If it’s beaches you’re after, and you can’t hack the dizzying prices of glitzy Costa Smeralda, know that Sardinia’s beaches are spectacular wherever you pitch up. From Olbia, Cannigione is worth checking out. Once a fishing village, it has a host of pretty beaches, local markets and restaurants serving typical Galluran cuisine. It’s also the perfect jumping off point to visit the Maddelena Archipelago.
There’s a festival going on somewhere, wherever you are in Sardinia. Plan your trip to coincide with one of them, and experience Sardinian culture at its best, for free. The most famous of all is Sant’Efisio, which takes place over four days in May. Start at the church of Sant’Efisio in Cagliari and watch the representatives from every corner of the island displaying their spectacular costumes, some on horseback, others accompanied by musicians playing traditional instruments.
The further south you go, you’ll discover that prices drop with every mile covered. For example, La Caletta’s La Nuova Torre restaurant does a mean pizza for around €12 (£10), and then you could take a stroll around the port and hit up one of the simple local bars that line the main drag, Via Nazario Sauro.
Several of the swankier hotels have their own beaches, even boats, so it’s possible to arrange a private dinner on the beach, go dolphin- and whale-watching, or even arrange a romantic night-time cruise. For example, Delphina have eight hotels in northern Sardinia, and several boats at their disposal, including a magnificent 1927 sailing boat.