Planning your next holiday to Sardinia? Well, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine where you’re staying. With the help of this guide, you’ll be counting down the days in no time!
Caligari, Sant’Antioco, Villasimius, Olbia, and Porto Cervo are among the best areas to stay in Sardinia during your travels.
The neighbourhoods are popular among tourists, known for being remarkably safe, and offering a wide range of amenities and attractions.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sardinia, otherwise known as Sardegna in Italian, it is the second largest island located in the Mediterranean, situated north of Africa, each of the Iberian Peninsula, and west of the Italian Peninsula.
Throughout the years, Sardinia has been ruled by various empires.
As such, it is a beautiful destination providing visitors with a unique experience in terms of history and culture, while offering stunning, sprawling beaches, at the same time.
With all this in mind, this article will explore all the best places to stay in Sardinia to make the most out of your trip.
Let’s get straight into it!
Being both an island and municipality, Sant’Antioco is connected to the mainland of Sulcis Archipelago, southwest of Sardinia.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, one that differs from the developed sections of the mainland into an area with rugged coastlines and charming bays, then you can’t go wrong with Sant’Antioco.
Just keep in mind that the area is susceptible to strong winds, however, there are many sheltered and quiet beaches to choose from.
This island features an impressive history dating back to the prehistoric era.
Here, you’ll find eighth-century Carthaginian or Phenician tophets or tombs – these were used for the burial or cremation of stillborn infants or children.
You can find out more about the history at the Museo Archeologico Ferruccio Barreca.
Explore the tombs and cemetery of Villaggio Ipogeo which were used in the Middle Ages by the natives as a hiding place from Arabs raiding the island.
Until the 1930s, these grottos became homes for the poor, although they are now open to public view.
Likewise, the catacombs of Basilica di Sant’Antioco Martire are full of history. Between the second and seventh centuries, they were used as Christian burial chambers.
Among these various graveyards and cemeteries, the affluent members of society were provided with embellished niches with intricate frescoes, while the middle classes were subjected to plain ones, and the rest were laid to rest in ditches – this is clearly demonstrated in the exposed skeletons.
The church features an ordinary fifth-century design with a statue of Saint Antiochus and a baroque front.
If you’re wondering how the locals lived in the past, the Museo Etnografico, in the heart of Sant’Antioco, is rich in history.
Then, travel to the nineteenth century inside the Piedmontese Forte Su Piso, or Sabaudo, which features the unsuccessful defence in 1815 against Saracen soldiers.
Located near the town, three beaches stand out. These include Coaquaddus, il Molo di Masua, and L’Arco dei Baci.
Coacuaddus offers crystal clear water ideal for exploring underwater reefs, while Il Molo di Masua provides the best views of the Pan di Zucchero, and L’Arch dei Baci highlights a stunning natural pool.
Worth the stop along the way is Calasetta – a fishing village known for its picturesque landscape.
2. Cagliari (South Sardinia)
Cagliari is known as the capital of Sardinia. As you make your way to the beach, you’ll be blown away by dazzling gold-topped buildings shining under the sun.
Along the Marina, you can join the locals in the bars or head east to the city’s main beach in Poetta where you’ll find crystal clear waters and soft sands. Here, you’ll also find beach parties and water sports, too.
Alternatively, for those seeking more solitude, there are many different bays along the coast for a serene and relaxing experience.
You’ll find many of the city’s sights, including the Roman Amphitheatre, located in the old city walls of II Castello. Here, you’ll also find many little shops, cafes, and bars.
Heading north of Castello, you’ll find the Giardini Pubblici which holds the Galleria Comunale d’Arte – featuring an impressive assortment of contemporary and modern artwork.
One of four museums in the city includes the Museo Archeologico Nazionale – covering displays ranging from hundreds to thousands of years old.
Here, you’ll find everything from huge statues to the oldest stone Nuraghic sculptures in the Mediterranean.
