With 1,250 miles of coastline, Sardinia offers some of the best beaches in Europe, with white sand and clear waters. Inland you’ll discover rugged mountains, calm lagoons and ancient cork forests. Maybe you’ll even catch sight of the blue-eyed albino donkey unique to the island.
Sardinia offers an effortless mix of the ancient and modern. Whilst the landscape is littered with ancient megalithic towers known as nuraghi, the city of Cagliari is a trendy, upmarket destination. Read on to discover the best things to see if you choose to cruise Sardinia.
The main port of Sardinia is located in the island’s capital of Cagliari, a chic port city which also has a lot to offer history buffs.
A hill leads up to the city’s iconic centrepiece, Il Castello. The historic quarter of the city is enclosed within the walls of this medieval citadel. The labyrinthine jumble of honey-coloured buildings, includes a fantastic cathedral, as well as several museums and restaurants.
In the Marina district, colourful art-deco villas line narrow pedestrianised streets, which lead down to broad boulevards overlooking the ocean. In this district you’ll find Cagliari’s buzzing main street, Via Roma, which is studded with amazing boutiques and trendy bars. Via Sardegna, which runs parallel, is the street offering the most dining options.
Alghero, in the north-west of Sardinia, is a well-preserved medieval town and popular tourist hangout. It offers the blend of traditional and modern that characterises Sardinia.
The historic centre, with its cobbled alleyways, pastel-coloured buildings and old churches is enclosed by thick mediaeval walls. After seeing the sights refresh yourself at one of the small restaurants tucked away in a shady square.
Another main attraction of Alghero is its beautiful surroundings. The nearby mountains offer ample opportunities for hiking and biking. If you prefer something more relaxing, the coastline near Alghero is dotted with picture-postcard beaches, many of which can be easily reached by bus or taxi from the city.
This resort town is famed for being the most luxurious destination in the Costa Smeralda, a region on Sardinia’s northern coast. It was originally built in the 1960s by Arab prince Karim Aga Khan as an elite tourist destination.
Stroll around the marina, gazing at the glitzy superyachts bobbing gently in a turquoise sea. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Browse the designer boutiques and enjoy a meal in one of the trendy restaurants.
Porto Cervo is surrounded by the breathtaking beaches of the Costa Smeralda. Principe Beach (also known as Spiaggia Portu Li Coggi) was selected by the Aga Khan as the most beautiful. Visit this glorious inlet surrounded by pink-tinted granite, where turquoise waters meet soft white sand.
What are the best cruise ships for a Sardinia cruise?
Sardinia is a popular Mediterranean cruise destination, so there are lots of different cruise liners and boats to choose from. Here are a couple of firm favourites, which balance style and comfort with affordability.
Marella Discovery 2
If you want to cruise Sardinia in style, Marella Discovery 2 is the ship for you. This ship offers all-inclusive packages where food, flights and activities are included, making it excellent value for money. There are seven spectacular restaurants to try, offering everything from Surf and turf to South Asian cuisine. Marella Discovery 2 also offers unique activities alongside the usual swimming and spa experiences – think ‘Movies by Moonlight’ on deck, and an escape room where you solve puzzles to get free.
One of the most frequent visitors to Cagliari is MSC Divina. This palace of a ship stands 13 decks high, and there’s plenty to explore. It has an outstanding range of amenities, from a theatre that seats 1,600 people to an aqua park with a pool, whirlpools and slides. Children will love the dedicated kids club as well as the awesome virtual reality arcade. There will never be a dull moment on board.
Shore excursion ideas
With it’s amazing natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia is a fascinating place to explore. Make the most of your trip to the island with these amazing excursions.
Pula and the excavations at Nora
Drive along Sardinia’s south-western coast, past St Gilla’s lagoon inhabited by pink flamingos, to the ancient roman town of Nora. Here, you can see some spectacular excavations, including the Temple of Tanit, and the remains of some Roman baths, decorated with mosaics. After learning about the town’s fascinating history, you will continue to Pula. Wander the streets of this tranquil town, visiting boutiques and local restaurants. There are some amazing beaches here, too.
Ancient flavours in Dolianova
Travel to the pretty market town of Dolianova, a short drive from Cagliari. This picturesque town is centred around is the cathedral of San Pantaleo, a gorgeous Sardinian Romanesque church. It’s the main centre for olive-oil and wine production in the region. You can visit an olive mill and even a nearby vineyard to try the local wines. There are several agriturismo restaurants in the area, all serving delicious rustic cuisine.
This picturesque city in the Costa Smerelda is a cruise ship port and also a popular destination for shore excursions. Take a look around the historic centre, and visit the Museo Archeologico, which occupies its own tiny island near the harbour. A short drive away you’ll find the Tombs of Giants, mysterious funeral monuments from the megalithic era. Once you’ve had your fill of history, there are plenty of nearby beaches where you can take a dip.