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12 of the most beautiful towns and villages in Sardinia

May 09, 2021
8 min read
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Sardinia is Italy's second-largest island, a favorite among Italian visitors and vacationers alike. It's home to some of Italy's most stunning white-sand beaches, as well as the glamourous yachting region of the Costa Smeralda. But what you may not know is that it's also home to some of Italy's most charming villages. Whether it be a colorful day trip, a hideaway in the mountains or an idyllic seaside stay, consider a visit to one of Sardinia's most beautiful villages.

Sardinia is home to some of Italy's most colourful and beautiful villages. (Photo by Veronica Holsting/EyeEm/Getty Images)

For more Mediterranean vacation inspiration, check out some of our most recent Italy content:

1. Bosa

Bosa, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Ellen van Bodego/Getty Images)

The River Temo flows through the center of the colorful village of Bosa. With the medieval Serravalle Castle (also known as the Malaspina Castle), a number of churches, a few museums and even ancient tanneries, there's plenty to do and see and this village. Plus, Bosa overlooks the sea, and there are several sandy beaches nearby, too.

2. Galtelli

Galtelli, Sardinia. (Photo by Hibiscus81/Getty Images)

Located in the Cedrino River valley, this Medieval village is made almost entirely out of stone. Nearby, hike up Mount Tuttavista for panoramic views and to see the famed bronze Christ statue, a route that many pilgrims have trekked over the years. Galtelli, once a religious landmark, has several churches to visit, or there are numerous hiking and rock climbing spots around Tuttavista.

3. Stintino

Stintino, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Stintino is home to one of Sardinia's most popular beaches, La Pelosa. It's a stunning strip of white sand and calm turquoise waters with views of the Torre Pelosa in the distance. But the town and port of Stintino are just as beautiful. And, Stintino is also known for having some of the most delectable seafood on the island, so make sure to sample some at a local restaurant -- fan favorites are the sea urchin, octopus and clams.

4. Castelsardo

Castelsardo, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Mieneke Andeweg-van Rijn/Getty Images)

Many refer to this hilltop, seaside village as Sardinia's "best-kept secret." Well, we're spilling the beans: Castelsardo is an absolutely gorgeous spot for a vacation. For the best views (you can even spot Corsica on a clear day) hike up to the top of the hill to visit the Castello dei Doria. A short drive away from the village, visit Elephant Rock, a giant rock formation shaped like -- you guessed it -- an elephant.

5. Fonni

Fonnia, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by encrier/Getty Images)

Did you know you can ski in Sardinia? The village of Fonni is near some of the highest peaks in Sardinia apt for skiing during the winter season. During the warmer months, explore the town and its many painted wall murals. Nearby, there are plenty of hiking trails and wooded areas to get some fresh air.

6. Carloforte

Carloforte, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Isaac74/Getty Images)

Carloforte is located on the small islet of San Pietro, just off the southwestern coast of Sardinia. Here, you'll experience a very traditional Sardinian village experience: colorful buildings, a charming harbor, ancient churches and even abandoned salt pans. Make sure to sample the tuna when visiting -- Carloforte has a yearly tuna festival and competition!

7. Pula

Pula, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo byRaluca Ioana Cohn / EyeEm/ Getty Images)

An easy day trip from the nearby city of Cagliari, Pula is best known for its nearby archaeological ruins of Nora that date back to the 4th century BC. Back in Pula, enjoy specialty dishes like the sweet and salty mixture of figs and ham in a lively square such as the Piazza del Popolo. There are many sandy beaches around Pula, too, as well as pine forests with walking and hiking trails.

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8. Calasetta

Sottotorre beach backed by the town of Calasetta, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by elisalocci/Getty Images)

Calasetta's white sand beaches and bustling town atmosphere are perfect for a relaxing vacation. If you get tired of the expansive Sottotorre Beach, visit Calasetta's Contemporary Art Museum (MACC). For gorgeous views of the town, beach and sea, head up to the Torre Sabauda, a stone tower located at Calasetta's highest point.

9. La Maddalena

La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Ellen van Bodegom/Getty Images)

La Maddalena is a village located on the La Maddalena Islands just off the north coast of Sardinia. These islands not only have some of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe (if you squint, you might think you're sprawled on the fine pearly sands of the Caribbean), but Maddalena village is also surprisingly picturesque. Check out the Garibaldi statue in the harbor and the Santa Maria Maddalena Church when you tire of exploring the island's natural coves and beaches.

10. Orgosolo

Orgosolo, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Soltan Frédéric/Getty Images)

Known as the "village of murals," this UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to prehistoric times. Orgosolo has hundreds of murals painted around town, and the best way to see them is simply to wander around and discover them. The mountainous village also has lots of hiking and walking trails leading directly from the town into the woods and nearby hills.

11. Santa Teresa di Gallura

Santa Teresa di Gallura, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)

Overlooking the Strait of Bonifacio, this seaside village is best visited during shoulder season -- you'll avoid the massive influx of tourists that summer sees, but also enjoy the lovely weather that May, June, September and October bring. In between beach trips, make sure to pay a visit to the Longosardo Tower, a 16th-century structure built by one of Spain's former kings.

12. Alghero

Alghero, Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Peter Adams/Getty Images)

Alghero is really a city, but its historical center feels like its own tiny, quaint village. With a massively long stretch of city beach, it will be a toss-up to decide whether to have a day of sand and sun or roam the old city's stone walls (yes, there are seven towers guarding them). The fortified walls are also excellent spots for viewing the sunset.

Bottom line

Narrow street in La Maddalena, Sardinia. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Sardinia is famous for its beaches, but that's not all this Italian island has. With many tiny seaside villages, mountain collectives and even ski towns, exploring some of these lesser-visited towns is the way to go.

For more beautiful European village inspiration, check out these articles:

(Feature image courtesy of Gian Luca Salis / EyeEm / Getty)

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023