Road Tripping Southern Sardinia
Sardinia tends to fall off of the radar of most travelers, losing out to Italy’s mainland or more talked about islands like its southern neighbour, Sicily. However upon closer inspection, Sardinia leaves plenty of crystal clear sea and white sandy beaches to explore. Seeing the entire island on a quick 5-day road trip simply will not do. And so, instead, travelers can begin their addiction to Sardinia just as I did by road tripping their way through the island’s south.
From ancient temples to the sparkling lights of Cagliari, 5 days will quickly transition into an insatiable appetite to return and explore yet another piece of this great Italian puzzle. The south of Sardinia is just a taste of a whole meal of a destination.
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Begin in Cagliari:
Cagliari serves as Sardinia’s main port and capital city. Travelers can easily fly into the city or come by way of boat. The city’s foundations lie with the Phoenicians in the 7th century B.C. Cagliari would be a hot spot of contention throughout its history, conquered by the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Pisans, Argonese and the Piedmontese.
It is easy to see why so many wanted a piece of this port town. Opening up to the Golfo degli Angeli, Cagliari is most alluring in the evening hours throughout its Castello Quarter. The neighbourhood overlooks the marina and surrounds in thick walls, the work of the Pisans. Its Saint Mary’s Cathedral glows in the evening hours, providing the perfect perch from romantic couples on a nightly passeggiata.
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Discover the wrinkles in time at Nora:
Just 30 kilometers west of Cagliari, road trippers can cruise to Nora, the ancient settlement just beyond the town of Pula. Some claim Nora to be the first town on the island. The Phoenicians founded it in the 9th century B.C. However most of its remains hark on its days under Roman rule. Travelers can troll through Norma’s ruins including thermal baths, an open amphitheater and the mosaic floorings on a few patrician villas. Try to visit on a sunny day for some of Nora’s remains can be seen underwater along the coastline.
Slip into Sardinia’s Silky Sands at Porto Tramatzu:
Near the town of Teulada, travelers should seek out the beach at Porto Tramatzu. The sands are certainly silky, velvet to the touch. The views rival the sands as the waters crash into shore in crystal clear fashion. The main eye candy is Isola Rossa, otherwise known as Red Island. Just off shore, the island glows in a coppery shade and covers in lush Mediterranean vegetation.
Go green up Costa Verde:
Sardinia’s southwestern coastline has donned the nickname, Costa Verde. For non-Italian speakers, the name translates, “The Green Coast”. It is easy to see for why for the waters along this stretch take on jade hues. A must stop along the coastal road is Scivu, where the beach is backed by sand dunes and coral colored cliffs. The waters uphold the Costa Verde’s claim of being an infectious, enviable shade of green.
Play God or Goddess at Tempio Antas:
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A final stop on any southern Sardinian road trip requires a look at Tempio Antas. Just outside of the town of Fluminimaggiore on Sardinia’s southwestern coast, the isolated temple harks back to Sardinia’s Roman days, specifically the first century B.C. Dedicated to Sardus Pater Babai, visitors to the site can walk right up to the temple and imagine themselves a god or goddess. A footpath from the Tempio Antas leads down to a Roman quarry, where the very stones used for Tempio Antas originated.
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