How to Spend 5 Days in Sardinia

Porto Cervo courtesy Starwood Properties
Porto Cervo courtesy Starwood Properties

There is so much to do in Sardinia that every day can almost feel like you are in a different country. The island is large, and while there is public transportation, having a car makes getting around much more practical. Our guide will help you make the most of your vacation, with suggestions for both active and lazy days. Follow our suggestions for how to spend five days in Sardinia and discover some secrets on this diverse Italian island.

Day 1: Go shopping in Porto Cervo and Olbia

The shopping in Sardinia is top notch. You can fill your suitcase with both designer frocks and meticulously detailed handicrafts. Firstly, fuel your shopping Italian style with a fast cappuccino and pastry at a local bar. If flashy big names like Gucci and Bulgari are what you are after then Porto Cervo is the luxury destination. Continue shopping even over lunch at the port-side Renato Pedrinelli for wines produced on the island. Save some of your euros at the Luxury Mall, which is a short drive away in the town of Olbia. Take a late afternoon passigiata and shop for local made items like silver filigree jewelry, embroidered fabrics and cork products along the Corso Umberto I. Have a pizza or a quick plate of pasta at the casual La Laterna which is not far from the hotel, La Locanda del Conte Mameli

Day 2: Island hop on the Maddalena Archipelago

Explore some of Sardinia’s most unspoiled locations with a day at sea. Many of the islands that make up the Maddalena Archipelago are reachable only by boat. Rent your own or book a local skipper after sweet breakfast at Le Dolcezze Napoletane near the port in the town of Palau. Swim off the island of Spargi and admire the fiercely protected pink sands of Budelli before having lunch back on the boat. After lunch you can visit historic sights in Caprera, do a bit of shopping in the historic center of Maddelena or chose a beach and lounge away the afternoon. Back on the mainland, have a quick glass of wine at one of the lively bars in the port before a late dinner at a local favorite, Cu Cumaio.

La Maddalena

Day 3: See the ruins near Arzechena

There are traces of the Bronze Age settlements of the Nuragic people all over the island. The easiest to visit from the north of Sardinia are near Arzachena. There are ruins on both sides of the main highway and a small office with maps to guide you. The Nuraghe la Prisgiona is an intact village complex where you can get a real sense of this ancient society. Walk through the underground tunnel and a bit of wild countryside to see the less developed Coddu Vecchiu, where you can see stones that are said to have been brought back from the legendary lost civilization of Atlantis. Have a quick lunch at the casual Picuccia, which has sandwiches and salads and continuous serving hours before heading to the next archeological site. The Nuraghe Albucciu site is about a 10 minute drive from the Prisgoina site and has similar beehive-shaped structures that define this mysterious culture. The Jaddhu Country Estate is the perfect base for exploring this fascinating history.

Day 4: Beach lounging in Porto Rafael

After a few busy days of shopping and sightseeing, plan for an indulgent beach day at the hippy chic village of Porto Rafael. The town was founded by the Spanish aristocratic artist Raphael Neville in the late 1950s. Once a refuge for starlets seeking to avoid the paparazzi, it is now a sleepy little beach town with hobbit style houses built into the rocks. The main beach Cala Scilla is small but scenic. If you are looking for something a little more private have a water taxi take you to a nearby cove. In the town’s main piazza you will find a few shops and cafés; have a meal with a view at the Rafael Café and a cocktail at the Gatto Volpe. Don’t miss the small, sweet chapel Santa Rita at the town’s entrance. The Rafael Café has the only hotel rooms in this chic hideaway.

Day 5: Head for the hills

For a change of scenery, head into the rugged interior of the island. Here, far from the sea, you can find shepherds and vineyards, lakes and mountain biking trails. Start with breakfast at the relaxed bed and breakfast Domo de Resteblas, which in in the middle of a vineyard. Begin your wine education in the nearby town of Berchidda at the Museo del Vino, which also includes a tasting room. Take a long bike ride along the Strada da Vermentino Gallura or to the archeological sites near Monte Acuto with a stop for lunch at the restaurant at the Agriturismo il Vermentino.

Campagne di Bèrchida

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