Both Sardinia and Sicily are popular destinations among tourists and they both boast of their unique beauty. Sardinia is known for its world-class beaches with crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. Sicily, on the other hand, is known for its amazing architecture, charming villages, and for having Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna.
Sardinia and Italy are two of the many islands in the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, they are the two biggest islands of the Mediterranean. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea followed by Sardinia. Sicily has a surface area of 25,711 sq. km. while Sicily has an area of 24,090 sq. km. making Sicily 1,621 sq. km. larger than Sicily.
In this article, we will talk about the size, population, and languages spoken on these two wonderful islands. We will also talk about some of the things you can do if you plan on visiting Sicily or Sardinia.
Size And Population
The island of Sardinia which is located on the western side of the Italian Peninsula is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a total surface area of 24,090 sq. km. and an estimated population of 1,628,384 as of 2020. The island also lies 120 miles west of mainland Italy and it is an autonomous Italian region.
The capital city of Sardinia, Cagliari, has an estimated total population of 476,975. Cagliari is also the island’s largest city. Being a large island, there are many beautiful places that you can visit and explore. Some of the must-visit places in Sardinia are Costa Smeralda, Cagliari, Alghero, and Castelsardo.
On the south of the Italian Peninsula lies Sicily which is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. With a total surface area of 25,711 sq. km., the island of Sicily is 1,621 sq. km. larger than the island of Sardinia. While Sardinia is a little far from the Italian mainland, Sicily is just off the tip of the boot of Italy. Sicily is also an autonomous region of Italy.
Not only does Sicily have a larger surface area than Sardinia, but it also has a larger population. Sicily has an estimated population of approximately 5 million as of 2019. The fifth biggest town in Italy is located in Sicily and it is also the island’s capital city. Palermo has an estimated population of about 1.2 million and it is located northwest of the island. Some of the best cities to explore in Sicily are Taormina, Syracuse, Cefalù, Noto, Palermo, and Catania.
Sardinia’s official language is Italian but you will also find locals that speak Sardu, which is the Sardinian language. The English language is also spoken however, you will mostly hear it in tourist towns and other attraction sites in Sardinia. Major cities like Cagliari, Olbia, and Sassari have English speakers as it is often visited by tourists. If you are planning to visit Sardinia, it does not hurt to learn a couple of Italian and Sardinian phrases to communicate with the locals, especially if you like to visit off the beaten paths.
Like Sardinia, the official language of Sicily is Italian. However, residents of Sicily also speak Sicilian which is a separate language from Italian. Since Sicily is a popular tourist destination, English is also spoken often as well, especially in the main tourist areas. However, English is not an official language in Sicily and most locals do not speak the English language. You will also benefit from learning basic Sicilian and Italian phrases if you plan to visit Sicily.
What To Do In Sicily And Sardinia
Sicily and Sardinia are both popular tourist destinations in Italy. With Sicily being larger than Sicily, there are definitely more places to explore and more experiences to enjoy. However, both destinations are worth a visit and you will definitely enjoy your time on either island.
If you like the water and having a relaxing time at the beach, Sardinia is the place for you. The Sardinian coast is a haven for beach lovers with its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. Sardinia also has a place for history lovers where you can visit the archeological site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. This prehistoric architecture dates back to the 2nd millennium B.C. in the late Bronze Age and was built by the Nuragic Civilization.
If you like cities with Baroque architecture, you will find some of the best Baroque cities in Sicily – Noto, Syracuse, Catania, Ragusa, Caltagirone, and Modica. Sicily also has several beaches. But, since the island has a large population, the beaches tend to be more crowded than the ones in Sardinia. There are also more pebbled beaches in Sicily. If you don’t mind crowded and pebbled beaches, you will find that Sicily is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. San Vito Lo Capo is one of the towns in Sicily with beautiful beaches.
There are also several sites in Sicily that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you can visit. Some of these sites are Mount Etna, Aeolian Islands, Val di Noto, and Valle dei Templi. There is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Sardinia and it is the archaeological site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini.
If you find yourself asking “Is Sardinia bigger than Sicily?”, you’ll be surprised that Sardinia is actually smaller than Sicily. Both islands are by no means small and they are the two biggest islands of the western Mediterranean.
Sicily is larger than Sardinia by 1,621 sq. km. and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea followed by Sardinia. If you like to explore more places, Sicily is larger and will give you more options when it comes to places. But, both Sardinia and Sicily are two beautiful destinations that are worth visiting.
Which island are you planning on visiting next? Sardinia or Sicily? Let us know via the contact form on our website!