The island of Sardinia (known as Sardegna in Italian) is not a country, Sardinia is an autonomous region of the Republic of Italy, located in the center of the Mediterranean in Europe.
Looking at the map of Europe, you will find Sardinia in the Mediterranean sea, equidistant from the mainland of Italy, and the North of Africa.
Sardinia lies 200 km (120 miles) west of the Italian mainland and again roughly 200 km (120 miles) north from the North African coast.
The French island of Corsica, which shares some historical similarities with Sardinia, is to the north, just 13 km (8 miles) away. The Strait of Bonifacio separates the two islands.
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily.
Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is only 220 kilometers south of Cagliari, which makes it closer than the eternal city of Rome. For centuries Sardinia has been isolated between Europe and Africa.
Looking west from Sardinia, are the Spanish Balearic Islands, and the cities of Barcelona & Valencia.
Here are the coordinates of Sardinia: 40.1209° N, 9.0129° (just in case you need them)
How big is Sardinia?
The population is around 1,630,000, while the area of the island is 24,090 km² ( 9,301 mi²), this equates to about 69 people per square kilometer (the average in the whole of Italy is 201 people per square kilometer.)
The amount of space in Sardinia means that traffic is a rare feature of daily life. The landscape appears rugged but untouched.
Neighboring Sicily is only a fraction larger in area than Sardinia but has more than three times as many people.
Sardinia comes with 1849 km of beautiful coastline (the longest coastline of any Italian region), which attracts tourists from around the world.
What is the Capital of Sardinia?
Sardinia’s capital and largest city Cagliari is located in the south of Sardinia, a port town facing out towards the north of Africa. Cagliari is known as the city of lights and is home to one out of every seven Sardinians.
Cagliari is known for its hilltop Castle, a walled medieval quarter, that stands high above the city. The city brings many tourists to the island.
Cagliari Elmas Airport is located just outside the city, and it serves half of the incoming air travelers to Sardinia. There are also frequent ferry connections from Cagliari to the Italian mainland.
Sassari and Olbia are the next largest cities in Sardinia. They are both in the north of Sardinia.
Sassari is close to Alghero Fertilia Airport. Olbia has its airport named Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, as it is also the gateway to the famous Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) in the north-east of Sardinia.
What language is spoken in Sardinia?
Italian is the primary language in Sardinia today, although the rich Sardinian language, Sardo, is still widely spoken by 78% of the population.
The Sardo dialect changes from region to region; some Sardinians can even notice the subtle difference in dialect from a neighboring village.
In the city of Alghero, Catalan is still widely spoken. It’s known as the last bastion of the Catalan language in Italy. The Spanish influence is also noticeable in the architecture and flag of the city.
Let’s not confuse Sardinia with Sicily
Many people confuse Sardinia with Sicily which is located 300 km (180 miles) south-east of Sardinia, the island of Sicily meets the toe of the Italian boot, in the south of the country.
Sardinia is an introvert when compared to its extroverted sibling Sicily. Sardinia is a very humble island, filled with endless beauty, and unanswered mysteries.
Both Sardinia and Sicily are part of Italy, and both are popular holiday destinations for Italians and international travelers searching for beautiful beaches, delicious food and wine, charming towns, archeological sites, and warm sunshine.
Many travelers have a difficult time choosing which of these islands to visit.
About the Sardinian’s
This mysterious island has kept to itself through the centuries. The Sardinian people have held on tightly to their deep-rooted culture, as empires across the Mediterranean have risen and fallen.
The people of Sardinia are very kind and humble. Family comes first in Sardinia, and the villages and towns of Sardinia are very tightknit, sharing common values and traditions.
The Sardinian calendar is packed with festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
Sardinia is even known as a Blue Zone, meaning that the people of Sardinia, on average, live longer than the rest of us.
It’s believed the long life comes from a combination of lifestyle factors, such as the importance of family, inclusion, and reverence to the elderly, a healthy diet (locally sourced food), and a connection to nature.
D H Lawrence, had this to say about Sardinia: “Sardinia is out of time and history.”
The writer also articulated the contrasts between the Italian mainland and Sardinia.
He could feel the ancient traditions and aspects of Sardinia that echo through the landscape, even today.