Sardinia, a tranquil island with mesmerising views and a fascinating history. The sparkly, blue mediterranean waters look like something from the Maldives. It’s precious white sands and clear waters make it a beach go-ers dream. It’s wild hinterland, forests and ancient ruins make it an explorers dream where coastal drives will thrill. A law we saw when arriving was you can be prosecuted for stealing the sand, it’s clear to see why, it’s beautiful.
Everyone should experience the unspoilt landscapes but one of the important things to think of, is where to explore first? We didn’t realise quite how big this island was, it is huge and so 7 days was enough to cover the south. However, you’ll want a lot longer on this island if you are to explore the North, West and East.
Staying in Cagliari
Cagliari was our chosen base and was easily accessible with cheap flights and links to other cities. We flew from Venice and moved on to Naples for flight costs of £60. You can check out our route here. Our intention in Sardinia was to relax and enjoy the different beaches.
When staying in the centre, you’ll see Cagliari’s rich history all around. With it’s own airport and great infrastructure it makes a perfect base to explore the south and east of Sardinia. Nearby is the picturesque Poetto beach which again supports Cagliari’s perfect base idea, where you can also escape and relax at the nearby beach. For evening entertainment, you have bars located around Poetto if staying nearby the beach, and also bars and nightclubs in the city centre allowing you to stay entertained socially for hours on end.
Having decided Cagliari was our base city, we found accommodation by the beach in Poetto. We hired our own flat from airbnb, it was perfect. Cagliari itself is a stunning, built up city. which is easily accessible from Poetto. We found our apartment from airbnb and we highly recommend staying in your own apartment rather than a hotel. It allows flexibility and there wasn’t as many hotels around this area.
Poetto itself is a beautiful beach town, which we loved using as a base. It’s a great central location for the city of Cagliari and its nearest beach. For exploring other beaches, it’s conveniently located in the middle of the best south Sardinian beaches.
We were staying in an apartment we found on airbnb, which was a ten minute walk away. Walking to the beach from our apartment you witnessed beautiful scenery of plants and some salt lakes before the main road and beach. It had great access to restaurants and bars on the beach. However, these were pricier than the ones in the urban area of Cagliari. Consequently, due to its popularity it can be very busy, but still has plenty of space to park. You’ll find a large supermarket near the beach which is perfect if you plan to cook at home or want to save on refreshments at the beach.
In Poetto is one of the longest beaches of the island, with a length of 8 kilometers. The beach is marked by beautiful views of the hills of the Sella del Diavolo to the south. Poetto beach is backed by two ponds: the Stagno di Molentargius and Stagno di Quartu where the well-known pink flamingos can be spotted.
Where to go and how to get about
Having decided a base in the south of Sardinia, you’ll now want to find the different areas to explore. There are many different places to visit, too many in fact, when at the same time as exploring and discovering new things, you also want to just chill out.
If you’re wanting to explore a range of Sardinia beaches like we were, then you’ll need to hire a car. We hired ours from a comparison website for 3 days which meant we had 3 days of exploring beautiful Sardinian beaches and the rest of our stay could be spent relaxing by Poetto beach. We found holiday autos to be a great, trustworthy comparison site and you can check out car rentals here.
For visiting Cagliari from Poetto and vice versa, then you’ll find easy access through using buses. They run until late and if you miss the bus back, you’ll find various taxes you can book.
Heading North East from Cagliari – Sardinia Beaches
After completing some research, we created a plan of different beaches/areas we wanted to visit. Villasimius was the small town to head for, with lots of beautiful beaches nearby. It is a charming town full of picturesque beaches, hip nightlife and historical culture.
Our first day, we headed north on our journey for the best Sardinia beaches. The east coast was our direction, towards Villasimius, which took around an hour in our car from Poetto. It’s a beautiful Italian town, where you can park up and have drinks and food at many cafes and local restaurants. From there, we visited more natural, stunning beaches in the area like Porto Giunco and Cala Pira.
We then headed a little further north for more Sardinia beaches, to Costa Rei, which again had beautiful beach areas like Cala Sinzias and Scoglio di Peppino. Costa Rei has never-ending sandy beaches surrounded by small, rocky bays. The beaches have piercing, white sand, sometimes with gold shades. The water has a beautiful colour with emerald shades. We suggest choosing to stay at 1 or 2 for the day, as they’re all lovely and you can relax for longer.
This is the first town we decided to focus on and we’ll have a look at some of the visited beaches below.
In Villasimius you’ll find lots of exotic beaches. The wide, white beach of Giunco stretches alongside the stunningly clean azure water, and is flanked by a pretty tower. It runs past a small salt lake and merges with the nearby Spaggia Simius. Here you’ll find panoramic views and beach bars and a nearby car park which makes it a convenient day trip.
