Sardinia Mini Guide
About the Island
It’s the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and has a coastline stretching 1850km. The highest point of the island is Punta la Marmora at nearly 6,000 feet. The mountains are high enough for snow in the winter and there’s even a ski resort.
The island was first inhabited by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago but eventually the island was ceded to the Roman Empire. Over the centuries the island changed hands many times before becoming part of the Kingdom of Naples and afterwards part of the united Italy.
How to get to Sardinia
There are three airports on the island, arrival at which depends on location and also on budget as the airports are served by different budget airlines, Olbia by easyJet and Cagliari and Alghero by Ryanair. Some people arrive on the island by ferry from the mainland of Italy to spend their holidays there.
What to See on the Island
Very little remains of Sardinia’s past but there are still many things to see on the island including the albino donkeys at Asinara National Park and the huge sand dunes of Piscinas. There is a Roman amphitheatre in Cagliari
that is worth a visit for those that like history.
Things to Do and Activities
Sardinia has plenty to do for people who love the great outdoors. The coastline around the Costa Smeralda is very popular with sailors due to the calm seas and gentle sea breezes. The beaches of the north and north east have proved the most popular in the past but now many of the west coast beaches are gaining in popularity. The really adventurous can try rock climbing at Domusnovas or scuba diving in the underwater caves near Alghero.
Shopping in Sardinia should not be high on anyone’s list of what to do as there is a limited range on offer. Best buys are the rush, willow and pine baskets made in the traditional way by Sardinian women. Ceramics are another good buy with the local ware being predominantly painted with blue on a white background. There are many markets selling locally produced food and drink and these products can make excellent gifts.
A Gastronomic Delight
Sardinia has several local dishes to tempt the visitor including curlugiones, a potato, egg and cheese ravioli or malloreddus, a gnocchi, both served with a rich tomato sauce. A favourite of many that like their meat is the special Sardinian roast suckling pig, flavoured with the local wild herb, mirto. Mirto is also the flavouring in the local liqueur whilst wine lovers can try Cannonau, a strong red.
Special Events and Festivals
Sardinia is famous for its festivals and celebrations. There are many throughout the year with the most important outside of Holy Week being Sant’Eficio held on May 1st and the Cavalacada Sarda held on the last Sunday of May and involving processions and horse racing.
Sardinia is a large and varied island with towering peaks in its central mountain range and soft white sand on many of the beaches that dot the coast. You’ve simply got to go out and explore the island and a hire car from Rhino will help you do just that.
Whilst you are there make sure you try some of the local seafood recipes and also the succulent suckling pig, a traditional meat of the island. Follow this with a concert of cantu a tenore, a form of singing made popular by Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa.