These are the nominations for the Readers’ Choice Award for the Best Island in Europe… and the winner is: Sardinia. That was the verdict given by Condé Nast Traveller in early October 2023.
Many people reading this may never have considered Sardinia for a holiday, with all the other fantastic islands available in the Mediterranean and beyond. To overcome the likes of Ibiza, Crete, Sicily, Santorini and Mallorca takes something truly special. That’s because Sardinia is.
With 2,000km of Mediterranean coastline, Sardinia leaves little to be desired when it comes to beaches. In fact, they’re one of the main attractions. Some of the most popular beaches include the stunning La Pelosa, with its iconic old tower, and Cala Mariolu, tucked away and accessible by boat trip.
Around the island, there are pristine white, sandy beaches to amble along and more dramatic rocky coves and cliffs to explore. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing beach break or an exciting adventure holiday, it’s got all you need.
Sardinia has a wonderfully diverse landscape, with magnificent mountain peaks, old forests, calm lakes and winding rivers gracing the land in all directions. This makes it a superb location for hiking and biking, as well as wildlife watching.
The island is home to wild cats, wild boars, Sardinian deer, golden eagles, falcons and black vultures that live among the dense forests and sprawling mountainous terrain. Even if the wildlife isn’t the main attraction for your visit, it’s still extraordinary to see it with your own eyes.
Sublime food and lovely people
Sardinians are known for their incredible hospitality and laid-back lifestyle, as can be experienced on many tours of Italy. Being an island, this sense of culture and community is even more prevalent, with the people of Sardinia passionate about and proud of their heritage. There are plenty of festivals throughout the year celebrating this, if you’re lucky enough to catch them.
The local culture is enticing and you’ll quickly find yourself relaxing and enjoying the delightful fresh seafood available on the island, as well as traditional Italian cuisine that is so globally popular. If you’re a fan of pork, you must try Su Porcheddu, which is a local favourite. You can rarely go wrong with food in Sardinia, just you wait and see!
There’s plenty of history to discover in Sardinia too, with ancient ruins, archaeological sites and museums in abundance. Stone structures called nuraghes can be found all around the island – there are more than 8,000 of them. Their original purpose is still debated, but they’re fascinating remnants of an ancient Sardinian civilization.
Tomba dei Giganti, translating to the Giant’s Tomb, is a fascinating place to visit being a megalithic grave gallery in a region where giants were said to once roam. There’s so much history and heritage to uncover in Sardinia – but there’s probably not enough time to do it all on one visit.
This island is a truly special place to visit at least once in your life. If you’ve not chosen your next holiday destination yet, why not make it Sardinia?