Sardinia, the second largest island in the mediterranean, is truly an undiscovered piece of paradise...
It all started when my friends and I began scouting for our next summer destination with a rough "checklist" primarily consisting of a really fun party-scene, good variety of restaurants with vegetarian options, sunshine, sandy beaches, clear waters and relatively luxurious hotel/villa options.
After considering a few new places from Crete to Eilat to Porto (all of which are still amazing summer spots), we were almost ready to give up on somewhere 'new' and all set to go to back to our usual/favorite, Mykonos, when we stumbled upon Sardinia. Honestly, I don’t know how we came to decide on Sardinia. We didn’t know much about what the place had to offer. We didn’t even know anyone who had previously been there. But it seemed to fit our “checklist”, and it was some place new and so we were excited…
As the designated travel agent, I started researching and planning our trip. The more I looked up, the more I found! The surplus of options available, whether it was for restaurants, nightclubs, beaches, boats and other activities, was both confusing and extremely exciting!
On actually arriving in Sardinia, I was beyond pleasantly surprised with this understated, unexplored, opulent island. The landscape, coastline and sea is so simple, scenic and serene. And the heart of the city drips of luxury, glitz and glamour. The city streets are filled with most expensive jewelry, watch and luxury fashion brands that house exclusive collections and that are open well passed midnight. The port is a yacht heaven, with the best of the best multi-million dollar yachts anchored along Porto Cervo. No wonder they call Sardinia- a rich man’s playground!
The nightlife is uber happening and could be easily compared to other top party destinations. Like most party destinations, the scene only picks up past midnight and goes on till sunrise! Clubs range from the world-famous Billionaire Club and Just Cavalli to boutique clubs like the charmingly Ritual Club, inside a cave and the extravagant Luna Glam Club. Bars and lounges are good way to start the night before heading to the clubs. Sheesha is served everywhere. There are a few day clubs like Nikki Beach and Phi Beach. While they do not disappoint, they are no comparison to the day parties in Mykonos, Ibiza or St. Tropez. I’d recommend raging in the night and relaxing in the day!
The turquoise water and scenic coast has a lot to offer from the most extraordinary isolated beaches, rocky coves and private islands to spots ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and cliff-jumping and of course a vast variety of water sports available at most local or resort beaches. La Maddalena is a quaint island town worth exploring. The pink beaches of Caprera and sparkling waters around Santa Maria are ideal for spending the day out at sea (you’re sure to encounter an incredible number and variety of fish!) The Neptune Underwater Caves are definite must see! There are numerous spots to take in the beautiful view from trails that go over cliffs (like the hike to Golfo di Orosei) to restaurants/bars (like La Terrazza) with panoramic views. Alghero's monumental old town with its bell tower and museum as well as Arzachena's ancient ruins of the 'Tomb of Giants' and 'House of Fairies' from the Bronze are well worth the trip up north!
Sardinia produces some tasteful wine and so wine tasting is surely a popular activity! With pizzerias around every corner serving cheesy dishes, we knew food in Italy was not going to be an issue. And as expected, the food was excellent! We had the most amazing paper thin truffle pizzas at the very chic Spinnaker and the most authentic pastas at Il Pomodoro. We were glad to find tasty asian at the global fine dine chain, Novikov and Crazy Pizza at the Billionaire Club Terrace was hosting Cipriani (London) as a pop-up!
My friends and I went with intention of 3 days of just partying but we ended up enjoying so more than just the party scene of this impressive island. Three days though is not enough to do justice to this beautiful destination and I can’t wait to come back to truly explore and experience everything Sardinia has to offer.
For anyone tempted to visit this piece of paradise, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Restaurants, clubs, beaches, basically nothing is really walking distance. Cabs are expensive and not easily available. Renting a car is a good option but the roads are winding, uneven and not easy to drive on at night.
If you plan on taking cabs, save your cab drivers’ numbers. They usually make you a deal if you plan to keep using them throughout your trip. Also taking their number is especially useful post clubbing, so you don’t have to search for a taxi at 5am outside the club!
While stayed in the north-east part of the island, Porto Cervo/Costa Smeralda, the rest of island also has a lot of offer! It’s worth checking out which area suits your interests more and if you’re trip is longer than ours (I recommend 4/5 days), you could even check out more than one part!
Alghero, in the north is filled with history and monumental landmarks like bell towers and hilltop castles. Porto Cervo, in the east, is the most expensive part of the island with all the glitz and glamour. Cala Gonone slightly south-east has a more relaxed resort vibe. In the south, Cagliari is known for its old town, impressive museums and a vibrant nightlife. Every part of the island has close access to impressive beaches!
Sardinia, like most Italian countryside has rustic vibe with many charming old-world villas. The villas are usually cheaper and nicer than most hotels but there are a lot of fake/scam villas (We initially booked a villa that turned out to be a scam. Luckily, we booked it through a reliable site, booking.com, and were refunded our money.) There are also some amazing four and five-star resorts that have some of the best amenities!
The touristy crowd is a slightly older (average age: late 40’s)
Oh and for anyone looking to just unwind, eat, drink and make merry in Porto Cervo, Olbia, here’s a glimpse of our itinerary: