Things to do if you travel to Sardinia, an enchanting island off the coast of Italy. Wind, sea and sun.

 

Sailing in Sardinia (photo by Flickr)

Sailing in Sardinia (Flickr)

Located south of the French island of Corsica and closer to the North African coast than the Italian mainland, Sardinia (Italian: Sardegna) is an autonomous region of Italy and the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily).   Although being characterized by natural treasures and possessing an extraordinary cultural, artistic, historical and archaeological heritage, Sardinia is not particularly well known to most American who travel to Italy, but is certainly an Italian destination with much to offer.

Climate and Geography

With an area of 9,197 square miles and coasts covering 1,149 miles, Sardinia has an interior mainly composed of mountains and hills and a varied coastal landscape of high cliffs, long stretches of coastline, many remarkable headlands and inlets, and various smaller islands off the coast.  The island also has an ancient geoformation and is not earthquake prone, unlike Sicily and mainland Italy.

Sardinia is temperate year-round and has an average temperature between 52 to 63 °F; however, the weather is not uniform here, partly due to the island being relatively large and hilly.  Sardinia enjoys a Mediterranean climate along the coasts and plains with mild winters and hot summers, while a continental climate is found on the interior plateaus, valleys and mountain ranges with cold winters and cool summers.  The highest temperatures are felt in July and August, which is peak season for the island. Sardinian beaches can get crowded during this time as ferries bring large numbers of sun-worshippers from mainland Italy, or what the locals call il continente (the continent).

Luckily for travelers who wish to avoid the crowds during the hottest time of year, the summer on the island tends to be long with weather (and sea) temperatures generally warm enough for swimming from May until October.

Cobalt blue beach in Sardina (Photo by Flickr)

Cobalt blue ocean water in Sardinia (Flickr)

Sardinia is also known as the” isola del vento” (the windy island), due to winds that can blow quite strongly and that cross the island from all directions.  Though most prevalent from September to April, the mistral wind that comes from the north-west is the dominant wind throughout the year and makes for a sailor’s paradise.

Natural Beauty
Sardinia’s dazzling coastline with crystal-clear turquoise sea waters andbeaches of white and pink sand may be the island’s main draw, but away from the coast the scenery can be similarly stunning.   With about 50% of the territory covered by forests, Sardinia has an enviable wooded property with many forests open to the public and accessible through different trails.  In addition to the Marine Reserve of Sardinia, the island also has three national parks and over 600,000 hectares that have been environmentally preserved.

Sardinia is populated by a variety of local animal and vegetal species, including rare amphibias that are found only on the island and uncommon species of mammals such as the Sardinian Deer, the Sarcidano Horse and the Mouflon (wild sheep).

 Things to do/ Activities

Endless possibilities for a leisurely vacation can be found along Sardinia’s startlingly beautiful coastlines.  Renowned for its magnificent beaches, breathtaking cliffs and rock formations, and outer reefs with an abundance of sea life, it is not surprising that Sardinia is said to have been designed by the gods for all kinds of water sports.

Windsurfing in Sardinia (photo by Flickr)

Windsurfing in Sardinia (Flickr)

  • Windsurfing: Sardinia’s strong winds, especially towards the north coast, make windsurfing very popular
  • Sailing and boating: a great way to appreciate the island’s coastal views, with many cruise companies offering sailing excursions
Sailing and boating in Sardinia  (Flickr)

Sailing and boating in Sardinia (Flickr)

  • Scuba diving: sunken ships, marine reserves and underwater caves make Sardinia a paradise for underwater adventures.  There are also over 80 scuba diving centers that can be found throughout the island
  • Fishing: fly fishing, shore fishing, boat fishing, and nighttime surf casting are all popular in Sardinia, which likely offers the best fishing in all of Italy.
Scuba diving in Sardinia (Photo by Flickr)

Scuba diving in Sardinia (Flickr)

 

But it’s not only about water sports that Sardinia is famous for. Other activities that you can perform when on the island include

  • Rock climbing (or arrampicata): popular on the steep cliffs by the sea
  • Horseback riding: Sardinians are very fond of horses and riding stables can be found near many coastal resorts

By Ryan Bane

 

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