Things to do in Sardinia with toddlers

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. 

The Beaches

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.  

Diverland

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. 

Aquadream

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

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.

Aquafantasy

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.

Butterfly House

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. 

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Unusual things to do in Sardinia

sardinia rock formation

Sardinia is packed full of peculiarities and mysterious. Often a combination of striking nature, ancient remains, and medieval rituals, this island has it all. If you get bored of the beaches, don’t worry, there is much more to Sardinia than its mesmerizing shorelines. I have had the pleasure to explore most of the quirky and mindblowing things on this list. 

The island is a minefield of obscure, and incredible easter eggs. They can remain hidden to tourists unless you get into a conversation with the locals at the bar. This list I’ve put together here, I quite extensive so I know you won’t be able to visit them throughout your holiday. But I recommend you choose a couple. It won’t leave you disappointed. 

Also remember, the best things are often lurking close by. Regions will have unique celebrations — even a collection of nearby sites such as Nuraghi, caves, giants graves and much more, that will leave you stunned. So ask the local people, they would be happy to tell you about the incredible sites in their local area.

Explore the mind-blowing rock formations at Capo Testa

3 Kilometers from Santa Teresa di Gallura, in the north-east of Sardinia.

Take a walk across these rugged rocks; the formation looks from out of this planet. For millennia the strong winds have transformed these rocks in mystical formations, you can see all sorts of shapes resembling animals, mushrooms, and even the odd face. This contorted landscape is a great place to spend your day. The Capo Testa is also home to the Valle Della Luna. There are three bays so that you can go for a swim with a view of incredible rock formations. It feels like swimming on the moon. Since the 1980s hippies have camped on the Capo Testa, using the rock formations to make shelters to sleep. They usually stay until winter, when the conditions make it difficult to stay. On the night of the full moon, they are often a party in which everyone dances around a massive fire. 

This span of rocky coast is ideal for swimming, because of the shallow bays. It’s just great fun to wander around, climbing on rocks and choosing an excellent place for a picnic.

Walking down into an ancient well

Parco Archeologico Naturalistico Di Santa Cristina, Near Paulilatino, Province of Oristano

Do you want to see an ancient well that is built with such precision that it will blow your mind? It is part of a Nuragic village known as the Sanctuary of Santa Cristina in central-western Sardinia, although it may predate the Nuraghi. The well is on par with ancient sites of Peru or Egypt. The whole area is regarded as sacred A church complex was built within the village during the 11th Century. Incredible the structure of the well has remained almost unchanged over time. You can walk down the steps into the well and appreciate the incredibility precise stonework. There is a pool of water, which is illuminated by the sun by a small hole above the chamber.

The position of the well is oriented to allow sunlight in to shine on the water during the equinoxes. It aligns perfectly with the moon every 18 and a half years. The well includes an outer wall, which is shaped to represent fertility. 

Visit the Wax Anatomy museum at the Universita di Cagliari

Museo Delle Cere Anatomiche, Cagliari

If you’re in Cagliari then why not visit the Wax Anatomy museum? Explore the 23 anatomical models that were painstakingly molded by famous Florentine wax model maker Clemente Susini. They were made between 1803 and 1805, and found there a way to Sardinia in 1805. These incredible models represent a detailed representation of the human body and insights into the medical knowledge of the eighteenth century. Its something very unusually to do, if it’s raining the city why not check it out. Entry is €1.50, under 5s, and over 65s go free. 

Run barefoot through the village of Cabras

Corsa degli Scalzi, Cabras to San Savatore

On the first Saturday of September a group of young people dressed in white, race barefoot 7km from Cabras to the village of San Salvatore di Sinis. It is known as the Corsa degli Scalzi that has become a popular tradition in Sardinia. The tradition is from 1619 when a group of women tasked with moving a statue of the patron saint. From Cabras to San Salvatore to protect it from the invading Moors. Every year they recreate this moment as part of a nine-day religious festival. San Salvatore is a quiet village on the peninsula of Sinis that comes alive during this festival. They take the responsibility of carrying the statue of the saint in turns, typically with fourteen groups of three. Two people are carrying the saint and the other leading the way with flag. The saint is covered over during the journey to protect it from the dust coming off the road.

