Boasting translucent waters, golden beaches and a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere, Sardinia is one of the most alluring destinations in the Mediterranean. The world-famous Costa Smeralda is often considered the jewel of the Sardinian coastline for its swish beach clubs, 5-star hotels and rows of designer shops, but the illustrious Italian island also has an abundance of captivating natural beauty, thrilling coastal adventures, and ancient villages polished in centuries of heritage. When dreaming of an Italian getaway, few places ignite the wanderlust like the gloriously chic island of Sardinia.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Cala di Volpe is a long-time favorite among Sardinia’s globetrotting crowd. Set in a deep bay surrounded by islets, this magical beach resort was designed as a faux-Sardinian village with terracotta arches and turrets, soft pastel hues and postcard-perfect views.
The 121 guest rooms pay homage to the region’s natural beauty and local Sardinian artistry with white cave-like interiors, handcrafted furniture and vibrant ceramic tile work on the floors. The private terraces offer stunning views of the surrounding land and sea, whereas a haven of thoughtful amenities ensures that every stay is a comfortable one.
The hushed and exclusive atmosphere is brought to new heights with the tennis courts, enormous pool and private beach reachable by a regular boat service. Contemporary facilities and award-winning restaurants tick all the five-star boxes – it was here at the piano bar that scenes from James Bond’s The Spy Who Loved Me were famously filmed. Finish the day off with a wine tasting in the hotel’s renowned La Cave wine cellar followed by an alfresco dinner by candlelight at the Barbecue restaurant.
Where to Dine
Serving up an exquisite take on local gastronomy, Lu Stazzu builds upon Sardinian family traditions that date back many generations. The establishment is housed within a 19th-century Gallurese building that looks out toward the bay of Porto Rotondo and the marina, exuding a warm and inviting ambiance that’s perfect for an intimate meal with friends or family.
Each meal is exceptionally memorable, whether you opt for the graceful indoor dining room or the magnificent veranda that’s immersed in the unspoiled nature of the island, amongst olive trees and ancient junipers. The polished menu offers the very best in locally-grown cuisine, such as high-quality Sardinian cheeses and pasta dishes, as well as main dishes prepared with meat from pork and lamb, accompanied by the island’s precious red wine of Cannonau.
What to Do
The fine sand beaches are Sardinia’s main attraction, more like the Caribbean coastline than Europe with warm, enclosed swimming areas many of which remain largely unspoiled thanks to the lack of signposting and limited land access. Cala Gonone was one such beach resort until recently when a road was chiseled through the wall of the mountains though it still remains largely undeveloped.
Aside from its beaches, the settlement is renowned for its deep marine grottoes. The most famous of these is the Grotta del Bue Marino, an extraordinary luminescent gallery filled with remarkable natural coral sculptures. There’s an abundance of nightlife too, with smart, laid-back coastal bars, such as Roadhouse Blues, where glamorous guests and locals sip martinis in the summer breeze.
Conveniently close to the port, Su Recreu nearby is well known for its live Cuban music and artisan ice cream. The more lively end of the island though is typically Porto Cervo, which was built in the 1960s by Prince Karim Aga Khan as a retreat for the rich and famous and continues to draw a stylish crowd of jetsetters for its seductive promise of secluded luxury, bountiful yacht facilities and spectacular views. The man-made glamour gilds the magnificent natural beauty of the coastline and glittering aquamarine waters to create a calm, laid-back resort that’s charmingly Italian.
The magnificent town offers rich layers of culture and history, as well as a thriving marina, glitzy shops and authentic restaurants. Finish the experience off at the Thalasso Spa at the Forte Village Resort. Taking inspiration from ancient techniques native to this Italian island, the remarkable list of treatments is an effective method for detoxing, rejuvenating and improving the body.
What to Pack
Whether your ideal day under the sun involves a book by the pool or lively shores, this Anemone Balconette One-Piece Swimsuit boasts a streamlined silhouette with a hint of vintage for an overall glamorous tone. The underwire cups add plentiful support for maximum comfort and security, whereas the style is easily paired with any statement hats or sunglasses.
You’ll also need a pair of do-it-all flats, such as these St. Agni Asami Leather Sandals, which chicly complement just any summer look while maintaining top-notch comfort for sandy beaches, rocky laneways and everything in between.