While many international tourists have discovered the beauty of mainland Italy, Italians themselves flock to the pristine beaches and picturesque islands of Sardinia for fun and relaxation. If you want to enjoy the Mediterranean, Sardinia is a wonderful destination.
The best way to explore Sardinia is aboard a cruise boat. You can admire the stunning coastline, visit the smaller islands, learn how to cast a fishing net, and swim in the emerald water to experience the Mediterranean Sea to its fullest extent.
I’ve selected 5 top-rated boat tours from Sardinia to review. Each sea excursion visits different offshore islands or attractions. Whether you prefer hidden coves, exciting sea caves, or historic shipwrecks, you can find a cruise from Sardinia that’s perfect for you.
Best Boat Tours In Sardinia
|Cagliari: Private or Small Group Fishing Trip||From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Catamaran Tour||Cala Goloritze Boat Tour|
|Departure Point||Bar Tabacchi Mongittu, Viale Chia 33 or local hotel pick-up||Maritime Station and Ferry Terminal of Palau||Sardinia Natural Park Tours Office, Marina di Santa Maria Navarrese Port|
|Departure Time||8:30 AM, 1:00 PM||10:30 AM, 11 AM||9:00 AM|
|Duration||8 hours||1 day||7 hours|
|Includes||English speaking guide, boat cruise, fishing experience, beverages, bottled water, and lunch||English speaking guide, a catamaran cruise, visit Maddalena National Park, and enjoy an Italian meal||English speaking guide, boat cruise, visit the beaches, explore shipwrecks.|
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Boat Tours In Sardinia
- Cagliari: Private or Small Group Fishing Trip
- From Palau: La Maddalena Archipelago Catamaran Tour
- Cala Goloritze Boat Tour
- 7-Hour La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Tour
- Sardinia: San Pietro Island and Carloforte Tour
Best Boat Tours In Sardinia Reviewed
- Departure Point: Bar Tabacchi Mongittu, Viale Chia 33 or local hotel pick-up
- Departure Time: 8:30 AM, 1:00 PM
- Duration: 8 hours
- Includes: English speaking guide, boat cruise, fishing experience, beverages, bottled water, and lunch
This is a small boat tour, which means you’ll have an intimate experience and make new friends. Or, if you have a large family or group of friends, it could become like a private charter.
Aboard a fishing boat, you’ll cruise along the southern coastline to Cape Teulada, the southernmost tip of Sardinia. Along the way, you can admire golden beaches and stunning cliffs.
You’ll have opportunities to swim in the warm, crystal-clear water and possibly meet some dolphins.
Expand To See More Your expert guides will demonstrate how to throw a fishing net and encourage you to give it a go. If you get lucky, you can eat what you catch. But you won’t go hungry in any case. You’ll be treated to a freshly cooked, 2-course seafood meal aboard the boat. This excursion from Sardinia is a great way of learning about the marine life found around Sardinia, and your local guides will also introduce you to the local culture and traditions. By the end of the day, you’ll come to understand what la dolce vita really means.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
Your expert guides will demonstrate how to throw a fishing net and encourage you to give it a go. If you get lucky, you can eat what you catch. But you won’t go hungry in any case. You’ll be treated to a freshly cooked, 2-course seafood meal aboard the boat.
This excursion from Sardinia is a great way of learning about the marine life found around Sardinia, and your local guides will also introduce you to the local culture and traditions. By the end of the day, you’ll come to understand what la dolce vita really means.
- Departure Point: Maritime Station and Ferry Terminal of Palau
- Departure Time: 10:30 AM, 11 AM
- Duration: 1 day
- Includes: English speaking guide, a catamaran cruise, visit Maddalena National Park, and enjoy an Italian meal
During the cruise, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Sardinian coastline, with its golden beaches and impressive cliffs, and the Punta Sardinia Lighthouse. The catamaran will stop at the island of Spargi and at least one other depending upon the tide and weather conditions.
