Sardinia, Italy: 4-Day Spring Vacation Itinerary

Spending 4 nights and 4 days in Sardinia was a glorious part of our incredible spring vacation to the Mediterranean, after traveling for 30 hours to get to the French Riviera, hanging out in Nice and Monaco. We spent 2 nights near the Nice airport and then went back to the airport to take a flight on EasyJet from Nice, France to Olbia, Sardinia which is on the northeast side of the island. Our itinerary consisted of the first 2 nights in Bari Sardo on the Baunei Coast, and the second 2 nights in Olbia to make a lovely 4 night and 4 day vacation in Sardinia.

Cala Goloritze on Baunei Coast in Sardinia

Day 1: Travel to Sardinia

Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off of the western coast of Italy, technically separated from it by the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is just south of the French island of Corsica (Corse in French), and northwest of the island of Sicily (Sicilia in Italian). Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, behind Sicily. Both Sardinia and Sicily are part of Italy, even though they both would prefer to be their own thing (and technically once were before Italy was unified).

Map of Sardinia

Sardinia has its own separate culture, even though in modern times it is part of Italy. Some of it does feel very typical Italian but other parts feel different, a bit Greek and even a bit Middle Eastern/Arabic at times (there are definitely some foods that have a Middle Eastern/Arabic flair!).

Map of Sardinia

After landing in Olbia, we planned on immediately driving down to the Baunei Coast, which is about a 2 and a half hour drive, and staying the first 2 nights in Bari Sardo . Then we would drive back up to stay the next 2 nights in Olbia before flying back over to Nice.

Flight to Olbia

To get to Sardinia, we took a mid-morning flight on EasyJet from Nice into Olbia. It was a beautiful partly-cloudy day. We were very excited to get to spend almost a full 4 days in Sardinia, which would give us plenty of time for both adventure activities and relaxing.

Easy Jet plane at Nice Airport in France

Once we got out over the Mediterranean Sea, it was much clearer and the blue skies and blue sea blended together.

Easy Jet plane over Mediterranean Sea

We brought on sandwiches we purchased in the airport, which were quite good. I ended up eating mine slowly over the course of the hour flight because, well let’s just say I may have had one too many Aperol Spritzes in Monaco the night before

Sandwich on a plane

We started our descent into Olbia with some beautiful views of the Sardinian coastline.

Easy Jet flying into Sardinia

We also flew over some mountainous terrain as we approached the airport.

Easy Jet flying into Sardinia

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the landscape in Sardinia but it was beautiful.

Easy Jet flying into Sardinia

We touched down to sunny Sardinia! Once we got off the plane, we made our way to the rental car desk to pick up our ride down to the Baunei Coast.

Olbia Airport

The main reason we chose to spend 4 days in Sardinia over Corsica (which was our other island choice when deciding where to travel on this trip besides the French Riviera) was the opportunity to rent a small dinghy boat and drive it up the Baunei Coast, which is a stretch of otherwise inaccessible coastline on Sardinia’s eastern side. Boating on the Baunei Coast in Sardinia just sounded like a fantastic way to enjoy the warm, spring weather in the Mediterranean.

The drive from Olbia to where we were staying on the Baunei Coast, a small town called Bari Sardo, took about two and a half hours. I didn’t capture any photos during the drive because I was the navigator while James was driving and my DSLR camera was packed away in my backpack. Usually I would just take photos with my phone while driving but it did not like doing the GPS navigation and taking photos at the same time (it heats up and crashes)!

Bari Sardo

We got to the Teku Boutique Hotel, which is where we would stay for the first 2 nights in Bari Sardo out of our 4 nights and 4 days in Sardinia. Bari Sardo is a town close to the marina where we were going to pick up our boat rental the next morning for boating on the Baunei Coast!

Teku Boutique hotel in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

The hotel is on a cute street with views towards the main church. The town is pretty small but adorable!

Teku Boutique hotel in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

Our room was on the second floor with a balcony overlooking the street below.

Teku Boutique hotel in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

We checked in and rested for a bit before heading out to a market to pick up some food and drinks for tomorrow’s boat day, and then went out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

We wanted to get some seafood by the water, so we chose a place called Sa Tracca which is right on the water near Torre di Bari, a historical tower monument. It was less than a 10 minute drive from Bari Sardo.

Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

This was a beautiful spot to watch the sunset and get some delicious food!

Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

It was a pretty casual place, which was exactly what we wanted. It wasn’t very crowded at the moment, only a few tables filled, but I could imagine this place would get busy for lunch on a hot beach day.

Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

We were able to sit right next to the beach which was fantastic.

Beer and wine at Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

We ordered a local Sardinian beer called Ichnusa (for James) and a half carafe of Sardinian white wine (just for me…because When in Sardinia…also because the house wine in Europe is so cheap!) and then ordered an antipasto plate (as is typical for our Italian vacation meals).

Antipasto plate at Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

It came with local Sardinian meats and cheeses, along with bread and butter. It did not disappoint!

Culurgiones at Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

For dinner, James ordered the culurgiones, which are Sardinian ravioli. They are much different than mainland Italian raviolis because they are filled with potato, pecorino cheese, and mint, and topped with a tomato sauce and more grated pecorino cheese. They were incredible and I wished I would have ordered some for myself as well! Fun fact about pecorino cheese, most of the world’s pecorino cheese comes from Sardinia! It might be my favorite type of Italian cheese as well since it is so sharp and salty.

Seafood fregola at Sa Tracca restaurant at the Torre di Bari beach in Sardinia

For my meal, I ordered the Sardinian pasta called fregola which is a couscous like pasta (a North African influence, which makes sense because Sardinia is pretty close to North Africa!), and often served in a tomato based seafood stew with lots of good local seafood like you see in this photo. My dish was filled mostly with mussels and clams. It was so shellfish-y tasting in the best way possible!

This was one of my favorite meals that we had in Sardinia, which is saying something because all of the meals we had were incredible! It was a great way to end our first of 4 days in Sardinia!

Day 2: Boating on the Baunei Coast

The morning of our second out of 4 days in Sardinia, we woke up and had a small breakfast out in the hotel garden area. It was looking to be a beautiful day for boating on the Baunei Coast!

Garden at hotel in Sardinia

After breakfast we headed over to the small harbor town of Santa Maria Navarrese, about a 20 minute drive, to pick up our boat rental.

Flowers on a tree in Sardinia

The parking lot in the town had these beautiful trees with pink flowers on them, so I had to take a picture.

Boat Rental in Santa Maria Navarrese

The boat rental company was located in the marina in Santa Maria Navarrese, which is one of the port towns on the southern end of the Baunei Coast. There were a few companies in the marina, but we chose Nautica Sea Service (Nautica S.A.S), mainly because James was able to book the boat via email when he was unable to book on their website (something to do with errors booking with a credit card, possibly due to it being a US credit card). They were great to rent with and we had no issues.

Marina in Santa Maria Navarrese, Sardinia

It was also relatively inexpensive for what you get to go boating on the Baunei Coast: starting at 150 euros for 8 hours for the smallest dinghy, and you don’t need a boating license (although we would highly recommend having boat driving experience under your belt because it was quite wavy and rough out in the open water!).

Another option is to book an excursion with a skipper, which would be a great idea if you have never driven a boat, don’t really feel like driving, or your entire party just wants to “party” all day and not worry about being able to drive back! Also it may be cheaper at ~30-35 euro per person depending on how many people you have with you. For the two of us, since we can drive a boat, we thought it was worth it for us to rent to boat and drive ourselves (also James loves driving boats)!

Marina in Santa Maria Navarrese, Sardinia

After checking in and getting our dinghy (along with a short safety instruction, which was short because James and I can both drive a boat) we were off to go boating on the Baunei Coast!

Baunei coast, Sardinia

We headed out of the harbor and out to sea, driving north along the Baunei Coast.

Baunei coast, Sardinia

The views were unreal! The coastline was dramatic ahead and reminded us both of the NaPali coast on Kauai island in Hawaii.

Baunei coast, Sardinia

It started out only a little bumpy, but as we got further out in the sea it got a lot more intense.

Boating on Baunei coast, Sardinia

I chose to sit up front which was probably a mistake because I was so afraid of bouncing out of the boat, but also I get very seasick out in the open water and was already starting to feel bad. Sitting in the back may have helped a bit with the bouncing around.

Boating on Baunei coast, Sardinia

Also, I was wanting to continue to take photos and video because it was just so gorgeous but that was not helping my nausea forming.

Google photos stitched this nice panoramic photo together for me automatically, which came out great, although pictures hardly do the Baunei Coast any justice!

Cala Goloritze

Luckily it didn’t take us too long to get out to Cala Goloritze which is one of the first “cala” or cove (I’ve also seen the word “cala” referencing beaches) along the Baunei Coast.

Cala Goloritze, Baunei coast, Sardinia

There are several cala you can get to, which is one of the main highlights of boating on the Baunei Coast. The boat companies will tell you how far you are allowed to go (and how far your boat can physically take you without running out of gas, so please listen to the company and don’t go further than they tell you! It’s for a good reason, you really don’t want to get stuck out in the ocean, especially considering the cell service is pretty weak!)