Cala Pira is located between the villages of Villasimius and Sant’elmo. The beach is 500 meters long, offering panoramic views of Isola Serpentara, situated 5 kilometers off the coast. Shallow blue waters, where fish come near the shore, make Cala Pira a good snorkelling or canoeing spot.
Costa Rei beaches
Cala Sinzias is a family-friendly, idyllic beach along the southeast coast of Sardinia. IThe beach has white sands with stray rocks, and waters clear like crystal. This is arguably one of the best beaches of Costa Rei.
Scoglio di Peppino
This gently sloping dream beach forms the southern end of Costa Rei and has a length of only 120 meters. It features a rocky landmark (Peppino’s Rock), a natural extension of Punta Santa Giusta. In the far distance to the north, the mountains of the Capo Ferrato headlands compliment the beautiful scenery. Peppino’s granite rock is the main attraction of this beach. It’s about 30 meters long, and shaped like a big whale. It can easily be reached from the beach through shallow waters, and it is low and flat enough to walk on. Around the rock you’ll spot some natural pools and small inlets.
Check our video
Look at the video below taken from our drone, the beaches are very similar but have breathtaking views and scenery.
Heading south from Cagliari – Sardinia Beaches
On our 2nd day we headed south for our quest of the best Sardinian beaches. Firstly, we visited the ancient ruins of Nora in Pula. It is an incredible site which originates from the Roman era. Archaeologists can be still seen digging up areas nearby. We had a stop off at the beach for a cool down from the walk to the ruins and then a pre-made picnic which we’d prepared. If you’re thinking of visiting the archaeologic site, I would suggest doing so when the weather is cooler.
Near the ruins, you will see the Nora Lagoon, where sea turtles are protected. A little further away you will see the favourite oasis of pink flamingos. We were lucky enough to observe them flying in a picture-perfect skyline.
After this on our Sardinia beaches mission, we headed further south to Chia, where the beaches are breath-taking. We visited Su Giudeu and Cala Cipolla which are right next to each other and separated by a rocky landscape. Parking was easy here and we were able to capture both beaches on the drone. We spent our time here relaxing and taking in the perfect scenery.
Finally, we moved to our final beach of the day and what a beauty it was. Tuerredda was picture-perfect, with turqoise waters. It was nice to finally relax here before heading home. All of the beaches were beautiful and as mentioned earlier, we suggest picking one or two so you can relax more without knowing you need to move on to the next.
This beach has a length of 500 meters and is 30 meters wide on average. Nora beach is located north of the archaeological site of Nora, an ancient Phoenician city founded in the ninth and eighth centuries BC, one of the oldest in Sardinia. The archaeological site is located at the foot of the promontory of Capo di Pula.
Su Giudeu & Cala Cipolla
Su Giudeu is one of the best beaches in the Cagliari area. A popular beach for the surfing crowd of the island. It is the first one you come across when parking up in the area and features several reefs just above the surface of the sea that make it good scuba diving spot.
Further up from Su Giudeu is the famous Cala Cipolla. One of the pearls of the south and it’s another favourite spot among off-season surfers. The beach is tucked away in a narrow bay and only spans 150 meters, with sands white and fine, backed by dense Mediterranean Maquis. You’ll be able to admire the views of the lighthouse. The working lighthouse, which can be reached by a trail, is a unique location in Chia.
Located conveniently close to the beach of Su Giudeu is Tuerredda, its natural beauty is breathtaking. Moreover, it offers pleasant views of Isola di Tuerredda which is located 150 meters off the coast. The little island can be visited by either swimming or canoeing
Check our video
Places to eat
You won’t be short of places to go but make sure you reserve a table in advance if you have your heart set on somewhere. On the beach in Poetto, we found two nice, but expensive places to eat which we enjoyed, these were Otium and Le Palmette Beach Club. They offered good quality, with a lovely view, however the menu was limited.
Away from the beach, but staying in Poetto, we loved a Mexican restaurant called Insomnia. They produce a good range of quality cocktails and the food was delicious. If you want takeaway food then don’t hesitate to go to Mamopizza. We ate here on a numerous of occasions, the pizza was mouth-watering and they have a range of pizzas to choose from.
Heading into Cagliari, we definitely recommend reserving a table. We saw many people get turned away, despite restaurants being quite empty, due to tables already having reservations. You must check out Hostaria Via Aemilia, it was our favourite.
Head to Cagliari
The nightlife in Poetto is limited, it does have some bars which stay open a little later and have some live performances, which have a nice relaxed atmosphere. However we found they were fairly quiet. Later on in our trip, we discovered the Cagliari nightlife. It was much busier and had lots of choice of places to eat/drink. Rather than recommend places, we advise you to explore the nightlife yourself.
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Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.
It’s much bigger than it looks too. We can’t wait to explore the north 🙂