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12th April, 2021

Escape to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia

If the thought of a holiday on the Italian mainland doesn’t quite hit the spot, why not escape to the island of Sardinia, or to the neighbouring French island of Corsica?


A short-haul destination with a long-haul exclusive feel

Sardinia's Costa Smeralda

In the late 1950s the Aga Khan bought a beautiful stretch of coast on the island of Sardinia. With its gentle hills and horse-shoe coves, he set about creating a slice of paradise for his close friends, and the Emerald Coast was born.

This north-eastern corner was a wild and uninhabited area, but with careful and tasteful development there are now some beautiful and unobtrusive hotels, which are discreetly hidden away. This means that Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda has a lot of old-world glamour and has been a favourite haunt for celebrities and film stars; even Princess Diana holidayed here. If you are looking for a holiday away from bustling tourist resorts, and are perhaps used to long-haul destinations but want something closer to home, this is the perfect choice.

You don’t have to go long haul to get white sandy beaches and clear seas that are shades of turquoise through to green and deep blue. Sardinia is a stunningly beautiful island, and it only takes a couple of hours on the plane.


A French island with a strong Italian feel

Bonifacio Cliffs in Corsica

Napoleon Bonaparte was born here… Odysseus was supposed to have landed at Bonifacio on the island’s southern tip. This is an island with a character all of its own. It may be officially French, but it has its own customs, cuisine and even language, and it has a strong relationship with its neighbour Italy.

Corsica is certainly surprising, and if you haven’t considered it before, think again. Half the island is covered in hiking trails, and there are glittering bays perfect for snorkelling, blissful beaches, olive groves, towering cliffs, vibrant coastal cities and traditional hilltop villages.

There’s the bustling city of Bastia in the north with its ancient ramparts, and Balagne, the garden of Corsica, with its ancient villages. In the middle lies the barren wilderness of the Agriates Desert and the historic mountain capital of Corte, and Ajaccio the birthplace of Napoleon. Then in the south you have Sartene which is famous for its turbulent history and fiercely Corsican pride, and Bonifacio with its medieval clifftop citadel … and this is all on an island half the size of Wales.

Interested in discovering the islands? Check our our Corsica and Sardinia tour.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.