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Best Things To Do in Sardinia

Most of the best things to do in Sardinia are concentrated on the coasts. The cerulean waters and soft beaches found at places like Cala Mariolu and Parco Nazionale dell'Archipelago di La Maddalena are some of the main draws, but hiking the northern coast's Capo Testa or driving the Costa Smeralda to take in jaw-dropping views of the Mediterranean are popular, too. History buffs will enjoy learning about the mysterious past of the Nuraghi culture at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale – or by touring one or two of the thousands of Nuraghi settlements, such as Su Nuraxi, strewn throughout the island. 

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Sardinia

Free
Reaching Cala Mariolu, a pebble beach segmented by large limestone rocks on Sardinia's east coast, takes some effort – but most travelers say the picturesque spot is worth the exertion. The waters that lap the shore are every shade of blue, and the tucked-away spot feels like a hidden paradise. 
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Cala Mariolu
Reaching Cala Mariolu, a pebble beach segmented by large limestone rocks on Sardinia's east coast, takes some effort – but most travelers say the picturesque spot is worth the exertion. The waters that lap the shore are every shade of blue, and the tucked-away spot feels like a hidden paradise. 
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#2

#2 in Sardinia

Free
The Parco Nazionale dell'Archipelago di La Maddalena is a collection of islands scattered off Sardinia's northeastern coast. Established as a geomarine national park in 1994, the islands have been on UNESCO's World Heritage site's shortlist since 2006 for their variety of marine and plant life. But tourists tend to visit for the eye candy – the rock formations, the snow-white beaches and the blue-green Mediterranean waters.
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Parks and Gardens Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
The Parco Nazionale dell'Archipelago di La Maddalena is a collection of islands scattered off Sardinia's northeastern coast. Established as a geomarine national park in 1994, the islands have been on UNESCO's World Heritage site's shortlist since 2006 for their variety of marine and plant life. But tourists tend to visit for the eye candy – the rock formations, the snow-white beaches and the blue-green Mediterranean waters.
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#3

#3 in Sardinia

Free
With its wind-whipped granite boulders, the rocky coves of Capo Testa on Sardinia's northern headland are almost sculptural in shape and begging to be hiked and photographed. The nearby lighthouse, Faro di Capo Testa, provides another photo op. While here, stop at beaches like Spiaggia Rena di Levante and Spiaggia Rena di Ponente, which boast aquamarine waves that are as ideal for surfing as they are for wading. 
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Capo Testa
With its wind-whipped granite boulders, the rocky coves of Capo Testa on Sardinia's northern headland are almost sculptural in shape and begging to be hiked and photographed. The nearby lighthouse, Faro di Capo Testa, provides another photo op. While here, stop at beaches like Spiaggia Rena di Levante and Spiaggia Rena di Ponente, which boast aquamarine waves that are as ideal for surfing as they are for wading. 
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#4

#4 in Sardinia

Free
Costa Smeralda is where the jet set land when they arrive in Sardinia. The 35 miles that stretch out over the Emerald Coast are some of the most beautiful in Sardinia – even arguably in the entire Mediterranean – and they're dotted by marvels like Porto Cervo, a cobblestone port village with luxury retailers ideal for window-shopping, and beaches with gentle waters, such as Capriccioli. 
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Costa Smeralda
Costa Smeralda is where the jet set land when they arrive in Sardinia. The 35 miles that stretch out over the Emerald Coast are some of the most beautiful in Sardinia – even arguably in the entire Mediterranean – and they're dotted by marvels like Porto Cervo, a cobblestone port village with luxury retailers ideal for window-shopping, and beaches with gentle waters, such as Capriccioli. 
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#5

#5 in Sardinia

To explore the past of the mysterious Nuragic civilization, you should head to Su Nuraxi in Barumini (southern Sardinia). Although very little is known about the Nuragic people, a lot can be said for their construction prowess. These Bronze Age shepherds and peasants used stone to create elaborate structures, including the settlement at Su Nuraxi, though it's unclear whether they were defensive fortresses, palaces or temples. Here, a tour guide will lead you through the ruins of a Nuraghi fortress with its complex of towers, elaborate inner passageways and outer walls. In 1997, Su Nuraxi was added to UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. 
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Su Nuraxi
To explore the past of the mysterious Nuragic civilization, you should head to Su Nuraxi in Barumini (southern Sardinia). Although very little is known about the Nuragic people, a lot can be said for their construction prowess. These Bronze Age shepherds and peasants used stone to create elaborate structures, including the settlement at Su Nuraxi, though it's unclear whether they were defensive fortresses, palaces or temples. Here, a tour guide will lead you through the ruins of a Nuraghi fortress with its complex of towers, elaborate inner passageways and outer walls. In 1997, Su Nuraxi was added to UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. 
... more

#6

#6 in Sardinia

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale tells a chronological history of the island through art and artifacts. Here, you'll see bronze figurines, or bronzetti, that date back to 1800 B.C., towering sandstone sculptures (referred to as the Giganti di Mont'e Prama) created by the Nuragic civilization, Roman-era busts, and more. Although this museum is one of five establishments grouped together at the Cittadella dei Musei, experts say if you're short on time, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale is the one to visit.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale tells a chronological history of the island through art and artifacts. Here, you'll see bronze figurines, or bronzetti, that date back to 1800 B.C., towering sandstone sculptures (referred to as the Giganti di Mont'e Prama) created by the Nuragic civilization, Roman-era busts, and more. Although this museum is one of five establishments grouped together at the Cittadella dei Musei, experts say if you're short on time, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale is the one to visit.
... more
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