Ah, Sardinia. As I write this, I’m imagining myself back on the beach on Italy’s second largest island. Sardinia is totally unique, in the same way I found Sicily to be. It’s a bit of an enigma. Gorgeous beaches and endless natural beauty meet humble local farms and exclusive nightclubs. I loved it all.

We flew from Rome to Olbia, where we stayed at the cute Hotel Panorama (very original name, ha ha). We had a great meal and walked around the town. I even managed to get in a little shopping the following morning. After a short drive from Olbia, we started a short drive on the famous Costa Smerelda (emerald coast). We stayed at the Club Hotel Baja Sardinia, a stunning resort right on the beach. We had no idea at the time, but we arrived on the day of the resort’s big Ferragosto event. Despite all of my time in Italy, I had no idea there was a holiday celebrating the month of August. Brilliant! There was free flowing champagne and appetizers at sunset, followed by a prix fixe dinner with a view. Lily really enjoyed the music and dancing.

You can’t mention Sardinia without famed La Maddalena. We took a boat tour that stopped at the main island, including the tourist friendly town, and some of the incredible surrounding islands. I’m glad we got on the boat. The beaches were as gorgeous and undisturbed as advertised, at least in the morning (more boats descended as the day got later).

Next up was Alghero, a charming small city. The old town and ancient sea walls make for a great walk. We also checked out some wineries, including standout Winery Deluto. On the drive from Alghero to Cagliari, we stopped in picturesque Bosa. It’s an extremely cute, quintessentially Sardinian town. The colorful houses were adorable. I also loved that the fishing culture in Bosa is so prevalent that you see pescerias on every corner.

We ended our Sardinian adventure with some time in Cagliari. It’s a fairly large city, definitely bigger than I expected. While it still has character, it pales in comparison to Alghero and Costa Smerelda. Cagliari might be worth a visit for gelato lovers though, the gelato at Stefini was life-changing. We also enjoyed Mercato di San Benedetto, a huge food market (lots of great cured meats and cheeses). We had a fabulous dinner at Antica. Suprisingly, the closest beach to the city, Poetta Beach, is cleaner and more beautiful than any city beach I’ve seen in recent memory. We even found a family friendly beach club. Score!

Sardinia’s been on my bucket list on a long time. I’m so glad we were able to see it!