Expand To See More While anchored at the islands, you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel or swim in the warm, crystal-clear Mediterranean waters and come face-to-face with the local sea life. If you’re lucky, you might even meet some friendly dolphins. This tour also includes a traditional Italian meal with pasta, salami, cheese, olives, bread, and local wine. Learn about local culture and traditions from your local guide so that you make the most of this exciting excursion. Also, make sure you take your camera along for some wonderful, scenic shots of the coastline and idyllic islands.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
While anchored at the islands, you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel or swim in the warm, crystal-clear Mediterranean waters and come face-to-face with the local sea life. If you’re lucky, you might even meet some friendly dolphins.
This tour also includes a traditional Italian meal with pasta, salami, cheese, olives, bread, and local wine. Learn about local culture and traditions from your local guide so that you make the most of this exciting excursion.
Also, make sure you take your camera along for some wonderful, scenic shots of the coastline and idyllic islands.
- Departure Point: Sardinia Natural Park Tours Office, Marina di Santa Maria Navarrese Port
- Departure Time: 9:00 AM
- Duration: 7 hours
- Includes: English speaking guide, boat cruise, visit the beaches, explore shipwrecks.
Experience a relaxing day aboard a modern boat as you explore the coastline of Baunei.
The emerald waters surrounding Sardinia provide excellent conditions for snorkelers who want to observe colorful fish, dolphins, and octopi in their natural setting. Learn about the local marine wildlife from your expert guide.
Expand To See More Your guide will show you sea caves once used by pirates and historic shipwrecks only accessible by boat. Listen to your guide tell fascinating stories about local history and the activity of pirates. Take lots of photographs of the unique sights you see along the way. Enjoy the stunning scenery found around one of Italy’s most popular natural parks.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
Your guide will show you sea caves once used by pirates and historic shipwrecks only accessible by boat. Listen to your guide tell fascinating stories about local history and the activity of pirates.
Take lots of photographs of the unique sights you see along the way. Enjoy the stunning scenery found around one of Italy’s most popular natural parks.
- Departure Point: Near La Maddalena Post Office
- Departure Time: 10:00 AM
- Duration: 7 hours
- Includes: English speaking guide, insurance, Elena Tour Card, boat tour, pasta meal, and views of La Maddalena Archipelago
At the Isle of Spargi, you’ll enjoy a traditional pasta meal on board. Your boat will also stop off at Budelli, La Maddalena, and Santa Maria. The many natural pools provide wonderful venues for swimming and snorkeling.
Expand To See More Other highlights include the famous Rock of the Witch rock formation on Spargi Island and the pink beach on Budelli Island. You’ll also get a chance to check out the local craft and souvenir shops around La Maddalena. Make sure you listen to your guide and learn all about local history, traditions, and culture. This boat tour from Sardinia is a fantastic way to learn about Italian people and their lifestyles. Prepare to be educated and enriched.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
Other highlights include the famous Rock of the Witch rock formation on Spargi Island and the pink beach on Budelli Island. You’ll also get a chance to check out the local craft and souvenir shops around La Maddalena.
Make sure you listen to your guide and learn all about local history, traditions, and culture. This boat tour from Sardinia is a fantastic way to learn about Italian people and their lifestyles. Prepare to be educated and enriched.
- Departure Point: Hotel pick-up or meet near Bar Mongittu, Chia
- Departure Time: 8:00 AM
- Duration: 8 hours
- Includes: Local English-speaking guide, insurance, ferry to San Pietro Island, jeep tour of the island, bottled water, and hotel pick-up from the Chia and Domus de Maria area
Watch out for peregrine falcons, dolphins, and the abundant marine life visible beneath the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters.
Your tour explores one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in those warm waters and come face to face with underwater creatures.
Your guide will explain the volcanic origins of the island and point out the typical Mediterranean plant life.
