The sea, first and foremost. Before you even arrive, the scintillating turquoise sea will leave you breathless when you catch sight of it from the windows of the plane.
From Olbiato Santa Teresa, there extends a quite fantastic tract of Sardinia, dominated by cork oaks and granite rocks, alternating with mysterious archaeological sites such as Coddu Vecchiu near Arzachena. The coast is jagged, and at times the sea transforms it into bizarre creations such as Capo d’Orso at Palauand the wonderful white rocks of Capo Testa, which face out over the Strait of Bonifacio, apparently saluting nearby Corsica. In the summer, celebrities assemble in the square, but those who want to get a snapshot of the real Sardinia get themselves out to La Maddalena – an island within an island, it is the ideal place for a dreamlike boat trip. If you prefer to stay on terra firma, in summer the Gallura area dances to the rhythm of jazz, pampering its guests with authentic flavours and unique panoramas.
If you happen to come here out of season, take care not to miss the Carnival of Tempio Pausania, where you are sure to have a great time. The heady fragrances of helichrysum and myrtle are constant features of what, until 50 years ago, was a truly intact paradise. Everything changed, though, when an Arab prince, the Aga Khan, came here by chance while travelling around the Mediterranean, and was bewitched by the water, which reflected the colours of the surrounding maquis.
This was the genesis of the legend of the Costa Smeralda: a land of luxury available only to the few, but dreamed of by the many.
Take a boat trip to the Archipelago of La Maddalena
Visit Caprera, an island with a wild charm all of its own
Sleep in a stazzo, the ancient homes of the Gallura area
Indulge in some VIP-spotting in the square in Porto Cervo
Marvel at a magnificent sunset at Capo Testa
Savour a bottle of fresh Vermentino di Gallura DOCG wine
Admire the Spiaggia del Principe (Prince’s Beach) out of season
Have fun on the flumes at AquaDream in Baja Sardinia
Take a trip around Olbia
Straddle the waves on a surfboard at the Isola dei Gabbiani