As we all know, Sardinia is a destination which, despite being a small island, manages to offer everything a person could wish for in a vacation. With its pristine beaches, sparkling sea, quaint villages, masses of history and amazing cuisine, it is easy to see why so many people choose to come to Sardinia for their holiday. But did you know that Sardinia is also a great choice for those travelling with toddlers?
Taking your kids on adventures abroad is one of the most exciting things you can do and Sardinia should certainly be high on your list to visit. There are so many fantastic places and attractions for toddlers that you could easily spend weeks here without your little ones ever getting bored. Here is a guide to the best things to do in Sardinia with toddlers.
Of course, one of the main highlights of visiting Sardinia is the amazing beaches the island has to offer. There are many to take your pick from, but here are some of the best.
Cagliari’s main beach is Poetto, a beautiful beach which stretches for over eight kilometres. Here you will find fine white sand coupled with sparkling turquoise sea which stays shallow for tens of metres, making it a great place for your toddlers to bathe. There are plenty of kiosks and restaurants in case you get peckish, and the beach is also fully equipped with bathrooms and showers.
A favourite beach among many visitors, Campana Dune beach attracts plenty of people due to the swathes of space, shallow waters and amenities such as cafes and restaurants. It is also wheelchair accessible, so it is a good beach for those travelling with disabled companions. This beach is set against a backdrop of juniper trees, making is a particularly scenic spot.
Other beaches that are great for those travelling with children include: Porto Istana, where the beach gently slopes into the sea, particularly suitable for bathing with children; Porto Giunco, a beautiful sandy beach which is also the location of Notteri Pond where your kids can see lots of pink flamingos; and Santa Giusta, which has a large granite rock on its right side which some kids love to climb.
Sand Dunes of Piscinas
Spiaggia Le Dune di Piscinas, Arbus
While these sand dunes are not the place where you would bring your kids to build sandcastles, they will still love to run across these magnificent natural wonders. The sand dunes of Piscinas have often been compared to the Sahara desert as they stretch for miles and miles and often reach up to 60 meters in height. The arid sand is contrasted with the abundance of greenery which still grows here, such as junipers, mastic trees, sea lily and sea daffodils. If your kids do want to build sand castles, the dunes are located next to some of the island’s best beaches so you will not have to go too far for them to get their building fix.
The Little Green Train
Il Trenino Verde della Sardegna,
With all that running and playing in the sand, you may find that your kids get a bit tired out from it all. If you want to explore the island but not sure if your children’s legs will manage it, Sardinia has a great alternative – the little green train. This train has a number of routes across the island and is one of the most popular ways of getting around the island, both for locals and visitors. However, it is not all about saving energy; the little green train takes passengers through some of the most picturesque parts of the island. The Mandax-Arbatax line is the most spectacular line to take, climbing steep mountains, crossing immense bridges and giving passengers the chance to take in some of the wonderful panoramic views the island has to offer.
Cruxi Lilliu, near to Cagliari
If you and your family want all the fun of the water but none of the sand, then Diverland is one of the best places to come. As the biggest water park in the whole of Sardinia, it covers 100,000 square metres filled with swimming pools and water slides. For your little ones, there is a baby club where your children can splash and play under the watchful eyes of the baby club service. The baby club also organise games and activities for all children under the age of 12 so there is extra fun for your kids to have. There are also restaurants, pizzerias and bars so you can partake of some refreshment during your visit, while the live events and music will keep you and your family entertained.
Arzachena, Province of Olbia-Tempio
Aquadream was Sardinia’s first aqua park and continues to be popular among tourists. Despite it being much smaller than Diverland, it definitely has just as much here to keep your brood happy for the entire day. As well as pools and slides suitable for all ages, there is also a relaxation area with sunbeds and deckchairs as well as a huge picnic area where you and your family can enjoy some relief from the strong Sardinian sun.
Water Paradise, Sorso, Province of Sassari
This water park is very small, especially in comparison with the others on this list, but it is certainly adequate for those travelling with toddlers. Your kids will especially love the Laguna Games, an area specifically designed for children with a swimming pool and various slides. The great thing about this aqua park is that although it has a restaurant, they do actually allow you to being your own food in as well, perfect if you would prefer to have a picnic.
Parco divertimenti acquatico, Isola Rossa, Province of Tempio
Aquafantasy is another one of the water parks on the island and is also definitely worth a visit. This aqua park has one of the most comprehensive entertainment and activity schedules of all the parks of this kind, with the excellent kids club organizers hosting a wide variety of activities and games all day every day. Also dedicated to the little ones is Laguna Magica, a pool suitable for all kids up to the age of 12. There are a number of rides but your kids will be equally happy just splashing about in the shallow water. The park is fully equipped with beach chairs and umbrellas, showers and an equipped picnic area.
