10 BEST Things to Do in Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is a beautiful Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea with a wide variety of things to do and places to visit. Its diverse landscape and lively colors make Sardinia one of the best places to visit in Italy. Each location on the island has its own story to tell, dishes to try, and many pleasant surprises waiting for a lucky explorer. This island can be your summer escape, but it can also be much more than that.

Sardinia is very different from the rest of Italy and a bit similar to Spain or Corsica, but unique in its traits. Traveling to Sardinia is an excellent option to complete your trip through Italy or even as a unique destination. The island is ideal for traveling alone.

Traveling to Sardinia not only means seeing a wonderful Mediterranean island but also approaching a very interesting part of Italian culture. The island is loved for its Caribbean beaches and clear, turquoise water. Trek through the rugged landscapes of Sardinia and experience some of the challenging and exciting outdoor adventures in Italy.

Gennargentu National ParkGennargentu National Park

In this article, you can read about the best things to do in Sardinia and find something for any season, taste, and budget.

1. Visit the beautiful Port of Cagliari

Whenever someone mentions traveling to Italy, everybody will think about visiting Rome, but there are many other charming cities to visit as well, and some are located in Sardinia. The biggest and nicest city is Cagliari, the capital. It has some fantastic museums and art galleries as well as interesting archaeological sites and beautiful architecture.

As in any big city, you'll find many cafés and some splendid restaurants. Other lovely cities you shouldn't miss are:

Sassari is one of the best places to visit in Sardinia. Gorgeous Piazza Italia hosts many events. You'll find some beautiful churches in the center, such as the Duomo and a few good museums.

Oristano is famous for its Carnival event – Sartiglia. This local festival has an echo of medieval times. It's a skills tournament with masked people wearing traditional clothes and riding horses at full speed while competing for a tin star. If you don't like to move at all you can of course enjoy in the city.

Oristano is known in Sardinia for being very relaxing - the city center is often empty, sometimes can be boring - and absolutely not crowded. If you want a relaxing holiday, Oristano is perfect. You can stay in Carta Corrias Palace, in Eleonora Square, the most beautiful in the downtown: it has been for a long time the house of a rich nobleman of Oristano; today it is a nice hotel (red palace) next to the Municipal Palace (yellow)!

The small city of Nuoro is surrounded by mountains in the heart of Sardinia. If you’re an art lover, remember to visit The Museum of Modern Art.

2. Discover amazing Poetto beach

If you like to spend hours under the sun and swim in the clear waters enjoying the summer breeze, Sardinia is a perfect place for you. Even if you come here in the off-season, you can still visit the beach and walk, run or cycle. The sheer beauty of the beaches in Sardinia is unmatched in Italy. The island that meets your Caribbean dream, Sardinia is known for its powdery white sand and crystal clear water.

Here are fine family hotel and excursions to go on to beaches and idyllic small towns. When you’re in Cagliari, don't forget to visit Poetto beach. Some beaches are used for various festivals, events, and concerts. Even though going to public events is not possible right now, there are many other things to do during the covid restrictions, so you'll be able to find a safe activity.

You have the sand dunes in Porto Pino, the long stretches in Piscinas, the granite rocks in much of the north, the lush bay of Cala di Volpe. Carloforte has small beaches, with peculiar architecture amid the forests of Aleppo pines. Busiate al pesto trapanese, swordfish roll and cannolo in Erice or culurgiones, tuna steak and seadas in Carloforte? Seems a hamletic doubt, but you either way you cannot go wrong.

3. Sail around Maddalena archipelago

Sardinia has a beautiful coast with almost persistent winds, which makes it perfect for sailing. For the ultimate experience, find a chartered sailboat and travel around the island. Bout tours are relaxing and fun. Whether you’re traveling alone or not, you can spend an unforgettable day on a boat. There are many available tours. La Maddalena archipelago boat tour is one of the best things to do in Sardinia and one of the most popular ones.

Sardinian beauty lies in its natural places, such as the Valley of the Moon, the Neptune's Grotto, coves of the Gulf of Orosei, sailing to the granitic islands of the Maddalena archipelago or the Grotto del Bue Marino. It is easy to imagine dropping anchor in the winding bays of Costa Smeralda, full of celebrities and supermodels.

4. Explore the quaint villages of Tiscali

The Roman city of Tharros, the nuragic village of Barumini or the Sassari sites will open the door to other times. If you want to know how the real Sardinian life is today, do not miss the villages of Castelsardo, San Pantaleo, Santu Lussurgiu, Baunei, Santa Teresa di Gallura or Palau and the submerged Roman ruins of Nora.

You can walk through its exuberant and silent interior to the nuragic ruins of Tiscali; follow the dizzying coastal road to the bay of Cala Luna or walk among holm oaks to the imposing Gola Su Gorropu canyon. Sardinia has many other beautiful, quaint villages worth visiting in any season, such as:

Bosa is located on the west coast, north of Oristano. Bosa has beautiful alleys and colorful houses, so you'll be able to take some great photos. You should visit Malaspina castle to enjoy a stunning, breathtaking view of the village and the coast.

Castelsardo is on the north end of Sardinia. The village was built around the castle in the 12th century. You can visit a Castelsardo fortress for one splendid view of the village below and the coast. The atmosphere in the town is peaceful and relaxed.

Calasetta is located on the island of Sant'Antioco. It was founded in the 18th century. The main economic activity used to be coral and tuna fishing. Tuna is still the main ingredient in Sardinian cuisine. The entire village is white, and it seems that time has stopped here.

Fonni is the highest village in Sardinia, famous for its murals. Visiting this place gives you access to many hiking trails in the Gennargentu area.

