The first thing I learned about Sardinia is just how big the island actually is.
If you’re like me, when you think of an island, you might imagine an area that is small – this in no way describes Sardinia. This place is huge! With approximately 2,000km of coastline and the drive from north to south taking hours, you’d need much longer than two weeks to really explore and get a feel for all the island has to offer.
I admit it; with that much coastline, many of my days were spent soaking up the sun on some of the island’s fabulous beaches (such as Chia, Magazzini, and Putzu Idu), but when I was feeling ambitious, I made sure to get out and explore some of the sights Sardinia is famous for.
Here are my top three things to see in Sardinia:
After I posted a photo of a nuraghe we visited during our trip to Sardinia on Instagram, the first question I received was, “What the hell is a nuraghe?”. This is a fair question, one that I would of asked had I not just learned about them.
A nuraghe is a large stone monument, assumed to have been a fortress/ tower constructed by small farming communities that lived in Sardinia for eight centuries, however, its true historical nature remains unknown. The structure(s) date back to the Nuragic Age between 1,900 and 730 BC (yes, BC!) and was by far the oldest construction we have witnessed during our entire travels. This particular one was complete with staircases to the top – rainwater powered cisterns, and sealed roof system.
Shockingly, there are estimated to be about 7,000 of them still scattered throughout Sardinia, and despite historians not knowing very much about them, the logistics of how they were built so long ago are definitely worth taking an afternoon to marvel at. It seems impossible that structures of this magnitude could have been made almost 35 centuries ago by this native population.
For more information on the particular nuraghe I explored: Nuraghe Losa, click here.
Also known as Neptune’s Cave, the grotto is located just outside the northwestern city of Alghero in the Regional Park of Porto Conte. The grotto dates back to prehistoric time and was discovered by fishermen in the 18th century.
The caves extend approximately four kilometres with some sections being open for tourists and only accessible through guided tours (offered in English and Italian). Anyone is welcome to walk down the 654-step escala del cabirol (goat’s steps) that leads from the top of the cliff to the entrance of the grotto, just remember, going down is the fun part, going up is a different story!
Check out excursions to Neptune’s Grottto here.
Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, and the largest city on the island of Sardinia. The city is rich in history and culture that one can explore through the various Roman ruins and/or museums and galleries scattered throughout town. There are a variety of restaurants to ensure visitors can indulge in not only Italian favourites, but also Sardinia delicacies, such as Malloreddus, a gnocchi like paste served with saffron and tomato sauce.
The city also boasts a large student population which keeps the city buzzing year round and the pubs and bars full long into the evening.
For more information on the city of Cagliari, click here.
An honourable mention goes out to the beaches of Chia – stunning! If you are nearby, definitely put this on your must see list. With this much coastline, I just couldn’t pick a favourite beach so decided to leave this part out of my top 3. If you’re in Sardinia, you’ll find a beach that blows you away.
Have you ever travelled to Sardinia? What was your favourite sight or experience?