Sardinia: Emerald waters & Carthaginian ruins
When the salmon sun hits clear water against a backdrop of limestone, Sardinia’s waters graduate through every hue from cobalt blue to deep, emerald green. And with more than 300 days a year of sun, the water is rarely less than spectacular. The second biggest island in the centre of the Mediterranean, Sardinia’s light, constant breezes make it somewhat cooler than much of the Mediterranean in summer – and great sailing territory.
Elevated to exclusivity in the 60s when the Aga Khan invested in the Costa Smeralda, turning it into an eco playground paradise for his friends, the area has relatively few traditional farms and in their place, lavish villas overlook the bays lined with superyachts during the summer. The Costa Smeralda is now legendary. Take time to watch the world go by as you sip an espresso at Porto Cervo and dine at Cala di Volpe. Those who rate peace and tranquillity over people-watching may prefer to set sail for the quiet shores of La Maddalena. Here you see that Sardinia is ragged, windswept and scattered with remnants of Sardinia’s Nuragic culture, Carthaginian and Roman ruins, Pisan churches and Spanish Baroque. Don’t miss Porto Rotondo’s luxurious fishing port with its granite amphitheatre, and the church of San Lorenzo.
Cala Gonone is a deserted and remarkable coastline – you can cruise very close to it, with the mountains towering above
Visit the colourful local market at San Pantaleo (Porto Cervo) on a Thursday – a stunning location and wonderful locally produced fare to buy
Zia Leunora in Pula specialises in seafood and is patronised regularly by locals; tucked away in a backstreet in the historic centre it is family-run and very welcoming
Palermo to Catania
Experience La Dolce Vita The largest of Italy’s islands, Sicily combines Greek, Roman and Arab influences and has a rich history.