Sardinia

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Sardinia - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Chia Beach

    Although there is a perfectly serviceable sandy beach right outside the archaeological site of Nora, infintely more enticing is the series of long expanses of...

    Although there is a perfectly serviceable sandy beach right outside the archaeological site of Nora, infintely more enticing is the series of long expanses of sand 18 km (11 miles) farther south toward the cape of Capo Spartivento, Sardinia's southernmost tip. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; toilets; parking (fee in summer). Best for: swimming.

    Santa Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, 09010, Italy
  • 2. Compendio Garibaldino

    Pilgrims from around the world converge on the Compendio Garibaldino, a complex on the island of Caprera that contains not only the restored home of...

    Pilgrims from around the world converge on the Compendio Garibaldino, a complex on the island of Caprera that contains not only the restored home of Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–82) but also his tomb. The national hero and military leader who laid the groundwork for the unification of Italy in 1861 lived a simple life as a farmer on Caprera, the island that he eventually owned. Exhibits include a collection of weaponry, numerous items of furniture belonging to the family, Garibaldi's famous red shirt, and the poncho he wore during his South American campaigns. The grounds contain the hero's tomb alongside those of his family, all surrounded by the olive grove that he planted. There are explanatory panels in Italian and English, and visitors can also download an app providing more comprehensive information. A combined ticket takes in the Memoriale Giuseppe Garibaldi, 4 km (2½ miles) away, a multimedia museum housed within a stern fortress dating from 1895, that chronicles the swashbuckling career of the Italian hero. To visit the Compendio and Memoriale, take the ferry from Palau to Isola Maddalena, from where a causeway bridge crosses to Caprera. Note that visits to the Compendio Garibaldino must always be booked ahead for a specific time slot. A tour of the house and grounds should take less than an hour.  Caprera island is now a nature reserve, its woods and Mediterranean scrub crisscrossed by a network of waymarked trails that offer great opportunities for scenic walks and picnics. 

    7 km (4½ miles) east of Isola Maddalena, La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy
    0789-727162-for information

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €7; €11 combined ticket includes Memoriale Giuseppe Garibaldi, Usually closed Mon. Apr.–Oct., Sun. Nov.–Mar. (check first), Book ahead for Compendio Garibaldino
  • 3. Grotta di Nettuno

    At the base of a sheer cliff, the pounding sea has carved an entrance to a vast fantastic cavern filled with stunning water pools, stalactites,...

    At the base of a sheer cliff, the pounding sea has carved an entrance to a vast fantastic cavern filled with stunning water pools, stalactites, and stalagmites. The dramatic cave and coves, discovered by fishermen in the 18th century, are popular tourist attractions for their sheer natural beauty. You must visit with a guide; tours start on the hour. It's possible to reach the caves by boat or by land. Between April and October, boat trips depart regularly from the port of Alghero for €16 round-trip (admission to the grotto is extra). To reach the grotto by land, you can descend the 654 dizzying steps of Escala del Cabirol ("Goat Steps"), which are cut into the steep cliff here.  By public bus from Alghero's Via Catalogna, the trip to the top of the stairway takes about 50 minutes. Allow 15 minutes for the descent by foot.

    Off SP55, Alghero, Sardinia, 07041, Italy
    345-7418361-grotto

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14, Closed in rough seas
  • 4. Museo Etnografico Sardo

    This ethnographic collection is a must for anyone interested in the cultural context of Sardinia's customs and traditions. Among the 8,000 items in the museum's...

    This ethnographic collection is a must for anyone interested in the cultural context of Sardinia's customs and traditions. Among the 8,000 items in the museum's collection, you can view domestic and agricultural implements, splendid jewelry, traditional musical instruments, and dozens of local costumes. Audio guides are available, and guided tours can be booked. The nearby park on Sant'Onofrio Hill affords magnificent views over Nuoro and the surrounding country.  Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month.

