We spent 7 days on a wonderful Sardina itinerary and discovered the best things to do on this beautiful island. Sardinia is the perfect island to discover on a road trip. You can relax on the beach, see mystic caves and go hiking in the amazing mountains. You can find our route and experiences of the Sardinia itinerary for 7 days in our travel report.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Sardinia Itinerary 7 Days
You can find our detailed Sardinia itinerary here:
Day 1 – Cagliari on a Sunday
Since we flew to Sardinia on a Sunday morning and landed in Cagliari, the city of Cagliari was also supposed to be the first stop for our Sardinia itinerary. I had done a lot of research beforehand on whether to visit Cagliari on a Sunday, as I wasn’t sure if the stores were open and therefore worth a visit. Internet research revealed… the stores are open and there are even several flea markets. That and the fact that the weather was not supposed to be quite good on this Sunday, strengthened me in the decision.
Well… but unfortunately everything was different than expected. Yes, some stores are open, but most were closed. And the flea markets consisted of only 4-5 booths. Since the weather was even worse than expected, we have not even looked at these. Cagliari itself is a beautiful and at the same time the largest city in Sardinia and enchants with many small streets and a lot of charm. On normal days, this certainly radiates a lot of flair … but on this Sunday everything seemed very deserted. So if you want to go to Cagliari, then better on another day.
Where To Park Your Rental Car?
You can park near the marina. There is a parking lot that costs only 1 Euro per hour, which I found quite cheap. From there you can easily explore Cagliari by foot and visit the various sights.
Sardinia Sights in Cagliari
The old town of Cagliari is called Castello and is located on a hilltop overlooking the entire Gulf of Cagliari. The old town is also where most of the sights are located, and you can easily explore them on foot. We found the botanical garden Orto Botanico di Cagliari particularly beautiful.
The botanical garden was first opened in 1886 and contains a collection of native plants, medicinal plants, biblical plants, an extensive collection of cacti and rare plants from different continents. Also you should not miss the Bastione di Saint Remy. From there you have a wonderful view over the whole of Cagliari. On the old bastion there is a panoramic terrace, which is a popular meeting place for tourists and local people.
The large panoramic terrace Umberto I, together with the terrace Santa Caterina above, is one of the most beautiful places in Sardinia. On the way to the bastione, you’ll keep passing great churches like the Cattedrale di Santa Maria or ancient ruins. It’s best to use Google Maps to make sure you don’t miss anything.
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Otherwise, good ideas for the march route can be found at http://www.cagliariturismo.it/en. There you can see routes on different topics, such as culture, shopping or nature. You can spend a few hours exploring the city before you leave to your hotel. If you don’t want to drive any further on this day you can definitely stay in one of the best hotels in Sardinia close to Cagliari.
In the afternoon we did some shopping at Auchan and then went to our B&B (Villa Rafael*– highly recommended) in Poggio dei Pini. From Cagliari we took the SS195 to Poggio dei Pini. The road passes several salt lakes on which you can always see the flamingos. We took a walk to the lake Lago Grande in the evening and then ate a very tasty pizza at Mama’s before falling into bed dead tired.
Hotel Recommendation after your visit in Cagliari
Just outside in the middle of the idyllic nature
Villa Rafael* is where we spent our first night. The B&B is located a bit outside, but is absolutely worth the drive. Everything is very lovingly decorated and the owners of the B&B are very attentive. The wonderful breakfast with delicious croissants and fresh fruit is on the terrace with a view of the greenery. For us it was just perfect there.
➤ Cost for a double room: from 20 €
The enchanting B&B Villa Rafael at Booking*
B&B with enchanting garden near the beach
Directly in Pula is the pretty hotel Villa Margherita Suite & Charm*. The accommodation is surrounded by greenery and has a beautiful garden where you can relax on the comfortable sunbeds…. and the nearest beach is also only 700m away.
➤ Cost for a double room: from 60 € including breakfast
The beachfront B&B Villa Margherita at Booking*
Day 2 – Pula, Chia and flamingos
For our second day in Sardinia, I had planned stops in Pula, Chia and Capo Malfantano before heading to our next hotel in Portocusco. When we left from Poggio dei Pini, we were already in Pula after about 20 minutes. Since it was still early in the morning and everything was closed, we decided to continue to the beach first and visit the city later.
