When I first heard of Sardinia, I figured I’d locate it on the map somewhere amongst the jumbled wreckage of the former Soviet Union.
Something about the name conjured up stark images of a naked landscape run amok with gun-toting guerillas – a semi-desperate place teetering on the brink of anarchy. But a quick Google search revealed that nothing could be farther from the truth.
Sardinia is, in fact, a rather large island in the Mediterranean located off the western coast of Italy, north of Sicily and directly south of Corsica.
This magnificent isle boasts not only deep culture and historical significance, but also some of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. Sardinia serves up more than 200 of these turquoise beauties, ranging from flour-fine white sand beaches stretching a half kilometer or more to pebble encrusted hidden coves accessible only via boat.
It could take months, years or, perhaps, a lifetime to fully enjoy all the beaches this island has to offer, but if you have only a couple of days, visit the Costa Smerelda. Sardinia’s “Emerald Coast” has for decades been the secret of the ultra rich, who arrive in the summer time on mega-yachts, but it is easily accessible to even those on a relatively tight budget.
There is a beach for everyone on the east coast of Sardinia. If you prefer kite boarding, wind-surfing or just crowded beaches with a lot going on, you can have your pick of dozens all along the east and northern coastlines. You can take lessons in a variety of water sports, rent beach chairs and giant sun umbrellas or hang out at a beach-side bar. If you’re well-heeled, you can charter a boat to take you to any one of the dozens of coves accessible only from the sea for a posh private get-away. However, if you want something special, something charming, Oasi Bidderosa is the beach for you.
Oasis Bidderosa is touted as the best beach in Sardinia, and rightly so. I have not visited all 200 beaches, but Bidderosa offers a combination of elements that puts it solidly into a class of its own and makes it a must-visit destination. Most importantly, Bidderosa is part of a protected forest reserve, which means it is pristine, undeveloped and, most notably, un-crowded.
Arriving at Bidderosa, you’ll be nothing short of delighted when you see what awaits you: the pines give way to the ocean and you feel the fine white sand beneath your toes and the kiss of the Mediterranean sun upon your face. The crystal clear water reflects 100 shades of blue and is a refreshing way to cool off.
For a taste of how the other half lives, venture into Porto Cuervo, nerve center of the Emerald Coast. You’ll spot those sprawling mega yachts and maybe even rub elbows with the rich and famous. If you prefer serious diving or snorkeling, charter a trip to the Magdallena archipelago, another protected marine reserve.
Most establishments do not accept debit or credit cards, and ATMs are scarce in Sardinia, so be sure to carry enough euro to accommodate your day’s plans. For more information, check out www.sardegnaturismo.it.
To help you get to your destination, purchase your flight from Frankfurt-Hahn (HNH) to Alghero (AHO) with Ryan Air (www.ryanair.com). And to help better experience the island, rent a car (www.expedia.com). Small cars are easiest to navigate in the narrow streets. Make sure to take your GPS or rent one to help navigate the island.
But also make sure to pick up a beach map at a gas station. This will help you pinpoint the beaches you are interested in even if they are not listed in your GPS system.