Quick Guide to Sardinia, Italy

Friday, February 12, 2016

Quick Guide to Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is a wonderful island - for summer holidays or all year around. Here is our quick five minute guide to one of the hidden gems of the Mediterranean

Where?

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, sitting below French-owned Corsica and above the Tunisian coast.

It is separated from mainland Italy by the Tyrrhenian Sea. It enjoys nearly 2,000 km of superb coastline. Its capital Cagliari is in the south.

How?

Sardinia has three main airports: Cagliari in the south, Olbia in the north-east and Alghero in the east. British Airways, Ryanair, EasyJet fly directly to Cagliari airport in less than 2 ½ hours.

Why?

Many tourists from different parts of the world - mainly Northern Europe Germans, French, Swiss, British and Belgians - prefer to come to Sardinia for their holidays but many others have chosen to stay there for life.

Tourists and residents appreciate the tranquillity, calm and peace of this idyllic island, far removed from their busy lifestyles.

The north-eastern corner of Sardinia is the most famous for the glamorous Costa Smeralda (the Emerald Coast) that became a celebrity hot spot in the 1960s and offers multimillion pound villas. But it's not typical of the rest of the island and your money will go much further elsewhere.

What's it like?

Sardinia's landscape is wild and diverse, the glorious long sandy beaches of the south give way to the more rugged northern coastline, whilst the inland is very mountainous and wooded.

Described as a geologist's dream - for its beehive like Bronze Age structures called nuraghi - the island offers magical views. Sardinia is such a popular holiday destination for its clear waters, monuments, culture, traditions, excellent food and quality services that have contributed to recognition of its environmental sustainability issued 2015 by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Sardinia is one of the places in the world where people live the longest thanks to healthier food and a stress-free lifestyle.

Food for thought?

We focus especially on the southern coast that covers the area from Teulada to Muravera is characterised by an impressively beautiful coastline with clear water sea of different shades starting from green to deep blue. Pula and Villasimius are the main villages by the sea and both are within 30 minutes from Cagliari.

There is a good choice of cafes, bar, restaurants where you can sample local dishes from octopus, clams, lobster, shrimps and a sprinkling of the famous bottarga (dried mullet roe).

Typical dishes are spaghetti dressed with sea urchins, spaghetti clams and bottarga, fresh fish soup or suckling pig on a perfumed bed of myrtle leaves and "sebadas "(fresh cheese fritters) drizzled with honey, or "pardulas" - sweet pastry filled with ricotta cheese, saffron and lemon.

If you like wine, here you will be spoilt for choice with 150 native grape varieties offering the widest array of wines. You can buy good local produce in every supermarket or small delis.

What property can you buy?

The south-west coast is usually chosen by the British, French and Northern Italians, while the south-east is loved by the Germans, Belgians and Swiss.

Property prices are fairly similar but the offer varies, says Pamela Sorrentino of agent Dreaming Sardinia. "Around Villasimius and Costa Rei, and north of Cagliari, the selection in villas and apartments is wider," she says.

"A two-bed apartment, five minutes from the beach costs €130,000 - €160,000. For a terraced three-bed house, walking distance from the beach, around €290,000, and a detached villa with four bedrooms from €600,000. Direct sea access can command a price tag of €5 million."

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Liz Rowlinson

Author

Liz Rowlinson

Originally published in the A Place in the Sun magazine - Issue 124