So we went first to Spiaggia di Nora and to Capo de Pula. At Capo de Pula there is an excavation site, the Area archologica di Nora. What I didn’t know before is that it costs 7.50 Euro per person and you can only go there with a guide. Since this was too expensive for us, we were content with a short walk on the beach and quickly returned to the town. Pula itself is a charming village with winding streets and old patrician houses. We were particularly impressed by the colorful pennants hanging in many streets. However, I’m not sure if these hung there for a specific occasion or are always there.
The starting point for our tour of the city was the parking lot at the Commune di Pula. This is a central starting point to visit the village by foot. During our visit to the small streets, unfortunately, it showed again that only a few stores had open and the small town seemed very sleepy. Life apparently only really comes in during the high season, when the tourists are also there. So if you like to stroll through the small towns you should not fly to Sardinia too early before the high season.
After browsing through the few open stores we continued towards Chia. Chia impresses with its beautiful beaches and the partly 30 meters high sand dunes. Also there are in Chia some offshore salt lakes, where we finally had the chance to see the flamingos up close.
We parked for this at the entrance to Spiaggia du Monte and were able to walk along the edge of the lake until we had a good view to take some photos. Afterwards we continued to the Spiaggia de su Guided. We parked here in the parking lot that is next to the caravan campground. This costs 4 Euro for cars and is therefore quite expensive.
If you have some time you can also try to find a cheaper parking lot on the other side of the salt lake. But for us it was more important to get to the beach quickly. From the parking lot it is about 5 minutes walk to the beach. At the Spaggia di su Guided on one side of the white beach is the beautiful sea with a view of the islands in front of it and on the other side is a salt lake in which we also discovered a few flamingos. On this beautiful beach we could first enjoy a few rays of sunshine and take a break.
Portoscuso by Coastal Road SP71
However, this break has ensured that we have not reached our last goal for this day. Actually, we still wanted to visit Capo di Malfantano and enjoy the beautiful view there. However, since we still had to drive 1.5 hours to Portoscuso, we had no more time for this. But we were lucky with the great view that we could enjoy on the drive along the SP71 along the coast. Here you pass so many beautiful beaches and viewpoints, so we would have loved to stop every few minutes. So if you’re traveling in the southwest, definitely take the coastal road.
We experienced the complete opposite at the entrance to Portoscuso. I had not exactly researched the place in my planning. I just wanted to find a good starting point in the west of Sardinia for further excursions… so we ended up in Portocuso. Portoscuso unfortunately does not captivate with the charm of a small Sardinian town. Rather, it is quite a large city with an even larger industrial area.
However, we were lucky with the choice of our B&B Le Ginsestre*. This was located near the beach with a view of the sea and without a view of the industrial plants. I was still a bit annoyed that I had missed that before. Well, the first evening with foccacia, olives, tomatoes, strawberries and a beer on our balcony overlooking the sunset was still very nice.
Hotel Recommendation in the Southwest
In the mountains for nature lovers
On my next trip to Sardinia, I would stay at the Arroccas de istellas* farmhouse. Farm might sound a bit old-fashioned… but this definitely does not apply to the Arroccas de is istellas. The rooms are newly renovated and very cozy. Here you can only feel comfortable. ➤ Cost for a double room: from 55 €
Day 3 – Sant Antioco in Low Season
We spent the third day of our Sardinia road trip on Sant Antioco. Sant Antioco is the second largest island in Sardinia and is connected to the mainland of Sardinia via a bridge. From Portoscuso you can reach Sant Antioco in about 25 minutes by car. Here, too, it turned out that a visit outside the main season is not really worth it. Many sights in the city had closed and could only be visited from the outside or from a distance. So we didn’t stay there long and drove on to the second larger town on the peninsula, Calasetta.
Calasetta also seemed very deserted and only with effort we could find an open café for a break. After that, we continued according to Google Maps to the individual beaches and rocky cliffs. With the beaches in the south and west I must unfortunately say that I found these not particularly appealing as the beaches were full of dried up algae and garbage. I assume that these are cleaned regularly during peak season. I can’t explain the good reviews online any other way.
Nido dei Passeri
On the other hand, we found the cliffs at Nido dei Passeri beautiful. Here you have a great view of the island of San Pietro and can walk along the rocks. This was definitely our highlight on Sant Antioco.
