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Above all, Sardinia is famed for its pristine, white sand beaches that can only be rivalled by those of the Caribbean, whilst the interior remains mountainous and wild. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, but is very different to its larger neighbour in both scenery and culture. It is definitely more sophisticated and has a calm feel in contrast to Sicily's livelier atmosphere.
The Sardinian culture goes back 3,500 years and evidence of its ancient civilisation can be seen all over the island with the Nuraghi, stone towers and burial sites that dot the landscape. They say that there are more than 4 million sheep in Sardinia so you're bound to encounter many a flock if driving through the hills inland and they do sort of rule the road! The countryside is also dotted with cork oaks and the production of cork was once very important to the island.
Where to stay
The north east coast of Sardinia is known as the Costa Smeralda or Emerald Coast
The sea is the main attraction here with crystal clear water lapping on white sand beaches. The n
Places to see
The main attraction of Sardinia is indeed the beautiful coastline but for those with itchy feet there's plenty to keep you busy. Should you wish to hire a car and see more of the island you will come across remnants of Sardinia's bronze age civilisation, the 'Nuraghi', with stone towers that dot the landscape.
Naturally many of the activities on offer revolve around the sea, with boats to the National Park of the La Maddalena archipelago and the possibility for diving lessons in the clear, warm waters. The sheltered waters of Baja Sardinia make it perfect for water sports such as windsurfing.
Sardinia is the second biggest island in the Mediterranean so in order to do it justice you could hire a car locally and stay in two or more different areas. Fly to Cagliari and head up to the gourmet Hotel Su Gologone where you can sample some amazing local cuisine and enjoy the peace of the hills. Then continue your holiday with some relaxation on the beach at the Hotel Pullman Timi Ama in Villasimius.
Food and Drink
Being surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, Sardinia's cuisine understandably revolves around seafood, with lobster, fish stews and of course sardines. You will also come across bottarga, cured fish roe that is served as an antipasto or can be grated into pasta dishes.
They say there are 4 million sheep in Sardinia and so there are many excellent sheep cheeses including pecorino sardo. But perhaps you won't want to try the famous casu marzu, a sheep's cheese notable for containing live maggots!
There are several grape varieties in Sardinia including, Carignano, Malvasia Nera and Bovale Sardo but Cannonau is by far the most famous and produces a powerful white wine.
Festivals and Events
With May being the month of Easter, Sardinia plays host to some of the most elaborate religious festivals in the world, culminating in the carrying of Sant’Efisio in Cagliari through to Pula with 5,000 participants, 3,000 of which ride on horseback through the town in traditional costume.
August is by far the busiest month in the Sardinian calendar. From the first Sunday of the month, there are weekly festivals celebrating the medieval culture of the azure isle. The 7th marks the Archers tournament with incorporates an armed forces procession with professional archers making their way through town. Just a week later, you can view one of the most famous firework displays in Europe along the Busquet walkway as the festival of fish begins in Alghero. And of course there’s nothing quite akin to a Sardinian bank holiday, which you’ll discover first hand if you visit the island around the 15th August. Fireworks, carnivals, pop up street theatre and of course, glorious food await you.