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Plan Your Trip to Sardinia: Best of Sardinia Tourism

Sardinia, Italy

The second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia serves up a lovely blend of sea, sand, and history. Thousands of nuraghe (ancient stone buildings) dot the landscape, proof that people have been enjoying the climate here for millennia. From posh Costa Smeralda in the north to medieval Alghero in the northwest to the lively capital of Cagliari in the south—and with many picturesque towns, dramatic granite cliffs, and unspoiled white-sand beaches between—Sardinia has a little something for everyone. Find the best spots with our recs below.

Essential Sardinia

How to do Sardinia in 7 days

Wild coastline, massive indoor markets, and seafood by the seashore
Read on

Where to live like a local in Cagliari

My hometown of Cagliari has so much to offer, but travellers tend to skip the Sardinian capital and head to the beaches instead. Big mistake. I recommend you spend at least a few days exploring this colourful city before hitting the sand. From the best spots to take in the sunset to restaurants serving regional favourites, here are my top recs.
Claudia Tavani, Cagliari, Italy
  • Caffe Libarium Nostrum
    In the heart of the Castello District, Caffè Libarium Nostrum (we just call it Libarium) has a prime location atop the Bastione di Santa Croce. This spot’s spacious terrace offers one of the most romantic sunset views in the city, best enjoyed with a glass of Prosecco. Gaze past the colourful houses of the Stampace District below to the Sette Fratelli Mountains in the distance.
  • Forte di Sant'Elia
    Also known as Fortino di Sant'Ignazio, Forte di Sant'Elia was built in the 18th century to protect the city from attacks by sea. Not much of the original structure remains, but locals love walking and biking here. Take Bus 6 from the centre of Cagliari and get off at Borgo Sant'Elia. Stop at the lighthouse—where you'll also find an Aragonese watchtower—for views of Calamosca Beach. From there, it's a 20-minute walk to the fort.
  • Framento
    One of the best pizzerie in Italy, easygoing Framento offers mouthwatering pies using seasonal ingredients. The regular clientele—couples, families with children, and groups of friends—drops by to enjoy a giropizza, which literally means rounds of pizzas shared by the table. There's an excellent range of craft beers, including my personal favourite, called Nibari. For dessert there’s a fabulous mousse called Chiaramello, named after the chef's sister, Chiara.
  • Parco Naturale Molentargius-Saline
    Flamingos have been nesting in Cagliari for a few decades now, and Parco Naturale Molentargius Saline is a prime spot to admire them and many other species of birds. You’ll see avid bird watchers with long lenses trying to capture the perfect shot, along with locals going for a run or taking their children on a bike ride. To get here, take Bus P from Piazza Matteotti and get off at Ospedale Marino.
  • Poetto
    La Spiaggia dei Centomila—what locals call Poetto Beach—isn't just a great spot to go for a swim. There are plenty of places where you can rent a lounge chair, order a drink, or even enjoy a meal. (Le Palmette Beach Club is a favourite of ours.) Fancy a bit of exercise? The biking and running trail has markers every 100 metres, so you'll know exactly how far you go.
  • Sella del Diavolo
    For unparallelled views of Poetto Beach and Molentargius Nature Reserve, follow the hiking trail to the promontory at Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Saddle). It will take you roughly 45 minutes to reach the viewpoint from the trailhead, located behind Hotel Calamosca in Calamosca Beach. You can get there by Bus 6 from the centre of Cagliari. In summer, boat tours offer great snorkelling off Sella del Diavolo.
  • Sabores Bottega e Cucina
    Once a tiny bar focussing on natural wines, Sabores has gotten bigger as it’s gotten more popular. But this spot in the heart of the Marina District hasn't lost any of its coziness, and the food and service remain impeccable. Go there for the best Sardinian, Italian, and international natural wines and for the excellent charcuterie boards. The owner will help you pair food with your wine, which you can order by the glass or bottle.
  • San Benedetto Market
    Exotic, chaotic, and at times overwhelming, San Benedetto is the main market in Cagliari, located at its very heart. This is the place to buy freshly caught fish and just-picked fruits and vegetables. There's an extensive cheese and bread section, too. The vendors are happy to offer you a taste. Visit the market to stock up on groceries or simply browse among the many stalls and spy on the locals' buying habits.