    Via A. Mereu 56, Nuoro, Sardinia, 08100, Italy
    0784-257035

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5, Closed Mon.
  • 5. Nora

    The narrow promontory outside Pula was the site of a Phoenician, Carthaginian, and then, later, Roman settlement that was first inhabited some 2,800 years ago....

    The narrow promontory outside Pula was the site of a Phoenician, Carthaginian, and then, later, Roman settlement that was first inhabited some 2,800 years ago. Nora was a prime location as a stronghold and an important trading town; Phoenician settlers scouted for good harbors, cliffs to shelter their craft from the wind, and an elevation from which they could defend themselves. An old Roman paved road passes the temple ruins, which include baths, a Roman theater, and an amphitheater now reserved for summer music festivals. 

    Pula, Sardinia, 09010, Italy
    070-9209366

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8
  • 6. Poetto Beach

    Only 5 km (3 miles) southeast of the city center, Poetto Beach is one of the most enticing spots to relax in summer for both...

    Only 5 km (3 miles) southeast of the city center, Poetto Beach is one of the most enticing spots to relax in summer for both locals and tourists. Its clean, shallow, turquoise waters stretch for some 8 km (5 miles), and the beach is lined with cafés, restaurants, snack bars, and parks. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent for around €15. Away from the sea, you can explore the nearby Molentargius lagoon, and admire the pink flamingos that nest in the marshy reeds there.  Poetto is easy to reach on the frequent public transport services: take Bus PF, PQ, or, in summer, Poetto Express, from Piazza Matteotti. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; parking (fee in summer); water sports. Best for: swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Cagliari, Sardinia, 09126, Italy
  • 7. Su Nuraxi

    The most extensive of the island's 7,000 discovered nuraghi, Su Nuraxi is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Concentric rings of thick stone walls conceal...

    The most extensive of the island's 7,000 discovered nuraghi, Su Nuraxi is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Concentric rings of thick stone walls conceal dark chambers and narrow passages in a central beehive-shape tower. In the ruins of the surrounding village there are benches, ovens, wells, and other Bronze Age remnants. Tours start every 30 minutes and last about 50 minutes. The same ticket includes entry to a museum and exhibition center in Barumini. If you're driving from SS131, don't be misled to other, lesser nuraghi—follow the signs all the way to Barumini.

    Viale Su Nuraxi, Barumini, Sardinia, 09021, Italy
    070-9368128

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14
  • 8. Anfiteatro Romano

    This substantial amphitheater arena dating from the 2nd century AD attests to the importance of this area to the Romans. You can tour the seating...

    This substantial amphitheater arena dating from the 2nd century AD attests to the importance of this area to the Romans. You can tour the seating area but not (at least for the time being) the underground passages. The site isn't suitable for people with mobility impairments. If you don't want to enter it, good views can be had from Viale Sant'Ignazio.

    Viale Sant'Ignazio da Laconi, Cagliari, Sardinia, 09124, Italy
    366-2562826

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3, Closed Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Sat.
  • 9. Basilica San Simplicio

    Olbia's little basilica, a short walk from the main Corso Umberto I, is the city's unmissable sight. The simple granite structure dates from the 11th...

    Olbia's little basilica, a short walk from the main Corso Umberto I, is the city's unmissable sight. The simple granite structure dates from the 11th century, part of the great Pisan church-building program, using pillars and columns recycled from Roman buildings. The basilica has a bare, somewhat somber interior; its three naves are separated by a series of Romanesque arches, and fragments of frescoes are visible behind the altar. Recent renovations of the monument have unearthed the remains of a Greek and Roman necropolis, which is now open to the public (the entrance is in the car park beneath the piazza).

    Piazza San Simplicio, Olbia, Sardinia, 07026, Italy
    345-6328150
  • 10. Cabras

    Fishermen pole round-bottomed rush boats through shallow ponds teeming with eels, crayfish, and wildlife in the extensive marshlands outside this 11th-century town. Make a stop...

