Choose magnificent Sardinia for island retreats
Wild, unpredictable, but always stunning, it is little surprise that Sardinia tempts travellers back to its shores frequently. This rocky island off the Italian mainland is a maze of twisting coastal drives, picture-perfect sandy beaches and a fascinating history.
If you are a lover of sun, book your Sardinia holidays between June and September when temperatures are at their highest. Even between December and February they average around ten degrees Celsius. October is when the most rain falls, and if you plan on spending much of your time in the sea, pick August to take advantage of the warm ocean.
If your Sardinia holiday is intended to be a leisurely affair, you won’t be disappointed. Head out onto the ocean by boat to escape for a few hours, or amble along on horseback and make a new equine friend. Book in for a round of golf to improve your swing, or don a snorkel and venture out to explore the island’s surrounding sea life. However, if you would prefer something a little more energetic, consider mountain biking along dusty tracks lined by lush vegetation. Hiking to one of Sardinia’s many cliff tops lets you take in the stunning sunsets seen from the island, and there are many different routes to follow. Gola su Gorropu on the eastern coast leads you past limestone cliffs and mysterious caves. Tiscali can only be accessed by foot, and will stay in your mind with its unusual splendour.
Sardinia’s history includes influences from Roman, Arabic and Spanish settlers, which can all be explored through a visit to one of the galleries, museums or historic sights. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is one of four at the Cittadella dei Musei, and arguably its most prominent. They showcase artefacts and other items spanning the Pre-Nuragic period to the Bronze and Iron Ages. The area Archeologica di Tharros is a remnant of the Carthaginian naval base which was founded in the 8th century BC, and dates back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Another noteworthy structure built around the same time is the Tempio di Antas. It remained undiscovered until 1836, and was extensively restored in 1967.
Mealtimes are an occasion to socialise and celebrate, which they do very well on Sardinia. The island’s rich culinary history is upheld by its restaurants, which also serve dishes that reflect the area’s status as sheep country. Meats, cheeses and breads are common features of the menus, and the chefs like to keep things simple. There are not masses of ingredients, but good-quality olive oil and seasonings bring the food to life. The old stereotypes of pasta and pizza can’t be avoided, but you can also uncover genuine Sardinian cooking if you look hard enough and talk to the locals. Roast suckling pig is one of the region’s specialities.