OVERVIEW OF SARDINIA: I wish we had more time to explore this beautiful island. We stayed mostly on the southern coast but I’d love to visit again to see how different it is in the northern section. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. The island is surrounded by the most gorgeous shades of light blue waters with pieces of turquoise water rippling throughout it. The food here seemed to focus more on fresh seafood, as opposed to the pasta you find on mainland Italy. The people of the island are so warm and welcoming. They seem so proud of their culture and love to share it with travelers.
RUINS OF NORA:
Although I usually like to explore ruins on my own, I was happy that at Nora you can only visit with a tour guide. He had a wonderful way of bringing the ruins to life and told stories about the people that once lived here. The ruins are located on the seacoast so the view is amazing. The mosaics are so well preserved here so it is easy to imagine what the floors of the houses looked like. Be aware that there are no shady areas at the ruins, so you may want to wear a hat and sunscreen. I would also recommend bringing your own water since it gets very hot.
TOWN OF PULA:
Our hotel was located in Pula so we were able to explore this quaint old town several times. Our favorite thing to do here was sit in the piazzas and people watch while drinking a nice glass of wine. There are cute shops, restaurants, cafes, and shops that served gelato. The store owners love to talk to the tourists and it gave me a chance to practice my Italian with them. (I hadn’t spoken since high school and they were very patient teachers.) We purchased some Pinocchio marionette dolls for our daughters in an adorable shop in town. There are many Pinocchio toys here because the writer of the children’s book was Italian.
CITY OF CAGLIARI:
We spent the day in this city walking around, shopping, and getting lost in the beautiful old streets. Cagliari is the largest city in Sardinia, yet it still maintains a small-town feel. There were amazing restaurants and the menus were filled with local seafood dishes. When you are there, be sure to go to the ‘castello’ (castle) district and visit:
– The Elephant and San Pancrazio towers
– Santa Maria Cathedral
– Archbishop’s Palace
DRIVE AROUND THE SOUTHERN COAST:
One of our favorite days was when we rented a car and drove around the southern coast (Costa del Sul). We stopped at cute seaside restaurants, small beaches, and pulled over many times just to admire the views. Although the drive can be a little scary as you drive up and down the hills next to the cliffs, it is well worth the anxiety. Driving is easy on this island so I would recommend renting a car and going away from the resort to experience the true personality of the island. Something we still laugh about is when we had to stop our car because there was a small herd of cows walking themselves across the street. We had no idea where they were going alone until we saw them go over to a beach and lie down on the sand. They looked so happy just taking a stroll to the beach.
CHEESE MAKER: Another fun thing we did was take a tour to a farmer’s house and watch him make fresh goat cheese. My grandmother made a Portuguese cheese that was similar to his, and it was great to see someone recreating what she would do at our kitchen table when I was growing up. We were able to see the goats he got his milk from, watch how he made the cheese from start to finish, and at the end we sampled it accompanied by fresh prosciutto and homemade wine.