    Fishermen pole round-bottomed rush boats through shallow ponds teeming with eels, crayfish, and wildlife in the extensive marshlands outside this 11th-century town. Make a stop at the archaeological museum here for its awe-inspiring nuraghic statues, then drive north and west into the Sinis Peninsula to access the pristine beaches of Is Arutas, Maimoni, and Mari Ermi, characterized by fine white quartzified sand grains.

    SP3 off SP1, Cabras, Sardinia, 09072, Italy
  • 11. Calasetta

    On the island of Sant'Antioco, off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, the fishing village and port of Calasetta draws visitors year-round for its beautiful beaches...

    On the island of Sant'Antioco, off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, the fishing village and port of Calasetta draws visitors year-round for its beautiful beaches and fresh-seafood dishes. The pristine beaches of Spiaggia Grande and Le Saline, alternating with rocky areas, dunes, and local vegetation, form a rugged paradise. Founded by Ligurian settlers who worked as coral and tuna fishermen, Calasetta is connected daily by ferry boats with the smaller island of San Pietro, which also keeps intact its Ligurian cultural history and dialect.

    10 km (6 miles) northwest of Sant'Antioco town, Sant'Antioco, Sardinia, 09011, Italy
  • 12. Capo Caccia

    Head 25 km (16 miles) west of Alghero for the spectacular heights of the imposing limestone headland of Capo Caccia. The rugged promontory, blanketed by...

    Head 25 km (16 miles) west of Alghero for the spectacular heights of the imposing limestone headland of Capo Caccia. The rugged promontory, blanketed by thick maquis, forms part of the Porto Conte nature reserve and is home to deep caves such as the Grotta di Nettuno. Close by are the beaches of Porto Ferro, Cala Viola, and, on the beautiful Porto Conte inlet, Cala Dragunara.

    Alghero, Sardinia, 07041, Italy
    079-945005
  • 13. Carbonia

    If you like to seek out the esoteric, explore the rugged inland hills and town of Carbonia, less than 30 minutes' drive from Sant'Antioco and...

    If you like to seek out the esoteric, explore the rugged inland hills and town of Carbonia, less than 30 minutes' drive from Sant'Antioco and about an hour by car or train from Cagliari. Built in 1938 by Mussolini to serve as an administrative center of a once booming coal-mining area, its time-frozen architecture—ordered rows of workers' houses around a core of monumental public buildings on the broad Piazza Roma—has been called an urban UFO set down in the Sardinian landscape. 

    S126 at S78, Carbonia, Sardinia, 09013, Italy
  • 14. Castello

    Perched over the vast expanse of Cagliari and its port, this hillside quarter has narrow streets that hold ancient monuments and piazzas amid apartments with...

    Perched over the vast expanse of Cagliari and its port, this hillside quarter has narrow streets that hold ancient monuments and piazzas amid apartments with wash hung out to dry on elaborate wrought-iron balconies. The most impressive entrance is through the commanding late-19th-century archway of the Bastione di St. Remy on Piazza Costituzione. Entering this way means climbing numerous steps; if this is a problem, walk up Viale Regina Elena to find an elevator. At the top is an impressive panorama of the cityscape and the Gulf of Cagliari. From Piazza Palazzo, holding Cagliari's cathedral, you can walk to Piazza Indipendenza and the 14th-century limestone St. Pancras Tower, a twin of the nearby Elephant Tower.

    Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
  • 15. Duomo

    The Cattedrale di Santa Maria, also known as the Duomo, was begun in the 12th century, but major renovation in the 17th century and reconstruction...

    The Cattedrale di Santa Maria, also known as the Duomo, was begun in the 12th century, but major renovation in the 17th century and reconstruction during the mid-1930s have left little of the original medieval church. The tiers of columns on the facade resemble those of medieval Romanesque Pisan churches, but only sections of the central portal, the bell tower, and the two side entrances are from the 13th century. Look for one of the most memorable features inside—the oversize marble pulpit sculpted in the 1300s and divided in half to fit into the church nave; it now lies on either side of the main entrance.

