You’ve chosen Sardinia for your next travel adventure. That’s an excellent choice. This stunning island off the West Coast of Italy’s mainland has a variety of terrain that beckons beach lovers, surfers, history buffs, hikers, and climbers. There’s so much to see and do, and you only have a week. Let this 7-day Sardinia itinerary be a guide to help get the most out of your trip.
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Sardinia itinerary 7 days
Getting in and around Sardinia
The three airports are located near Cagliari, the capital city, Olbia Airport near Olbia, and Alghero-Fertilia which serves both cities of the same name.
This itinerary begins in Cagliari, on the island’s southside. There are no bus options from the airport, but a train gets you to the city in seven minutes, and a taxi takes 10 minutes. The island has no public transport, so you’ll need to rent a car at the airport to complete this itinerary.
You can also catch a ferry to Cagliari from Corsica in France, and from Barcelona, Naples, Genoa, and Sicily in Italy.
A car rental agency is steps away from the port, but I strongly suggest booking your car beforehand.
Whenever I travel, my go-to destination for the best prices is DiscoverCars.
It is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change.
Your 7 Days in Sardinia Itinerary Map
Day 1 – Cagliari, History, and Views
A settlement has been present in this region throughout history, so there are several points of interest to explore. Spend the first day hitting the historical hotspots.
The first on your list should be the Bastion San Remy.
The Bastion is a huge ornate structure with a wide, open terrace originally used for defense. Today, its extensive promenade is the scene of cultural events and a wonderful viewing platform for the city below and the Mediterranean Sea beyond. Wear comfortable shoes to climb the stairs to the top.
Next, the Elephant Tower is a short walk from the Bastione. You can’t miss it as it looms above the other buildings. The tower was constructed in 1307 as a part of the city’s network. The coat of arms and elephant statues make the plainly-designed tower interesting.
There are several other historical sites to visit including the Cagliari Cathedral, a 13th-century Roman Catholic cathedral with royal tombs, the Palazzo Regio, and the Roman Amphitheater.
And since archeological findings have been unearthed in the region as far back as the Neolithic period, the Sardinia Archeological Museum is a no-miss.
When you want to make the best out of your time in Cagliari, and if you are passionate about history, the best way to see the city is by going on a walking tour of the Old Town. And if you want to go to all the hidden places, check out this tour of the Underground City!
If you choose to stay more in Cagliari and want to head to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, make sure to check out Villasimius Beach on a day tour.
Where to stay in Cagliari
The best area to stay in Cagliari is in the old city center, in the Castello area. This way, you will be close to all the important tourist attractions in town, but also to the sea.
Another option when you rent a car is to stay just outside of Cagliari, close to the beach.
Choose your favorite hotel in Cagliari here, or check out 3 of my favorite accommodation options:
Relais Santa Croce is set in the Castello area, perfect for sightseeing, with a balcony that offers a stunning view over the Medieval town, but also the sea. Check it out here!
Residenze al Castello Apartments is another great apartment option, with a simple interior and design, but the perfect location and views. See more here!
Anninnìa is located close to the Spiaggia del Poetto, the poet’s beach, and it is perfect for beach lovers who want to spend some time by the sea. Check it out here!
If you are traveling for a special occasion and want to stay in a truly incredible place, check out Capo Spartivento. It is 1 hour outside of Cagliari, and it is a luxury hotel set in a working lighthouse that offers all the facilities you could think of. It has 2 outdoor pools, an outside workout area, a restaurant, and an underground cinema. Check it out here!
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Day 2 – Beaches and Parks in Cagliari
Spend your second day in Cagliari exploring the outdoors and dramatic coastline. The Marina is a good place to start. Grab a gelato and enjoy the shops, restaurants, and promenades with picturesque Mediterranean views.
Another pretty green space with scenic views is the Parco di Monte Urpinu. The park also has a great playground with rides. Put the Parco di Monte Urpine on your must-do list if traveling with children.
The University Botanical Gardens are on the grounds of the University of Cagliari and are maintained by staff and students. Explore over five hectares of Mediterranean trees and flowers that will delight any nature enthusiast.
Calamosca is a tiny commune at the end past the port. There’s a small, quiet beach here with stunning views of rocky cliffs. And if you didn’t get your fill of history yesterday, hike to the Torre del Poetto and the Torre di Calamosa, both ancient defense towers in place from before the 13th century.
Days 3 & 4 – Cala Gonone
You can get to Cala Gonone by car in 2.5 hours via E-25, but if you take the SS125, you’ll have a nice coastal drive that’s only about 30 minutes longer. You’ll pass through the small hill town of Tertania, a charming village in a delightful setting.
Take a lunch break at the Sa Omu restaurant for a genuine Italian pizza or delicious Mediterranean cuisine. After lunch, drive around and explore the landscapes of covered green mountains with azure seas in the background before heading to your accommodations in Cala Gonone.
You used to be only able to get to the resort town of Cala Gonone by water, but today, a road tunnel passes through the mountains that separate it from the rest of Sardinia. After a few dizzying hairpin turns, you will come to a cluster of modern villas, restaurants, and hotels that comprise Cala Gonone.
There is no city center as all the activity takes place along the seafront promenade lined with laid-back bars and restaurants. The sandy stretch along the promenade is thin, but it’s flanked by two wider beaches, both a 10-minute stroll apart.