Swim under S’Archittu

S’Archittu is a small coastal tourist resort near Oristano

S’Achittu is a natural arched rock over the sea. It is a very romantic setting and attracts many visitors, who swim under its arch or walk along the top, and a few daring people jump into the sea. It is found in the coastal village of Montuferru, in the western coast of Sardinia. The natural bridge increase in beauty during sunset, when the light glows through the arch. It’s worth a visit if you’re nearby, it is a stunning setting and a great place to swim.

Walk around a petrified forest

La foresta pietrificata di Martis, Provience of Sassari

This forest is worth visiting if you’re nearby. It is the remains of the wood from millions of years ago. Its believed that there was a tremendous amount of force from nature, maybe a volcano, that caused the trees to disintegrate. Miraculously, the ash from this event surrounded the burned trees, becoming stone.

What remains is a collection of hollow trees or a sort of cast where the tree would have been. Inside some of the stumps, you can see the markings, and the textures showing where the tree used to be. If I’m honest, some won’t find it that interesting. But with the understanding of how they came to be. They are almost a relic from a long way into the past.

Visit an engineering masterpiece rest on the cliff edge

Laveria Lamarmora, Nebida near Iglesias

The Nebida mine is located in the far south-west of Sardinia. Its an excellent example of industrial archaeology, an engineering masterpiece that’s now a ruin. The site used to be a stone processing station. It looks over the coast of Masua, with a panoramic perspective. You can see the shoreline of Pan Di Zucchero, which is translated as Sugarloaf, so I’m sure you know you’re in for a sight. It’s an imposing sight, full of areas to explore. Over 3,000 people here in 1910, many of which working in the mines, but there’s not much-left know. Its a good piece of history leftover from the industrial revolution.

Watch this video below, so you can appreciate the scale and even the audacity of this building, as get a sense of views that are waiting for you.

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Is Sardinia Expensive?

The quick answer is no, its cheaper than many European destinations. However, there are areas of Sardinia which are much more expensive, such as the Costa Smeralda. Before planning a holiday to Sardinia, it’s crucial to understand how costly or economical the island is.

An expensive myth

There is a myth circulating that Sardinia is exuberantly expensive, that its a holiday destination for movie stars, bankers, and millionaires. For a small corner of the island, this does hold. But unless you are looking to drink Pina Coladas with George Clooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo at some of the most expensive holiday real estate on earth, then I think you will find Sardinia a very affordable holiday destination. Sardinia is a great value when you take into account the wealth of culture, beauty, and nature on this humble island.

is sardinia expensive boats a porto cervo, the expensive costa smeralda

I want to let you in on a little secret. The best part of Sardinia is not the Costa Smeralda, yes it’s beautiful, but it is an artificial playground build for the rich. It’s not a true reflection of Sardinia. There is much more to be seen.

The Costa Smeralda is not a true reflection of Sardinia, and if you can avoid this area, you will save countless amounts of money. It is, however, possible to find hotels for under €40 a night. And if you are careful where you eat, you can manage on a tight budget. If your idea of a great holiday is rubbing shoulders with the rich, and bronzing on the beach. Which I understand will sound great to many of us, then the Costa Smeralda might be perfect for you.

But if not. I urge you to explore other areas of Sardinia. Explore the mysterious West Coast, Alghero, and the North-West or even the mountainous region of Sardinia, if you’re daring enough. The truth is Sardinia is packed with ancient sites, beautiful towns and villages, and there are even more beautiful beaches outside of the millionaire’s paradise.

Anyway, I just wanted to get the Costa Smeralda myth out of the way. As it thinks it is a reason why many of us wouldn’t consider Sardinia as a viable holiday option.

Sardinia is an affordable holiday destination

I want to give you some numbers so you can see for yourself how affordable Sardinia is. But first keep in mind that in Sardinia as with any other destination, there is a spectrum of prices. Take for example the Costa Smeralda which I have previously mentioned, the cost of a meal in one of the best restaurants could equate to a weeks accommodation somewhere else on the island. Sardinia is cheaper than the mainland, making it a prime holiday destination for Italians. It’s important to note, that Sardinia can become expensive in the summer, and busy too.

