There are two sides to Sardinia: the glamorous and exclusive Costa Smeralda, and the wild and uncontaminated places where time seems to have stood still.
When I think of my last holiday in Sardinia, a particular image comes to mind: an unimpressed scowling teenager on a boat who couldn’t even bring herself to crack a smile at the sight of a beach as mesmerizing as Cala Mariolu. I was that grumpy and problematic teenager, a 14-year-old furious with her parents for having the audacity to organize a boat trip along Sardinia’s coast on the day when my summer love was leaving.
Between us, I also remember thinking that the Sardinian coast was home to the most beautiful places I had ever seen, even though my stubborn teenage stupidity prevented me from enjoying them. This anecdote teaches us two things: the first is that the beaches of Sardinia are so spectacular that they can impress a scowling teenage girl and are therefore really worth a visit. The second is not to waste time bringing unappreciative teenagers on a holiday.
So, here are ten of Sardinia’s most gorgeous beaches…to visit with a mood suitable for such splendor.
1. Relitto Beach, Caprera
Named for a shipwreck stranded on the shore, this arched beach with white sand and clear turquoise water is located on one of the most beautiful islands of the Maddalena archipelago.
2. Seagull Island, Porto Pollo
A thin strip of sand connects Seagull Island (Isola dei Gabbiani) to the “mainland”, rendering the landscape one of Sardinia’s most picturesque. It is also an essential destination for surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
3. Is Arutas, Cabras
Also known as quartz beach or the beach of rice grains, Is Arutas is a result of the erosion of the porphyry granite rocks. Small fragments of pink, green and white shades of quartz distinguish this exquisite line of coast from the rest of the island.
4. Cala Mariolu, Ogliastra
Cala Mariolu is a spectacle of blue, green, turquoise and white hues set against the backdrop of a 1640-foot cliff. Glistening white tic-tac-shaped pebbles comprise Mariolu, which means crook or scoundrel The beach is named for the seals that would through and reportedly steal the fisherman’s catch.
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5. La Pelosa, Stintino
Mediterranean vegetation–not palm trees–surround this tropical beach, which is more like an atoll, in the Gulf of Asinara. The rock spurs of Capo Falcone add to the ambiance.
6. Piccolo Pevero, Arzachena
Piccolo Pevero is a charming cove along the gabled Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) with a lovely beach and crystal clear shallow water. An ideal spot for families and to entertain children.
7. Cala Gonone, Dorgali
Cala Gonone is one of the most enchanting places on the island and from here you can visit natural caves such as the Ispinigol in the hinterland and Bue Marino grotto These caves are not only incredible to explore diving, but they also boast an incredibly fascinating story. Human remains have been found at the base of the abyss along with glass jewelry that belonged to the young women that the Phoenicians sacrificed to the gods.
8. Capriccioli, Arzachena
Junipers, mastic trees, maritime pines, and pink and yellow granite rocks surround this fine sand beach. At the extreme tip of the peninsula on which Capriccioli is located sits Tortoise Beach, so called because sea turtles lay the eggs that remain protected by the dunes.
9. Cala Luna, Orosei
Oscar-nominated director Lina Wertmüller set her iconic cult film, Swept Away (later remade by Guy Ritchie starring his then-wife Madonna) on this evocative spectacular beach. The rocky walls, turquoise water and the torrent of the Cadula di Luna nature reserve will take your breath away.
10. Chia domus de maria
At this incredible beach, dunes and wild nature are juxtaposed against history. Chia was, in fact, The Phoenician town of Bithia, Chia is home to priceless traces of these fascinating people such as the remains of a tophet, a cemetery for children and the statue that belonged to a temple of the god Bes.