Cala Goloritze, Baunei coast, Sardinia

Cala Goloritze is probably what you’d see on Instagram or any internet search of Sardinia travel, because it is quite iconic with the sharp rocky formations, multiple coves, sandy beach, and turquoise blue water. This was exactly why we wanted to go boating on the Baunei Coast, which is the only way to see these amazing sights (other than maybe hiking some treacherous trails!)

Cala Goloritze, Baunei coast, Sardinia

I did not edit these photo in any way, so yes, this is pretty much exactly what you would see in real life, maybe even more turquoise than this!

Cala Goloritze, Baunei coast, Sardinia

We stopped at Cala Goloritze for a bit to see if we could anchor the boat and go for a swim to shore, but it was pretty crowded and there was not a lot of room on the beach (even at this early hour).

Cala Goloritze, Baunei coast, Sardinia

Also, by hanging out without the boat moving I was getting a bit more seasick, so we decided to keep heading north along the coast to more of the cala to see if we could find a less populated beach.

I stuck my GoPro into the water to take some video of the fish swimming around! Here are some still shots from the video.

The GoPro captured just how turquoise the water was, even under water!

Cala Mariolu

We went past a few crowded cala and got up to Cala Mariolu and it was pretty empty. Also, the cliffside was breathtaking! It was amazing to see miles and miles of this dramatic cliffside all up and down the Baunei Coast.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

At this point I was feeling like I needed to swim to shore to avoid getting sick off the side of the boat, so after James anchored the boat, I jumped right in and swam to shore. He followed me in and we arrived on the beach moments later after a short swim.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

Really the only thing that works to remedy seasickness once you already feel bad is to get yourself onto dry land. Once we got onto the beach, it was incredible! I felt better already, and the feeling of being on a (semi) private beach looking up at the cliffs and out at the turquoise water was incredible.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

I took my GoPro with me to the beach and got some video of us out on the beach. I grabbed some still shots from the video, but it definitely doesn’t do it justice.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

We ended up not being alone after a bit.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

The GoPro shots did a better job of capturing just how turquoise the waters were.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

The beach was small and mostly wet so we didn’t sit on the sand, but there was a cave with some flat rocks so we hung out inside there for a little while. I laid down and closed my eyes to try and feel a bit better, which was definitely working.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

The cave provided some lovely shade, and it was so neat sitting inside and relaxing.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

Apologies for the blurry photo, I got the GoPro wet and didn’t wipe it off so there are a few droplets on the lens. One of the downsides of a camera that can get wet.

Cala Mariolu, Baunei coast, Sardinia

James took the GoPro on the swim back to the boat and caught me swimming with my goggles on and holding onto a life jacket (we can both swim, but we brought one out just in case and I just happened to be lucky enough to have to swim it back to the boat!). Hanging out on the beach at Cala Mariolu was one of the best parts of boating on the Baunei Coast and one of the best activities we did during our 4 days in Sardinia!

Cala dei Gabbiani

After getting back on the boat and leaving Cala Mariolu, we went back south along the Baunei Coast to Cala dei Gabbiani. This cala had a large sandy beach, and lots of sandy bottom to anchor to (it’s important that it is sandy and not rocky, you really don’t want your anchor to get stuck on a rock!).

Cala dei Gabbiani, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

I found out where we ended up later by looking at my photos compared to images on Google Maps and also my Google location, because there’s no way at that time I was able to figure out where we were since I was feeling so sick at that point. After getting back on the boat the second time the nausea kicked in even more.

Boating at Cala dei Gabbiani, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

James anchored the boat and then I jumped in the water immediately and swam to shore. Luckily it wasn’t too far of a swim, and luckily I didn’t get sick in the water…

Boating at Cala dei Gabbiani, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

James hung out on the boat for a bit and made himself some lunch and had himself a few beers while I laid down onshore and tried to feel better.

Cala dei Gabbiani, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

James took some pictures while I was laying on the beach trying not to vomit everywhere. If you squint you might be able to see me near the back of the beach!

Cala dei Gabbiani, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

After a while, James swam out to join me on the beach and we relaxed for a bit more. We also noticed that the rocks around us were pure marble! No wonder the Italian Renaissance artists used marble, it was freaking everywhere! Some small marble rocks were even falling down near us which was a bit frightening. We moved into the cave nearby but it smelled a bit like pee, so we ended up back out on the beach.

Baunei Coast, Sardinia

I started feeling somewhat better and then started getting hungry. I didn’t really want to get back on the boat yet but that is where the food was, so we decided to swim back to the boat so I could try to eat.

While I munched on some bread, we started up the engine quickly so we could get moving and hope the seasickness would hold off a bit. We also wanted to start heading back toward the marina so we could return the boat. We had the rental for 8 hours, but came in earlier than anticipated since I was not doing well. I think we ended up using at least 6 hours of the rental, which was fine by me.

Cala Goloritze, Baunei Coast, Sardinia

We stopped by Cala Goloritze again and it was just as crowded. We hung out a bit as I finished my lunch, and it did seem like the water was a bit calmer now. Eating and drinking something also helped me feel a bit better.

Baunei Coast, Sardinia

There were some really cool rock formations due to the erosion, like this one that looks like it just got cleaved off.

As we were getting ready to leave, we noticed some jellyfish in the water and were happy to have seen them AFTER we had already gone for a swim…

Jellyfish in water on Baunei Coast, Sardinia

We started up the boat and drove back south toward the marina. Not going to lie, the next 30-40 minutes were rough for me. The sea wasn’t quite as wavy as earlier but it still wasn’t great. I was so happy to get back into the marina and on land!

Overall, boating on the Baunei Coast was a great experience: swimming to the small beach coves and enjoying the fantastic views. But if you get seasick like me, you might want to reconsider or take some Dramamine/wear a seasickness patch. I didn’t do either and I kind of wish that I had. I just don’t like how it makes me drowsy, and I feel like I can’t really enjoy the experience fully while taking the meds, although it don’t enjoy it while nauseous either so it’s kind of a lose-lose situation for me.

I was definitely less sick on this trip than on the dinner catamaran cruise we did out on the NaPali coast on Kauai island in Hawaii a few years ago. That was 2 hours of pure torture (out of a 4 hour cruise), although similarly breathtaking. Both boating trips were amazing while it lasted for me, but I’m not sure I would do either again unfortunately, unless I were better prepared with anti-seasickness medication.

Bar del Porto at the marina in Santa Maria Navarrese, Sardinia

After we returned the boat, we saw this cute marina-side cafe (or “bar” when you’re in Italy), so we stopped in for some post-boating drinks. It did help me feel better, both the carbonation and the alcohol in the beer.

Beer at Bar del Porto at the marina in Santa Maria Navarrese, Sardinia

We hung out for a bit to enjoy our drinks and then headed back into Bari Sardo to clean up before dinner.

Dinner in Bari Sardo

For dinner, we found this adorable restaurant in town that was very highly rated called I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in the center of Bari Sardo.

I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

It had adorable Italian garden vibes and we were excited to try more Sardinian delicacies. They had a ton of pizzas on the menu but we were interested in getting more pasta dishes.

I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

We started off with some beer and wine along with a beef carpaccio and cheese starter served with fresh bread.

Beer and wine at I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia
Beef carpaccio and pecorino cheese at I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

After that, we ordered a few dishes: we split a first course of Sardinian multi-colored hand-rolled pasta called malloreddus. It almost had a gnocchi-like texture, but was definitely a wheat pasta. It was served in a seafood tomato sauce which was delightful.

Malloreddus seafood pasta at I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

For my main, I ordered seafood culurgiones which was on the first courses list and unfortunately came out with the malloreddus dish. I had to eat it before James’ main could come out because that’s how it’s done in Italy. It had a beautiful plating presentation and was quite scrumptious!

Seafood culurgiones at I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

By the time James’ main came out we were both extremely full, but he really wanted to try the fritto misto, or fried seafood, so we (mostly he) powered through.

Fritto misto fried seafood at I Tre Mori Ristorante Pizzeria in Bari Sardo, Sardinia

I can only eat so much fried stuff (I get a stomach ache if I eat too much greasy food) so I did my best but James finished it out like a champ! We promptly got the check and went to bed, rounding out the last of our 2 nights in Bari Sardo.

Day 3: Beach Day and Drive to Olbia

On the morning of our third out of 4 days in Sardinia, we checked out of the hotel and decided to spend some time at one of the local beaches and grab lunch before making the drive back north to Olbia. We would be spending the next 2 nights in Olbia before flying back over to Nice.

Riva Di Ponente Beach

There was a nice beach near an oyster bar I wanted to go to for lunch, so we spent a few hours there until we got hungry.

Riva Di Ponente Beach, Sardinia

The beach was called Riva di Ponente beach, and it is a large white sand, turquoise water beach with stunning mountain views.

Riva Di Ponente Beach, Sardinia

It was mostly empty which was fabulous.

Riva Di Ponente Beach, Sardinia

It was also close to a port in the town Arbatax, so James was happy to look at the large cranes. We spent a few hours here soaking in the sun and wishing we could go in the water (there were hundreds of jellyfish hanging out so we said NOPE to that). It was a very calm beach though so if the jellyfish weren’t there it would be a great spot for a swim.

Lunch at Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar

After about an hour or 2, we went over to an oyster bar for lunch, called Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar.

Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar, Sardinia

This place was right on the beach and we got a table overlooking the water which was great.

Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar, Sardinia

Since this was an oyster bar, I obviously needed to get oysters!

