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A distinctly Italian island with a hidden history and spectacular surroundings…

Sardinia offers its visitors the best of island life with its own Italian flair. So if you’ve got a taste for fresh pasta, unforgettable beaches, or thought-provoking art, then you’ll love Sardinia. The island offers a calmer alternative to mainland Italy. Whether you’re taking a walk along the coast, dining al fresco in the shade, or browsing local handicrafts, you’ll appreciate Sardinia’s serenity

Sardinians are passionate about protecting the island’s long held traditions such as hand weaving. Explore Sardinia’s many small towns and you’ll find that they’re each more interesting and more beautiful than the last. Each town has its own individual slice of history to share, and you’ll be delighted to find out more about this remarkable island.

 

Culture and history

Sardinia’s main religion is Catholicism, and this faith remains an important part of life for many Sardinians. Baptisms, weddings, and funerals are attended by all relatives, regardless of whether or not they practice their religion. The biggest religious festival in Sardinia takes place on the 1st of May every year. 5000 participants dressed in traditional costume carry an effigy of Sant’Efisio (or Saint Ephysius) on a four-day trip from Cagliari, through Sardinia’s villages and back again. Sant’Efisio is believed to have saved Cagliari from the plague, and the festival takes place in honour of his memory.

Sardinia continues Italy’s tradition of having a siesta in the middle of the day, although Italians call such a nap either ‘riposo’ or ‘pisolino’. Remember to get your shopping done in the morning or afternoon, as shops usually close at any time between 12pm and 4pm, before opening up again. Perhaps Italy’s famous siesta is the reason that Sardinia has one of the highest numbers of centenarians (people who live to be 100 years old) in the world! 

Most of these people come from the tiny Ogliastra region, and scientists and journalists alike have spent years trying to uncover the secrets of Sardinian longevity. It all seems to come back to a healthy diet which is rich in protein and vegetables, and daily exercise – little surprise, as many of Sardinia’s favourite foods, such as soups and seafood, are particularly healthy!

Things to do

Choose one of our group tours or opt for a cruise that stops off in sunny Sardinia, and you’ll discover an island that’s full of possibilities. Uncover the history of a mysterious Bronze Age civilisation, find out about the island’s complex political past, or simply enjoy an afternoon of strolling along one of Sardinia’s beautiful beaches.

Orgosolo

Take a day trip to this small, isolated town and you’ll be surprised to find buildings that are beautifully decorated with Cubist-style paintings. Walk down any of Orgosolo’s side streets and you’ll see the town’s famous murals – huge, colourful and political. Some depict rural life in Sardinia, and others have a distinctly political message about Sardinian independence, violent attacks on Gaza, and the Vietnam War. 

The first mural was created by Dioniso, an anarchist group from Milan, in 1969. But the idea spread when a local art teacher and communist, Francesco del Casino, joined in and encouraged his students to produce their own work. Orgosolo is home to the best of Sardinian street art, so take the time to visit this small town to see some truly powerful murals.

Castelsardo 

Visit the historic town of Castelsardo for some stunning sights and photo opportunities. Castello dei Doria is the real show-stopper here – a picturesque castle that overlooks both the town and the Mediterranean Sea. Make your way up to the castle’s terrace and you can enjoy panoramic views.

The fortification also has a working replica of a trebuchet if you want to test out your catapulting skills! Once you’ve made the most of the vistas, you can go to the onsite Museum of Mediterranean Weaving. You can even pick up a locally weaved handicraft for a unique souvenir.

Giant’s graves

In the Bronze Age, Sardinia was home to the Nuragic civilisation. Not much is known about this elusive people, as none of their written records have been uncovered. All that remains of their culture are the many archaeological structures they built on the island. The nuraghes – large fortresses made of stone – are perhaps the most famous of all, and over 7000 of them have been discovered intact, dotted all over Sardinia!

Visit Nuraghe La Prisgiona to see the scale of one of these prehistoric fortresses for yourself. Afterwards, you can take a short walk to the Coddu Vecchiu site, where you’ll get to see the intriguing ‘giant’s graves’. Some of the stones here are over 100 feet tall! Myth tells us – as the name suggests – that giants were once buried here. This may not be true, but the purpose of the huge stones remains enigmatic.

Flight time

A flight from London to Sardinia typically takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Currency

Euro

Passports and visas

Visas aren’t necessary for British citizens travelling to Sardinia, but you should make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date.

Phrases

Ciao – hello/goodbye

Buongiorno – good morning/good afternoon

Sì – yes

No – no

Scusa! – excuse me

Quanto costa? – how much is this?

Per favore – please

Grazie – thank you

Parla inglese? – do you speak English?

Saluti! – cheers!

Timezone

Sardinia is only one hour ahead of the UK.

Electricity

Sardinia has standard, European two-pin sockets. You can pick up European travel adaptors easily and cheaply, both online and in supermarkets, or maybe you have one left over from a previous adventure? Don’t forget to pack a few for any electrical gadgets you may take with you.

Language

Italian

Tipping

Most locals don’t leave tips in Sardinia, or the rest of Italy. But rounding up your bill, or leaving a 10% to 15% tip, is always happily received by staff, although it should only be offered for especially good service.

Restaurants will add a cover charge, or ‘coperto’, to your bill to cover the cost of cleaning plates, cutlery, and table linen. This is usually between 2-3 euros per person, so if you’re dining out with a large group, it can add up.

Tipping bar staff or taxi drivers is unusual, but if you feel it’s deserved, then just round your bill up to the nearest euro.

Climate

Sardinia enjoys a gorgeous Mediterranean climate all year, and six months of uninterrupted warm sea water temperatures and weather from May to October.

In August, Sardinia’s hottest month, the island sees average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius and highs of around 30 degrees.

If you prefer the weather a little cooler, visit Sardinia in early Spring and you’ll experience lower temperatures and beautiful blooming flowers all over the island.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, just after Sicily. The island has a population of over 1.5 million people – slightly larger than the population of Lancashire.

You could fit Northamptonshire into Sardinia 10 times, as the island is 24,090 square kilometres in size.

Smoking

Like the rest of Italy and much of Europe, smoking in public places is banned in Sardinia. Most restaurants and bars will allow smoking in outdoor areas, so you’ll still be able to smoke if you wish to.



Climate