The Italian island of Sardinia, the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea – after Sicily, of course – has 2,000 kilometers of coastline. Much of that coastline is taken up by a multitude of stunning beaches, from famous beaches to those set on archipelagos, secluded coves, and beaches where water sports enthusiasts are drawn.
Expect white sands and turquoise waters. But the beach isn’t the only natural attraction of Sardinia; sections of its rocky coast are great for sea view hikes, while the interior of the island is all about walking the hills and driving through rustic villages.
Sardinia is also a place of deep history. Throughout the island, visitors are likely to come across ruined beehive-shaped structures – a little bit like castles, maybe. But these aren’t medieval. In fact, they’re not even Roman. Called nuraghi, they’re much, much older, dating to between 1900 and 750 BC.
Of course, Roman history makes its appearance here, as do powerful medieval European states like Aragon, from Spain, and the Pisans from Italy. As a result, Sardinia is a museum of intrigue, with old cathedrals and churches sitting next to forts which have seen centuries of conflict and changing flags.
Map of the Best Places to Stay Sardinia
With this mix of human history and some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful beach offerings, Sardinia is naturally a place you’re going to want to visit. And it’s easily done: from the northeast, where celebrities and the otherwise well-to-do jet setters of the world disembark from yachts and head to private villas and upscale hotels, all the way to well-touristed towns with resorts and apartments for all manner of affordable stays.
You could even go for something further from the regular tourist route and find yourself in an affordable, family-run B&B in an authentic Sardinian building. Whatever it is you want, Sardinia will have it.
This harbor town sits on the northwest Sardinian coast. Its narrow streets wind and weave around the medieval citadel as the centerpiece; here, you’ll find plenty of boutiques and restaurants to explore. This – the Centro Storico – is the main focus of this town and is actually one of the best preserved in the area, making it an excellent place for history buffs and architecture lovers to discover.
Interestingly, the street signs in Alghero are both in Italian and Catalan, which is a testament to over 300 years of Aragon Spanish rule. Today, it’s something of a resort town and gets particularly busy in July and August. It’s a good place to use as a base to explore the surrounding area and beautiful natural scenery. Stay at one of the many hotels in town, soak up the Spanish-infused atmosphere, and rent a car to get around.
Where to Stay in Alghero
- Alma di Alghero Hotel – The modern Alma di Alghero Hotel is located within a cream-colored Spanish-style apartment building overlooking the glorious Lido di San Giovanni beach. This 4-star quality seafront hotel boasts a range of tasteful Sardinian-style rooms with views of the Mediterranean. But the real highlight here is the rooftop terrace that boasts an open-air swimming pool with hydromassage jets. Guests will have access to exclusive beach sun loungers, a bar, and a 24-hour fitness center.
- Hotel Angedras – Surrounded by mahogany bougainvillea and potted plants, the 3-star Hotel Angedras is a new-build hotel located within a charming Sardinian-style building. What sets this hotel apart is its free beach shuttle service to Maria Pia Beach that runs during the summer months, exclusively for hotel guests. There are 31 spacious double rooms, including two ADA-accessible rooms, as well as a restaurant with a panoramic sea-facing terrace, a late-night bar, and on-site bicycle rentals.
The capital of Sardinia, Cagliari is a beautiful seaside town with the history match; DH Lawrence once famously described it as “Jerusalem but without trees.” Accordingly, you will find ancient Roman ruins, baroque churches, crumbling piazzi to hang around in, and the Castello district with its granite paving stones.
Cagliari certainly has a lot to offer those who like to wander. In particular, there is the impressive Roman amphitheater, built in the 2nd century BC, and the Lion’s Door, which was constructed in 1535 and formerly served as the city’s southern gate.
Away from the history, there is Poetto Beach, a long slice of sand lapped by pale blue waters that gets busy in the summer, with good nightlife to be found. You’ll be able to stay in all sorts of lodgings here, from boutique hotels in historic buildings and villas to modern resorts and tiled apartments.
Where to Stay in Cagliari
- Hotel Regina Margherita – Set within a sand-colored, traditional-style building, the centrally-located 4-star Hotel Regina Margherita offers extraordinary views of the historic center. You’re promised an excellent night’s sleep in modern guest rooms. Sleeping one to four people, they have all the creature comforts you could think of – satellite TV, unlimited Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom with a hydromassage shower or bath. Highlights include free bike hire, a late-night lounge bar, and an on-site Bistro with a fabulous Sardinian and international wine list.
