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
Photo of Gillian McGuire
17 August 2020

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.

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Giuseppe Garibaldi was the founding father of modern Italy. He spent the last years of his life on the tiny island of Caprera, part of La Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia. His house, Casa Bianca, has been transformed into a small museum where you can see the boat in which he rowed to the mainland, as well as his famous red shirt.

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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The small town of Mamoiada is best known for its traditional masks, known as the Mamuthones and the Issohadores. A visit to the Mamoida Masks Museum is the best way to learn about this fascinating aspect of Sardinian culture. If you cannot be here for Carnival, celebrated from 17 January through to Mardi Gras every year, the museum is the next best thing.

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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.

Historical Landmark
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Second century AD Roman Amphitheatre in Cagliari (Calaris), Sardinia, Italy
© Tim Wright / Alamy Stock Photo

This spectacular example of late 1st-/early 2nd-century Roman architecture is a short walk from the centre of Cagliari in the southern hills of Buoncammino. This Roman amphitheatre once housed more than 10,000 spectators who came to watch gladiators battle with wild animals.

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.

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