Oysters at Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar, Sardinia

We got two different types of oysters (called “ostriche” in Italian): raw on the half shell, and “ostriche gratine”. James isn’t a fan of raw oysters but he does like oysters Rockefeller, which are usually baked with breadcrumbs, butter, and herbs, and also delicious. These ostriche gratine were similar but had cheese as well. James tried one of the raw oysters but basically I had the raw oysters to myself and half of the gratine. James ordered some smoked salmon as well which I had a bit of. This was a really nice, light lunch!

Oysters at Chiosco di Ponente Oyster Bar, Sardinia

Also, the oysters were grown right at the property (we saw the farm as we were heading into the restaurant) so you know they’re super fresh! They were probably the best oysters I’ve ever had! They were also probably the cheapest oysters I’ve ever seen (12 euro for 5 oysters!), which are usually extremely expensive in the USA (more like $20 for 6 oysters, yikes!)

Dinner in Olbia

It was about a two and a half hour drive back up to Olbia. Again, I didn’t take any photos unfortunately. I wish I would have taken some on my DSLR at least! I did however take a brief video on my phone before it crapped out, and I grabbed some still shots from it:

Driving in Sardinia

The drive was quite gorgeous, and mostly mountainous, but nothing too crazy.

Driving in Sardinia

We considered stopping at a few towns along the way, but decided we wanted to just get to Olbia and start exploring.

Olbia city center, Sardinia

We got to Olbia and parked at the train station which allowed overnight parking (for a fee), and it was only a few minute walk to our hotel. Olbia, like many cities in Italy, has a ZTL area which means you cannot drive a vehicle through the zoned area if you are not a resident, or sometimes you are only allowed to drive in the area during a certain time of day if you are not a resident. James discussed this in detail in his post about our hotel in the center of the Olbia’s ZTL area.

Olbia city center, Sardinia

Our hotel for 2 nights in Olbia, the CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, was brand new and only had one Google review, which was glowing. We took a risk but it was worth it because Olbia is a pretty small city and we were staying right in the middle of it, which was great for exploring the area. It also turned out to be a great accommodation: it was new, clean, and beautifully decorated.

Olbia city center, Sardinia

After checking into the hotel, we relaxed a bit and got cleaned up, and then went for a walk to check out the area and find somewhere to eat for dinner.

Olbia city center, Sardinia

I really loved the old feel of the city and the lovely flowers and succulents scattered about.

Olbia city center, Sardinia

After walking around a bit and not seeing anyone else eating food yet since it was still only about 7pm (a very Italian thing, so we weren’t surprised to see that in Sardinia either), we decided to just suck it up and sit down somewhere to eat. We don’t really like eating at places where there aren’t a good amount of other people also eating, because usually that’s a sign that the restaurant may not be that great. But we were getting very hungry, so we needed to eat!

Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

We ended up at a restaurant on the main street, Corso Umberto I, called Sas Tapas (from Google maps). They had a large display of some of the dishes they had on the menu, which typically screams “tourist trap!” but again, we were starving and the food did actually look pretty good. The restaurant also had great reviews so we said, fine, let’s go! The name of the restaurant on the display was “Sardus Chef, Restaurante Tipico by Sas Tapas”, which seemed to imply that these dishes were pretty typical Sardinian cuisine, so we were happy to try it out.

We started out with some Sardinian beer and wine, which was selected for us based on telling our waiter “Something very local, per favore!”

We also got a platter of “Oliena cured meats and Gavoi cheeses and jam” for our starter. It contained a few types of Sardinian prosciutto and salami, presumably from “Oliena”, and Sardinian pecorino style cheeses, presumably from “Gavoi”, some of which were wrapped in the Sardinian bread called Pane Carasau. This is a very thin flatbread, similar to a very thin and crispy pita bread or Arabic/Syrian bread. We also got some of the pane carasau on the side with other breads and breadsticks.

Antipasto platter at Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

Before the trip I had watched a documentary about how pane carasau is made: it is made with flour, yeast, water, and salt mixed together, rolled out and sometimes seasoned with salt and rosemary, and then baked. As it bakes, the bread puffs up, and then it is sliced in half so that it becomes two pieces (similar to how you would separate the halves of a slice of pita bread). Then as it cools it becomes cracker-like. It is also a super old recipe dating back to ancient Sardinia in BCE times!

Antipasto platter at Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

I had to include another picture that was even closer up to the cheese wrapped in pane carasau because, I have to say, it was incredible! It was warm, melty, salty, a bit chewy, and like eating a fancy mozzarella stick.

The pane carasau was pretty plain by itself, but I liked the texture, and ate some of it with the jam. The meats and cheeses were also incredible, and the Sardinian prosciutto was a bit different than other prosciutto I’ve had but also amazing.