Expand To See More Carloforte is a picturesque, 18th-century town filled with architectural treasures and wonderful local traditions. Explore its narrow, winding roads and meet the local people. Make the most of your local guide by asking questions and listening to his stories about local history and culture. This day excursion from Sardinia will provide you with wonderful photo opportunities and immerse you in Sardinian culture. You will be left with memories that last a lifetime.
For tour prices, transportation and availability:
Carloforte is a picturesque, 18th-century town filled with architectural treasures and wonderful local traditions. Explore its narrow, winding roads and meet the local people. Make the most of your local guide by asking questions and listening to his stories about local history and culture.
This day excursion from Sardinia will provide you with wonderful photo opportunities and immerse you in Sardinian culture. You will be left with memories that last a lifetime.
Sardinia Travel Guide
Sardinia is a Mediterranean paradise of golden beaches, emerald coves, popular festivals, unique local cuisine, and an amazing collection of historic attractions that predate ancient ruins found in other parts of Italy or in Greece.
Although Sardinia is a region of Italy, it preserves a distinct language and culture that set it apart from the rest of the nation.
This beautiful island is a fantastic destination for anyone interested in nature, Italian culture, or archaeology. It also boasts a wonderful nightlife scene.
Airports & Entry
The two best ways to reach Sardinia are by air or by sea.
Sardinia has excellent airport facilities with 3 international airports providing flights to major Italian cities and most European countries: Alghero-Fertilia Airport, Cagliari-Elmas Airport, and Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport.
A flight comparison site like Omio or Kayak can help you find the best deals for flights to Sardinia. Booking flights from the US to Sardinia can be expensive. For example, a one way from Washington DC in February 2020 costs $842 with 2 transfers and takes over 17 hours, and a similar flight from Miami $487.
However, if you catch a flight from Washington DC to Paris, Orly, you can fly from as little as $350. And a flight from Paris, Orly to Alghero-Fertilia, Sardinia $210. Why not fly via Paris and maybe spend a night or two there on the way?
Spend a little time on flight comparison sites and you’ll soon find ways to make the journey cheaper. Generally, flights from the US to London or Paris will be cheaper than flights to mainland Italy, so consider them first while planning.
Note that discount airlines, like EasyJet, provide much cheaper flights from European cities to Sardinia during the summer high season if you book well in advance.
These seasonal budget flights run between May and October with a peak between June and September. In mid-July 2020, it costs $380 to fly from Washington DC to Paris, but only $67 to fly from Paris to Olbia-Costa Smeralda in Sardinia!
You can get to Sardinia by ferry from France, Spain, and Italy. Obviously, ferries from Corsica, France are extremely frequent because the two islands are only 7 miles apart.
There are 6 major ferry ports surrounding the island: Arbatax in the east, Cagliari in the south, and Golfo Aranci, Porto Torres, Olbia, and Santa Teresa di Gallura in the north.
Like with air travel, you’ll find more services running during the summer, between June and September.
You can learn more about ferry services to Sardinia on the Traghetti website. You’ll find that you can cross from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Arbatax for as little as €45 and from Bonifacio, Corsica to Santa Teresa di Gallura, Sardinia for around €33.
There are significant discounts for kids, with children between 4 and 12 paying ½ price and under-4s traveling free.
Sardinia is a unique region of Italy with a significant level of political autonomy. You’ll discover important cultural differences between Sardinia and the mainland, including an indigenous language that is as widely used as Italian. Here are 5 tips to help you plan your stay.
Tip #1: Consider all the factors when deciding when to visit Sardinia
The best time for beach holidays in Sardinia is during the summer high season and the shoulder seasons, between May and November.
This is also the time when you’ll find budget air tickets. However, the beaches will be crowded during the middle of the season.
Because temperatures reach around 350C during July and August, the summer is a bad time to consider hiking adventures. Avid hikers should aim to come in spring or fall, say September and October.
Also, take note of the dates of Sardinia’s many festivals. If you’re particularly interested in wine or traditional food, you can arrange your visit to coincide with one of the major festivals celebrating local vineyards or cuisine.