It is possible to travel around Sardinia on a budget. I am going to go through some tips that will save you some money. The initial cost of any trip will be the transport costs, whether you fly or can take a ferry. By booking ahead, and making the most of budget airlines, then you can save some money at the outset.

By eliminated expensive travel fares, you can enjoy spending more money on meals out, and activities.

The cost of a holiday in Sardinia

Sardinia is not particularly cheap when you compare it to its Mediterraneanian neighbors, but it is considerably better value than the Italian mainland. It is the beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature, and the ancient culture that lives on which brings tourists from across Europe to this island. You’ll find that the trains and buses are reasonably priced. The island isn’t small, but you can drive from the southern tip to the north in 3 hours, meaning that you don’t have to splash out a lot of cash to navigate around the sites and destinations of the island.

It is possible to visit Sardinia on a budget. You do have options such as camping, hostels, or even couch surfing allowing you to travel on a shoestring budget but it might not be the traditional holiday experience which you look for.

Buying food from local markets will save you having to eat out every time. One thing I like to do is make a packed lunch before a day at the beach, and it saves a lot of money and means I don’t have to leave the beach.

The summer months are expensive, because of the amount of demand as tourists flock to the island. Making it hard to find accommodation, and businesses are in the swing to make money from this short season

Coastal resorts are much more expensive than the rest of Sardinia. The further inland, the more economical it becomes, but there are fewer and fewer places to stay, as most tourist facilities are clustered at the coast. That being said, there has been a recent influx in Argiturismi which ofter accommodation and food on a working farm, it is a great way to enjoy authentic Sardinian life, and is very reasonable when compared to a hotel.

Eating out is not too expensive, with the caveat depending on where you choose to eat. You may find that you’ll eat better at a local trattoria than a high flying pretentious restaurant in Porto Cervo.

The cost of living in Sardinia

cost of lving in sardinia

I have used Cagliari as an example versus the cost of living in Rome. Cagliari is one of the happiest cities in Italy. Also, 1 in 7 Sardinians are living in the city. Living like a local is an entirely different thing to visiting on holiday, but please use these prices to gather a general understanding of the cost of living in Sardinia, and how it compares to your home town.

Traveling cheaply during the off-season

The island hibernates during the off-season. Everywhere is quiet in October before Sardinia wakes at the beginning of April. Many hotels, restaurants, and tourist activities are closed during this the off-season, but there is still so much to see and enjoy. Most of the festivals and celebrations on the Sardinian calendar happen during this time. If you don’t mind the lack of tourist infrastructure at this time, then you can certainly take advantage of the prices and the calmness of the island.

Most tourists visit the island during the summer because of the school holidays, and the warm weather, which is often scorchingly hot. The season could be extended, as the sun is almost a constant feature in the sky for most of the year, subtracting a couple of cloudy days in the middle of winter, and moments of rain. 

, off-season sardinia, empty beaches, cheaper accomodations, cheaper flights

During the off-season, you can travel for a fraction of the price of the summer months. And guess what? The beaches are uncrowded during the off-season, you’ll most likely find a few beaches empty for you to enjoy by yourselves. I have visited famous Sardinia beaches during the summer, and during the off-season, they are almost unrecognizable without the crowds. I would instead enjoy a beautiful but quiet beach when the temperature is a handful of degrees cooler without needing to battle for a place to lay out my towel. Or hunt for a parking space before I can set foot on the beach. 

Off-season travel & accommodation

Traveling to Sardinia during the off-season is much cheaper. You can visit for a fraction of the price. Throughout the offseason flights can start from €20, and ferries from €30.

Also, you can find accommodation much cheaper, often 50% less than in August and July. If you combine off-season accommodation in an untouristic area, you will begin to realize how cheaply you can stay in Sardinia. The places might not be as popular, but they are a window into the real Sardinia.

If you know when to book your accommodation and are looking in the right areas, you won’t find Sardinia expensive at all. Also, if you use websites like booking.com and Airbnb, you can usually find some great value.