Acquario di Cala Gonone
Aquarium in Cala Gonone, Province of Nuoro
All children love animals and this aquarium gives your kids the chance to see some of the world’s most amazing sea creatures up close. There are 26 exhibition tanks here which will take you on a journey under the deep blue sea. The largest tank is the Open Sea tank which houses some of the larger species in the aquarium, such as common smooth-hounds, greater Amber jacks, dusky groupers and gilt-head breams. The rock coast tank is where your children can watch octopuses’ complex behavior before heading to the turtle exhibition to see loggerhead turtles gliding around in the water. There is also a piranha tank and a series of tropical sea tanks where you can see various species of colorful fish darting about. However, most toddlers will be mostly intrigued by the touch pool where they can put their hands in the water and touch the stingray, sea starfish, cat sharks and sea urchins that live there.
Olmedo, Province of Sassari
The Butterfly House in Olmedo is the first tropical biosphere of Sardinia and makes a wonderful day out for you and your family. The park houses over 400 species of butterfly, tropical plants and insects which your kids will enjoy admiring and observing. However, the park has so much more to offer visitors. In addition to the tropical biosphere there are two swimming pools – outdoor and indoor – two children’s playgrounds, plus plenty of refreshment options.
Gregoland Leisure Park
Porto Cervo, Province of Olbia-Tempio
Located in the Porto Cervo Marina area, Gregoland is a top class playground which can easily keep your toddlers happy for an entire day. Part of the fun is exploring through the trees to find all the different play areas; kids particularly love the pirate ship where they can pretend to sail the high seas. Aside from the amazing facilities for your children, Gregoland is situated in a beautiful spot where you can take in the beautiful views; it is the perfect spot for taking photos.
Sardinia Miniature Park
Parco Sardegna in Miniatura, Tuili, Province of Medio Campidano
Celebrating its 20th birthday this year, Sardinia Miniature Park continues to be extremely popular with all visitors to the island, young and old. The miniature park is filled with reproductions of the most important sights and monuments from the whole of Sardinia. It is particularly great for children as it gives them the opportunity to see Sardinia but in a space which will not tire them out so much from walking. However, there are many other attractions here to keep everyone in your family occupied. The dinosaur park is particularly exciting with its cool exhibition of animatronic prehistoric beasts and the nature park has lots of species of flora and fauna which will delight your children. There are even large aquariums which make you feel like you have dived into into a rainforest river through an underwater tunnel. Other attractions you can enjoy with your children here include the parrot aviary and the Nuragic park, which has reconstructions of life on the island some 3,000 years ago.
Wild Ponies of Giara Plateau
Giara di Gesturi, Province of Medio Campidano
If you and your brood fancy getting out into nature, you cannot go far wrong with the Giara Plateau. The main reason why people head to the plateau is the wild ponies that live here. Once these ponies made their homes all across the island, but now, apart from a few in Monte Arci, they are only really found here. Technically a horse, although they are often referred to as ponies due to their size, these fascinating creatures are completely unique to Sardinia and are a definite highlight of any trip to the island. The area is popular with walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders, so they are plenty of trails to follow and walk with your wee ones to see some of the 700 ponies that live in the area. There are also a few restaurants if you happen to be at the plateau around lunchtime.
Enjoy the Delicious Sardinian Cuisine Together
Sardinia is an excellent place to introduce your children to Italian cuisine. There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants to choose from so you will be spoilt for choice. Your kids will love the vast array of pasta dishes on offer. Highly recommended for young kids is malloreddus, a shell-shaped pasta which can be combined with a number of sauces. If it is pizza that you and your family love – and let’s face it, who does not love pizza? – then Sardinia is one of the best places to try some. For the more adventurous children, there are also many meat and fish dishes for them to sample.
Ice Cream at Monte Urpinu
Parco di Monte Urpinu, Cagliari
Of course, no visit to Sardinia would be complete without sampling some of the exquisite ice cream which is a huge part of Italian culture. Ice cream parlours can, of course, be found across the entire island, but lots of visitors confirm that the best way to enjoy an ice cream in Sardinia is by taking a stroll through Monte Urpinu. Monte Urpinu is a beautiful public park in the capital of Cagliari which sits on a hilltop offering wonderful views all around. There are plenty of tree-lined avenues to meander down, plus there is a kids playground so you can take a rest while your kids amuse themselves.
While Sardinia may seem like a destination for those who are predominantly interested in history and cuisine, as this article shows there is plenty on the island for young children to enjoy as well. Whether you are looking to spend time relaxing and playing on the beach, splashing around in one of the fun water parks or observing some of the wonderful animals the island is home to, you can guarantee that you and your family will have a great time in Sardinia.