If someone showed me this picture a year ago and asked me where and when I thought it was taken, the last place I would say would be Italy at the end of October…
This is Sardinia; a stunning, beautiful, glorious and mesmerising little island in the Med. One golden rule, so you don’t say “Sardinia. Horribly overcrowded sweatbox” is DO NOT GO IN AUGUST. August is the one time of the month when it is excruciatingly hot, and tourists flock to the place, while all local Italians cram themselves on the beach. The local Sardinians and Italians that have come over for the summer flood the area, so it’s no exaggeration when I say, you are guaranteed to have someones sweaty belly button ridiculously close to your face, as you try to bask on the inch of beach you have.
We stayed in Santa Teresa Gullura, a small town in Sassari on the northern tip of Sardinia. It’s a little place of around 5,000 Sardinians but in August this usually booms to thousands of tourists flooding to the area and mimicking the Italian mainland with noise, stress, hustle and bustle… that’s not what we wanted so we made the unorthodox decision to see the island at it’s quietest but while it’s still warm. In October.
Potentially this could be considered a risky move as the weather is slightly unpredictable and some small villages shut at the end of September without properly reopening until Easter. But, in our opinion, that’s a small price to pay for this…
Our very own private beach! In fact, we became so spoilt with tranquillity and our privacy that we turned our noses up when we arrived at a beach and there was someone else there. Sardinia in October (and in our opinion) is possibly the best time to go, it’s quiet, it’s still hot (but with chilly evenings), and the sea is at it’s warmest as the summer months have heated it up perfectly for you.
The downside? Yes, there will be apartments with shutters on the windows and restaurants closed, streets that would be bustling at the height of summer are now resembling a bit of a bleak deserted alley. However, for the beauty of natures breathtaking views during the day, as I watch my family play in paradise, on our own secluded beach, it’s a small price to pay. I’m not here to walk around the town at night with my family, I’m here to make memories and this part of the world is simply stunning when it’s only you to explore it.
Hiring a car is an absolute MUST – as is getting fully comp insurance – it’s the one way you get to explore the coastline, stopping whenever a view takes your fancy. Throughout our trip, we regularly went off the beaten track as our curiosity got the better of us and each time we battled our way down the path – probably through private property – at the end, was a beautiful view of the landscape or another beach we could have all to ourselves.
Every day was an adventure where you knew there was a treat at the end of it.
Having visited the Caribbean, you could be mistaken for thinking Sardinia is an extension of the tranquil islands with its stretches of white beaches and turquoise lagoons flowing into the rugged landscape and dense greenery. There’s nothing not to like here, the food is excellent – as long as you enjoy pizza – there’s A LOT of pizza on the menu. But it’s tasty, homemade, reasonable and BIG.
Every house wine we sampled was light and refreshing and the people are friendly and welcoming. We spoke to a few locals while travelling and were told that the streets are unrecognisable in the summer as flocks of people shuffle around as if in the heart of London. It seems hard to believe such a tranquil place transforms so dramatically within two weeks of being ‘in-season’ to ‘out-of-season’.
The cobbled streets and quaint narrow roads with clusters of restaurants settled amongst gift shops and family homes which are cute reminders of what Sardinia is all about; family values and spending time together. I can honestly say, this is one of the holidays where did both of those things and more. Below are just some of the highlights…
Stintino is a little village towards the North West of the coast and is famous for its heritage fishing. All around the area is calm and peaceful and the shallow waters make it perfect for young families. Fine sand and crystal clear warm water with views to die for.
Capo Testa is breathtaking. The views are incredible and while we didn’t embark on ambitious hiking with a little one in tow, we certainly did wander up and down, high and low and the views and secret coves we found were incredible. We stumbled across many who trekked and they were beaming at their experience as we sipped Mojito’s looking down at what can only be explained as natural beauty! The rugged rock formations and views of the tranquil azure sea make this place one of my favourite places on earth.
Towards Olbia is a secret hidden away burial ground. Sounds depressing and sombre, I know, but it’s incredibly unique due to the way those who remain there are buried; absolutely no records whatsoever. Which is incredibly rare. In approximately 1600BC a tomb was erected along with a ten-metre long chamber and traces of the phenomenal building can still be seen, along with Roman aqueducts. Perfect for those who love a bit of history and those that do not? Take in the views!
Rena Bianca boasts clear water and 700 metres of shallow water and soft white sand. Boasting clear water and the contrast of bright blue sky and dense greenery. For the snorkelers out there, if you wanted, you could explore the almost microscopic coral fragments. While it’s not something to write home about, it’s a grave reminder of the damage coral reefs are facing. To see what was, probably incredible dense coral, in this particular part of the world, is certainly something to be seen and the pink sheen across the sea as the sun sets is glorious.
We enjoyed lunch, looking out across the beach as the sun was setting and discussing the stories, Torre di Longosardo, could tell. Conjuring up historical fables that may have happened before…
There is so much to do in this part of Sardinia. Young, old, Adventurous, or up for chilling. But there is one thing for sure. You need to see Sardinia. It’s calling you….