5. Try local specialties in Cala Sisine

Trying delicious food is one of the ultimate things to do in Sardinia. The restaurants prepare food with fresh and local ingredients. Some of the specialties are:

Culurgiones - the local version of ravioli pasta. Each village on the island has its own recipe for making this delicious dish.

Malloreddus - a small gnocchi pasta with a sausage and tomato sauce, topped with pecorino cheese.

Bottarga - fish roe. They usually serve it with lemon, olive oil, and bread or sprinkled on pasta and other local dishes.

For a dessert, you can try sebada - crunchy pastry puff. It's filled with cheese, such as ricotta and mixed with lemon or orange zest, and different local herbs. Sebadas are fried or baked and served warm with honey on the top.

And, if you're wondering what to drink, here are some suggestions:

The local wine can accompany any of the fantastic local dishes. There are many excellent vineyards around the island. Make a visit to any of those to taste some incredible wines. Some of the best vineyards are located in Serdiana, around 20km from Cagliari.

Ichnusa is a local beer - plain kind of lager, unfiltered and raw. There are many craft beers to try and something for everybody's taste.

Mirto is a thick local liquor made of myrtle berries.

Italian cuisine is so good that it's one of the main reasons people fall in love with the Italian culture, even inspiring some to move there. Sardinia has a unique, relaxing atmosphere and slow pace of life, attracting many people each year. If planning your international move to Sardinia sounds exciting, please note that you must have the right mindset for this process and consider all the factors.

Exploring the island methodically will help you decide which city is the perfect fit for you. In addition, the cuisine of the island is exceptional with its pasta, bread, dolci, wines and its characteristic cheeses, including pecorino casu marzu, which contains larvae and is stored in barns.

Casu frazigu is a sheep or goat cheese where the maggots of the cheesy skippers live. Some people say that it's like eating a normal cheese because the maggots feed on that so they taste like it.

6. Admire nature and wildlife around Parco Naturale Molentargius Saline

Sardinia is very mountainous. It has gorgeous countryside, as well as the highest sand dunes in Europe. There are many nature reserves where you can admire the wildlife. Animal lovers will be glad to know that Sardinia is home to some fascinating species. For example, you can find the one-of-a-kind breed of Giara small horses in the Giara region, pink flamingos in the lagoon around Cagliari, and dolphins along the coast in Cagliari harbor.

There is no other place where one has so close semialpine forests and white sand beaches, animal oddities as the blue-eyed albino asses of Asinara or the wild horses that are timid, by Giara di Gesturi.

7. Spiaggia di Maria Pia

In Sardinia there are also some gorgeous medieval towns such as the colourful Bosa and the catalan city of Alghero (here people don’t speak Sardinian but Ancient Catalan). Pure white sand, turquoise waters and green pine forests make Sardinia's beautiful nature. In the medieval town of Alghero is the famous, long beach Maria Pia.

On the north side is the dazzlingly beautiful emerald coast, and to the southeast lies the Costa Rei, with its 8 km long child-friendly sandy beach. Alghero in the west combines white beach with Old Town cozy alleys. Alghero is a medieval city, while Cagliari is more modern and more cosmopolitan.

Alghero is a hidden gem of Sardinia. It's encircled by ancient walls, known for a well-kept bastion and cobblestoned old center. You’ll enjoy its narrow alleys, shops, restaurants, and nearby beaches. Whether crossing the dunes of Costa Verde barefoot, agitated by the waves, or relaxing in the silky bays of Costa del Sud, the traveler will plant his towel on the beach and will never want to leave.

8. Pozzo sacro di Santa Cristina

Even if Sardinia is mostly known for the breathtaking and totally clear sea - such as Cala Goloritzè or the quartz beach of Is Arutas - it has 1/5 of the archaeological sites in Italy! 7,000 Sardinian sites were built by the Nuragics, a really ancient and unique culture worldwide: a beautiful example is the supernatural Santa Cristina Sacre Well, that in some days reflects shadows backwards.

Near to Oristano there are some wonderful places. Santa Cristina Sacre Well is 25 km north-east from Oristano. It was built by the Nuragic Civilization (who lived only in Sardinia!) during the XI century BC, and the water is still nowadays springing in the well! Probably it represents the female genitalia, and it is connected to the water worship.

The Nuragics were astronomers: during equinoxes, the shadows are thrown backwards, and every 18 years the moon can mirror in the well by that little circular hole near to the stairs.

9. Is Arutas

This is a beach literally made of quartz chips. It doesn't burn when you walk over it, and it is unbelievably white and luminous! Of course, it is illegal to bring away the sand, since it is precious and it can be found only there and in the nearby beaches of Mari Ermi and Maimoni. This is only 20 km west from Oristano.

Cala Gonone is a destination that you cannot miss from the eastern coast of the center of Sardinia, a place famous for its archaeological sites, crafts and beaches.

10. Campidano

If you would like to stay in marvelously golden beaches, oh, you are in the right place! Torre dei Corsari is the one you are looking for. This beach is also a coastal desert, the second largest in the Mediterranean (the other one is Piscinas, still in Sardinia). Only 40 km south from Oristano.

Are you moving to Sardinia?

If you have decided to move to Sardinia, a great time is ahead of you. One thing is for sure - there will always be something to do, see and try. However, remember to plan your international relocation in a timely manner to avoid stress. Decide how you'll transfer all your personal belongings and declutter your home before packing. Once you move, you'll have plenty of time to relax and explore all this island has to offer.

As you can already see, there are so many things to do in Sardinia and much more to discover by yourself. Once you visit this charming island, you'll likely fall in love with it from the start.

Kalyan Panja