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Mix jagged mountain ranges with flowering bougainvillea, combine glitzy jet-set coastal resorts with Wild West towns rooted in banditry, soak it in nearly 2000 km of lonely Mediterranean coastline and then bake it all in a six-month summer. This enchanting recipe of striking beauty and rugged brawn is what makes Sardinia so special.
According to Sardinian legend, after God created the Earth, He gathered all the leftover pieces from everywhere else, threw them in the sea and stepped on them to create Sardinia or, as the Greeks called it, Ichnusa, meaning ‘footprint’. Since then, the island has been trampled on by anyone who has ever sailed through the Mediterranean. Sardinia has managed to absorb these myriad influences while resolutely maintaining its independent pride. Lying 178 km from the nearest mainland, slightly closer to Tunisia than Italy, no other island is as marooned in the Mediterranean as Sardinia; a fact that has shaped the island’s unique character. Nowhere else could you find bands of nomadic shepherds, three-storey yachts, pink flamingos, myrtle-scented liquor, pagan celebrations and medieval churches within a 30-minute drive of each other.Read more
Sardinia is barely smaller than Sicily but has only a third as many people and so enjoys an overwhelming sense of space and extraordinary diversity. You can pass from snow-capped peaks to desert dunes to lagoons where flamingos nest within a day. And its varied landscapes not only provide a beautiful backdrop but also serve as a playground for a wide range of outdoor pursuits. The craggy nooks and crevices of the Supramonte and Gennargentu mountain ranges serve as a bastion, protecting some of Sardinia’s ancient traditions, not to mention its two best hiking routes: up to the mystifying settlement of Tiscali buried inside a mountainous sinkhole, and into the depths of Gola Gorroppu, Europe’s deepest ravine. Sardinia’s ravishing coastline, meanwhile, encompasses wild sand dunes in the west and glitzy billionaire resorts in the north, but perhaps the most idyllic stretch is the east coast’s beautiful and unspoilt Golfo di Orosei, where the only high-rises are the limestone cliffs and you won’t find a road or building for 40 km. Elsewhere are an astonishing array of Neolithic and Bronze Age sites and a number of appealing medieval towns, such as Alghero with its unique Catalan flavour, and Bosa, where colourful houses cling to the hillside below a crowning castle.
Activities in Sardinia
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