If you go to Sardinia for a minimum of 10 – 14 days, you'll be able to cover the whole island, and enjoy swimming and hiking in the mountains. You can reach Sardinia either by ferry or by plane. The international airport is located in Alghero, so let's start our journey here. The easiest way to get around Sardinia is by your own or rental car.
Alghero’s centro storico (the walled historic centre) is definitely worth a visit. Gothic buildings, churches and squares are connected by a network of narrow streets. Walk to the city fortifications and through the winding streets to the Gothic church of Duomo di Santa Maria. From its octagonal Campanile bell tower, you’ll have an amazing view of the entire city on the coast.
Just a few kilometres from Alghero is the Capo Caccia, part of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte. The cape is best reached either by car or directly from Aghero by boat. Here you can visit the Grotta di Nettuno cave complex. There are also several ferrata on Capo Caccia, so make sure you pack the right equipment if you need it. Set aside two to three days for Alghero and the surrounding area.
From Alghero, head east. On the way you can stop in Sassari, the second largest city in Sardinia. Stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuele to Piazza San Antonio to the remains of 4th century buildings and the Colonna di Sant'Antonio. Also worth seeing are the Baroque Church of San Nicola with its Gothic interior, the Romanesque Church of S. Maria di Betlemme and the Basilica of Santa Trinita di Saccargia, just outside the city. You'll only need a few hours to visit Sassari.
Then continue on to the mountains of Gallura and the Costa Smeralda. The Gallura area is well known for agro-tourism, and it is possible to stay on one of the local farms. The Costa Smeralda coast is very pretty – the sea is emerald in colour and the beaches have snow white sand just like in the photos! In this area you'll come across resorts full of tourists, millionaire yachts and luxury, but if you search hard enough, you can find secluded coves where you can enjoy the beauty of the coast all by yourself. The most famous local beach is Spiaggia del Principe – but unfortunately, everyone heads here. If you're interested in history, visit the town of Arzachena – here are the former settlements of Sardinia's original Nuragic culture. You could also set aside two to three days for Gallura and Costa Smeralda.
From Costa Smeralda, head south along the seafront to Golfo di Orosei. Golfo di Orosei is part of Sardinia’s largest national park. The Gennargentu Mountains fall directly into the turquoise sea. The town of Orosei was once an important port. Several major monuments from the Middle Ages have been preserved here – the cathedral and other churches and the towers of the Prigione Vecchia – the remains of a medieval fortified castle. Several kilometres of beaches (such as Spiaggia di Su Barone and Caletta di Osalla) continue south from Orosei.
Around the bay in the Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu NP you can take a number of excursions. You can visit the Grotta di Ispinigoli cave, where the second largest stalagmite in the world is located, visit the archaeological sites of Tiscali, the breathtaking gorge of Gola di Gorropu in the Supramonte massif, which is called the European Grand Canyon, where skilled climbers can climb in the Gulf of Cala Goloritzè. In the Gennargentu mountains you can also climb the highest mountains of the island, Punta La Marmora and Bruncu Spina. Allow at least three days for the area, and if you have more time you will certainly enjoy it here.
In the south of the island lies the largest city, Cagliari. It's worth a day's visit to see the local museums, the medieval quarter of Il Castello, the Marina and the flamingo colony on the Santa Gilla salt fields outside the town. When you get tired of the city traffic, take a dip at Poetto Beach. It's also worth taking a short drive up the serpentine paths above the coastline to the east of the town for a breathtaking view.
To the west of Cagliari lies the town of Nora, which will impress history buffs with its Phoenician monuments. Plan to return to Alghero from Cagliari via Oristano. On the way, stop at the important archaeological complex of Su Nuraxi di Barumini, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To this day, it remains a mystery what these Sardinian buildings called nuraghi were used for. Medieval Oristano itself is at least worth a stroll for an ice cream or a good lunch. Just south of Alghero, stop off in the picturesque town of Bosa, you won't lose much time here. Set aside three days (or more, if you spend some time swimming and surfing in the south) to explore the south and return to Alghero.
Have a safe trip!