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!
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.
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!
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!
Another specialty found in Sardinia is their appetite for piglet. Yep, baby pig served with roasted potatoes.
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.
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.
Now, there are a ton of places to eat around San Teodoro, Sardinia.
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!
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!