Summer in Sardinia, Italy: Off the Beaten Path

While many people travel to the picturesque Amalfi Coast in the summer, I’ve discovered that the locals prefer to spend their holidays on one of the hundreds of Italian islands. Sardinia, Italy is the second largest island in the Mediterranean yet its tourist population is mostly made up of locals looking to escape mainland Italy, making it one of Italy’s best kept secrets. The island is very well preserved with countless beaches, towns and surprisingly, smaller islands.

In this post, I am presenting some information I discovered during the pre-trip research and on-trip discoveries to prepare you for your next summer getaway.

Public transportation (or lack thereof)

I advise you to rent a car or scooter if you want to make the most of your Sardinia trip. If you stay in the bigger cities like Olbia or Cagliari, then you might be able to get away with not renting anything if you choose to stay in that vicinity your whole stay. Speaking from experience, the best parts of the island are those accessed by dirt roads and driving through the mountains. Depending on the size of the car and how many days you need it for, you can find affordable options. During my pre-trip research, I was able to find a car for 4 people for 4 days for 90 euros total!

Sardinia

Tip for Automatic drivers: A majority of European cars are manual. If you only know how to drive an automatic, then plan for the price of the rental car to be slightly more than its manual counterpart.

Summer = Hot weather

We traveled to Sardinia in mid-July, so the temperature was a steady 35 degrees C (95 F). Despite the heat, summer offers you the perfect sea temperature. The water is warm the moment you walk in, yet it is cool enough to be your escape from the very strong summer sun. If you plan to go in the summer months, pack enough sunscreen (day) and mosquito repellant (night). Please trust me when I tell you that you will absolutely need both! There is little to no shade on the beaches unless you go to a spiaggia (beach) with sun beds & umbrellas for rent. What we ended up doing was buying a beach umbrella from a supermercato on our 1st day and it was the best investment.

Dry landscape

Unfortunately, 2017 has seen drought throughout the Mediterranean region and Sardinia was no exception. A dry landscape mixed with high temperatures and strong winds can easily result in fire. This happened on our first day in Sardinia and fires lasted 2 days in an area next to our vacation rental.

We were in communication with our renters for evacuation updates. In the end all was clear. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Be sure you know what local authorities to contact in case of an emergency.

Local Food Specialties

Every region in each country has its own culinary specialty unique to their area. Sardinia is no different. You may say Italy, as a whole, is well known for their aperitivo, pasta, pizza and gelato and I will not argue with you there! Those are just some of the many things I love about Italy. Any meal won’t be complete without an entrée!

Ristorante Suara Longa, San Teodoro

However, Sardinia has specialties unique to their island. One specialty is, of course, seafood. Lobster, octopus and squid were commonly found in every restaurant we dined at. I know your eyes can get overwhelmed with so much seafood on the menu, but why not also consider pasta + squid ink? 😉 If you’ve never had it before, it’s a must try!

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy
Ristorante Mama Latina in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Another specialty found in Sardinia is their appetite for piglet. Yep, baby pig served with roasted potatoes.

Ristorante Agriturismo Li Mori San Teodoro

Now, Italy won’t be Italy without pasta! Gnocchi and ravioli are two commonly-eaten pasta here. The Sardinian gnocchi, in comparison with the well-known round gnocchi, is longer and more narrow with a shell shape.

Gnocchi (top) and ravioli (bottom) at ristorante Suara Longa. And, yep! That’s risotto made with squid ink in the corner 😋

Lastly, a typical dessert in Sardegna is seadas: a cheese and honey pastry. Say what now? The cheese is fried inside of a pastry and honey is generously drizzled on top. Now this dessert might seem heavy after consuming a traditional Italian meal consisting of an entrée, meat dish, and pasta dish, but it is definitely worth a try if cheese is your thing.

Ristorante Agriturismo Li Mori San Teodoro

Now, there are a ton of places to eat around San Teodoro, Sardinia.

Beaches

I hope you didn’t think I would write an article on Sardinia without mentioning beaches. When you Google “Sardinia beaches” you will be exposed to endless results highlighting which beaches to visit. It can be a bit overwhelming – Sardinia is a large island with beautiful beaches and coves at every turn. Don’t believe me? Check out my blog post about our visit to 7 beaches!

Summer in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

I highly recommend Sardinia for a short or long vacation. It can be affordable if you plan ahead. Luckily, we managed to find really great deals on flights, lodging, and a rental car 2 weeks before our departure! How affordable? Well, we scored EasyJet flights for 55 euros roundtrip from Nice, France. Sardinia is easily accessible by plane from a lot of the major cities in Europe, so give it a chance!

 

25 thoughts on “Summer in Sardinia, Italy: Off the Beaten Path

  1. Thank you for writing and sharing such a detailed post about visiting Sardinia! The island is on my
    “must visit” list, so I found all the info super helpful. That plate with calamari looks so delicious!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I’m happy to hear it’s on your visit list – I enjoyed it soo much! Let me know if you need any more information. I’ll be glad to help!

  2. Love these tips—they’re so informative. I would definitely have issues with a manual car. I still
    haven’t learned :X

    1. OMG, you’re not the only one! Haha, luckily I had a friend who could drive manual so we were able to cut costs there. Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  3. Oh jeez, Italian food makes me so
    hungry right now. Did you enjoy all
    of it?

    1. I enjoyed it all! I’m a pasta girl, so the ravioli and risotto spoke to my soul. 🙂 The food is perfect after having spent all day at the beach.

    1. Thank you, Clare. I think you would enjoy it! Let me know if you need any assistance.

  4. All that gorgeous food and the gorgeous beach on your pictures makes it really hard to resist! I’ve
    got to visit Sardinia now! Even though I’m a bit afraid of the heat it’s worth it!

    1. Haha, don’t let the heat scare you. If you’ve got sunscreen, water, and a hat/umbrella to offer you shade, you will survive for sure! Consider Sardinia. It just may blow your mind. 😉

  5. Lovely photos my dear! I am
    dreaming about visiting Sardinia
    for a longer time and this post
    only puts it higher on my travel
    bucket list.

  6. The food looks delicious :O And
    living in India, I’m happy I’ve
    learnt to drive a manual car, hence
    will save a few bucks in Italy. 😛

  7. Just reading about the food you ate has made me want to visit Sardinia! The gnocchi and risotto
    look delicious and I love the sound of that cheese and honey pastry too.

  8. I’ve been to Sardinia once and it was so memorable!! Great way to prepare newcomers on what to
    expect! Also, those who will definitely go back:)

    1. Thank you, Suzie! It sounds like you had a great experience, like I. I hope that we both have the opportunity to go back. 🙂

  9. Sardinia is so beautiful. The food looks delicious! I was near Olbia three years ago and was not
    very lucky with the location of the hotel, since there was a booking mistake. It’s been on my list to
    go back.

    1. Oh no.. I can see how that could totally change the course of your trip! You should definitely go back if you have the chance. The food is calling your name. 😉

  10. A summer in Italy sounds magnificent! The food, the beaches, wow! And thanks for the tip about
    where the locals go – Sardinia!

    1. Thank you for reading, Jamie! Summer in Italy can’t go wrong when you have the sea to cool off in. 🙂

  11. One of my biggest regrets was not backpacking more of Italy :’) I’ve visited some tourist traps but
    realized (too late) that there was so much more than Rome and Venice :'(

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