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Sardinia

Hi...I can't believe there is so little info about the place? I plan on arriving into Cagliari and spend 2/3 nights there hire a car then head southwest and follow my nose north/East finishing at Olbia airport after 14 days. There is a question here......have I/we allowed enough time to do this discovering comfortably?
Should we continue passed Olbia, because there is must see destinations? We don't need nightclubs and we don't need to be on a beautiful beach everyday. Rural experiences most welcome.
We love wine, food, relaxing, touring all at meandering pace. And we don't want to be in a car all the time. I would like suggestions where to base ourselves along the way also. In other words not too many
one night stays.
Thank you in advance.

Posted by
12381 posts

Just because Rick Steves doesn't cover Sardinia, doesn't mean there is little available. It's one of the most popular destination in the Med for Italian and European vacationers, although almost unknown to North Americans.
Don't miss the Maddalena Archipelago for sure ( take a boat excursion) and the entire Gallura. Some of the The best parts of Sardinia, IMHO, are north of Olbia. I generally vacationed in or near Santa Teresa, at the northernmost tip. Don't know the south.
http://www.charmingsardinia.com/sardinia/top-10-sardinian-places
http://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en
http://www.unionesarda.it/collane/spiagge/home_spiagge.aspx

Posted by
6 posts

A great place to start Roberto, thank you. However I'll still await own experience suggestions !

Posted by
12381 posts

My experience is limited to the entire north wher I have been a few times (Santa Teresa area). I haven't been in 10 years though. Definitely visit Castelsardo, the Maddalena Archipelago, Arzachena area, Alghero, and the entire northern coast from Olbia to Alghero.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks again,. I promise not to just rely on you.....I've looked at all the links you suggested and I'm impressed with info provided. Gives me some guidance. I think I'm more unsure of distances to plan
progress. Anyway Roberto I appreciate your input. I also re-read your first reply - what I meant by the lack of info was I had perused through the forum for Italy and found so little asked about Sardinia. I was surprised.

Posted by
12381 posts

You won't find much interest for Sardinia in this forum because this forum is mostly frequented by North Americans and Sardinia is not a well known destination to North Americans. The reason is because the island is shunned by tour companies and travel publications catering to North Americans. In part it's because it's hard to reach, therefore it's difficult to be included in a 10 or 20 days tour of Italy. The other reason is that Sardinia does not offer the wealth of historical sights as other regions of Italy. It's mostly a nature, beach and diving paradise. The few Americans you see in Sardinia are likely the Navy and Air Force servicemen and their families who are serving in the several NATO bases there (The Maddalena was the most important nuclear submarine base in the Med till they closed it in 2008). I met some and they were expert divers from the U.S. Navy. They thought the island was heaven for divers. It is however very popular with the Europeans, but mainly as a beach vacation destination, not so much for its art and history (although there is some of that, for example the nuraghi and towns like Alghero). I think that I'm the only frequent contributor to this forum that has visited Sardinia, certainly the only one who's been there multiple times.

My recommendation is to plan driving carefully because distances there take longer than expected based on just looking at a map. For example just to drive from Olbia to Santa Teresa, is spite of looking so near on a map, sometime took me almost 1.5 hours. Nearly all roads are two lane highways with lots of curves and they often go through towns. The speed you can drive is rarely over 50 km/h (30mph). The only freeway connects Cagliari to Oristano to Sassari to Alghero. But it's in the interior Campidano plain and not particularly interesting to a tourist. All roads along the coast are two lane highway where speed is limited.

Posted by
390 posts

we actually picked up a Lonely Planet Sardinia guide when we got there interestingly enough (we decided to go a week in advance and didn't know what we were going to be doing) and it was very helpful!

One of the coolest things we did (and one of the stupidest things as well) was in the Lonely Planet book, at Stintino, it said that there is an island that you can swim to if you are a "moderately good swimmer" .....well, it looked closer than it actually was (how's about swimming 3/4 of a kilometer?) and I was scarred for life after running into numerous "smacks" (yes, that's what I learned a group of jellyfish is called) but I have a great story!!!

There are probably plenty of outfits that can rent boats or take you on the water.....I would do that!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you Roberto, Katherine and Quinte. Entertaining Katherine - I'm a competent swimmer but as soon as I read jellyfish you lost my interest. Barracudas Quinte? A first....
I think the inference is to allow more time to get ourselves around the island? Can I do comfortably
Cagliari to Olbia? Or should reduce the area? I don't plan on staying in Obia just dropping of the car and flying out. We'll stay somewhere else. Vermintino - mmmmmm now you're talkin.
IT's Saturday morning where I am, so everybody have a nice weekend. Cheers.

Posted by
12381 posts

2 weeks is enough time to visit quite a bit
I would drive from Cagliari toward the East coast and do a counterclockwise half loop:
CAGLIARI
VILLASIMIUS
OGLIASTRA COAST
CALA GOLORITZE'
OROSEI
BUDONI
SAN TEODORO
COSTA SMERALDA (PORTO CERVO, PORTO ROTONDO)
ARZACHENA
PALAU
MADDALENA ARCHIPELAGO (VIA BOAT)
SANTA TERESA
CASTELSARDO
PORTO TORRES
STINTINO
ALGHERO
BOSA
Then I would cross back to Olbia and fly away.

In the south west I heard the area between Pula and Chia is great, but I don't know if you have the time to do a full loop. Also the Cape Teulada area is largely off limits due to the NATO base.
I'm not sure I would stop in Cagliari more than half day either. Of all Sardinian larger cities only Alghero is known for its history and beauty.

Posted by
6 posts

Grazie Mille Roberto whatta list....you've set me some homework to do. I appreciate your time and effort and look forward to our 2 weeks away. In fact I bumped into someone today who said some of the roads are really skinny and there's a lot of rental cars without side mirrors ....Anyway take care..

Posted by
390 posts

Yeah, the jellyfish were not awesome.......I was tempted to just live on that island so I wouldn't have to come back through that jellyfish smack....

We did a quick trip, Monday-Saturday, stopped in Olbia (1 night), Stintino (1 night), somewhere near Cagliari(2 nights) and back in Olbia to leave (1 night).....it was too fast, but we did see quite a bit of the island! I second the counter clockwise, it was easiest and most interesting for us......don't forget to go into the heart of the island, great forests and dare I say "mountains"? (big hills?) Beautiful island....

Posted by
390 posts

Quirite.....maybe they were inferring that because of the skinny spaces, many of the cars in Sardinia always get their side mirrors knocked off?

Mine was a nice normal Smart TwoFour, first time driving a Smart car, the side bar next to the windshield was way too big though...

Posted by
6 posts

Most entertained Quirite (apologies for spelling the first time didn't have my spectacles on) and Katherine. I'm thinking perhaps some places are tight and don't forget they are rental vehicles so the driving history of renters might be like me......driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road WITH A GEAR STICK on the other side. Anyway you two put a smile on my face reading your conversation. Funny.....We will have two suitcases so I might need something bigger than a smart car?
Thank you.......