Religiously minded visitors may want to come when one of the major saints are celebrated. The most famous religious celebration, the festival of Sant’Efisio, is celebrated on 1st May.
Tip #2: Be prepared for the heat along the coast
If you do decide to come during midsummer, be well prepared for the rising heat and strong sunlight along the coast. During the day, the air temperature can rise rapidly and without warning.
Ensure you prepare lots of bottled water to stay hydrated. Also, you’ll need a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and possibly a parasol.
Tip #3: Watch out for unique souvenirs
Cagliari is a great place to watch out for local art and craft products. The whole island boasts rich artistic traditions, so you’ll find great local craft stores in most major settlements.
But locally produced wines are also in demand as souvenirs. Cannonau Agriolas and La Cala are popular Sardinian wine varieties.
Tip #4: Book in advance, especially during summer
Sardinia gets crowded during the summer. If you want to avoid disappointment, book the hotel room you want and any tours you’re interested in well in advance.
Tip #5: Be prepared for the culture shock
Sardinia really isn’t like the rest of Italy. For a start, the locals speak a different language. It sounds more like Spanish than Italian.
And that strange language changes rapidly as you travel around the island. Also, Sardinia is like a time vault. You’ll find women wearing headscarves reminiscent of the Middle East because the island was once ruled by the Moors. Other ancient traditions mean that you’ll find quaint and unusual cultural oddities all around the island.
Restaurants & Eating Out
The traditional food in Sardinia is delicious and not great for your diet. It’s Mediterranean-based but with significant influences from traditional Italian cooking and Africa.
However, despite its tendency to increase your weight, there must be something magical in Sardinian food that promotes longevity. Sardinia boasts one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world!
Sardinia’s greatest export is cheese, so expect to see lots of goat and sheep cheese as an ingredient in local dishes. Perhaps the most famous cheese on the island is casu marzu.
However, it isn’t exported because it’s considered dangerous and banned throughout the EU. You’ll recognize this illegal delicacy if you see it because it will be riddled with live maggots!
Porcheddu—suckling pig—is the signature dish of Sardinia. They weigh 12 lbs. or less and are wrapped in bay and myrtle leaves and slowly spit-roasted over an open, aromatic fire.
You can sample this tender pork dish at Agriturismo Sa Mandra outside Alghero.
Lamb is also popular in Sardinia, traditionally stewed alongside artichokes and consumed alongside Sardinian wine. You can try locally produced lamb at one of the top-rated restaurants in Sardinia, Sa Domu Sarda Cagliari found in the south of the island.
Pasta is common in Sardinian cooking, but the local varieties are very distinctive. Fregola is a popular variety made of semolina rolled into balls. Many different sauces are served with fregola, but seafood fregola is found all over the island.
This has prawns and clams served with saffron broth, fregola pasta, and crunchy bread. La Lanterna in Olbia is a popular restaurant where you can try fregola.
Malloreddus is another Sardinian variety of pasta somewhat like gnocchi. It’s made using semolina with saffron and is typically served with a sausage and tomato sauce topped with grated cheese.
Normal Italian pasta is also found on the island, though served with sauces you won’t find outside of Sardinia.
Zuppa is a strange local dish that is made using a thick lamb soup but ends up looking more like lasagna. This soup is layered with slices of bread and cheese then baked in an oven.
Given that Sardinia is an island, it’s not surprising that many local dishes include seafood. However, note that many of the best dishes are seasonal.
They are made with fresh fish and other sea life that may only be harvested at certain times of the year.
Alghero is famous for its Catalan-style lobster. This lobster is boiled then served with onions and fresh tomatoes. And Santa Teresa di Gallura is renowned for its ricci di mare. This is raw sea urchins with an intense flavor only served between November and April.
Sardinian octopus salad is found all over the island served with celery, boiled potatoes, and a garlic dressing. Dried mullet roe, called bottarga, is a well-known local dish originating in Cabras. It’s cut into thin slices and served as a starter or alongside spaghetti.