After that, we actually wanted to continue around the peninsula, but from Cala Lunga on, the road was closed, so we had to drive back across the island. Since we still had some time, we made a short detour from Sant Antioco to Porto Pino to the beach. The beach of Porto Pino is located in a larger bay, which makes it pleasantly windless here and you can stand it well even with not so warm temperatures.
If you are in the vicinity, a visit is worthwhile in any case. Since in our case the rain clouds were already approaching again, we unfortunately didn’t stay there that long and drove back to Portocusco within about 45 minutes. Even if Portocusco could not convince me, the place has a nice little beach where you can go for a walk. That’s exactly how we spent our last evening before it should go on the next day to the northeast of the island.
Day 4 – Grotte di su Manna
Day 4 greeted us, how could it be otherwise, with rain clouds. Well… since we spent on this day at least 3-4 hours in the car, this was for once not so bad. We cancelled our stopover in Iglesias due to the rain, so that we visited the Grotta di su Mannau instead.
Grotta di su Mannau
From Iglesias it takes about 45 minutes to reach the grotto, which is located in the mountains. The drive there is in constant serpentines uphill and downhill through the Terras Nieddas mountain massif. There are several free parking spaces at the cave, and drinks from the bar will tide you over until the guided tour. The entrance fee to the grotto is 10 Euro per person, and the guided tour starts every 1.5 hours.
The Grotta di su Mannau is a stalactite cave with a total length of 8200 meters, partially developed for tourism. The stalactite cave has halls up to 30 m high, through which steel paths and stairs lead, which can be visited with a guide. The tour itself lasts about 50 minutes. During our tour, the explanations of each area were told only in French.
For us there was a folder with the explanations in English. Unfortunately, these were not available in German. It is definitely worthwhile to participate in the guided tour. We found the grotto with its stalactites and stalagmites very impressive.
Arrival Cala Gonone
From the grotto we drove across the island to Cala Gonone within about 3 hours (about 216 km). The village can only be reached via an impressive winding road. The former small fishing village is now a tourist resort with mainly hotels, bars, restaurants and souvenir stores. In the high season, it will certainly be crowded here.
However, at the beginning of May you can stroll through the small streets and along the beach in peace. The beach of Cala Gonone is a slightly reddish pebble beach. This coupled with the turquoise sea and the mountains in the background makes for a beautiful panorama.
We spent the evening with a short walk before we went to eat at the pizzeria Zio Pedrillo. The small restaurant is not located on the promenade but is much cheaper and offers very tasty food.
Hotel Recommendation in Cala Gonone
We spent the night in Cala Gonone at the Palmasera B&B*. The enchanting B&B is located on the grounds of the campground belonging to it. We enjoyed our time here very much and felt very comfortable. The rooms were modern, the staff was very friendly and the breakfast was extensive. From the hotel you walk less than 10 minutes to the beach. ➤ Cost for a double room: from 60 € including breakfast
The gorgeous Palmasera at Booking*
Day 5 – Gorge Hike Gola di Goruppu
For our fifth day during our Sardinia road trip, we had picked out a hike in the Supramonte Mountains… the hike to Gola di Goruppu. The Gola di Goruppu is a gorge in the provinces of Ogliastra and Nuoro. The gorge was formed by the river Riu Fiumineddu and is surrounded by walls up to 500 meters high. The parking lot to the gorge is about 30 minutes by car from Cala Gonone.
The approach in itself is a highlight in Sardinia, because you always have a great view of the Supramonte Mountains. The parking fee is 4 Euro for half a day (7 am – 1 pm) and 6 Euro for a full day. From the parking lot, go down the road on the right and cross the concrete bridge. After that the trail starts on the left side. The beginning of the trail is marked with an overview board.
After that, the path is always marked in red and white. The hike to the entrance of the Gola di Goruppu takes about 1.5-2 hours. The path, which is about 7 km long, leads through forests and repeatedly along the river Riu Flumineddu.
The hike to the entrance of the gorge is very easy and can be mastered by young and old. At the entrance to the gorge is a small pavilion built, where a guide is waiting. Here you have to pay another 5 Euro per person to enter the gorge. The guide explains at the beginning something about the route, which is divided into three sections, and about the flora and fauna present there. The first two sections are suitable for beginners. The third section is only for experienced hikers and climbers.