The economic reality of Sardinia

Sardinia is home to one and a half million locals, and sadly Sardinia has been experiencing an economic recession for many years. It is one of the more economically weak areas of Italy with a high unemployment rate. Unfortunately, some local Sardinians have to leave their local towns in search of work elsewhere in Europe. Many Sardinians rely on the prospect of tourism to provide an income. These sad points illustrate the fact that Sardinia is affordable. Fortunately, Sardinia still has much to offer in term of tourism as it is a very overlooked island. However, everyone would agree that sustainable tourism is essential to protect its charm and natural beauty.

The fact that many Sardinians rely on tourism for an income means that there is lots of competition. This increases the quality of services and the amount of accommodation on the island. For instance. Alghero can be expensive depending on your preferences, but there are 40,000 local people in this beautiful city during economic hardship, indicating its affordability.

Beaches are free

The great news is that beaches in Sardinia are free, unlike other European destinations. At the more popular beaches, you will need to buy a parking ticket, unless you don’t mind walking further to the beach. If you want to hire a sunbed with an umbrella, prices range from €12-20.

Some hotels have private beaches but don’t worry if you’re not staying there as there are so many beaches in Sardinia, you will find one just for you.

Tourist Traps

When you arrive in a new country or destination, you can easily fall into tourist traps. Most commonly during the first days or even early hours of a holiday when you are adjusting to a new environment.

But down be worried. Sardinians are very humble and fair people. However, many businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, and activities, will target specifically tourists as there’s money to be made during the high-seasons. Take, for example, a tourist menu. It’s a great idea that simplifies the process of ordering lunch, but the food on offer won’t be accurate to what Sardinians would eat.

Choosing where to eat in Sardinia

When you are looking for a place to eat, a simple trick to eat tasty authentic food while saving on the bill is to see where the locals are eating.

Ask your host for some restaurant recommendations or even better, learn a few words of Italian and ask some Sardinian locals in the street. If you don’t speak Italian, it will be hard to understand the response. But fortunately, the answer will be animated in typical Italian fashion. Read the directions in the hand gestures and listen out for the name of the restaurant, you can go too far wrong.

Restaurant menus can outside, so you can understand the price of a meal before going inside, allowing you to compare what different restaurants are offering. You can avoid any overly expensive places, without having to leave before you’ve ordered an appetizer.

Peer through the window of a cafe, and if you can only see tourists, then it may be best to head to the next one. To save a bit of money, go to places outside of the touristic zones.

Every town throughout Sardinia will have a local pizzeria. A pizza costs between 4-8 euros depending on the toppings. The could be a cover charge of a couple of euros. A bottle of local wine will cost between 6-8 euros, and espresso at most bars & pizzerias is 1 euro.

Remember that there are high-end restaurants that will quickly burn a hole in your pocket, in areas like Porto Cervo, areas of Cagliari, and Palau, where a meal could be anywhere between 100-500+, this would soon add up especially when travelling with a family if you want to dine out with glamour and have euros to spare, then there are many places in Sardinia to eat.

Discounts

You can make the most of student discounts in Sardinia. Many attractions allow under-18 and over 65s, to enter for free. Places such as art galleries, museums, and archeological sites.

Restaurant wine markups

A way to double the cost of a meal usually involves a bottle of wine. Restaurants are notorious for marking up wine. Markups are one of the best ways to make money from tourists. I’m no connoisseur, but the wine in Sardinia is top class.

I have even had the chance to work in a Sardinian vineyard, pruning, and also harvesting in Autumn. I know that Sardinian wine is one of the best in the world, I would argue the wine is at the level of Tuscany and Sicily, because of the climate and soil in which wine thrives.

But Sardinians are very modest and didn’t fall into the trend of marketing and promoting their wine like other countries and winemakers. That said, restaurants can mark up the price of wine. Somehow good wine can complete a good meal. But a bottle of wine that costs the restaurant €8 could be sold at €6 a glass and even more at any star-studded restaurants of Costa Smeralda, and major cities.

