There are few places that blend dramatic scenery, old-world history, and stellar food culture as beautifully as Sardinia. In early summer, wildflowers color the island, cherries are at their juiciest, and many regions are surprisingly tourist free, several new small hotels complement the setting. Here’s why you should visit Sardinia.
Outdoors: Bidderosa Nature Reserve
A network of national parks keeps acres of native landscapes free from development. The Bidderosa Nature Reserve comprises five long beaches backed by pine forest; La Maddalena archipelago is a series of islands carved with secret rocky coves. The Bidderosa entrance is between kilometer markers 236 and 237 on Hwy. S.S. 125. Boat trips through La Maddalena can be arranged at the port in the town of La Maddalena.
Angedras. Bastioni Marco Polo 41, Alghero, 39/79-973-5078.
Located near farm and sea, the northwest city of Alghero is the place to try regional specialties. The restaurant Angedras expresses the city’s Catalan influences with local ingredients; try the mussel-and-clam soup, or the grilled pecorino layered with prosciutto on carasau bread.
Stay: Faro Capo Spartivento Hotel
Faro Capo Spartivento. From $654. 39/333- 312-9638.
Sardinia’s third-oldest lighthouse, which dates to 1866, is now a six-suite hotel, Faro Capo Spartivento. Accessible only via the hotel’s jeep, Faro Capo inspires visitors with Murano glass chandeliers, an offbeat library, and a Mediterranean garden surrounded by crystal gazebos. The neighboring beaches of Chia are home to flamingos and dolphins.
Dining: Al Turguri
Via Maiorca 113, Alghero, 39/(0) 79-976-772.
Al Tuguri, in Alghero’s old town, specializes in Sardinian dishes like costolette di agnello ai finocchietti selvatici, local lamb ribs with wild fennel.
Shop: Libero Gioielli
Libero Gioielli. Via La Marmora 132, 39/78-496-928.
Filigrana (filigree) is an ancient technique that weaves gold or silver into lacy patterns. Libero Patteri sells handcrafted filigrana jewelry, such as the ring pictured, at Libero Gioielli in Dorgali.
Wine: Argiolas Cellars
Argiolas Cellars. Via Roma 56, Serdiana, 39/70-740-606.
Sardinians have been making full-bodied wines since pre-Roman times. Stop by Argiolas Cellars in the adobe-and-stone town of Serdiana to taste the Turriga estate vintage: a smooth ruby blend of cannonau, carignano, bovale sardo, and black malvasia grapes, grown in the limestone hills outside of town.