Italy is made up of 20 regions, each with distinctive characteristics. Here, you’ll get an overview of Sardinia to get you started on planning a Sardinia trip.

The island of Sardinia takes effort to reach, more effort to get around, and feels at times like it’s not part of Italy at all.

Which may be exactly the point.

Sardinia is both huge (the third-largest region in the country) and sparsely populated (the third-lowest population density), making it a nature-lover’s paradise. In particular, there are fantastic places to hike and unspeakably beautiful beaches and (for the most part) very few visitors.

Sardinia Basics

  • The Italian name for Sardinia is Sardegna, and it’s pronounced sar|DEHN|ya.
  • The demonym for people or things from Sardinia is sardo (masculine singular), sarda (feminine singular), sardi (masculine plural), or sarde (feminine plural).
  • The capital of Sardinia is Cagliari (that’s pronounced KAHL|yah|ree).
  • Sardinia is one of Italy’s two large islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s to the west of the Italian coast, just south of France’s island of Corsica, and is one of Italy’s five autonomous regions.
  • There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sardinia – the ancient ruins of nuraghe (fortified structures built in the 2nd century BCE) in Barumini.

Sardinia Travel Tips

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

Each region of Italy has a somewhat unique identity, but Sardinia really takes that to the extreme. It’s easy to understand why that’s the case, too, as soon as you look at a map. Whereas the other big island – Sicily – can almost touch the Italian mainland, Sardinia is 190 miles away. It’s closer to Corsica than Italy, though Sardinia is no more French than it is Italian.

Sardinia is Sardinian.

The island is ringed by beaches, many of which are full of throngs of Italian vacationers during the summer, but some of which don’t see many visitors at all. The interior of the island is alternately hilly and mountainous, interspersed with valleys, rivers, and lakes. Hikers and mountain bikers love this landscape in nicer weather, while skiers love it in the winter.

Getting to Sardinia involves either airplanes or boats. Once you’re there, you’ll be happiest if you have a car. There are a few cities served by trains, and there are also buses that connect just about every town on the island, but both trains and buses run on an infrequent enough schedule that it can be frustrating to traveler’s with limited vacation time. Unless you plan to set up camp in a beach town and not go anywhere, rent a car when you get to Sardinia.

Despite the fact that Sardinia is so far off the radar, it is – as mentioned – incredibly popular with beach-goers during the summer. Most of the beaches are full of Italian vacationers rather than visitors from overseas, but if you’re planning a summer trip to Sardinia you should absolutely book well in advance.

Guided Tours in Sardinia

These are affiliate links, which means I get a little something if you book one of these tours – but it won’t cost you anything extra.

Further Reading on Sardinia:

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