I agree that a trip to Sardinia may not be complete with a glass of red wine. But be aware of how much you are spending as it will soon add up. Buying wine from supermarkets is a great way to save money. If you are at a restaurant, then look at a wine menu and do some quick mathematics to grasp the price of the wine. Some housewives are very cheap. Some are excellent quality, whereas some taste a little watered down. Local bars won’t mark up wines quite like the restaurants, in the interior, a small glass of wine can be €1. The local village wines are some of the best you’ll ever try.

Buying food from markets in Sardinia

One way to save money on vacation is to buy food for local supermarkets. Sardinia has a vast range of discount supermarkets chains. The prices in supermarkets won’t be as low as you would expect, but considerably cheaper than supermarkets in northern Europe. This is because of the cost of transporting food to the island, especially fresh food that has been imported.

You can find fruit at local markets that will be much cheaper than the supermarkets, and possibly sell more local produce. The cheapest supermarket is EuroSpin, but the quality is low, and there is not much choice. Other, more expensive supermarkets include Crai, Conad, Superpan, and Auchan.

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What to do in Sardinia for a week?

Day One 

Spend the first morning of your holiday leisurely wandering through Sardinia’s main city preparing for a trip full of history, culture, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking architecture. Walkthrough the picturesque streets past grand old homes and beautiful churches. Go to see the famous Torre dell’ Elefante and challenge yourself to a climb for some of the best views of the city. Alternatively head to the Anfiteatro, to see the impressive Roman ruins and the botanical gardens nearby. Just soak up the atmosphere of this ancient city with its fortresses and towers, and lively shops, and seaside promenades. 
Stop by the pretty little town of Pula for lunch and gelato in the Piazza where live music and family-run restaurants create a friendly atmosphere. Seafood is particularly good here, but the menus are full of Sardinian dishes, so you are sure to find something you love. Tuesdays are market day in Pula so if you’re lucky enough to be around then sample the fresh food and drink to your heart’s content. 

Once you have eaten your fill and wandered around the quaint town to settle your stomach, head to Nora, one of Sardinia’s best archaeological sites. First a Phoenician city, then Carthaginian, then Roman, Nora dates back to the 8th century BC. Walk through the town and see the remains of the thermal baths, the Piazza, and the aqueduct amongst the other well preserved ruins of the city. Finish up the day with a visit to the golden sand beach before you head back to your hotel in Cagliari. 

Day Two 

Visit the Umberto Terrace at Bastion St Remy before breakfast and enjoy the most spectacular view over the city without having to brave the crowds. Open 24 hours aside from religious holidays you can easily nip back to capture the city in different lights. 

Then after a leisurely breakfast head out to the Zuddas Caves or Grotte Is Zuddas which is over 1.5km of limestone caves dating back 530 million years ago. Explore the rooms and marvel at the stalagmites and stalactites which have grown into interesting shapes, inspiring exciting names for each section. The Organ Room where a column of stalagmites and stalactites have formed in the shape of a pipe organ, and the vast Theatre Room which then leads into the Eccentricities Room where the aragonites have formed with little impact from gravity. 

Stop for a lunch of filling Italian food and good wine at the Trattoria Is Zuddas right near the caves.

In the afternoon head to Chia Beach for a relaxing break among the turquoise sea and golden sand. The tree spotted dunes are perfect for exploring, and the gorgeous lagoon behind the beach is a breeding ground for the pink flamingos that inhabit the south coast. If you’re up for a bit of a walk head up the Torre di Chia, a 13th-century tower that is a fantastic viewpoint for gazing across the surrounding coastal scenery, take some binoculars as dolphins are known to frequent this area. Spend the evening here enjoying the relaxing seaside atmosphere at the beach bars. 

Day Three 

This morning head out to Barumini to visit the Su Naraxi which are beehive-like buildings from the 12th century. The uses of these Su Naraxi are still unknown, but the one in Barumini is one of the best ones to visit in Sardinia and one of 55 UNESCO world heritage sites covering the island. Once you’ve explored the interior and exterior of these incredible ruins, travel to the nearby La Giara di Gesturi. This plateau is a popular spot for hiking due to its breathtaking Mediterranean scrub and the wild horses that reside on its plains. If you are lucky enough to visit in spring, be sure to keep an eye out for the wild orchids. 

