is an essential part of a visit to Sassari as is the Fontana del Rosello. There are many museums to visit that include art, history, zoological and botanical collections among others.
In May the Cavalcata Sarda takes place and thousands of people from across the island flock to the city to witness the parade of Sardinian horses and riders dressed in local folk costumes.
There are many, many restaurants and places to eat and drink in Sassari and some of the regional specialties favour vegetables such as cabbage and beans. La Cavolata, a cabbage soup with pork, is very popular and favata, beans, bacon and sausage is another option. For sweet treats try papassini with raisins and nuts or sospiri di Ozieri, praline almond paste.
Accommodation can be found in four star hotels at reasonable rates. Sassari is more of a working town than a tourist resort and the sensible prices make it a good choice for a week or even longer.