- Hotel Nautilus – Overlooking the powdery sands of Poetto Beach, the white and cream-colored Hotel Nautilus features clean and simple architecture with a nautical theme. Celebrated for its beachfront location, the hotel offers free deck chairs, beach umbrellas, and bikes for guests to use. With just 17 rooms, the atmosphere here is intimate, with personal service guaranteed. Each room comes with a private bathroom, a TV, a minibar, and a free continental buffet breakfast each day of your stay.
This northeastern town is the main ferry port of Sardinia. This, combined with its nearby international airport, means that it is something of a gateway to the rest of Sardinia – especially the northeast region. But Olbia has impressive credentials itself that make this more than just a port town; in some ways, it has retained something authentic about it that more heavily touristed areas may lack a little.
Olbia is all about drinking wine on terraces and dining on good food in one of the restaurants in the cobbled streets around the Piazza Regina Margherita. There is a busy shopping street – the Corso Umberto I – which is a bustling spot to shop after dark. For the golfers, there’s a golf course nearby. Hotels here range from rustic, terracotta roofed villas to modern, relaxing offerings with pools and all the amenities you could desire.
Where to Stay in Olbia
- Jazz Hotel – The contemporary-style Jazz Hotel is set within a modern whitewashed building surrounded by palm trees, pools, and potted plants. Everything here is bright and colorful – from the turquoise swimming pool and orange poolside umbrellas to the burgundy headboards and patterned couches. Each room comes with a private terrace and a spa bath if you book a suite. The swimming pool and hot tub are, unsurprisingly, the hotel’s main attractions, but the a la carte restaurant comes in at a close second.
- Hotel Cavour – The traditional-style Hotel Cavour is surrounded by historic churches and scenic beaches. Located in a nondescript cream-colored building, the hotel’s interior is basic but comfortable, with rooms sleeping one to four people. They have all the modern extras you’d expect from a 3-star hotel – a flat-screen TV, minibar, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom. Other perks include a daily continental buffet breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free on-site parking for guests traveling by car.
On the east coast of Sardinia lies the town of San Teodoro. This is the place to come for those of you who have white powdery beaches and warm, turquoise waters in mind. A former fishing village that has since become a popular destination for people looking to get away from it all, there is a still a lot of old world charm to be had in San Teodoro.
The beach is dotted with clubs and bars for a party atmosphere. But if that’s not you, there is always the option to get on the water for some kitesurfing – this is a perfect spot. There are wetlands to explore nearby, too, and a lagoon called the Stagno di San Teodoro. Staying in this town is all about low-key Mediterranean lodgings, but there are some more upmarket options as well.
Where to Stay in San Teodoro
- Hotel Bonsai – Set within a peach-colored Mediterranean-style building surrounded by pot plants and cacti, the 4-star Hotel Bonsai is a peaceful retreat. Guest rooms come with air-conditioning to ward off the Italian heat, as well as a satellite TV, minibar, private bathroom, and a balcony overlooking an internal courtyard. Guests will have access to the hotel’s wellness area that features an indoor pool, a seasonal Turkish bath, a sauna, and a fitness center, as well as free parking and a rooftop terrace with amazing views.
- Hotel Onda Marina – Just steps from La Cinta beach, Hotel Onda Marina is a beachfront hotel nestled within lush greenery dotted with sun loungers. With simple whitewashed architecture on the outside, the hotel has been renovated on the inside and offers all the modern creature comforts. The guest rooms have a sleek and minimalist design as the exceptional sea views are the main attraction here. Other amenities include air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and free guest parking.
The second largest city in Sardinia also happens to be one of the oldest on the island. As such, there is a lot of history and heritage for Sassari to be proud of. The historical center of this city is still very much part of everyday life here.
It feels like everything has been repurposed and geared towards tourists; this university town is real and alive. Grand boulevards in the center of town line areas filled with piazzi and palazzi, ancient alleyways with old churches hidden down them.
Staying in Sassari, set 225 meters above sea level in the northwest of Sardinia, means having this green and terraced region dotted with springs on your doorstep. There are a whole lot of down to earth B&Bs and apartments on offer in Sassari, which makes for a more budget stay than other places on Sardinia.
