Thinking about visiting Sardinia this year? We have rounded up some of the very best things happening on the island in 2017, from festivals with elaborate rituals to an international cycling race to a lazy day at the beach. Here are our six reasons to visit Sardinia in 2017.
The beaches are amazing
Let’s start with the obvious. Sardinia’s beaches are extraordinary. You really do have your choice: there are literally thousands of them. You can take a long hike to a private rocky cove or pick a lively popular spot with bars, restaurants, sun loungers and umbrellas. In the southern part of the island you will find long stretches of white sand with tall dunes while to the east is a more rugged and wild coastline.
The history is ancient
While you are driving through the Sardinian countryside, you might catch a glimpse of what looks like a pile of rocks. These piles of rocks are in fact megalithic prehistoric structures, known as Nuraghe or Nuraxi in the Sardinian dialect. Stop in Arzachena or plan an afternoon at the Domus de Janus ‘House of the Fairies’. You can also leap ahead a few thousands years and head to the Roman ruins in Nora, where divers can explore the wonders underneath the water.
There are amazing festivals
The festival of Sant’Efisio has been happening in the town of Cagliari since the year 1656 and is now one of the largest religious processions in the world. The main festivities happen on the 1st of May and celebrate the town’s survival from the plague thanks to their now patron saint, Saint Efisio. The parade begins around 10am and lasts for hours with processions of decorated carts — called Traccas — drawn by oxen, thousands of representatives from Sardinian villages in traditional dress, and more than 200 riders on horseback. A relic of the revered saint is brought through the town and then taken to nearby villages over three days, before being returned after dark on May 4 to his altar in the Church of Stampace.
There will be bikes
This year, the famous Italian bike race Giro d’Italia is even more monumental than usual. 2017 marks the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia and it begins in the town of Alghero in Sardinia on May 5. For the first three days, the competitors for the pink jersey will wind through Olbia to Tortoli, before finally ending the third stage with a sprint towards Cagliari.
You can see island traditions
Tuna fishing has been an important source of livelihood for generations on the tiny island of San Pietro off Sardina’s southwest coast. Now it is celebrated every year with a festival called the GiroTonno. This year, the fun will begin on June 22 and end on June 25. Some of the events include a reception of traditional tuna fishing techniques, live cooking events and plenty of stands where you can taste tuna in all of its forms. It’s not just about fish, though; Italian pop stars Nek and Fiorella Mannoia will also be on stage. There are usually special ferry prices to Calaforte on the island from Calaseta and Portovesme.
You can harvest grapes and drink wine
At the end of the summer comes the wine harvest called the vendemmia in Italian. This usually happens in early September. There are vinyeards all over the island so it should not be difficult to find one to try. In the northern part of the island, you can drive the Strada del Vermentino or visit the collective of growers in Orgosolo, who produce a lush Cannonau.