Where to Stay in Sardinia

Make your much-awaited Italian holiday your most memorable one yet. Read on to discover where to stay in Sardinia for the best experiences.

Where to Stay in Sardinia Italy featured photo

Known for its lovely beaches and crystal blue waters, Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) has become a highly sought-after beach destination. Although there is an illusion that this Italian island on the Mediterranean is only accessible to the rich and famous, this misconception is quite far from reality. 

As the second largest island on the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is much more than its famous Costa Smeralda beach. It has a 2,000-kilometer coastline full of diverse sandy beaches, secluded coves, alluring grottos, and seaside towns — all with their own unique charms. Some coastal towns offer the best surfing spots, while others feature pristine turquoise waters. 

This island has much more to offer aside from its beautiful beaches and private beach clubs, though. Sardinia has a very deep history with archeological sites dating back to as early as the Neolithic age. There is an abundance of historic buildings, medieval churches next to ports that have seen countless battles and flag changes, and several intriguing museums. This lovely island is also home to a number of rustic vineyard villages and mountain towns where you can enjoy hikes with stunning views of its crystal clear seas.

Because Sardinia covers a vast area and offers plenty of fun activities, one might find it overwhelming to decide where to stay on the island. That is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the necessary research to find the best Sardinian cities and towns for you. 

In this article, we’ll share with you all the attractions on the island that we think you shouldn’t miss — from the north coast to the south and the west coast to the east. We also included some hotel recommendations and other activities you may want to try.

South Coast

Cagliari: The Best for First-Timers

South Coast Cagliari in Sardinia Italy

Cagliari, a beautiful seaside city, is the capital of Sardinia. If you’re visiting Sardinia for the first time, it would make sense to explore its capital to experience the culture of the island. Cagliari has a little of everything: fascinating museums, exquisite restaurants, local craft breweries, and beautiful beaches.

With plenty of Mediterranean sunlight hitting the city’s ancient Roman ruins and white limestone buildings, English writer and poet D. H. Lawrence described Cagliari in the memoir of his voyage to Sardinia as “a Jerusalem but without trees”.

The city has plenty of centuries-old churches and golden-hued town squares, but perhaps the most notable historic landmark among these is the hilltop district of Castello. It is a medieval walled area with granite pavements perched above the rest of the city.

Hilltop District of Castello in Sardinia Italy

Other historic landmarks worth visiting are the

  • Bastione Saint Remy – a neoclassical structure built between 1899 and 1902 with a monumental stairway and a panoramic terrace.
  • Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta e Santa Cecilia – sometimes referred simply as Duomo di Cagliari (or Cagliari Cathedral), a 13th-century Roman Catholic cathedral built for the Virgin Mary and Saint Cecilia and is the seat of the archbishop of Cagliari.
  • Castello di San Michele (Castle of San Michele) – a fortified medieval Spanish castle that was built to protect the city of Santa Igia and later became the residence of the Carroz noble family of Valencia between the 14th and 16th centuries.
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari (National Archeological Museum of Cagliari) – a former arsenal turned into a museum that houses bronze objects, Roman ceramics, and other ancient artifacts.
  • Porta Dei Due Leoni (Gate of Two Lions) – Cagliari’s southern gate built in 1535 and features sculptures of two lion heads.
  • Roman Amphitheater of Cagliari – an ancient amphitheater built in the 2nd century that is a few minutes away from the Castello district.

Drone shot of Cagliari Beach

If you prefer seeing more of nature, Cagliari also has that. The Poetto Beach is an 8-kilometer stretch of beautiful sands and pale blue waters. It also has great nightlife and is often busy as a result, especially during summer. 

If you want to stay active during your trip, the beach has running and biking paths, too. You may also hike on Sella del Diavolo, a mountain that lies along the shores of Poetto Beach.

If you want a more secluded beach, head on to Spiaggia di Sant’Elia (Sant’Elia Beach).