Cala Gonone is likely to be the highlight of your trip, so take a couple of days to relax on the lovely Mediterranean shores. You can rent sun loungers and umbrellas at both the main beaches.
Take time to check out the sandy coves further along. Some of them have been the settings for movies, notably Madonna’s Swept Away.
If you are a diving fan, spend a full day diving in the Gulf of Orosei.
Where to stay in Cala Gonone
Choose a nice hotel for your days of relaxation. Luckily, Cala Gonone has plenty of options to choose from, but here are a few options that caught my eye and you should check out:
Hotel Villa Gustui Maris is a stunning place that offers an amazing view over the Gulf of Orosei. From here, you can easily go on hikes, boat tours, diving, and plenty of other activities, or you can simply choose to stay by the pool. See more here!
Hotel Ristorante La Conchiglia offers a breathtaking sea view and will set you right next to the beach. The hotel has been recently renovated and has an interior design that blends perfectly with the sea. Check it out here!
Day 5 – Bosa
On the morning of day five, drive across the island to the western coastal town of Bosa about 1.5 hours from Cala Gonone.
This charming ancient town is located on the Temo River and the Mediterranean Sea. Like Cala Gonone, the beach is stunning and surrounded by hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Unlike Cala Gonone, Bosa has a Historic District.
The most important historic site is Castle Malaspina. Once a magnificent structure in the 12th century, today it lies in partial ruins. But the remaining walls and towers are worth the visit as they feature wall paintings from the 13th century.
A single ticket to the castle will give you admittance to the Palatine Chapel and the Church of San Pietro.
Where to stay in Bosa
You can either choose to stay in the historic city center or once again, spend a night by the beach. It depends a lot on the activities you want to have, and here are my 2 favorite options for each location:
Palazzo Pischedda is set along the river banks, in a historic palace, offering beautiful views of the town. The palace used to be the residence of the governor, so you can expect the best location and views. See more here!
Residence Lido Chelo is set on the beach and offers furnished apartments, with a terrace with a sea view. You will be close to all the restaurants and pizzerias, and the guests staying here have appreciated the delicious breakfast offered. Check it out here!
Day 6 – Castelsardo
This morning you’ll drive for a little over 1.5 hours north to Castelsardo. Like Bosa, Castelsardo has fascinating ancient ruins and beautiful beaches, but the craftmanship industry sets the town apart. There are many pathways making it a good place to explore on foot.
The Castello dei Doria is the town’s main attraction. The castle leads to an ancient citadel where you’ll find unique cafes and charming handicraft shops.
You’ll likely see elderly women weaving baskets, a skill the town is famous for. In fact, you can visit the Museo dell’ Intreccio Mediterranean, a museum dedicated to the trade.
Before retiring for the night, take the 20-minute drive to the little fishing village of Bedesi. The juniper-covered virgin beaches seem to stretch forever, and the diverse flora and fauna add to the town’s charm.
Bedesi has seen an influx of tourism in recent years, so sample the local cuisine and wines. In fact, you may want to consider overnight accommodations here.
And since you’re in the area, you shouldn’t miss a trip to the famous and irresistible archipelago: La Maddalena! Imagine some of the bluest waters, a charming historical center, and lots of options to go shopping for souvenirs.
You will have to drive to Palau, and from there get on a boat tour.
Where to stay in Castelsardo
La Roccia Dell’Elefante is a family-owned hotel, set in the middle of a beautiful garden with a restaurant and a terrace. You won’t have any problem with parking here, and guests have enjoyed the delicious breakfast provided daily. See more here!
Day 7 – Cagliari via Macomer
If you haven’t been amazed yet by how drivable this gem in the Mediterranean is, you will be today. The drive south back to Cagliari where you’ll turn in the rental car and wave goodbye to Sardinia at the airport is only about two hours, and there are some interesting things to see along the way.
Time is getting short, so settle on the town of Macomer.
After lingering over coffee and one last view in Bedesi, plan on an early lunch at the Ristorante da Gigi for their fabulous Southern-Italian cuisine.
Macomer has several awe-inspiring ruins and relics. Make your first choice the Complesso Archeologico di Tamuli. You’ll see ancient stones at a large nuraghe site that could date back to 1900 BC.
Macomer has other mind-blowing archeological sites to explore that make it the perfect place to end your week in Sardinia.
Check out more of them, or head back to Cagliari to get a head start on the nightlife in the ancient district or around the harbor to celebrate your journey through Sardinia.
Other popular activities in Sardinia
Go on a boat tour and do some snorkeling in a Marine Protected Area, at Tavolara Island. See more about the tour!
If you land in Alghero, stop here and go on a wine and olive oil tasting at a local farm. See more here!
Nature lovers will love a tour of the Rock City of Villaputzu.
Other travel to Italy resources
- Why not include the Amalfi Coast on your one week in South Italy Itinerary?
- Or head North for another 7 days in Italy itinerary.
- Make your trip longer and stop for one day in Rome, spend 3 days in Cinque Terre, and finish it off with one day in Genoa. Or do it differently, but however, take a Cinque Terre day trip.
- Looking for those authentic Italian villages? Check out my list of 11 less known Italian towns to add to your list of places to see next in Italy.
- Taste great food and explore red streets in 2 days in Bologna.
- How many days in Venice? That’s the question you might ask yourself and I got you covered. Together with all the best attractions to include on your list.
- Did you know that you can see the French Riviera on a day trip from Genoa? Check out my complete list of great day trips from Genoa.
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