Nightlife & Entertainment
Sardinia is a popular destination for young Italians and other Europeans looking for lively nightlife.
Almost every one of the many beaches around the island has an inclusive hotel complex attached that enables beach lovers to remain within the complex for the duration of their stay. Such complexes include bars and clubs aimed at their residents.
However, if you want to stretch your legs beyond the boundaries of your chosen resort, there are 5 resort areas around the island renowned for their nightlife: Alghero, Costa Smeralda, Santa Teresa di Gallura, San Teodoro, and Villasimius.
This is a large town on the northwestern coast that boasts a lively nightlife at any time of the year. Much of the fun is centered around its many bars along the Spiaggia di San Giovanni beachfront, such as the top-rated Maracaibo Cocktail Bar and Kelu Lounge Bar.
The bars close between 1 and 2 am. During summer, in the south of the city, some waterfront bars are open until 4 am. Also during high season, late night clubs operate on the outskirts of the town.
This area of coastline is known for the 3 resort towns of Baja Sardinia, Porto Cervo, and Porto Rotondo. The whole area is known for its trendy clubs and beach parties and is favored by the young.
Santa Teresa di Gallura
This port town on the north coast is where you’ll find some of the most popular nightclubs in Sardinia, like Estasi’s. Bar Central 80 is a well-known bar on the main square where you can grab an outdoor table and people watch until the early hours.
This is a small town on the northern coast that boasts some of the liveliest nightlife on the island. Check out the Ambra Day Bar with its live music, Bal Harbour Beach Bar, and Gallo Blu Restaurant and Bar.
This town on the south coast is renowned for its beach parties and clubs. Being only 30 miles from Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, Villasimius has become a popular destination for Sardinian clubbers.
There are plenty of clubs to choose from, like Kimi, Lagoon Club, and Tigo’.
The cheapest way to get around Sardinia is by public transport. However, trains and buses are not the most efficient or reliable means of transport on the island.
Sardinia lacks a well-developed public transport system. The best way to get around is by driving a hire car or going on tours where transport is included.
If you want to explore the island at your own speed, hiring a car is the best way. You can pick up a rental vehicle at any of the 3 international airports.
However, car hire is expensive in Sardinia, starting from around $150 per week. Also, parking is at a premium and gas is expensive in Italy.
To hire your car you’ll need a passport, valid driver’s license, and International Driver’s Permit. If you have an EU driver’s license, you won’t need the permit.
Watch out for crazy motor scooter drivers and remember that speed limits and distances are posted in kilometers rather than miles. And on rural roads, cows and sheep always have right of way. Don’t sound your horn and be patient.
If you’re an extrovert and traveling alone or as one of a couple, you might want to consider a car share option. Check out the Italian section of the BlaBlaCar website.
This site enables you to locate locals who wish to cut the cost of their planned journeys across the island by sharing their car with other travelers. Essentially, they provide the vehicle and you pay for the gas.
Car sharing doesn’t provide the same freedom as car hire, but it’s cheaper and enables you to meet and exchange ideas with Sardinian people. It’s a great way to learn about local customs and traditions.
Sardinia’s railway service is run by Trenitalia. On the mainland, Trenitalia operates a fantastic service of super-fast bullet trains and amazingly cheap regular services. In Sardinia, their operation is smaller in scale.
In Sardinia, Trenitalia does run punctual services between the main towns of Cagliari, Carbonia, Iglesias, Olbia, Oristano, Porto Torres, and Sassari. And the trains are much more modern, efficient, and reliable than in neighboring Corsica.
You can purchase Trenitalia tickets from efficient ticket machines in the stations that provide English language options on screen or online. It is also possible to buy tickets on the train, but you’ll be charged more for doing so.
The Sardinian bus services operated by Azienda Regionale Sarde Trasporti (ARST) are much more extensive than the railway network. You can buy tickets in bars, tobacconists, and bus stations. Like with the trains, you can also pay on the bus, but it will be more expensive.
