Must see Sardinia

Peppered with picture-perfect coves and encircled by topaz waters, the boating fraternity have enjoyed a long love affair with Sardinia for a good reason. Its dramatic coastline and scattered outlying islands boast crystalline waters to rival the Caribbean, and while July and August can prove busy in this boating hotspot, the Italian isle has many hidden treasures to explore whether you’re heading north, south, east or west.

Orosei Gulf 

While Sardinia’s famed north coast attract throngs of visitors thanks to its upmarket restaurants, Porto Cervo pizzazz and party vibes, the real joy of cruising Sardinia is exploring its natural coastline and beating the lesser-known paths. While there may be fewer marinas on the central eastern coast, this stretch boasts some of the most spectacular waters around the whole island.

Should the wind be favourable, head south of La Caletta for gin-clear anchorages and breath-taking views along the Orosei Gulf. Cala di Luna is of particular note; encircled by the peaks of Gennargentu National Park, its large caves are great for snorkeling and with the clifftop oleanders in bloom this slither of shoreline is magical.

The coves and bays of the Orosei provide the ink-drop blue hues Sardinia is so famed for. Scoot along to Cala Goloritzè to marvel at its unique rock formations over translucent shallows before heading to Cala del Pecoraro, just north of Santa Maria Navarrese where you can anchor over more electric blue.


Pick up a buoy at Asinara Island (anchoring is not permitted) and wake up in paradise. A natural park and marine reserve situated off the north-west tip of Sardinia, Asinara is characterised by its maquis-fringed coves and azure waters and picture-perfect coves suitable for smaller vessels abound. Head south from Asinara and the sheer cliffs of Capo Caccia come into view – this wild, rugged and startlingly beautiful run is spectacular from seaward and not to be missed.


Moor up at the city of Alghero for a slice of Sardinian history and enjoy a night in the vibrant old town. The city boasts some top restaurants, Catalan flavour is imbued in the architecture and ornate churches dot the old town. Trace along the fort’s old walkways by the sea before dinner and then enjoy the lively atmosphere of Alghero by night. Vineyards lie just out of town, perfect for an afternoon of wine tasting or head to the Grotta di Nettuno to view the mystical stalagmites and stalactites.

Take a ten-minute taxi from the marina to Quintilio, a rather unassuming bar and restaurant always busy with locals. It essentially offers two dishes – local meat or the daily-catch fish ­– but as so often is the case, the simplicity allows the ingredients and open-grill flavours to shine through. Hit the bar at sunset for glorious views towards the Capo Caccia.

Isles of plenty 

You simply can’t talk about cruising Sardinia without mentioning spellbinding La Maddalena. The seven large islands and 55 tiny isolotti that make up this sun-drenched archipelago only add to Sardinia’s cruising attaché.

Dazzling lagoons are the order of the day here so pick your route between the isles and discover coves with kaleidoscopic waters. For a blissful afternoon, anchor in Cala Lunga and explore the translucent shallows between the three islands of Santa Maria, Budelli and Razzoli by tender. Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee, even if not overnighting. Permits can be purchased online.

Southern bella 

To escape the crowds, head to the south of the island where you’ll often find kinder winds and a multitude of ink-drop bays where you can drop the hook – out of high season often in glorious solitude.

To the south-west, San Pietro and Sant’Atioco offer sheltered anchorages and more omnipresent ribbons of blue with the water flickering from cobalt to emerald to turquoise. On San Pietro, Carloforte has a useful marina and little shops and some excellent local restaurants – the fresh tuna is always a delectable highlight.

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