Where to Stay in Sassari
- Hotel Grazia – The 4-star Hotel Grazia Deledda is situated in a newly-renovated building in the historic center. Inside, the guest rooms are a wave of color, with typical Sardinian-style peach-colored walls and draped curtains. Guests staying here will have access to a restaurant and bar, free parking, and daily continental breakfast. With a variety of meeting rooms, conference facilities, and guest rooms and suites, it’s no surprise that the hotel is a popular choice for business travelers.
- Hotel Vittorio Emanuele – Hotel Vittorio Emanuele is located within a charming restored building that still features some of the original 20th-century interior architecture. The guest rooms, all completely soundproof, guarantee an excellent night’s sleep. They all come with amenities, such as a minibar, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom. Spend your evenings dining at the elegant Platha de Cothinas Restaurant, enjoying a nightcap in the cozy bar, and tasting wine in the hotel’s underground cellar.
The coastal town of Villasimius in southeastern Sardinia is all about beautiful blue waters and long sandy beaches. There is a Marine Protected Area at the Capo Carbonara, which is definitely the place to come if you like diving. Expect barracuda, amongst many other fish species, and lush seagrass meadows.
Another amazing natural sight in the area is the Stagno di Notteri, a large lagoon that plays host to flocks of migrating flamingos and other rare bird species. Take in the different blue hues of the sea around Villasimius from the 16th century Aragonese Tower – and then head down to enjoy it yourself.
Boutique stays and hotels boasting sea views are the norm for accommodation in Villasimius, with a whole lot of bars and restaurants in piazzi to enjoy in the town itself – around a kilometer from the many beaches. Hiring a car is a good idea to explore the natural wonders of the area.
Where to Stay in Villasimius
- Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna – Tangled in purple bougainvillea and dotted with palm trees and pools, the 5-star Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna is a luxurious retreat. Forming part of the Capo Carbonara marine reserve, this beach-facing hotel’s focus is all about lazy days on the private beach or beside the pool. For families and more active travelers, there’s an outdoor playground, three kids’ clubs, as well as tennis, archery, boules, and volleyball to be enjoyed on the hotel grounds.
- Fiore Di Maggio – Authentically Mediterranean, the sunshine yellow and white low-rise building of Fiore Di Maggio is an idyllic Sardinian escape. With just 20 rooms sleeping two to four people, the accommodation has an intimate feel to it. The rooms are decorated with furniture designed by a renowned Sardinian woodcarver. Spend your days relaxing on the private beach complete with sun loungers and beach umbrellas, cooling off in the swimming pool, or toasting the day with a cocktail in the hotel bar.
An archipelago off the northern coast of Sardinia, La Maddalena is centered on the island of the same name around a mile offshore. The islands here offer up stunning seascapes and beautiful scenery, such as the pale blue waters of the craggy Caprera. In the town of La Maddalena itself, life is centered around the Piazza Umberto, with shops, restaurants, bars and a port. It has become popular with visitors who arrive via boat from Palau on the Sardinian mainland.
You can stay in everything from grand hotels and residences to coastal hotels and unfussy B&Bs so that everyone can enjoy this spot. Roman history, infamous visitors like Napoleon, and residents such as the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi make it an interesting place. But La Maddalena is all about the coastline; a national park of the same name protects around 180 kilometers of the shore.
If you are looking to relax, then Oristano on the central west coast is a good town to stay in. With a few fascinating museums in town, as well as charming streets boasting sights like the Oristano Cathedral and the Tower of Mariano II, you can spend days here enjoying the history as well as the lively local life. However, Oristano also makes for a great base to explore the glorious wild interiors of Sardinia, dotted with those mysterious Neolithic nuraghi.
This coast tends to be less touristy than other parts of the island, but there’s no real reason for that; it’s still very much a beautiful, fascinating place. There are fewer lodgings on offer in Oristano, but you can find yourself authentic stays in historic buildings for a breath of fresh air away from busier hubs. Rent a car, and the island will be yours.
Where to Stay in Oristano
- Mariano IV Palace Hotel – The 4-star Mariano IV Palace Hotel is an elegant three-story hotel near the historic center. With an impressive history dating back hundreds of years, part of the building once served as a grain warehouse for an old 18th-century manor house. Today, the on-site Blao Restaurant still boasts the original bricked architecture. Stay here, and you’ll have access to basic but clean guest rooms and an internal courtyard with a lawn area, a kids’ playground, and an outdoor bar.