While the buses are reliable, the schedules are confusing and services almost non-existent on Sundays. This is a common problem throughout Italy, where the majority Catholic population still holds the Sabbath sacred.
The many small islands off the coast of Sardinia can only be reached by ferry or by taking boat tours from Sardinian ports. The regular ferries can be cheap, from as little as $12 to islands like San Pietro and La Maddalena, but you’ll learn more and see more if you join an organized excursion.
Taxis are great for short journeys. However, they are relatively expensive when compared with car hire if you want to explore the whole island.
Sardinia is a popular destination for Italian holidaymakers, so you’ll find a wide range of accommodation across the island. Younger people on their first vacation away from their nuclear family tend to drift to the many beach resort hotel complexes.
These large complexes are designed to provide everything needed for late-teens and twenty-somethings to go wild in a safe environment. But if you want to see more of the island, there are plenty of other places to stay.
The Italian government regulates the star ratings of hotels based on set criteria. For example, the staff in 4 and 5-star hotels speak a minimum of 2 languages, and such hotels boast elevators, room service, room telephones, daily linen changes, and 16-hour bar service. You’ll find a great selection of hotels around Sardinia.
The Villa Las Tronas Hotel & Spa near Alghero is a 5-star luxury hotel that began life as a 19th-century hunting lodge. Standing on a spur of land stretching out into the Mediterranean Sea, this hotel offers fantastic panoramic views and enviable facilities.
Its rooms are individually designed. There are two pools, one inside and heated, the other outside with views of the sea. This hotel also offers a gym and spa.
Bed & breakfasts
Staying in one of Sardinia’s many bed and breakfasts is a great way to meet the local people and learn about their traditions and culture.
You’ll find many historic buildings have been converted into B&Bs, and you’ll also find B&Bs attached to many other businesses, such as bars, restaurants, and stores.
For example, the Lagoon Club in Villasimius already mentioned in the nightlife section has 3 double rooms available for bed and breakfast guests. It caters for families and is mere feet away from the beach.
Sardinia also has many agriturismos. These are a unique kind of Italian B&B based on a working farm where guests are treated to food cooked with ingredients provided by the surrounding fields.
Staying in an agriturismo is an even better way of learning about local culture since often the family you stay with will have lived on that piece of land for centuries.
For example, the Agriturismo Sa Mandra near Alghero already mentioned in the food section above offers 5 rooms with hand-carved, Sardinian furniture in a rural style alongside modern air-conditioning and plasma TVs.
The accommodation on this farm features a patio that provides scenic views across the local countryside. And the food provided focuses on traditional Sardinian recipes using ingredients grown or raised on the farm.
Villas & apartments
Visitors planning to stay for a week or more should consider renting a villa. These typically cost more than a hotel room, but when shared by a large family or group of friends will work out cheaper.
They also allow you to self-cater, which keeps down the costs and allows you to experiment cooking with local ingredients you’ve bought on the island.
The disadvantage of villas is that they tend to be out in the countryside miles from anywhere, so you’ll need your own transport. However, if you love the countryside and peace and quiet, you’ll love a country villa.
Apartments, on the other hand, are often found in town centers and so are much more convenient for public transport and the major attractions.
The Appartamento Kary, despite the word “appartamento” in its name, is an example of a villa found near Alghero that is within walking distance of the historic town center and only 1½ miles from Maria Pia Beach.
This air-conditioned villa consists of a fully equipped kitchen, living room, bathroom, and 2 bedrooms. It’s also conveniently positioned only 6 miles from Alghero Airport.
There are two distinct climate patterns in Sardinia: Mediterranean along the coast and temperate oceanic at higher altitudes. The coastal areas see mild winters and hot summers. Higher altitudes have cooler winters and merely warm summers.
The coastal temperatures are, on average, just one degree warmer than the averages in neighboring Corsica to the north.