The Hike at Gola di Goruppu
After the introduction by the guide, the hike, which is done without a guide, can begin. The path leads repeatedly over large rocks along the gorge, which becomes narrower and narrower. The gorge is formed by vertical, partly overhanging limestone walls. In the middle of the gorge runs the river, which is probably almost dried up in the summer. When we were there in May, the water was so high that we had to wade through knee-deep water to get to the second section.
Be prepared for wet feet
Since we weren’t prepared for this and couldn’t roll up our pants far enough, we continued hiking with wet pants after the river crossing. It is best to take hiking sandals or water shoes. Crossing the river barefoot is not pleasant due to the sharp pebbles. We reached the end of the second section after about 20 minutes.
The third section of the gorge was cut off by even deeper water, so you would have had to swim. Since the water was very cold and it was also rainy that day, we didn’t make it to the third section. So for us, at this point, we had to turn around and hike back. But even so, the hike was a real highlight, which you should not miss. Since the hike is very famous, you should start as early as possible to soak up the atmosphere of the gorge without many other people.
After our hike we went back to the hotel for a short break. We spent the evening strolling through the many souvenir stores. Afterwards we had an excellent dinner at the Restaurant Favoritana overlooking the beach and the sea. The Restaurant Favoritana was a bit more expensive than the Zio Pedrillo. But we got free prosecco, olives, focaccia and a beautiful view…. just as you would imagine on vacation.
Day 6 – Cala Gonone Beach and Coastal Walk
On day 6 of our vacation in Sardinia, we were very lazy. We spent half the day lying on the beach enjoying the beautiful weather and ice cream from Gelateria Fancello. But later we had the urge for some movement and walked towards Cala Fulili. The first part you can walk along the beach before you have to turn onto the main road.
From the main road, paths go down again and again to small bays where you can enjoy the turquoise sea all alone. So it happened that we wasted a lot of time during the walk and at the latest when our stomachs started to growl we turned back towards Cala Gonone. However, the walk has led to the fact that I have dealt with the route in the evening a little more precisely and this landed for the next day again on our plan.
Day 7 – Grotto del Bue Marino and Villasimius
My research the night before showed that you can take the main road along the coast to Cala Fulili bay. There the road ends, so you have to park there. From the end of the road, a hiking trail leads steeply downhill until you reach sea level. If you turn left, you will reach the bay of Cala Fulili and can enjoy the day on the beach. If you want to hike even further, you can go directly opposite again steeply uphill.
The trail along the coast and the cliffs leads first to an access to the Grotto del Bue Marino, one of the most beautiful Sardinia sights we have seen during the 7 days. The last section to the grotto is steeply downhill between the cliff walls until you reach a staircase. The steel stairs continue down and along the outside of the cliff to the entrance of the Grotto del Bue Marino. The cave is quite small. You can theoretically enter the cave further, but when we were there, the actual cave was closed.
Since time was short for us on this day, we unfortunately had to start our way back at this point. If you have more time you can continue the hike. As soon as you are back on the main path, you can continue along the coast to another entrance to the Grotta del Bue Marino. If you still have not had enough, you can even walk to Cala Luna. The coves are also regularly visited by boats from Cala Gonone. So you can hike to Cala Luna and in the afternoon take a boat back to Cala Gonone.
Since we still had a long way back, we unfortunately could not hike to Cala Luna and had to go back to the car instead. From Cala Gonone it took us about 3 hours to get to Villasimius. The first 30 kilometers led along the top of the Supramonte mountain with a continuously spectacular view. Even after that you could enjoy the beautiful view on the complete way to Villasimius, so that the 3 hour car ride also had something nice.
In Villasimius we spent the last afternoon of our Sardinia road trip eating ice cream, strolling and walking to the beach. Villasimius is a small Sardinian community in the south of Sardinia, which has developed over time into a tourist resort. This is certainly due to the miles of beautiful sandy beach in front of Villasimius. Here we could again hold the feet in the unfortunately still very cold sea before it went within an hour further direction Cagliari. In Cagliari we spent our last evening with a delicious Italian pizza before it went back home early the next morning.
What are your favorite Sardinia sights? Do you have any tips for our next Sardinia road trip? Write us a comment!