Sardinia…not just an island, but in a certain sense a small continent. The second largest island in the Mediterranean, in a central and strategic position just south of Corsica and only 150 km west of mainland Italy, this surprisingly little-known region of Italy can amaze with the variety of landscapes, beaches, mountains, culture and beauty it can offer. Sardinia can boast almost 2000 km of shoreline with an infinite variety of long sandy beaches or hidden coves surrounded by mountains and fragrant macchia shrubland and without doubt some of the most magnificent sea-scapes and crystal clear waters of the entire Mediterranean. Warm, fine white sand, transparent waters in tones of blue or emerald or turquoise. The peace and quiet of a tropical paradise with room amidst the silence only for the gentle caress of the wind. Small islands off the coast to explore by boat or a sail cruise around the island in a week or a walk on some of the largest and highest beach dunes in Europe. Sardinia…not just sea, the incredible scenery of the coast leads to a fascinating and stunning interior made of forests, mountains and hillsides dotted with villages which preserve ancient traditions, folklore and handicraft and a romance language which today is the closest spoken language to the Latin.
The centre of the island is home to several national parks and spectacular Karst formations which include one of the tallest canyons in Europe with near 500 metre high cliffs or a hidden prehistoric village in an immense cavern on the summit of a mountain or again one of the widest karst sinkholes in Europe, some 500 metres across, like an immense meteor crater. Here, in the heart of the island, is a paradise for trekking, biking, canyoning and climbing or just simple walks in the country, looking for mushrooms or bird watching. This is the reign of vultures and eagles, wild boar, deer and wild mouflon sheep and even wild cats. Sardinia means fine food and wine. Marvellous fish recipes and white Vermentino or robust meat and game or seasoned cheese accompanied by red Cannonau. With a mild climate all year, averaging 15°C on the coast
even in the winter, Sardinia has a warm spring and hot summer, and bathing is possible from May until September or even October. Despite the summer sun, the regular Mistral wind alleviates from the heat, keeping temperatures comfortable but warm. Sardinia, an island with ancient roots, like the archaeological remains of the almost 4000 year old ‘Nuragic’ Bronze Age civilisation which has left over 5000 Nuraghe towers still standing over an original of 30.000, together with menhirs, giants’ tombs, castles and sacred wells, scattered all over the island. The Su Nuraxi complex, without doubt the most impressive Nuraghe still standing, dates back to 1500 BC and is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1997. Sardinia is all this and much more, but not on the far side of the earth … just right next to you. Infact, once you’ve been here, you’ll never understand why you didn’t already know all this was here, waiting for you and at the tip of your fingers.
The north-eastern corner of Sardinia is a focal point of the island, home to the luxury holiday venue known as Costa Smeralda, around the hamlet of Porto Cervo. Nearby, the bustling main town of Olbia provides national and international flights as well as ferry services to mainland Italy and is an important hub for train and bus routes across the island. The coastline and inland areas south of Olbia, through the villages and towns of Porto San Paolo, San Teodoro and Budoni provide truly breathtaking scenery especially around the island of Tavolara home to a protected marine area. This district is full of numerous white sandy beaches with turquoise transparent waters, all easily accessible and a few minutes from the villages and hamlets straddled along the coast. Here one can opt for the quiet and laid back peace of the inland villages or the fun and flair of towns on the coast like San Teodoro or Olbia, only 30 minutes away, with great shopping and nightlife.
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Bruno Riccardo Pala