There are many reasons to love Sardinia – the turquoise waters that lap its beaches, the pretty coastal towns and historic ancient ruins. But the island also offers a romantic rural side of rugged hills, wild nature, family farms, olive groves and donkeys. The best way to experience this is to book into an agriturismo or ecolodge. Here’s our pick of the best – bookable on Culture Trip.
This 18th-century family home, dressed in warm terracotta tiles and neutral tones, offers an upmarket, modern take on an agriturismo. With just 22 guest rooms, it feels intimate but there’s also a host of activities on offer, including tennis, horse riding and trekking. Pampering is part of the experience, too. Enjoy the hammam in the lovely spa, or lounge by the pool.
Antica Dimora del Gruccione is an Albergo Diffuso, which means that the hotel’s buildings are now peppered throughout the quaint village of Santu Lussurgiu. Whether you’re relaxing in your homely room, visiting the cosy romantic library or dining on an artfully plated, locally sourced menu in the Slow Food restaurant, the setup enables to feel truly immersed in this mountain town.
You’ll have the chance to get to know horses, donkeys, chickens and cows at this working farm, set in the countryside near pretty Oristano, and Sardinia’s most fascinating archaeological sites. As well as offering beamed ceilings and simple furnishings, the family-owned farm produces its own extra-virgin olive oil, salami and jams, which you can sample at the restaurant or at breakfast.
You get the best of both worlds here: Oasi Blu is close to the sea but also has a countryside feel. The five rooms, built in local stone with chestnut wooden beams, come with a private patio where you can enjoy a glass of local wine. Dining al fresco on roast suckling pig and homemade fresh pasta is part of the attraction, and you’re within walking distance of some of Sardinia’s best beaches.
If you want a taste of the Sardinian outdoors on a visit to Cagliari, Il Giardino di Valentina is a great choice as it is only an hour’s drive from the city. Set in a sleepy village among a bloom-filled garden, rooms are simple and homely, with cool marble floors or tiles. Cyclists love it for the brilliant cycle paths nearby and you can hire a bike on site.
Set in the Tepilora Natural Park, L’Essenza Oasi Sensoriale calls itself a secret stay – and it feels as if it’s hidden away. Four hut suites, topped with thatched conical roofs, come with views of unspoilt wilderness, forests, rivers and hiking trails. There’s a yurt-like vibe to the suites but they come with regular beds, stylish worn furniture and sturdy bedside tables.
Bisos, which means dreams in Sardinian, offers a sustainable stay, having been refurbished as a NZEH (Nearly Zero Energy Hotel). When you lay your head in bed in one of the six rooms, which come with original ceilings and tiled floors, you can rest assured you’re not harming the planet. Top-quality insulation, water-saving facilities and locally sourced food is all part of the offering.
From floral-print sheets to wellbeing workshops, the personal touch of owners Elizabeth and Massimiliano are found everywhere. Psychologist Elizabeth, who opened the property more than a decade ago, wanted to create a space that enhanced guests’ mental health and focused on sustainability. Surrounded by greenery, the home is painted in natural paints and cleaned with ecofriendly products. Breakfasts are Sardinian-sourced and organic.
If you think eco can’t mean luxurious, think again. This holiday house sleeping four on the southeastern coast of Sardinia marries environmentally sustainable buildings and local handcrafted cushions with lazy days by the pool, balconied bedrooms and a shaded gazebo. Have lunch under the 400-year-old olive tree in the garden before heading out for an afternoon to explore the nearby port city and capital, Cagliari.
This resort on Torre di Bari beach offers days spent flopping beside the surf with rustic pleasures, such as hiking or cycling trips through the rugged terrain. An on-site pool, restaurant seafood and spa with rooftop jacuzzi come as part of the deal, too.
Families with kids in tow will love this self-catering agriturismo estate in Sardinia’s northeast because there’s plenty of room to spread out. Villas come in various shapes and sizes, with one featuring five bedrooms. The coast is not far away but if you’re here for the quiet rural life, there’s picnics of local oil, salami, pies and sweets to enjoy on the lawn and barbecues on warm evenings.
By day, the loungers surrounding Agriturismo La Quercia’s pool provide a sun-drenched spot to dry off after a cooling dip. By night, they let you gaze up at the stars. Here, on the southwest Sardinian coast by the Costa Verde, the night skies are amazing. The cosy farmhouse restaurant, run by Fiorella and Francesca, puts produce from the family farm to expert use in dishes such as tagliolini with vegetables or risotto with red cabbage.
Kayaking on nearby Lago del Cedrino, a serene sliver of water, is a must-do when you stay here. This working farm stay encourages you to immerse yourself in the Sardinian landscape, whether that’s on treks, horseback rides or kayaking. Friendly farm animals on site will keep you company while you enjoy a local breakfast of cheese and salami.
Gillian McGuire contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.