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Posted by Laura Orange | File under : ,

The Mediterranean’s second-largest island, Sardinia is a strange and beautiful place. It’s best known as a summer beach destination but venture inland and you’ll discover an altogether different Sardinia, an island of untamed nature and proud tradition, of dark granite peaks, dizzying valleys and endless forests. Up to 7000 nuraghi, stone towers, litter this Celtic landscape, adding a sense of prehistoric mystery to the all-encompassing silence.

Fierezza sarda

Tourist interest remains largely focused on the coast, which is one of Italy’s most impressive. On the western coast, wild seas crash in on the untamed, unspoilt Costa Verde, while to the northeast, azure waters lap the Costa Smeralda’s pristine bays. Further south, the Golfo di Orosei is ringed by a granite curtain of plunging cliffs and idyllic coves. Popular resorts get very busy in July and August, but with your own transport it’s possible to escape the crowds even in peak months.

352° Festa di Sant'Efisio

Until the advent of tourism in the 1960s, Sardinia was a poor and isolated outpost. Even on the island, communities were often cut off from their neighbours by inhospitable mountains and a lack of infrastructure. But with isolation came pride and a deep-rooted respect for local traditions. To get a feel for this aspect of island life, head to the area around Nuoro, where elderly women wear black and ancient festivals are celebrated with brooding passion. Encompassing much of the area, the Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu offers superlative sport and innumerable photo opportunities.

352° Festa di Sant'Efisio

 Here is a list of a few things to do while in Sardinia:

- Sail down the Golfo di Orosei, stopping off at secluded beaches and magical coves
- Explore the medieval lanes of Il Castello, Cagliari’s rocky citadel, before an aperitivo on Bastione San Remy
- Plunge into Europe’s Grand Canyon, the Gola Su Gorruppu, and trek to the nuraghic site of Tiscali
- Leave civilisation behind and head to the wild, windswept beaches of the Costa Verde
- Drive the Costa del Sud, a stunning stretch of southern coastline