Sardinia travel review
With love from Sardinia
Enjoying wine, food and nature on the idyllic Italian island. By Holly Louise Eells
Main image: Panoramic views over Capo D’Orso, Serenity Holidays
Ask any Sardinian where they would most like to live, and the odds are that they will say, ‘here’. Throughout my trip, I was reminded that Sardinians are proud of their lifestyle, culture, mesmerising coastline, food and drink, stunning sandy beaches, and mountainous interior. So it comes as no surprise that this beautiful large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea with its healthy lifestyle is home to the world’s longest-living men. According to, orderisda.org, “Researchers have discovered that there are nearly ’10 times more centenarians per capita than in the USA. They labelled it the first blue zone, an area or region of the world where people live significantly longer than average lives.”
Before I had the opportunity to discover Sardinia, one of Italy’s hidden gems, I wasn’t too familiar with what this small, sandy, and mountainous island had to offer, making the naïve assumption it is all about pasta, gelato, wine, and pizza. With that being said, these food and drink indulgences are part of the experience, but I was soon to discover there was so much more to this magical island.
Unless you are a fan of scorching temperatures and peak crowds, the best periods to visit Sardinia are around April to May and September to October; something I chose to do. The weather was still sunny and warm enough to swim in the sea, which I did. Also, if you are a walking or cycling enthusiast this is a much better time for taking to the country’s biking and hiking trails, which seemed very popular on my visit.
The island has three airports – the biggest, Cagliari Elmas, is located in the south and Alghero in the north. I departed from London and arrived at the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, which is around 4km from Olbia, one of the most well-connected cities in Sardinia.
If you want to explore the wonders of Sardinia, hiring a car is highly recommended because it is easier to get around and you have the freedom to explore and see the island’s stunning sights, local delights, and hidden treasures.
Driving to my first stay at the luxurious Hotel Capo D’Orso Thalasso & Spa from the airport gave me a chance to absorb captivating views. This hour or so journey showcased some of the island’s finest coastal scenery (The Costa Smeralda) and its architecture of cluster of buildings throughout the towns of soft pastel pinks, blues, and yellows.
Part of Delphina Hotels & Resorts, the prestigious 5* hotel oozed romance and is proud to be 100% green energy. Its attractive waterfront is within just a few hundred metres of two white sandy beaches, yes two, and only 4km away from a small seaside village, Palau.
Described as one of the liveliest destinations of Northern Sardinia, Palau has an array of exhilarating things to do, including a day trip to La Maddalena islands ( the main and largest archipelago) with a 40-minute ferry from the local harbour that will take you across to a beautiful collection of seven islands.
Palau is also known for the famous Bear’s rock (Cape of the Bear). No trip would be complete without a visit to see breath-taking panoramic views (wear comfortable shoes) and an impressive granite stone structure that ironically takes its name due to its resemblance to a bear!
Whilst in Palau, be sure to visit, La Gritta, one of my favourite dining experiences whilst in Sardinia. The authentic, delicious dishes such as the clam spaghetti awoke my tastebuds, and their local red wine, Cagnulari Isola Dei Nuraghi Igt 2019, was one of the finest red wines I have had in a while, in fact, I grabbed a couple of bottles from La Bottega Del ‘Isle in Palau town to take home.
And as we are on the topic of food and traditional Italian delicacies, we know gelato is a must in Sardinia! I visited Gelateria la Mucca Rosa, but there are a variety of local gelato shops in the area; a lot actually.
Along the way to my next stop was Cannigione with its delightful marina where I stayed at the ever so charming family hotel, the Resort Cala di Falco (Delphina Hotels & Resorts). Offering spectacular views of the Maddalena archipelago, it encouraged me to hire a boat and get out into the crystal clear waters and experience the beautiful coastline. Seeing the coasts of Sardinia was one of the biggest highlights of the trip because I witnessed true beauty and saw nature at its finest.
Embracing another day in the delightful Cannigione I stayed at the very stylish and spectacular Villa Del Golfo Lifestyle Resort, which offers an impressive Mediterranean style and decor; true Sardinian style. Boasting magnificent views of the Gulf of Arzachena, it is perfect for that romantic getaway.
Just around the corner from the resort are La Conia, Spiaggia Barca Bruciata, and Piaggia Mannena beaches, but if you can, experience the profusion of minor islands off Sardinia’s northeastern coast, more than 60 in fact that form part of La Maddalena National Park, which can be explored via various boat tours from the mainland. And be sure to stop off at one of Sardinia’s mainly small, secluded beaches, especially if you are the only human being there; a memory never forgotten.
As mentioned before Sardinia is one of the most long-lived populations on earth due to quality of life, eating habits, and daily lifestyle so whilst on this trip, I wanted to experience and capture the Sardinian ways. At my last stop on this adventure, I stayed at the award-winning family-run hotel Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites in Golfo Aranci, which granted my wishes.
Throughout my stay, I was spoilt as I experienced Enogastronomic Sardinia at its best. Antonella Datome, who runs the hotel with her family went above and beyond to educate me on all local food and wine delicacies, and the history of Golfo Aranci, once a small fisherman’s village. These included and must be tried, Fregula (local Sardinian pasta), Sa Pompìa: the unique citrus of Sardinia and said to be one of the rarest fruits in the world, and the traditional drink of Sardinia, The Myrtle.
I soon discovered there is more to Sardinia than their love for pasta, gelato, and pizza. Whether you want to come for a short romantic break, a family excursion, or a solo trip, Sardinia has it all for a memorable adventure. And I’m not one for regrets, but if there was one thing I would change, I wish I had more time to explore the beautiful wonders of Sardinia. See you soon Southern Sardinia, you are next.
Holly travelled as a guest of award-winning specialist tour operator Sardinian Places. For more information visit sardinianplaces.co.uk/