Maccarrones de Poddighe pasta at Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

For our main meal, we split a first course and a main course. The first course was called Maccarrones de Poddighe, which was “Typical homemade Sardinian pasta served with tomato sauce, grana cheese, and sausage” according to the menu. It was AMAZING! The pasta was chewy in the best way, the sauce and cheese melted together as one but was so cheesy and savory, and it was just an incredibly delicious dish. I could eat this every single day of my life and be happy.

Beef filet with Cannonau wine sauce and crispy pecorino cheese and potatoes at Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

We were sad to see the pasta go, but then moved onto our main course which was also super delicious! We had the “Filetto di manzo sardo al cannonau in crosta di pecorino” or “beef fillet dressed with cannonau wine sauce and crispy pecorino cheese”. The funny thing was the wine I was drinking was also a Cannonau! I had never had it before, apparently it is a Sardinian Grenache wine.

The beef was so tender and a perfect rare-medium rare, the cheese on top was salty and crispy, the wine sauce was so savory/sweet and boozy in the best way, and it also came with mashed potatoes on the side which was perfect for soaking up all of that delicious wine sauce.

Fried chocolate ravioli at Sas Tapas restaurant, Olbia, Sardinia

Even though we were pretty full, once we saw the dessert menu we had to get something. This was a fried ravioli filled with a chocolate ganache similar to Nutella (could have even been Nutella for all I know!). It was light yet decadent, a perfect way to end the meal.

This entire meal was to die for! It was definitely my favorite meal we had during our 4 days in Sardinia. We were so happy we decided to eat there, and decided from then on we would just ignore if a restaurant was empty as long as it had great reviews, because otherwise we would miss out! While we were eating, the restaurant did fill up and eventually they were turning away people that did not have reservations. I think we got in at the right time!

Olbia city center at night, Sardinia

After dinner, we walked around a bit to work off some of that delicious meal, but also to take in the sights of Olbia at night as we headed back towards our hotel.

Olbia city center at night, Sardinia

Twilight was hitting and it was quite magical! I wish I would have stopped walking to take a better photo, but this was what I captured.

Olbia city center at night, Sardinia

Same here, a bit blurry but still captured a beautiful evening. The weather was absolutely perfect also!

Day 4: Beach Day and Explore Olbia

The next morning, we woke up and grabbed a quick breakfast at a cute cafe near our hotel. This was our last full day of our 4 days in Sardinia.

Cafe in Olbia, Sardinia

I got a cappuccino, James got a milk, and we got a few pastries.

Cappuccino and pastries at cafe in Olbia, Sardinia

Next, we had to choose a beach to go to for the day. It was going to be a beautiful, hot, sunny day which was perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Cala Brandinchi (Brandinchi Beach)

There are many, many beautiful beaches in the Olbia area to choose from! I wanted to make sure we went to a swimmable beach, and also one that was hopefully not too crowded. We had a few choices in mind, but ultimately chose Cala Brandinchi beach.

This is one of 3 beaches in a series, with what looked like some shared parking lots, so I thought if one beach was too crowded then we could pop down to one of the other beaches close-by. It was also one of the higher rated beaches in the area for swimmability due to its calm, shallow, turquoise waters.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

This was quite a beautiful beach! But for that reason, it was very crowded. By the time we parked (and paid about 5 euro), and found a spot to sit, we didn’t really want to get back up and go to another beach so we just enjoyed it as best we could with the crowds.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

If that first photo was “Instagram” this one would be “Reality”.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

I struggled to get photos that didn’t have people in them, but I eventually got lucky for a few minutes to capture some right at the water’s edge with no one around.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

Our spot was tucked back by a fence, and there wasn’t too much sand between us and the water, but it was a nice spot because we didn’t have anyone walking all over us like if we were to be sitting closer to the water. We sacrificed being able to sit with no one in front of us for the ability to not have sand kicked all over us.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

Cala Brandinchi is a pretty small beach relative to the other 2 nearby beaches, and someone could probably walk from one end to the other in less than 20 minutes.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

Looking to the left…

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

…and looking to the right.

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

The photos don’t quite capture how turquoise the water was in reality, and it was super clear. Going for a swim was a really nice and relaxing experience!

Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia

After a few hours relaxing, eating some snacks we brought along (Sardinian meats and cheeses, and some beers), doing some swimming, and getting some sunburns, we called it a day and made our way back to the hotel to shower and change for the rest of the day’s activities.

Exploring Olbia

We hung up our travel towels to dry on the railing on our small balcony, which had a nice view of some of the old buildings in town.

Looking out a windown in Olbia, Sardinia

In researching things to do in Olbia, I found that there was a shoe store called Amalia where you could purchase custom fit sandals, so we walked down the street to check it out and see if I could get a pair!

