With nearly 2,000km of coastline, the Mediterranean’s second-largest island of Sardinia packs a punch when it comes to beaches. Found to the west of the Italian mainland, its summer temperatures make it an appealing holiday destination, with average highs topping 30°C in July and August.
Sardinia beaches offer a delightful mix of clear aqua waters and white sands, with many set against a backdrop of striking cliffs and rock formations. A number also have Blue Flag status as a sign of their quality. Inland, you’ll find mountainous terrain, criss-crossed with hiking trails and dotted with small, picturesque villages.
Three airports serve the island: Mario Mameli Airport (7km from the main city of Cagliari), Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (4km from Olbia) and Riviera del Corallo International Airport (11km from Alghero). All provide easy access to the many Sardinia beaches should you opt for a hire car.
North Sardinian beaches
To the north-east of the island, the Maddalena Archipelago features numerous beautiful beaches, all with clear waters. Spaiggia dello Strangolato, a short distance to the north of Maddalena, is great for snorkelling, while Spiaggia di Bassa Trinita sits against a backdrop of sandy dunes.
One of Sardinia’s best-known regions, the Costa Smeralda – or Emerald Coast – stretches from Baja Sardinia to Porto Rotondo. Here you’ll find a mix of secluded bays, small coves and expanses of white sands. Spiaggia del Principe, found near Cala di Volpe, is one of the standouts as its sheltered waters make it a haven for marine life.
Another spot to explore is Cala Brandinchi, a beautiful 700-metre stretch of sands with shallow waters, known as ‘Little Tahiti’. To the north-west, just several kilometres from Alghero, Spiaggia di Maria Pia offers an abundance of white sand and amenities, making it ideal for those of all ages.
East Sardinian beaches
Found in the Gulf of Orosei, Cala Goloritze can only be reached by boat, or via a 3.5km hike. However, it’s a journey worth making. Formed as part of a sandstone landslide, its mini white pebbles and crystal-clear waters make it an idyllic snorkelling and swimming space, and one for plastering all over social media!
Spiaggia di Cala Liuna is also great for spotting fish and other marine life, while the secluded bay of Cala Fuili is a climber’s paradise. Cala Ginepro is well served by a range of amenities, while Marina di Orosei is popular with divers, thanks to a well-preserved WWII wreck that sits just 34-metres below the surface.
South Sardinian beaches
With vast expanses of sand, dunes and clear waters, the beaches of southern Sardinia are just as striking as those in the north of the island. Spiaggia del Poetta is an 8km stretch of sand and has lagoons which welcome pink flamingos in the summer months.
Spiaggia di Chia has wide golden sands and is renowned for its surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, while dolphins can also sometimes be spotted from the shore. The south-west of the island features more rugged landscapes and rougher seas, although Cala Domestica sits in a sheltered bay, 3km to the south-west of Buggeru. Once a mining area, it’s now a haven for practicing scuba diving and snorkelling.
Western Sardinian beaches
Thanks to harsher waters, the beaches on the west of Sardinia and peppered with stunning rock formations. One such example is the giant rock arch at Spiaggia S’Archittu, which is accompanied by spectacular limestone cliffs. The region is great for snorkelling too, although you may want to pack protective shoes as the seabed can be very rocky.
Another beach not to miss, and another which welcomes flamingos to its salt pans just behind it, is Spiaggia di Putzu Idu. As well as its fine sands and shallow waters, don’t be surprised to see lots of kitesurfers and surfers enjoying the rolling waves.