Situated on the northeast coast of Sardinia, you’ll find Olbia – home to attractive piazzas that are lined with little shops, bars, and cafes. All this makes it the perfect seaside resort for the whole family.
Visit the town centre to explore the Basilica di San Simplicio – a romanesque church – in all its glory.
The church itself incorporates both Tuscany and Lombardy styles and was built during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
Here, you’ll find two frescoes displaying mediaeval bishops – this includes one thought to have been San Simplicio. Under the altar, there is a seventeenth-century statue featuring a wooden gilded saint.
If you travel down towards the port, near the waterfront, you’ll find the Museo Archeologico di Olbia – which is housed in a beautifully modern building.
Here, you can explore the remains of a warship, many multimedia displays, and Roman and Nuragic artefacts.
If you’re unfamiliar with Nuragic, it highlights a particular culture in Sardinia that lasted from the Bronze age all the way to the Iron Age.
Here, nuraghi describe their megalithic stone constructions which many remain to this day – including Nuraghe Riu Mulinu – this is located near Olbia and is categorised as an archaeological hilltop complex.
Located in southeast Sardinia, Villasimius is a former fishing village that boasts some spectacular natural beauty, wildlife, and sprawling beaches.
Capo Carbonara is a protected area that highlights barracudas and seagrass meadows that are great for diving.
Although, during the winter months the Stagno di Notteria lagoon is home to flamingos migrating.
The town itself features a good accumulation of activities suitable for the whole family, including a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. Plus, a lively nightlife, too.
Villasimius isn’t short of museums, either. One of the most popular ones includes the archaeological museum which covers the area’s civilizations and periods, as well as the sea.
Here, you’ll find the Sala del Relitto (Hall of the Shipwreck) which highlights the fifteenth-century Spanish wreck and all of its exhibits.
Throughout the village, you’ll find traces and markers of past cultures and people, especially those found within the Nuraghi era within many archaeological sites.
For instance, the Phoenician Shrine of Cuccreddus dates back to the seventh century BC.
This was notably used as a pitstop for travellers in the area, however, allowing them to perform rites to the gods to enable safe travels, too.
In the area, you’ll find many old watchtowers, too. Some include the Fortezza Vecchia – a seventeenth-century fortress – which is suited near the harbour and is home to beautiful artwork.
Likewise, the Aragonese watchtower – otherwise known as Torre di Porto Giunco – is another watchtower worth the visit.
However, keep in mind that it is a forty-minute walk from the village, although there are occasional shuttle buses, too.
The Roman Thermal Baths of Santa Ana, located next to the church which shares a similar nature, is another attraction to add to the list. Although, since then they have been altered for Christian use.
5. Porto Cervo
On the Costa Smeralda, you’ll find the beautiful Perto Cervo – one of the most expensive resorts in the world.
Here, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the extravagant marina – home to hundreds of luxury yachts –, crystal clear waters, and even spot a celebrity or two.
While Porto Cervo differs from typical Sardinian towns, it is home to some elegant architecture, nonetheless.
Whether you choose to experience some fine dining, designer shopping, relax on the beach, or simply people-watch along the Pizzetta – you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the area.
Some beautiful beaches include Grande Pevero, although it is known for its crowds.
Alneticavely, you can opt for Piccolo Pevero while it is less attractive it is quieter. Plus, there are free public stretches, too.
Throughout the year, you will find the area engaging in various sporting events (for instance, yachting). Plus, in September, you don’t want to miss out on the Food and Wine Festival.
Situated just above the main town, you’ll find the stunningly white Chiesa di Stella Maris – which is certainly worth the visit.
Sardinia is home to beautiful beaches, rich history, and extraordinary architecture – making it one of the best holiday destinations (if you love it, see how to buy land in Sardinia here).
Make the most of your trip by staging – or even visiting – one of these areas. Hopefully, this guide has informed you about the best places to stay in Sardinia.