10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Sardinia

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Sardinia is a place of impeccable beauty – it is a big island chock full of beautiful beaches, unspoiled mountain scenery, and fascinating medieval towns. With such riches on offer, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning a trip.

Here are 10 of the best places to go in Sardinia that definitely won’t disappoint.


Cagliari's rooftops.

The best cities to visit in Sardinia are the capital Cagliari in the south and Alghero in the north.

Cagliari is a buzzing city with plenty of local life to discover. It’s by far the biggest and liveliest city on the island.

There’s a hilltop old quarter called Castello which is a delight for exploring on foot, whilst the city beach Poetto stretches on for miles and comes alive with beach clubs in the summer.

There is an international airport at Cagliari and it’s also a gateway to the fabulous beaches areas west at Pula and Chia, and east towards Villasimius and the Costa Rei.

Lequarci Waterfall

Lequarci waterfall.

Waterfalls are not the first thing that spring to mind when you think of Sardinia, but it’s a mountainous island so there are plenty to be found (especially in the spring).

Cascata di Lequarci is one of the most impressive. It’s located inland on the east coast where there are plenty more to discover if you have your own wheels.


A pink-tinged sunset over Castelsardo.

Picturesque Castelsardo is undoubtedly one of the most charming and beautiful towns in Sardinia.

It’s known for its colourful houses, streets lined with traditional handicrafts, and epic sunsets. The coastline is mainly rocky but there are a few small beaches. 

Located on the north coast, it’s easy to reach from Alghero and is a popular day trip destination.

Costa Smeralda

Overhead drone image of a white sand beach on the Costa Smeralda.

Costa Smeralda is the big-name tourist draw in Sardinia. It’s a section of impeccable shoreline in the northeast corner of Sardinia which is frequented by the rich and famous.

The beaches are second-to-none and there are numerous marinas along the coast geared towards the megayacht fraternity.

If you fancy a luxury beach holiday and money is no object then Costa Smeralda is the place for you.

It can feel somewhat artificial but is also arguably the best part of Sardinia for beaches. The land is privately owned so development has been kept in check. Porto Rotondo and Palau are the prettiest of the towns.

To find the best beach destination for you check out our Sardinia Beach Resort Guide.

La Maddalena Archipelago

Red rocks on Cala Coticcio beach, Caprera Island.

La Maddalena is a stunning archipelago off Sardinia’s north coast. It’s now a national park and consists of 62 small islands.

It’s located opposite the Costa Smeralda and is a popular destination for yachts and boat trips. Only 3 of the islands are inhabited. La Maddalena is home to some of Sardinia’s most iconic beaches including the pink-tinged sands on Budelli and the rock formations on Caprera.

If you want to stay overnight head to the island of La Maddalena, or else you can arrange a boat trip from Santa Teresa Gallura or Palau.

Golfo de Orosei

Aerial view of the Cala Luna beach in the Golfo di Orosei.

The Golfo di Orosei on Sardinia’s east coast is where you’ll find the most dramatic coastal scenery – green mountains, jagged limestone cliffs, and hidden beaches.

This is the best place to visit for the adventurous traveller. The coastline is best explored by boat – small rentals and excursions are common – but there are activities galore up in the hills too. Don’t miss hiking the Gorrupu Gorge.

Cala Gonone is the main resort town in the area but you can also use Arbatax or Santa Maria Navarrese as a base.


Outdoors restaurants in Alghero.

Algero is the main city in northern Sardinia and it has a distinctive atmosphere thanks to its proud Catalan heritage. This is reflected in the architecture and food of the city, which is sometimes referred to as Little Barcelona.

As with Cagliari, it has impressive city beaches both at the Lido San Giovanni and slightly further out at Maria Pia. Or you can keep going west along the coast to the scenic Porte Conte National Park which is fantastic for walks.

Highlights include a boat trip out to Neptune’s Grotto where you’ll find red cliffs and coastal caves, walking the well-preserved city walls, and dining at one of the many seafood restaurants by the sea.

Capo Testa

Capo Testa coastline with impressive granite rocks.

Another beautiful coastal area to discover is the Capo Testa peninsula on the northern tip of the island.

The distinctive wind-hewn granite rocks which appear on so many beaches along the north coast seem to run riot here. It has a sculptural feel and is a fascinating spot for hiking.

You can reach Capo Testa from nearby Santa Teresa Gallura.


Bosa's colourful houses.

The beautiful town of Bosa is on Sardinia’s west coast, a short (1 hour) drive south of Alghero.

It’s quite unique in Sardinia for its tall colourful houses which are reminiscent of buildings from the Italian Riviera. It was once at the heart of a prosperous tannery trade. The medieval streets are full of character and are overlooked by the 12th-century Malaspina Castle.

Bosa is a riverfront settlement, a short distance inland from the sea. It’s a popular location for day trips or short romantic breaks.

San Teodoro

There are so many beautiful coastal areas in Sardinia that it’s truly difficult to narrow them down, but the east coast region around the popular resort town of San Teodoro is worth a mention for its vast scalloped lagoon beaches.

As a counterpoint to the ritzy Costa Smeralda, this section of the coast is family-friendly and you’ll plenty of campsites and summer clubs near the beach. Families from the Italian mainland flock here in summer for the natural appeal and some of the best beaches in Sardinia.

Come in early June for the best chance of spotting flamingos. The nearest international airport is Olbia.

Read more:

10 Most Beautiful Beaches in Sardinia

Where to Stay in Sardinia: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

10 Best Mediterranean Islands for Beaches

10 Most Beautiful Italian Islands

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Image credits:

Cala Coticcio from the air: Alien / Adobe Stock

Cagliari: © Travellaggio/ Adobe Stock

Lequarci: © ivan canavera/ Adobe Stock

Castelsardo: © Andrew Mayovskyy/ Adobe Stock

Costa Smeralda: © Travel Wild/ Adobe Stock

La Maddalena: © Bogusz/ Adobe Stock

Golfo di Orosei: © Alien/ Adobe Stock

Alghero: © Valery Rokhin

Capo Testa: © Igor Tichonow/ Adobe Stock

Bosa: © pixelshop / Shutterstock

San Teodoro: © marco/ Adobe Stock