Where To Stay

Some of the best hotels in Cagliari are:

Hotel Nautilus

Coffee in Hotel Nautilus in Sardinia Italy

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Baggage Storage
  • Beach
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Concierge
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Shared Lounge/TV Area

Location: Lungomare Poetto 158, 09126, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy | Website

Hotel Regina Margherita

Hotel Regina Margherita in Sardinia Italy

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Check-In
  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Babysitting
  • Business Center
  • Concierge
  • Doorperson
  • Express Check-In/Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Private Check-In/Check-Out

Location: Viale Regina Margherita 44, 09124, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy | Website

T Hotel 

T Hotel in Sardinia Italy

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Baggage Storage
  • Business Center
  • Concierge
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Plunge Pool

Location: Via Dei Giudicati 66, 09131, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy | Website

West Coast

Oristano: Off the Tourist Trail

Oristano in Sardinia Italy

For those who want to get right off the beaten track, Oristano is a good option. This sophisticated city is about an hour’s drive away from Sardinia’s capital. Located northwest of Cagliari, Oristano sees fewer touristy crowds. The city has elegant shopping streets, ornate town squares, chic cafes and restaurants, buildings with magnificent architecture, art and history museums, and centuries-old churches.

Although there’s not much to see aside from its baroque cathedral, Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary) –– which is the largest cathedral in Sardinia, Oristano is a good base for the surrounding area. 

For nature lovers, you may take a trip to the nearby lagoons of Cabras and Santa Giusta. For wine lovers, you may visit the many vineyards and wineries nearby. The most notable one would be Vini Contini, famous for its Vernaccia di Oristano white wine.

Where To Stay

Mistral 2 in Sardinia Italy

Since the place is located away from the clamor of crowds, one can expect fewer lodging options. But Mistral 2 is a great choice should you decide to stay in Oristano.

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Business Center
  • Concierge
  • Express Check-In/Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Swimming Pool
  • Shared Lounge/TV Area

Location: Via Martiri di Belfiore 2, 09170, Oristano, Sardinia, Italy | Website

Alghero: A Beautiful Medieval Town With Spanish Influence

Alghero Town in Sardinia Italy

Located northwest of the island, Alghero is Sardinia’s main harbor town and its 5th largest city. This coastal town is known for its wonderful history and nature. This resort town’s narrow, winding streets are bustling with stylish boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and bars. 

This medieval city has an interesting history with 300 years of being under the Aragon Spanish rule. The Spanish influence is pretty strong and evident even on the streets, where signs are both in Italian and Catalan. One of the city’s main attractions is the Chiesa di San Francesco (St. Francis Church), a 14th-century Gothic-Catalan church.

Where To Stay

Alghero Town in Sardinia Italy

Alghero gets busy around July and August. So if you’re planning to visit around that time, it’s wise to book ahead of time. We recommend staying at the 3-star Hotel Angedras.

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Baggage Storage
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Concierge
  • Diving
  • Express Check-In/Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Shared Lounge/TV Area
Hotel Angedras Room with a woman in the balcony

Location: Via Giuseppe Frank 2, 07041, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy | Website

North Coast

Sassari: The Best for History Lovers

Compared to other major Sardinian cities on this list, Sassari is one of the lesser-visited ones, despite it being the 2nd largest city on the island. It is about 2 and a half hours from the island’s capital, Cagliari; and is also the oldest known settlement in Sardinia. Experts have seen archeological findings in the area that can be traced back to as early as the Neolithic age. 

Full of History

Altare Prenuragico Di Monte d’Accoddi in Sardinia Italy

The city of Sassari is filled with museums, local seafood restaurants, ancient alleyways, hidden churches, centuries-old town squares (piazzi), and palaces (palazzi). One of the most notable sites is the Altare Prenuragico Di Monte d’Accoddi (Prehistoric Altar of Monte d’Accoddi), a Neolithic archeological site that has huge raised platforms made of stone that are believed to be an altar. Another must-visit attraction is the Piazza d’Italia, the city square on the edge of the old town center where the well-known Palazzo Giordano and Palazzo Della Provincia are located.

Another historic landmark is the Museo Nazionale Giovanni Antonio Sanna (National Museum Giovanni Antonio Sanna). The man that this museum was named after was a Sardinian politician and businessman who donated treasured archeological and artistic artifacts to Sassari in 1878. These included about 250 valuable paintings from the 15th through the 19th century.

