A local saying goes: “After Sardinia, heaven can only be disappointing.” There is a reason Sardinia is the favorite holiday destination of many Italians. Hundreds of white sandy beaches and clear turquoise sea, Sardinia is an island, rugged and vulnerable, where nature prevails. A land of folklore and traditions, of shepherds and fishermen, of crystal clear lakes and rugged mountains, of simplicity and of luxury. Sardinia is a top destination for travelers, that is a fact. But is it family-friendly?
Traveling with kids is a lot more complicated. Small children simply can’t be entertained with museum visits or long-distance travel. They need engaging and exciting activities. So let’s see if we can find those in Sardinia.
The most child-friendly beaches
Sardinia has many beaches all around the island. The long stretches of sand are mainly found in the northern part of the island. The rest of the coast is more erratic, but often with beautiful bays and small beaches. There are numerous child-friendly beaches to be found.
If you want to enjoy a day in the sun and water with your family, drive towards Castiadas beach, Teulada and Villasimius. They are located just south of Cagliari. Other options are the beaches of Orosei and San Teodoro in the northeast of the island. However, keep in mind that these beaches may be very crowded during summer (peak) season.
Summers can be sweltering in Sardinia. With temperatures rising over 30 degrees Celsius, this time of year is not ideal for traveling with small children or infants. However, if you can’t avoid visiting Sardinia in peak season, there are fun ways to cool down. On the island, you will find several water parks. In the northeast, you will discover Aquadream, a small park especially lovely for families with small children. If you are in the northwest, head to Water Paradise (Porto Torres) and the beautifully situated Aqua Fantasy (Trinita d’Agultu e Vignola).
At Alghero, you will find Splash Aquapark (the beach of Maria Pia) in the sea. In all these parks you will find plenty of water slides and swimming pools, where you can spend the day on a hot day. The parks are usually open from June to September. Bear in mind that it is customary in some parks to wear a swimming cap while swimming and that there are requirements for a minimum length for the various attractions and slides (useful to check this in advance to avoid disappointment).
Climing Park – Parco Avventura Le Ragnatele
A beautiful climbing park for all ages located in the natural park of Porto Conte, about 7 km from Alghero, not far from the famous beach of La Bombarde. The park has 8 different routes with different levels of difficulty, red, green, yellow, and a green plus for adults. There is also a BBQ area, a bar, toilet, and playground available. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m from June to the end of September.
In the port of Alghero, you can make an educational and fun trip for children. Progetto Natura offers tours under the guidance of marine biologists, who can tell you everything about the behavior of dolphins but also about all kinds of other aquatic animals. The first hours of the trip they will try to spot some dolphins (no guarantee but the chance is 80%). There is an opportunity to snorkel, with a guide.
Tavolara is an uninhabited island off the coast of Sardinia on the northeast side of the island near Olbia. It is one of the best places in Sardinia for snorkeling, an activity that is also easy for children to do. Tavolara can be reached with a ferry boat from respectively Porto San Paolo (the shortest route, approx. 20 minutes), from Olbia (approx. 1 hour) and from Golfo Aranci (approx. 1.5 hours). Of course, you can also rent a boat yourself or a kayak, which is a great activity to do with older children.
Visit the Grotta di Nettuno
The caves are located near Alghero, in the northwest of Sardinia. These caves are part of Capo Caccia, and it is also referred to as the paradise of the undersea caves. To reach the Caves of Neptune, you must take a boat trip, or for the real adventurers among us, climb a steep rock via a path with around 655 steps that have been cut from the stones known as the Escala dei Caribol. You are then about 20 minutes on the road but are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sea. An excellent activity for kids who love a bit of adventure.
Sardinia has numerous family-friendly accommodations all over the island. Whether you like a self-catering apartment, child-friendly campsites or all-inclusive hotel resorts. These accommodations often have facilities such as baby equipment, baby pool, and animation.
The Green Train – A ride on the steam train
One of the best ways to explore the different aspects of the beautiful island of Sardinia is by “Trenino Verde” or “green train.” The green train passes through a landscape rich in vegetation and mountain areas. Bridges, stations, houses perfectly placed in an environment sometimes only accessible by rail. The train moves over the track at the right speed. During the whole trip, the traveler does not have to miss anything of the beautiful views and impressive surroundings that defines the beautiful island of Sardinia. “Treno Verde” is one of the largest small railways in the world. When visiting Sardinia, you should definitely not skip this particular trip! The Trenino Verde runs four different tourist routes.