    Piazza Palazzo, Cagliari, Sardinia, 09124, Italy
    070-663837

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed 1--4 pm Mon.--Sat. Closed 1--4:30 pm Sun.
  • 16. Duomo

    The highly ornate stone Duomo is Sassari's must-see sight. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Nicolas (of Santa Claus inspiration), took more than half a millennium...

    The highly ornate stone Duomo is Sassari's must-see sight. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Nicolas (of Santa Claus inspiration), took more than half a millennium to build: the foundations were laid in the 12th century, and the Spanish colonial--style facade was completed in the 18th. Of particular interest in the plainer interior are the ribbed Gothic vaults, the 14th-century painting of the Madonna del Bosco on the high altar, and the early-19th-century tomb of Placido Benedetto di Savoia, the uncle of united Italy's first king.

    Piazza Duomo 3, Sassari, Sardinia, 07100, Italy
    079-233185

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 17. Iglesias

    Perched at about 600 feet in the southwest hills of the island, this authentic Sardinian town 35 km (22 miles) north of Sant'Antioco has two...

    Perched at about 600 feet in the southwest hills of the island, this authentic Sardinian town 35 km (22 miles) north of Sant'Antioco has two notable medieval churches: the Cattedrale di Santa Chiara and Madonna delle Grazie. The town is famous for its theatrical, Spanish-inflected Easter festivities. A short drive away, on the Costa Verde, you can enjoy unspoiled, uncrowded beaches, including the beautiful Masua cove at Porto Cauli beach.

    27 km (16 miles) north of Carbonia, Iglesias, Sardinia, 09016, Italy
    0781-274507-tourist office
  • 18. Le Bombarde and Lazzaretto Beaches

    A couple of kilometers north of Alghero's old town, backed by pine woods, Maria Pia beach offers a convenient though unspectacular spot for an afternoon...

    A couple of kilometers north of Alghero's old town, backed by pine woods, Maria Pia beach offers a convenient though unspectacular spot for an afternoon of bathing and sunbathing, but if you don't mind going farther afield, head for the altogether superior beaches of Le Bombarde and Lazzaretto, on adjacent inlets 10 kms (6 miles) west of town. Sheltered from the wind and fully equipped with bars and facilities for renting pedalos and canoes, the beaches are similar in style—both curves of soft sand studded with a few rocks, and both packed in August. The beaches are easy to reach on the frequent tourist bus service, Il Trottolo. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; sunloungers; showers; toilets; parking (fee in summer); water sports. Best for: swimming; snorkeling; windsurfing.

    Alghero, Sardinia, 07041, Italy
  • 19. Monte Ortobene

    About 7 km (4 miles) northeast of Nuoro is Monte Ortobene, a granite peak at 2,900 feet offering lofty views over the gulch below. Here...

    About 7 km (4 miles) northeast of Nuoro is Monte Ortobene, a granite peak at 2,900 feet offering lofty views over the gulch below. Here you can also see up close the imposing bronze statue of the Rendentore, or Christ the Redeemer, overlooking the valley. Pilgrimages and Masses take place in summer here. Picnic tables make this a favorite spot for an alfresco lunch throughout the year. The mountain is easily reachable from Nuoro by bus or car via SP45 .

    Nuoro, Sardinia, 08100, Italy
  • 20. Monte Sirai

    Località Sirai

    Just outside Carbonia and strategically positioned atop a plateau that provides views inland and far out to sea, the remains of one of Sardinia's most...

    Just outside Carbonia and strategically positioned atop a plateau that provides views inland and far out to sea, the remains of one of Sardinia's most important Carthaginian military strongholds were discovered by chance in 1962. The walls of Mt. Sirai were erected around 375 BC, and they continued to function as impregnable fortress barriers until the Roman conquest in 238 BC. 

    Carbonia, Sardinia, 09013, Italy
    345-7559751-site

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Site €6, museum €6, or €10 for both, Closed Mon.

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