The temperature difference between the capital settlement of Cagliari on the coast and Fonni 3,375 feet above sea level is that the higher settlement is an average 100F cooler.
In winter, January is the coldest month with average daily highs around 580F and lows around 420F. When spring comes in April, the temperatures range from a low of 480F to a high of 660F.
The hottest month of summer is August, with an average high of 870F and a low of 670F. Grape harvests for the superb local wine begin at the end of summer and peak through September and October.
The temperature drops toward the end of November, which sees average daily highs of 650F and lows of 490F.
Sardinia is one of those destinations where you’re spoiled for choice. The beautiful beaches and peaceful coves are excellent locations for sunbathing, parties, and water sports.
The stunning scenery provides lots of fascinating hiking routes. Small islands off the coast are excellent places to explore the local culture. And there are many unique historical attractions to attract more scholarly tourists.
The coastline of Sardinia is beautiful, and many visitors join boat trips to explore the sea caves, shipwrecks, and small islands. If you’re lucky, you might see dolphins offshore.
If you visit Caprera island, you can see Garibaldi’s house, which is now a memorial chapel and museum. This famous general was the main force behind uniting Italy, which had been split into small city-states and kingdoms since the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Sardinia is rich in fascinating geological features. One of the most impressive is Bear Rock (Capo d’Orso), which is a short drive from Palau.
While occasionally you’ll see rock formations that proport to resemble an eagle or a lion, this natural feature truly does resemble a bear.
It’s so similar that you might be tempted to think it’s an ancient statue weathered by the passing of time.
The limestone bedrock around the island contains many caves that are interesting to visit. Some are sea caves that may only be accessed on boat tours. Others can be entered by climbing.
The most famous cave in Sardinia is Neptune’s Grotto outside Alghero, which is reached by descending 600 steps. It is well worth the hike to see its fantastic, sparkly stalagmites and stalactites.
Grotto di Ispinigoli is another well-known cave system that boasts 5 miles of caverns to explore. Many Nuragic and Phoenician artifacts have been discovered in this cave during archaeological excavations.
Sardinia holds onto many traditions in the form of popular festivals. There are many religious festivals across the island held to celebrate local saints. And there are also celebrations of wine, food, and music.
You’ll find that many, but not all, of the festivals coincide with the high season from late spring to early fall.
The festival of Sant’Efisio is the most famous Sardinian festival. He is the patron saint of Sardinia. The festival has been celebrated on 1st May for over 400 years.
Every year, representatives of participating villages don traditional Sardinian dress to walk the 31 miles from the capital of Cagliari to Pula. During this parade, accompanying musicians play Sardinian folk tunes.
Sardinia is covered in structures built by a prehistoric society known as the Nuragic civilization. This society controlled the island from the 18th century BCE to 238 BCE when Rome colonized Sardinia.
Around the island, there are ruins of over 7,000 nuraghes (tower fortresses) built during this time.
The most impressive remnants of this society are the Giants of Mont’e Prama. These sandstone statues stand between 6 and 8 feet tall and are shaped like boxers, archers, and warriors.
Except for statues from Ancient Egypt, these giant statues are believed to be the oldest statues in the Mediterranean area.
You can see several beautifully restored statues displayed in the Museo Civico Giovanni Marongiu in Cabras.
Since Sardinia is in Italy and was a core part of the Roman Empire, it’s not surprising to discover there are significant classical sites around the island.
In the capital of Cagliari, you can visit an amazing Roman amphitheater. This 1st-century structure is found a short walk from the center and once held over 10,000 spectators who cheered on gladiators as they fought to the death.
Around a 45-minutes-drive from Cagliari, you’ll find the ancient town of Nora. There you can explore Carthaginian, Phoenician, and Roman ruins.
Originally, Nora was an important harbor and wealthy market town founded by the Phoenicians. Due to changes in the sea level, part of this ancient city is submerged below the sea. It makes a great playground for snorkelers.