Driving Tour Through Sardinia


Follow in Andrew Harper's Footsteps
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This driving-tour itinerary in Sardinia begins on the southern coast in Cagliari, the island’s largest city. The island remains wild and spectacular, with small hotels of comfort and character, delicious food, unexpectedly excellent wines, fascinating archaeological sites, intriguing little towns and miles of empty beach. Sardinia has a resilient identity and has jealously preserved its distinct dialect and culture.

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Highlights
    • Visit the sunken Phoenician city of Nora
    • Stay at a hotel set within a lighthouse
    • See the dramatic red porphyry cliffs in Arbatax
    • Taste the wines of Alghero
    • Visit classic Costa Smeralda

Day 1 - 2 : Cagliari

Fly from Rome to Cagliari, Sardinia’s largest city. Stroll the pretty lungomare (seafront) and stop for an ice cream or apéritif at one of the many cafés in the long arcade of the Via Roma. A visit to the excellent Museo Archeologico Nazionale in the Castello district provides an essential lesson in the island’s long and fascinating history.

Make a reservation for dinner at the popular Trattoria Lillicu restaurant in the old quarter of the city, or choose the more stylish Luigi Pomata for sushi and Sardinian specialties. Stay either at the centrally located Hotel Regina Margherita or at La Villa del Mare, which offers easy access to the pretty beach at Poetto.

Cagliari Lodging Options

Day 3 : Capo-Spartivento

Drive southwest out of the city over bridges and viaducts crossing salt pans that have been in use since the Romans arrived, to the sunken Phoenician city of Nora. After gazing at the magnificent views of the coast, follow a series of minor roads that run parallel to the beautiful beaches of the small resort town of Chia. Take the unpaved trail that leads to Faro Capo-Spartivento, an intimate and relaxing hotel set within a stone lighthouse built in 1856.

Day 4 : Costa Rei

Retrace your route to Cagliari — about an hour’s drive — on your way to the town of Villasimius. Savor a delicious lunch of spaghetti with spiny lobster and swordfish steaks at Da Barbara. Take the winding road out of the city to the easygoing resort town of Costa Rei and check in to the new Villa del Re hotel. L’Aragosta is a wonderful choice for dinner.

Day 5 : Santa Maria Navarrese

Head north to see the dramatic red porphyry cliffs that plunge into the sea in Arbatax. Dine and spend the night at the congenial Lanthia Resort. Relax on the hotel’s private beach.

Day 6 - 7 : Oliena

After breakfast, set off on a 36-mile drive along the winding, two-lane SS125 from Santa Maria Navarrese past the charming hilltop town of Dorgali to Oliena. Stay two nights at Su Gologone, an elegant hotel owned by the Palimodde family.

Day 8 - 9 : Alghero

Continue on your journey to the fine old port town of Alghero. Make a brief detour to visit the Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia outside of Sassari. Drive to the romantic Villa Las Tronas hotel.

Take some downtime at the hotel’s superb spa and fitness center. Do a tasting at the nearby wineries of Sella & Mosca and Cantina Santa Maria la Palma. Enjoy an informal seafood lunch at Quintilio Ristobar.

Nearby Alghero Wineries

Day 10 - 11 : Costa Smeralda

For your last stop, drive two hours northeast to Hotel Pitrizza, a storied Mediterranean resort on the rugged shoreline of the beautiful Costa Smeralda. Take advantage of the guest privileges offered at the nearby Robert Trent Jones golf course.

Day 12 : Return to Rome

Fly back to Rome from the nearby airport at Olbia.

Day 1 - 2 : Cagliari

Fly from Rome to Cagliari, Sardinia’s largest city. Stroll the pretty lungomare (seafront) and stop for an ice cream or apéritif at one of the many cafés in the long arcade of the Via Roma. A visit to the excellent Museo Archeologico Nazionale in the Castello district provides an essential lesson in the island’s long and fascinating history.

Make a reservation for dinner at the popular Trattoria Lillicu restaurant in the old quarter of the city, or choose the more stylish Luigi Pomata for sushi and Sardinian specialties. Stay either at the centrally located Hotel Regina Margherita or at La Villa del Mare, which offers easy access to the pretty beach at Poetto.

Cagliari Lodging Options

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Driving Tour Through Sardinia

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