- Hotel Mistral – Originally built in the 1980s, the renovated Hotel Mistral is a budget-friendly hotel within walking distance of the beach. Guests staying here will have access to the furnished hotel garden, an on-site bar, and a private parking lot. Each room, while simply and modestly decorated, offers everything you could need, such as Wi-Fi access, air-conditioning, a satellite TV, hairdryer, and a private bathroom. A basic complimentary breakfast is included for every day of your stay.
Santa Teresa Gallura
Set on the northernmost tip of Sardinia, the town of Santa Teresa Gallura is a busy resort destination that buzzes with visitors in the summer months. But don’t let that put you off; there is still a whole lot of charm, local life, and soul to enjoy here. The modern town, interestingly, was founded in 1808 in an effort to stop smugglers, though it is thought that Santa Teresa Gallura was the site of the ancient town, Tibula.
Today, there are bustling shops and cafes to enjoy, but sadly, many of these close during the winter. To the north, however, is the Rena Bianca – a sandy beach edged with scrubby hills – as well as the secluded Capo Testa – a rocky area with some fun hiking trails. Thanks to this town’s popularity, there are tons of places to stay, ranging from large tourist hotels, resorts, and apartments to more quaint B&Bs.
Where to Stay in Santa Teresa Gallura
- Colonna Grand Hotel Capo Testa – Set within multiple whitewashed buildings typical of the Mediterranean, the 5-star Colonna Grand Hotel Capo Testa is a paradise of pools and waterfalls. Set on its own private white-sand beach on a promontory between two coastlines, the sea views are phenomenal. Sardinian-style rooms have air-conditioning and a private balcony overlooking the gardens or the Gulf of Capo Testa. The best things come in pairs: the hotel has two pools, two restaurants, and two bars. There’s also a kid’s club and a free town shuttle.
The small town of Stintino sits on the northwestern headland of Sardinia. It boasts gorgeous white sand beaches such as La Pelosa and Pelosetta, both of which have shallow waters – perfect for lazing around in and ideal for families with small children. Thanks to its celebrated beaches and proximity to the stunning island of Del’Asinara, Stintino has become a popular resort town, boasting everything from hotels with outdoor swimming pools and sea views to more affordable self-catering holiday apartments.
For a little postcard-friendly history, the Torre della Pelosa – dating back to 1578 – is a picturesque tower that sits on an islet out to sea. To properly appreciate the serene and scenic coastal nature, head out on a boat trip or kayak across.
Where to Stay in Stintino
- Hotel Cala Reale – Spread across multiple buildings not far from the sea, the 3-star Hotel Cala Reale is the ultimate holiday community. You’ll find everything you could need right here – two pools, two tennis courts, a buffet restaurant, a kids’ playground, private parking, and a free shuttle bus to La Pelosa beach. The rooms are modest and clean, offering free internet, a TV, minibar, and a private bathroom as standard – some even come with sea views, but prepare to pay extra for them.
Originally a fort dating back to the 12th century, Castelsardo has a long history of ownership and battles – from the Genoese to the Aragonese, and now – Italy. The fort itself is an eye-catching sight. It’s perched high on a headland looking out over the sea, as the buildings of town literally spill down the hills below it to the coast. There is a wonderful historical center to wander about here, a medieval jewel with narrow alleyways and cathedrals, but Castelsardo also has its own beach. Named the Marina del Castelsardo, this beach is small but beautiful, with sparkling waters and – most importantly – views of the dramatically placed fort.
Staying in Castelsardo on the northwest coast means a choice of accommodation – small hotels, rustic lodgings with views of the fort, and outdoor terraces. Many visitors flock to Castelsardo on day trips, so staying in the town itself often provides a more budget-friendly option.
Where to Stay in Castelsardo
- Hotel Nantis – Located in a yellow four-story building on the waterfront of a quaint medieval town, Hotel Nantis boasts exceptional sea views. The main focus here is on these views, and everything in this 4-star hotel is built to maximize them: think large windows, balconies, and panoramic terraces. Guest rooms are decorated in a classic and colorful style and offer comforts like a TV, minibar, private bathroom, and a furnished balcony or terrace. Guests will have access to a breakfast room and terrace, a shared TV lounge, and a bar.