Besides fabulous villas and luxurious yachts, the coastal area of Costa Smeralda is utterly idyllic and exudes romance. Top attractions include its magical coves for sunning and swimming - Liscia Ruja, Cala Pietra Bianca and Poltu li Cogghi are just a few examples. The millionaire marina of Port Cervo has a generous helping of swish restaurants, cocktail bars, art galleries and designer boutiques, including Versace, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Meanwhile, don’t miss a trip from the seaside town of Cala Gonone to Grotta del Bue Marinom, which involves a scenic sail and short guided walk to a vast and beautiful underground cavern of caves, lakes and stalagmites.
Just off the Costa Smeralda, this archipelago is a National Park comprising seven main islands and fifty-five smaller isles, beaches and secluded coves. Boasting inimitably white sands and clear seas, it wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean, apart from the blush pink beach on the isle of Budelli, created from finely crushed shells. The main island of La Maddalena is where 90% of the islanders live and the picturesque village is built around an old Italian Naval base. Meanwhile, the island of Caprera has an Environmental Education Centre and museum dedicated to Italian General, Garibaldi.
Explore Cagliari, the island’s capital and a city steeped in history and heritage. A climb up to the central district of Castello offers a glimpse of ancient monuments, like the Pisan Towers of San Pancrazio, the 12th century Elephant, the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Museum and the cathedral, standing proudly on Piazza Palazzo. The multi-cultural, artisan district of Stampace houses stunning frescoes in its Municipal Building, whilst the Marina district boasts more beautiful churches and a waterfront lined with coffeeshops and elegant arcades. Watch the sun set and soak up the scene of this bustling Italian gem.
Cosmopolitan yet charming, Alghero offers picturesque medieval churches and city walls that encircle the Old Town, atmospheric streets with little shops, a working fishing port and lovely sandy beaches just a pebble’s throw away. The most striking building is the cathedral, Piazza Duomo, which was built in the 16th century in a Catalan-Gothic style. From the port at Alghero, book a scenic boat excursion along the coast and explore the tranquil bay of Porto Conte, the spectacular cliffs at Capo Caccia, or the Grotta di Nettuno that shelter impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
The ruined city of Nora (near Pula) is an important archaeological site founded by the Phoenicians and conquered by the Romans. Highlights include the temple of Tanit, the Roman theatre, mosaics, villas and thermal baths. For prehistoric remains, visit the UNESCO-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini close to the village of Barumini. Built in the Bronze Age around 1,500BC by the ancient Nuragic civilisation, this fortified structure is the most complete example of its kind. Another glorious option is to travel by rail from Alghero to Sassari, home to a museum filled with prehistoric island finds.
Food & Drink
A blend of Italian and Catalan flavours influences the island’s exquisite culinary scene, with distinctive local dishes such as ‘malloredus’ – a type of gnocchi served al dente with tomato sauce - sausage or cheese, as well as Sardinian breads, pastries, sponge biscuits and almond cakes. Seafood is also a speciality, particularly rock lobsters, while ‘burrida’ is a delicious fish stew served as part of the Sardinian antipasti – especially typical in Cagliari. Meat-eaters should try the traditional spit-roasted suckling pig, cooked over logs and infused with myrtle leaves. Wash down these gastronomic delights with deliciously complex Vermentino white wines and dark-ruby Cannonau reds.
Sardinia is a true treasure trove of birdlife. The wetlands of the Sinis Peninsula Marine Protected Area are the perfect place from which to spot flocks of pink flamingos, as well as migratory and nesting birds. In the Bosa area, discover colonies of Griffon Vultures, while the cliffs of Cape Caccia are home to species including Crag Martin and Alpine Swift. In the south-west, San Pietro is where you’ll find one of the Mediterranean’s most renowned colonies of Eleonora’s Falcon.
Diverse and captivating, be sure to discover every corner of Sardinia. The town of Tempio Pausania is famous for cork, granite, nutmeg and Vermentino wines, whilst the artisan town of Oliena specialises in olive oils, Cannonau wines, filigree jewellery and silk embroidered shawls. Meanwhile, the medieval city of Oristano showcases a historic centre, ancient ruins, boutique shops, fresh fish eateries and gorgeous little beaches. Why not rent a car and take the lovely coastal drive south from Alghero to Bosa, home to a wonderful medieval castle? For the very best views, take the road to the top of Monte Mora and glimpse the islands of Tavolara and Caprera, ringed with sapphire seas.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know
Forte Village’s unrivalled cookery school offers guests the unique opportunity to learn the culinary secrets of multi-Michelin-starred chefs. Presided over by Chef, Rocco Iannone, the courses include theory and practical sessions, with lessons on choosing ingredients, preparing sauces and condiments and the creation of various dishes. Cookery demonstrations take place in a specially designed open kitchen.
The Pevero Golf Club, an 18-hole course with a par of 72, is in easy reach of our featured hotels on the Costa Smeralda.
Please contact our Travel Consultants for flight details.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.