Castelsardo is a picturesque historic town on the northern coast of Sardinia. Perched on a volcanic headland, the old town, fortified with a castle, is an interesting and enchanting place to visit. After visiting the citadel, explore the neatly packed and atmospheric streets of Castelsardo's medieval quarters. Better still stay over a night or two (any of the B&B's nestled within the castle walls would be ideal - Smorfiosa & Calarina next to the Cathedral was charming), and see the town at its best in the evening when restaurants and cafes set up tables among the stairways and doorways (the pick being La Cisterne Wine Bar - more than just a wine bar with the best food we ate in Sardinia.)
Avoid the usual celeb haunts and head out to the north western coast of Sardinia. We stayed in a gorgeous agriturismo set in the hills of the picturesque and unspoilt town of Bosa. Amazing beaches, beautiful town centre, great food and lovely friendly locals - it is everything you imagine Italy to be right down to the buildings the shades of ice-cream! Heaven!
A lovely restaurant situated on the stunning coastal road that runs from Cagliari to Villasimius. Quirky features, like old bikes decorating the garden, a relaxed atmosphere, and a wide choice of mains, starters and desserts - even five or six vegetarian meals, which was a rarity in the region! The owner made us feel very welcomed, often coming over to chat and even offering to make us up some lunch himself when we turned up out of hours (it shut during the late afternoon). Prices were reasonable, about 10 euros for a main, and the quality far surpassed the other restaurants in the area charging similar prices. We liked it here so much we returned three or four times! I would fully recommend an evening or lunch spent here, sat in the garden looking out to the hills opposite, ideally with their pesto gnocci ordered (which is still the best gnocci I've ever had.)
Cafe Van Gogh, Località Baccu Mandara, 09040 Maracalagonis Cagliari, Italy
+39 070 786082
Google map: bit.ly/MRdcwH
This is an amazing hotel. We stayed here as part of our honeymoon touring Sardinia a couple of years ago and it was our favourite location. The rooms are quirky and individual, the views of the mountains are stunning and the food is just incredible. We went half-board and struggled to finish the four course dinners - tip - don't be tempted to gorge on the anti-pasti or pasta courses or you'll never finish the suckling pig - famous across the island and a speciality of the hotel (you can see - and smell - them roasting on the old-style open fire). We were lucky enough to watch a demonstration of pane carasau (Italian flatbread) being made on-site too. It's an amazing place and if you're a foodie it's a must.
Carloforte is a former Genoese enclave on the tiny, remote island of San Pietro, off the main island of Sardinia, surrounded by untouched nature and blue sea. Spend the day on a beach of fine sand at 'La Bobba', swimming in crystalline water. Join one of the small boat-tours of the island, or even better hire your own and go diving. In the evening, smarten up for dinner at 'Al Tonno di Corsa', where the speciality is tuna caught with traditional methods. As an appetizer or late-night snack, eat a simple and delicious 'farinata' a Genoese chickpea flat bread sold by the slice from the pizzeria on Corso Tagliafico, the main, palm-lined avenue (by the tourist office/'Pro Loco') and eaten while promenading. The old town is beautiful, constructed on few hills and made up of small lanes winding up steps in between pastel-coloured houses. And the best is getting there! With few tourists around you'll discover a hidden treasure not even many Sardinians go to.
Fly to Cagliari with BA or easyjet, then hire a car or catch a bus to Calasetta, on the neighbouring island of Sant'Antioco (connected to the mainland by a bridge and also worth exploring) then a ferry to Carloforte.
www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/ (select Carbonia-Iglesias province, then Carloforte for a variety of information)
Via Marconi, 47
09014 Carloforte, Cagliari, Sardegna
Google map: bit.ly/p2Ixao
Wow - probably the best restaurant I've ever eaten at (not just because of the food). Il Pentagono emerged mirage-like on our journey west from Villa Rey. We were starving and so had taken a gamble and followed the crossed fork and spoon signs along and then off the SS125. Totally empty when we arrived, we were soon treated to a feast of local delicacies, including mussel gratin, tasty seabass, fruit fresh from the farm and wine produced on site. Service was exceptional and although we had a plane to catch, it would have been rude to turn down the trolley of homemade liqueurs, wheeled out with the bill. The bill for four (three courses, plus wine, liqueur and an extra bottle of wine to take back) came to an unbelievable 60 euro.
presso Lago Simbirizzi Q.S. Elena (Ca)
Tel: 070 830879
If you fancy a bit of a change of food while in Alghero then Ko De Kap Sushi and vegetarian cafe is fantastic. The modern decor is great, staff really friendly and food delicious.
It's closed Mondays and limited menu on Tuesday lunchtimes. They also do takeaway. We were really pleased to find it - sure this is a top tip for an area where the range of types of food is a bit limited; especially for veggies.
Via Asfodelo 35, Alghero. It's opposite the marina; you can see the sign if you look across the road and on the other side of a large car park.
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