When one hears the word “Sardinia”, they often think about heavenly beaches with emerald water and expensive luxury resorts, and that’s all. But there is plenty of other things to visit in Sardinia. I selected the best things to see in Sardinia and some of the best place to holiday in Sardinia. So, with this, let’s get into our list of best places to visit in Sardinia, Italy.
This island deserves more recognition and future tourists need to know that there is an immense archeological, natural and cultural heritage other than the beaches (which still are a must-visit!).
The 10 best places to visit in Sardinia, Italy
Of course, the concept of “Best places to visit in Sardinia Italy” changes depending on the type of holiday you are looking for. I tried to offer some suggestions for the best place to stay in Sardinia for families, the best parts of South Sardinia, and the best things to see apart from beaches. Let’s start then, and let’s find out what are the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy!
1. La Maddalena Archipelago
La Maddalena Archipelago is the first national park of Sardinia and it’s more than 20k hectares wide. It is home to an enormous variety of animals and plants, many of which are super rare. It’s one of the best places to visit in Sardinia because you can enjoy a full immersion in nature without giving up on the beaches.
One of the most famous activities is the boat tour of the archipelago. During this small cruise, you might be able to see dolphins, sea turtles, and a myriad of other beautiful creatures. This is a reason why La Maddalena is also one of the best place to stay in Sardinia for families: kids love this kind of activity!
Alghero is indeed one of the best things to see in Sardinia. The city, although of more ancient origin, bears the strong influence of its Catalan conquerors and rulers, so much that the locals still speak Catalan. You can’t skip a walk on the defensive walls and a dinner nearby.
You also need to go on a shopping spree in the city center! Alghero has several renowned shops selling trinkets and jewels made with coral, so why not buy a unique souvenir?
If you have time and want to have a short field trip, you should definitely book a tour of Neptune’s Caves (Grotte di Nettuno)! This cave system is another of the best things to visit in Sardinia. And guess what? Alghero’s area is also one of the best place to stay in Sardinia for beaches. The best ones are Lido di San Giovanni Beach, Maria Pia Beach and Le Bombarde Beach.
Much like Alghero, Castelsardo still has a strong influence from its older rulers, the Genoese Doria family. This city, built on a hill, was originally a fortress.
It is still possible to visit the Doria castle, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Sardinia. The city itself is colorful and full of life, ideal for a weekend with your family, friends, or for a solo trip.
Among the things to visit in Sardinia, it is worth mentioning the whole Barbagia area. Barbagia is the wildest region of Sardinia, the place where you can experience a real immersion in the Mediterranean nature and Sardinian culture.
Deemed almost impossible to conquer even by the Roman Empire, the Barbagia region is an extraordinary source of marvel. If you are curious about Sardinia’s history and folklore, you can’t miss Nuoro and Mamoiada; they are among the best places to visit in Sardinia, Italy.
Nuraghes are Sardinia’s unique buildings and monuments. They were built about five millennia ago by a civilization unique to Sardinia, and they are well worth your time! You can visit one of the most famous archeological sites with an expert guide who will teach you everything about these gigantic buildings and the people who built them.
My suggestions are either Barumini’s Su Nuraxi Complex (and visit Gesturi’s Giara too if you are there!) or Nuraghe Losa in Abbasanta. These ruins are definitely among the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy!
6. Domus de Janas and Giants’ Tombs
In my honest opinion, one of the best places to holiday in Sardinia is wherever there are some historical ruins. Domus de Janas and Giants’ Tombs are both old burial sites. The first one is from civilization even older than the one who built Nuraghes, the second one is part of this culture.
They are enormous megaliths that are either excavated inside rocks or erected like menhir complexes. The most well-preserved Domus de Janas are Montessu, in the Sulcis Peninsula, and S’Incantu, in the Alghero area, while the best Giants’ Tomb is probably Sa Domu ‘e s’Orcu in Siddi.
7. Cala Gonone Area
Cala Gonone is one of the best places to stay in Sardinia for the beaches. The colors of the water are simply stunning and out-of-this-world. There is plenty of resorts and hotels in Sardinia to spend a relaxing weekend or more.
The beaches are numerous and can meet every tourist’s expectations and needs. This coast – and the whole Orosei Gulf – are one of Italians’ dream holiday spots. Another one of the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy, am I right?
8. Is Arutas Beach
Is Arutas is, albeit less famous compared to the beaches in Costa Smeralda, one of the pearls of west Sardinia. Its unique sand, shaped like grains of rice, attracts thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the beaches with the highest percentage of sand theft (which is a crime!).
If you are looking for one of the best beaches in Sardinia, this is definitely a must-go. Even if you don’t visit the island during the summer, you can still take great pictures of one of the best places to visit in Sardinia, Italy. You can even call this a hidden beach in Italy too!
Looking for one of the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy? Cagliari is one of those! The city is rich with churches, museums, great beaches in its immediate vicinity, and much, much more. It’s the best place in South Sardinia.
There is an infinite amount of things to do and see, but your must-go places are the upper city and its fortifications (Bastione di San Remy), the harbor area, and the Roman Amphitheater.
Cagliari has been a meeting point for civilizations of every era and still carries the footprints of each of them. You can have an idea of how many people walked through its streets by visiting the Archaeological Museum in the city.
Nora is the last of my picks for the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy. It’s the biggest and best-preserved Punic and Roman ruin of the Island and is also nearby some of the best places (beaches and resorts) in South Sardinia.
Nora was found centuries ago from the merchant population of the Punic and, after decades of prosperity, was then conquered by the Romans. It was an essential harbor for the Island until the pirates arrived in the Middle Ages. After the invasions became unbearable, Nora was abandoned.
Conclusion: The Best places to visit in Sardinia Italy
Writing a post about the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy is a hard task. The island has an enormous variety of places, parks, cities, traditions, and so on, so it is impossible to find the absolute best ten.
This is a list based on the most famous places to see in Sardinia and the most beautiful places chosen by tourists, but always keep in mind that Sardinia is an island of a thousand colors and a million possibilities.
Also, Sardinia is great for road trips. You can plan a road trip in Sardinia around the island, or just some pieces of the island, but in each case, this Italian island is absolutely perfect for an island vacation.