The Fountain of Rosello is considered to be the icon of Sassari and was included in the “Fountains of Italy” stamps. It was erected in late-Renaissance style around the early 17th century at the end of the Rosello valley. The fountain was a symbolism of time. It has 12 mouths representing the months of a year and 4 statues representing the seasons. 

The Sassari Cathedral, also known as the Catedral de San Nicolás, took 500 years to build. Thus, showcasing a wide range of architectural styles from the 12th through the 18th century. 

Where To Stay

If you want to be in the heart of Sassari’s historic center, we suggest you book a room at the very accessible Vittorio Emanuele. It has 44 spacious rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a cellar, and a conference center.

Vittorio Emanuele in Sardinia Italy

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Babysitting
  • Business Center
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Massage
  • Pets Allowed

Location: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 100/102, 07100, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy | Website

Stintinto: Gorgeous Resort Town With White Sand Beaches

Hotel Cala Reale Beach in Sardinia Italy

Stintinto is known for its beautiful beaches with gorgeous white sands. This quaint fishing village in northern Sardinia has become an increasingly appealing option for international travelers who want a calm and relaxing beach getaway. It has some of the best beaches on the entire island. No wonder this peaceful resort town has plenty of great accommodations. One of them is Hotel Cala Reale

Property Amenities:

  • Baggage Storage
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Children Activities
  • Concierge
  • Express Check-In/Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Shuttle Services
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Pets Allowed
  • Swimming Pool
  • Shared Lounge/TV Area

Location: Via Cala di Rena 1, 07040, Stintino, Sardinia, Italy | Website

Some of Stintino’s best beaches are the highly Instagrammable Spiaggia La Pelosa (La Pelosa Beach) and Pelosetta beach. Both have shallow waters perfect for swimming and lazing around. Other famous beaches worth visiting are Spiaggia Punta Negra and Cala Lupo.

History buffs would be interested to visit the northern east tip of the province to see Torre della Pelosa, a fortress built in 1578, that sits on a small rocky island out to the sea.

East Coast

Costa Smeralda: Glamourous Beach on the North East Coast

Costa Smeralda in Sardinia Italy

Feel like a star and witness the glitz and glamor that is Costa Smeralda. If you’re into private beach clubs, luxury yachts, golfing, and living the high life, this extravagant beach town is the place to be. Costa Smeralda, which means “Emerald Coast” in English, is a 10-kilometer stretch of glistening coastline between the Gulf of Cugnana and the Bay of Arzachena

As one of the most expensive locations in all of Europe, Costa Smeralda has attracted international billionaires, celebrities, and jet setters who prefer the finer things in life. During summer, you may want to see the world’s biggest yachts in Porto Cervo while enjoying its enchanting sunset. 

You can also witness the sunset or perhaps get a gorgeous suntan at Phi Beach. This chic private beach club is one of the most happening places in Costa Smeralda’s trendy scene. 

If you can’t get enough of this area’s beautiful beaches and landscapes, you may also take boat trips to the nearby La Maddalena archipelago. For those who want more of the history of the place, you may visit the Nuraghe La Prisgiona, where you can find around a hundred ancient ruins spread across 5 hectares of land. 

Orosei: Gorgeous Beaches on the East Coast

Sant'Elia Beach in Sardinia Italy

Another lovely place with beautiful beaches is the picturesque small town of Orosei. Nature lovers would love this place! It has a beautiful bay and a number of riveting hiking trails. With 20 miles of sandy beaches, coves, and grottos that lie along the Gulf of Orosei, there is definitely no shortage of spectacular views in this town. 

Some of the best beaches are Cala Mariolu and Cala dei Gabbiani.

Orosei is not only rich with beautiful natural scenery but also with manmade structures that are worth visiting. A medieval castle, 13 churches, and plenty of charming old houses make this town all the more enchanting.

A 45-minute drive takes you to the town of Oliena, where you can book a room at the lovely Su Gologone Experience Hotel

Su Gologone Experience Hotel in Sardinia ItalySu Gologone Experience Hotel Pool area

Property Amenities:

  • 24-Hour Front Desk
  • Baggage Storage
  • Business Center
  • Children Activities
  • Concierge
  • Fitness Center
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Pets Allowed
  • Swimming Pool
  • Spa

Location: Localita Su Gologone SNC, 08025, Oliena, Sardinia, Italy | Website

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