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Holidays in South Sardinia are perfect for travellers wanting a taste of authentic Italy; it’s where Italians themselves choose to holiday. Leaving glitz, glamour and opulence to the north of the island, South Sardinia has a rugged, laid back and untouched charm.
The tiny hamlets, fishing villages and bigger cities offer the best of all worlds. Sun seeking families longing for respite from a busy home life have miles of white, sandy coastline to choose from. Rest and relaxation are guaranteed as the beaches are generally less crowded than those in the north. There are also plenty of exciting offshore adventures to be had – sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing open up a whole new world of coastlines and coves only accessible by sea.
South Sardinia buys into a rustic style of romance. Couples will enjoy strolling down tree-lined promenades, discovering an eclectic fusion of ancient archaeology, military history, and artisan shops. Fertile plains and rocky hills mean vineyards thrive; budding wine buffs will happily have their thirst quenched by the island’s vibrant wine culture.
At Citalia we’ve remained the leading Italian holiday specialist for almost 90 years. Our experience and expertise means we can help you create the ideal holiday in South Sardinia for you.
Roaming the island you’ll feel like you’ve had multiple adventures rolled into one. In each village you’re likely to find different delicacies, different customs, and even slightly different languages. Each boutique will greet you with its own handcrafted goods, each group of locals will invite you to their brand of festival, and encourage you to wear their particular dress. It’d be wise to live like the Sardinians, as the island is one of the places with the most people over 100 years old in the world. That means setting yourself up for a day of exploring with a glass of goat’s milk – or a goat’s milk ice cream from a local gelataio.
Then, it’s time for a walk. In the capital city of Cagliari, the Villanova district is where you’ll find narrow residential streets beautifully decorated with colourful flowers and peppered with little churches. Or, to experience more of the hustle and bustle, head to the commercial Stampace district. Late afternoon is the best time to wander the ancient remains of Nora; the atmosphere then is particularly special with the low, warm sun providing a golden hue. Finally, enjoy two glasses of island favourite Cannonau red wine in a sweet little restaurant courtyard or backstreet trattoria.
With so much to explore across the island, it’s worth hiring a car. Public transport isn’t particularly user friendly, especially for adventurers keen to discover hidden gems off the beaten track. Plus, the road trips are worthy exploits in themselves. The coastal drive from Teulada to Chia will see you twisting, turning and climbing past some of the most spectacular nature in Sardinia, from Mediterranean thicket to distant mountains, bays and beaches.
Once you’ve reached Chia, on the island’s southernmost tip, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to which charming stretch of sand to lay your towel down on. There are plenty of quaint cafés nearby to keep the family well fed after an afternoon of kitesurfing, kayaking, or snorkelling off the coast.
Continue building your holiday with a trip to Pula. Spend time pottering around the intriguing boutiques, and stay into the summer evening to watch live concerts in the sun drenched Piazza del Popolo. There’s more culture to be soaked up in the capital city, Cagliari. Immerse yourself in local knowledge at the archaeological museum and the mesmerising crypt under the Cathedral of Saint Maria. And don’t miss the colourful sights, impassioned sounds, and curious smells at the city’s largest covered market, San Benedetto.
The closest airport to the resorts in South Sardinia is Cagliari (CAG). Direct flights to Cagliari are available from London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Southend and London Stansted and take approximately 2 hours.
Surrounded by stretches of unspoilt coastline, you might expect seafood to be south Sardinia’s main fare, but the region offers an abundance of delicious dishes from both land and sea. Local cuisine celebrating lamb, rabbit and even horse are testament to native Sardinians’ history – when under attack they would seek refuge in the hills and live off the land.
There are few pleasures greater than stumbling upon a local bakery – or panneteria – filled with the aromas of freshly baked breads. Sardinia boasts over 400 types of bread, but the most authentic has to be the wafer thin, crisp pane carasau. Long lasting, it was once ideal to sustain shepherds as they tended to their flocks. Now, let the light snack sustain you as you wander the streets of south Sardinia, or try the more decadent pane frattau. Equally transportable, this crispy bread is soaked in lamb stock and topped with tomato sauce and pecorino before being rolled into a cigar shape.
For a real taste of the Sardinian sea, Spaghetti alla Bottarga is a must try. Considered the Mediterranean’s answer to caviar, bottarga is the salted and dried eggs of the grey mullet. They’re golden in colour and have a nutty, almond edge. With such a strong flavour, the dish is served simply – you’re most likely to find the bottarga grated into a heap of spaghetti, tossed in olive oil and garnished with a sprinkle of parsley.
Being invited home to sample tangy, moist Porceddu is the ultimate sign you’ve won the hearts of the south Sardinians. Preparation of this suckling pig is labour intensive, so is considered a speciality to be consumed with loved ones on special occasions. Stuffed with a glorious mix of rosemary and fennel, the piglet is traditionally roasted over juniper or myrtle wood.