15 Must-Visit Attractions in Sardinia

Capo d'Orso, in Sardinia, is just one of many natural wonders worth a visit on the island
Capo d'Orso, in Sardinia, is just one of many natural wonders worth a visit on the island | © Reda and Co srl / Alamy Stock Photo
Sardinia, off the southwest coast of Italy, is almost like a separate country from the mainland. Known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters, it also has impressive rock formations worth a visit – from stalactites and stalagmites to gorges and grottos – and basilicas and Roman amphitheatres that history buffs will love. Read on for the 15 must-visit attractions in Sardinia.

Historical Landmark
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Nuraghe on the island of sardinia Italy,what is known about the Nuragic,is that it was a people of shepherds and farmers into small communities who lived in Sardinia for 8 centuries.
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Nuraghe are Bronze Age archeological structures scattered all over Sardinia, often surrounded by the ruins of Nuragic villages. Two towns with well-preserved and curated ruins include Arzachena in the north, near Olbia, and Barumini in the south, near Cagliari.
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Natural Feature
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This impressive rock formation, known in Italian as Capo d’Orso, is a short drive from Palau and has been here since prehistoric times. It is an easy climb to the top, with 360-degree views over the archipelago of La Maddalena, Palau and the old military Forte di Capo d’Orso.

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Natural Feature
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The tomb of giants S'ena and Thomes at the island of Sardinia, Italy
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There are more than a dozen giants’ tombs scattered all over the island – massive, ancient Nuragic structures steeped in mystery. You can find a particularly well-preserved example, known as Sa domu ‘e s’Orcu in dialect, which means “The ogre’s house”, near Cagliari.

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Historical Landmark
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This striking 12th-century, black and white striped basilica is the most important example of Romanesque-style architecture on the island. It’s deep in the countryside near Sassari, and inside you’ll find beautifully preserved frescoes to admire.

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Natural Feature
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People hike inside Gorropu gorge, one of the highest canyon in Europe, Supramonte zone of Urzulei and Orgosolo, Sardinia, Italy. Image shot 05/2014. Exact date unknown.
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If you are looking for adventure, take the two-hour hike through the ancient Nuragic settlement of Tiscali along the river to reach an immense 457m-high (1,500ft) high gorge. Pack a picnic and test the local legend by looking to see if you can see stars at the bottom of the gorge.

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Natural Feature
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There are sparkly geological wonders to be found here, deep inside the largest cave on the island. This is also the site of one of the most important archaeological discoveries of Nuragic and Phoenician artefacts. You can peer into the Abbisso delle Vergini (Abyss of the Virgins) or explore the 8km (5mi) worth of deep caves with a guide.

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Museum
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Located in the Castello neighbourhood in Cagliari, this collection of museums is the perfect way to spend a day when it’s either blazing hot or drizzling with rain. In the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Cagliari, you can see paintings, textiles, jewellery and ceramics and, if you are not shy, the Collezione di Cere Anatomiche Clemente Susini has an impressive collection of anatomically correct wax human figures.

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Historical Landmark
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Nora archaeological site, Nora, Sardinia, Italy, Mediterranean, Europe
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Not far from bustling Cagliari is the ancient town of Nora, perfect for a day trip to explore Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman ruins. Known as the sunken city, it is one of the oldest towns in Sardinia. If you go diving, there are more treasures to explore from below the water.

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Sagra di Sant’Efisio

Beginning on the first of May and lasting for almost a week, the city of Cagliari hosts a celebration for its patron saint, Efisio, who saved the town from complete destruction in a devastating outbreak of plague in 1652. Parades with decorated oxen and thousands of citizens in traditional dress are just part of the elaborate festivities.

These recommendations were updated on August 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.