Italy's islands, Sardinia and Sicily, are renowned for their breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural heritage. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, these stunning islands offer an abundance of attractions that cater to every type of traveller and their bucket lists. Whether you seek pristine beaches, ancient ruins, vibrant cities, or authentic cuisine, Sardinia and Sicily have it all. Let’s explore some of the best destinations on these captivating Italian islands for your ultimate Euro Summer.
Coastal Paradise! 🌺 🐠 🌊 🌴
Both of these gorgeous Italian Islands boast stretches of pristine beaches in which tourists gather every year to soak up the Sicilian or Sardinian sun as they splash in the refreshing crystalline waters of the Mediterranean sea.
Sardinia's coastline is a paradise like no other. Up north, you'll find the glitzy Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) and the untouched Maddalena archipelago. Along the east, pristine coves await, accessible only by boat, preserving their unspoiled beauty. The southern region boasts sandy beaches near Chia and Nora, while the wild west showcases stunning stretches, like Is Arutas, adorned with polished quartz pebbles. Porto Cervo, the main resort town, boasts glamorous marinas, high-end boutiques, and luxurious resorts, attracting visitors from around the world. Sardinia is a coastal wonderland that promises a truly unforgettable experience.
Sicily's allure also extends to its stunning beaches, although the coastline is more developed. Some of the most enchanting options are town beaches like Scopello, Cefalu, Mondello, and Capo Peloro, where beautiful sands meet the sparkling Strait of Messina. For a breathtaking experience, visit the Scala dei Turchi near Agrigento, a mesmerising white cliff with natural layers perfect for sunbathing, with sandy surroundings adding to its charm.
Let’s Talk About The Cuisine Scene…🍝 🍷 🐟
Sicily's food scene is a culinary force to be reckoned with, even by Italy's high standards. Its gastronomic treasures result from the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the island's cuisine over the centuries, including the Arabs, who refined the iconic agrodolce (bittersweet) flavour in signature dishes. The North African influence is evident in the popularity of couscous, while the island's street food, from arancini to panelle, offers a delightful culinary adventure. Sicily caters to every taste, ranging from world-class Michelin-starred restaurants like Duomo and Mec to charming trattorie and hidden gems like Dai Pennisi in Linguaglossa, a butcher's shop offering delectable sit-down meals, showcasing the island's extraordinary culinary heritage.
Sardinia's culinary scene revolves around freshness, emphasising vegetables and honey instead of sugar. While fish is commonly served today, traditional Sardinian food originates from the inland, featuring delectable cheese, artichokes, saffron, and local pasta varieties like fregola and culurgiones. The island is also famous for exceptional bread, including the crispy pane carasau. The Costa Smeralda boasts some of the island's fanciest restaurants, with half of Sardinia's six Michelin-starred establishments located here. However, diverse styles can be found across the island, with Spanish-influenced dishes in Alghero and Sardinian classics in Cagliari, exemplified by restaurants like Del Corsaro and La Locanda dei Buoni e Cattivi.
Things To Do & See! 👀 🗺 👏
Sicily's unbeatable charm lies in its incredible variety. This cultural melting pot seamlessly blends Greek temples, converted mosques, Byzantine mosaics, and stunning Arab and Norman architecture. The island boasts sandy beaches, picturesque rolling hills reminiscent of Tuscany, hikeable mountains, national parks, and various islands, from paradisiacal havens to active volcanoes. While many tourists explore the coast, the interior remains beautifully unspoiled, with the Heart of Sicily project striving to promote sustainable inland tourism.
Nestled on the eastern coast of Sicily, Taormina is a jewel perched on a hilltop overlooking the Ionian Sea and the imposing Mount Etna. This picturesque town is famous for its ancient Greek amphitheatre, which hosts concerts and events with breathtaking views as a backdrop. Stroll along Corso Umberto, the main pedestrian street filled with boutiques, cafés, and traditional Sicilian delicacies. Visit Isola Bella, a nearby nature reserve and beach, for a relaxing day.
Moving further south in Sicily, Agrigento is home to the awe-inspiring Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This archaeological treasure trove consists of well-preserved Doric temples, dedicated to ancient Greek gods and goddesses. The most iconic temple is the Temple of Concordia, renowned for its stunning architecture and scenic location. As the sun sets, the temples cast a golden hue, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors.
While Sardinia's beaches are undeniably dazzling and alluring, those who limit their exploration to the sand miss out on discovering one of the Mediterranean's most captivating islands. The wealth of prehistoric sites, such as the remarkable nuraghi (tower-topped circular settlements like Su Nuraxi), stone circles, and monumental Domus de Janas tombs, surpass even Stonehenge in intrigue.
Marvel at the Giganti di Mont'e Prama, saucer-eyed statues exhibited in Cabras. Venture into the mountainous interior to encounter quaint villages rich in traditions, from the political murals of Orgosolo to the world-class nougat of Tonara. Sardinia's historical tapestry includes Phoenician settlements, the cultural cities of Cagliari and Alghero, and the industrial heritage of the west coast, granting visitors access to thousands of years of captivating history.
Located on the northwest coast of Sardinia, Alghero is a charming medieval town that showcases a fusion of Catalan and Italian influences. Its narrow cobbled streets, ancient walls, and Gothic architecture will transport you back in time. The Coral Riviera, named after the red coral found in the region, offers a fantastic opportunity to discover underwater wonders through diving and snorkeling. Also, indulge in the delectable seafood and Catalan-inspired cuisine at the local trattorias.
Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started: