After just a two-hour flight from London, you can relax on the island of Sardinia; enjoy delicious local food and wine with stunning clear seas
One of the world’s five Blue Zones, whose residents live longest, a visit to Sardinia’s beautiful Costa Smeralda in the north of the island will boost your wellbeing.
Sardinia is famed for the longevity of its population, attributed to the diet that’s rich in olive oil and the sea air that’s rich in iodine. With 60 islands in the archipelago, development of this region is strictly controlled, so the resorts sit in harmony with the natural landscape.
What to do in Sardinia
Explore Aggius with local guide Paoluccio; he uses the native cork trees to make bottle corks, bowls and plant pots, and his tours run for two hours up to two days, exploring on foot.
The small rural town of Aggius is also home to the Museo Etnografico, where you can discover the history of the Gallura area and find out about the famous “Choir of the Galluran Roosters”. The town is renowned for its textiles and you can follow a trail of fabric and weaving-inspired artwork and sculptures on the walls of buildings around the town.
You should also take a trip to the Siddura vineyard, where the soil conditions and salty sea breeze are perfect for vermentino white grapes. You can look around the vines, which are planted close together so the roots go deep rather than wide, to reach the best soil. Then visit the cellar, which is built under the mountains to stay cool, and the cool wind from the north gives natural ventilation. The wines at Siddura have won more awards than any other producer in Sardinia.
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Where to eat in Sardinia
For breakfast, residents of Hotel Valle Dell’Erica start the day with the buffet breakfast in Valle Dell’Erica’s Les Bouches restaurant; pick from fresh fish, cheese, bread and pastries, fruit, smoothies and eggs prepared as you choose; gluten-free and vegan options are on offer too, all enjoyed from the veranda overlooking the sea.
For lunch, the restaurant Il Paguro, at the Hotel Capo D’Orso in Palau, is on a terrace facing the beach at Cala Capra. It specialises in sea food and uses the catch of the day for its best dishes.
If you’re staying in Hotel Valle Dell’Erica, a meal at Li Ciusoni restaurant is unmissable. Named after the Sardinian version of gnocchi, it’s run by Chicca who specialises in traditional Sardinian food: meat cooked in the wood-fired oven, fresh hand-made pasta, and herbs and vegetables from the local area. You can also attend one of her cookery classes in the restaurant.
At dinner, catch a bus or drive to Santa Teresa Gallura, where Capo Testa is the most northern point of the island. The Sea Lounge restaurant in Cala Spinosa, overlooking the bay, is ideal for watching the sunset with a view of the old and new lighthouses; in the town are plenty of shops, a lookout point and a beautiful beach.
The beach at Santa Teresa Gallura, where Capo Testa is the most northern point of Sardinia.
Where to stay in Sardinia
If you’re on a budget, self-catering apartments at the Residence Il Mirto start from £445 a week for two adults and 2 children aged up to 13, with the option to upgrade to a sea view.
For a holiday with sustainability, the 5-star Valle Dell’Erica resort is around an hour’s drive from Olbia airport, where you can collect a rental car or pick up a hotel transfer bus.
Winner of Europe’s Best Green Resort 2019 at the World Travel Awards, 100% of the energy in the Valle Dell'Erica resorts, hotels, villas and main offices comes from renewable sources, which saves over 3,500 tons of CO2 a year, and electric service vehicles are used to transport the guests around the resorts. The furnishings are custom-made by local artisans, and the food is locally grown according to the season – including the resort's own organic chicken coop and vegetable patch.
Treat yourself in Sardinia
Relax at the Hotel Marinedda in the Elicrisio Thalassotherapy and Spa Centre, one of the largest spa suites in the north of Sardinia: three outdoor thalasso pools are heated at 35, 30 and 25 degrees, 15 treatment rooms, an indoor seawater pool, gym, Turkish bath and two saunas. The spa uses Sardinian products made from donkey's milk (if it’s good enough for Cleopatra...)
Hotel Capo D’Orso in Palau is a romantic beach-front resort, and the Il Paguro restaurant is open to non-residents.