Amalia shoe store, Olbia, Sardinia

Luckily they were still open for a few more hours and I was able to get fitted for a pair of sandals! They had many different styles, with a few different foot bed types from entirely flat to heels with a few inches in height.

I chose a flat gladiator style sandal with straps that tie up the calf, similar to the gold ones shown in the bottom right of the photo below, but I chose brown straps instead of gold.

Custom shoemaking at Amalia shoe store, Olbia, Sardinia

Once I chose a style, the cobbler fitted my foot to a premade leather footbed that was the correct size (he had many, many options to chose from), and then he took some other measurements for where the straps would be nailed down to the bed.

He had me pay half of the price of the shoes then, and then the second half would be paid when I came back to pick them up. He said it would take about 30-45 minutes, which was great because we were leaving in the morning so I was afraid they would not be ready that day. I thought it was great to only have to wait less than an hour for a custom made pair of sandals!

They were also very reasonably priced. My style ended up being 50 euro, which I also thought was a great price for a pair of sandals that would be made custom to fit. I thought they would have been at least twice that price!

Gelato in Olbia, Sardinia

While we waited, we grabbed a gelato snack and walked down the main street.

Ferris wheel and event in Olbia, Sardinia

We got to the end of Corso Umberto I and saw that there was some event going on.

Arts and crafts fair in Olbia, Sardinia

There was an arts and crafts festival going on, so we walked around to check that out. We also heard what sounded like engines, so we walked a bit further to see what else was happening.

2022 Rally Italia Sardegna rally car race in Olbia, Sardinia

There were a bunch of racecars that looked like they were starting to line up in a parking lot. We were either seeing the beginning or the end of a race.

2022 Rally Italia Sardegna rally car race in Olbia, Sardinia

It ended up being a famous rally car race called 2022 Rally Italia Sardegna, which apparently was the 19th running year. The race had not yet started, we had stumbled on the pre-race event.

2022 Rally Italia Sardegna rally car race in Olbia, Sardinia

The race would technically start the next morning right here in Olbia, would run over the course of several days through Sardinia, and end in Sassari which is on the northwest side of the island. Reading the race’s Wikipedia article, it says the race “was contested over twenty-one special stages covering a total competitive distance of 307.91 km (191.33 mi)”.

2022 Rally Italia Sardegna rally car race in Olbia, Sardinia

We watched as each car made its way into this parking lot, presumably to set an order for starting the race the next morning. Unfortunately we would have to miss that, but we were also concerned that the traffic would be blocked off in the morning for our commute to the airport! We checked the map and made sure we knew what route was open for us.

After watching the cars for a bit, we went back over to the shoe store to pick up my shoes. The cobbler had me try them on to see how they fit. He adjusted a few straps that were too tight or too loose, taking the nails out and re-nailing them. After that was done and the fit was perfecto, I paid the balance and they bagged up my new sandals!

Outdoor seating at bar in Olbia, Sardinia

We continued to walk around and while we were starting to get a bit hungry it was still way too early to eat dinner (some restaurants didn’t even open until 7pm!) so we decided to find a bar to get some drinks and maybe an appetizer.

Outdoor seating at bar in Olbia, Sardinia

We found this adorable bar tucked away in what felt like a cute alleyway, and sat down for some drinks.

Limoncello cocktail in Olbia, Sardinia

James ordered a beer and I ordered a lovely limoncello cocktail. It was so refreshing!

Antipasto prociutto salami cheese plate  in Olbia, Sardinia

We were content just getting some drinks but the waiter convinced us to get an antipasto platter and we just couldn’t say no! It was actually quite huge, with several types of Sardinian meats and a few types of cheese, including a sheep’s cheese spread. It came with some delicious currant jam and pane carasau on the side. The kind of orange cheese in particular with the crystals was so sharp and salty, it was incredible.

Building in Olbia, Sardinia

As the sun started to set, and after a second round of drinks, we were getting a bit tipsy and hungry for some dinner at what felt like a super late time but was really a normal time for dinner at almost 8pm!

Street art in Olbia, Sardinia

We walked up and down the main street, seeing that the restaurants were all starting to get filled up. We got a bit nervous that we wouldn’t get a seat anywhere, but ended up getting a table at a pizzeria!

Prosciutto pizza in Olbia, Sardinia

We ordered some beer and wine to start, and eventually a prosciutto pizza to split. The restaurant was very crowded, and our waiter had to deal with a very large table next to us, so he was slow to serve us but apologetic. If we weren’t so hungry we wouldn’t have minded so much! Once we got our pizza, we scarfed it down, trying to enjoy every bite! This was the first and only pizza we had in Sardinia, and it was quite delicious, especially with the salty and savory prosciutto.