The town of Barumini has a whole range of restaurants to choose from, but there is a surprising amount of Pizzerias where you can fill your belly after a morning of walking. 

After lunch point your car back to the coast and go to Villasimius, a former fishing village for stunning beaches, offshore shipwrecks, and Fortezza Vecchia. Spend the afternoon at leisure, soaking up the sun on the beach, or exploring the history of Villasimius inside the Fortezza Vecchia, or go scuba diving or sailing. Stay until after the sunsets to watch the owls come out, it’s only a short drive back to Cagliari from here, and there is plenty of fresh seafood to eat in the town. 

Day Four 

This morning you’ll be leaving Cagliari to head to the city of Alghero. Make sure you leave early though as there are some fantastic stops along the way. 

First off stop at San Antioco, the second largest island off the coast of Sardinia, connected to the mainland by an isthmus. Visit the picturesque seaside village with its colorful houses and small shops and restaurants. Poke around the quaint coves and beaches that dot the coastline and explore the many nuraghi (ruins) that cover the island. 

Back onto the mainland set a course directly for Buggerru a charming ex-mining town. Visit the Museo del Minatore, an open-air museum that talks about the silver mining industry that was booming in 1864. Delve into the history behind the Massacre of Buggerru after the miner’s strikes due to their poor living and working conditions. 

After some lunch in Buggerru, soak up some more history in the ancient city of Tharros which is an open-air museum to the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, and Byzantine settlements that occupied the town throughout history. The ruins have been kept in fantastic condition so you can easily imagine what the city looked like so many years ago. 

Once you’ve had your fill of history, head to Alghero to arrive in the early evening and take a stroll through the labyrinthian streets letting your nose pick out a restaurant for dinner. 

Day Five

Pass the morning exploring this medieval city either on a bike or on foot. Walking the city walls or at least part of them is a must-do. The walls are 20 meters high and offer spectacular views of the coast and the city below. At the Coral Museum, history buffs can learn about the city’s first natural product. Or better yet go diving at the Capo Cassia protected marine area and see living coral for yourself. 

In the afternoon pass the beaches and national parks that surround Alghero and go to Neptune’s Grotto. Boasting the largest marine cave in Italy, it extends 4 km at sea level and includes a white sandy beach and an underground lake. Entrance is either by 654 steps jutting down the edge of the cliff into the mouth of the cave or the more comfortable option, boat. 

Day Six 

Spend a day on the uninhabited of Asinara. This national park is only accessible by tour so be sure to book in advance, but it is worth it to see the rare albino donkeys, the untouched landscapes and to hear the fascinating history of this island that has been used as a quarantine station and a prisoner of war camp, and a maximum-security prison. Spend a day with your guide as they recount the checkered past and point out the boars, horses, falcons, and gulls that make this island their home. Just remember to take your camera! You’ll be back in Alghero by dinner time so find some fantastic food and head to the city walls once more to see the sunset. 

Day Seven 

Start out early this morning as there is a lot to see. The first stop is Castelsardo, a picturesque old town built in the shadow of an impressive castle. Stay only long enough to stretch your legs through the streets and past the tiny boutiques as this is only a short, though admittedly lovely, stop to break up the journey. 

Next, you’ll be heading inland to the neighboring towns of Orgosolo and Mamoiada. Mamoiada is famous for its Museum of Mediterranean Masks which illustrates the links between the town’s traditional masks and Carnival masks. Each mask here, though has a story and holds a ritual purpose. 

The neighboring town of Orgosolo is sandwiched between two cliffs and historically a place to hide from the authorities or sequester the kidnapped. What it is famous for today is the cubist murals painted in the 70s and 80s that cover the town’s walls depicting everything from scenes of rural life, to global social injustices

The final stop for the day before heading to your hotel in Olbia is the medieval village of Posada and Castello della Fava. Spend the day getting lost in the maze of narrow streets in this much-sieged town and hike up to the Castello for fantastic views across the surrounding land. One final breathtaking view on your trip to Sardinia.

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