After that, we went back to our hotel to pack up for our last night and head to bed to round out the last of 2 nights in Olbia.

Day 5: Ciao, Sardinia! Travel Back to Nice

On our last morning of our 2 nights in Olbia, we went upstairs to the hotel breakfast area. James detailed more about this and the overall hotel experience in his post on the CasAunoe Boutique Hotel.

Breakfast at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel

Each day the hotel manager had asked us if we wanted breakfast at the hotel, and we said yes to breakfast for the second and last morning.

Breakfast area at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, Olbia, Sardinia

The breakfast area/office was up at the top level of the hotel, only about 4 floors up. I loved the tiled floors and the cute tables and chairs!

Breakfast pastries at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, Olbia, Sardinia

James had a chocolate croissant and I had some traditional Sardinian biscuits and pastries served with jam and butter. I also had a cappuccino of course!

During breakfast, the hotel manager came into the room and we started talking with her. James had emailed with her to set up the reservation so they had already technically spoken. We told her how lovely this place was and that we had a great stay. She was very happy, considering how new it was, and asked if we would write a review on Google and TripAdvisor. We said we definitely would, and would for sure come back to stay next time we came to Olbia! We would even consider staying for more than 2 nights in Olbia, considering there is a lot to see and do in the area!

Outdoor terrace at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, Olbia, Sardinia

After breakfast, we checked out the outdoor terrace on this floor that was adorable, and we were a bit upset we didn’t know it was there!

Outdoor terrace at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, Olbia, Sardinia

We would have taken advantage of that with some beer and wine in the evenings!

Outdoor terrace at CasAunoe Boutique Hotel, Olbia, Sardinia

Or even enjoying the morning views with a cappuccino! Oh well, we’ll just have to go back and stay there again 🙂

Flight from Olbia to Nice

We checked out of the hotel and walked to our car parked at the train station.

Olbia train station parking lot, Sardinia

The parking lot had a painted mural all around which was pretty cool.

We drove back to the airport and said goodbye to Olbia!

Olbia airport, Sardinia

We also saw a display of the beach we went to, Cala Brandinchi!

Olbia airport, Sardinia

This airport was really pretty, and we went outside to board our plane (not the pink one in this photo, but was a similar boarding arrangement). Again, we were flying EasyJet on our route from Olbia, Sardinia to Nice, France.

Olbia airport, Sardinia

It was a little cloudy when we took off, but I was able to see Isola di Tavolara which is a cool mountainous island off of the coast. We almost went to a beach that has a view of Isola di Tavolara, called Tavolara Beach. I kind of regret not going there, so we’ll just have to go next time we spend another 4 days in Sardinia (or maybe more!)

EasyJet plane flying over Sardinia

I’m not entirely sure where this next photo was taken, but it looks like a huge castle on an island all by itself…

Flying over islands in Mediterranean Sea

We started our descent back into Nice, and got some nice views of the coastline, although it was a bit cloudy. I think what’s shown in the photo below is Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

EasyJet plane flying over Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, French Riviera, France

This looks like it may have been Antibes below, with the couple of nearby beaches, the port, and the medieval looking buildings.

Plane flying over Antibes, French Riviera, France

When we arrived at the Nice airport, it was a little drizzly.

EasyJet plane landed at Nice airport, French Riviera, France

It didn’t take us long before we were on the train into the center of Nice for the rest of our French Riviera itinerary!

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed spending 4 nights and 4 days in Sardinia! I had a great time boating on the Baunei Coast, even though it made me a bit sick. It was definitely worth it for the views alone! I had a blast jumping into the water to swim to the cala beaches, and loved relaxing on the sand while trying to come down from being seasick! I would recommend boating on the Baunei Coast with caution: if you get seasick I would highly recommend taking a seasickness preventative measure, whatever that might be for you.

We also really loved spending 2 nights in Olbia and having 2 full days to go to the beach and explore the adorable Olbia city center. While planning this trip, we debated going down south to Cagliari, which is the largest city in Sardinia, but it was much cheaper to fly a round trip flight in and out of Olbia. If were to go back, I’d probably add in Cagliari but for sure would make a trip back up to Olbia. I’d even love to see the western side of Sardinia, as the landscape and culture seem to be a bit different than the eastern side from what I’ve read, and quite beautiful as well.

Sardinia was one of those places I never though I’d really get to visit, and one that I didn’t know much about before we started looking into traveling there. I am so happy that we were able to spend 4 days in Sardinia, because it was one of the most interesting and lovely places I’ve ever been to! The landscape, beaches, adorable towns, flowers, and of course the food and drinks make it an amazing vacation destination. If you’re looking for somewhere “off the beaten path”, come to Sardinia!

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