Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily) and lies between Italy, Spain, and Tunisia, south of Corsica.

Sardinia is only a few hours by ferry from mainland Italy but can seem a world apart. Cagliari, the island's capital, is a class act that hums with cosmopolitan charm yet retains a palpable old-fashioned feel. There's lashings of history and culture, plus Italy's longest beach just up the road.


10 Jan 2003 - Sardinia, Italy

Alghero is a beautiful city and one of the prime tourist centres of the island. The old city with their cobbled medieval lanes, cafes and gelaterias fill up in the evening as everyone is out and about, shopping, strolling and meeting friends. The sea walls, illuminated at night offer the focus of the Alghero's best promenades.

Walking and dining are nice ways to spend some time but the coastline should also be seen. We hired bicycles and took the trip around the horseshoe bay, the Porto Conte. Along the way beautiful views and countryside go by and the advantage of bikes is that you can stop along the way and inspect whatever takes your fancy. Excellent beaches which at this time of year are deserted lie not far off the road behind wooded areas.

The far side of the bay is the Capo Caccia, Sardinia's own Rock of Gibralter sloping up gradually 350 ft only to plummet in sheer cliffs down to the sea. Further up, at the end of the road, there's a snack bar, views across the bay towards Alghero, and the land entrance to the Grotta de Nuttuno: the 650 step Escala del Cabriol, cut into the rock face. Because we had hire bikes and no bike lock, entrance to the grotta was impossible.

This attraction is a cave, 2km into the cliff. Its narrow entrance is only a few feet above sea level. Inside is the 330ft Lake Lamarmora, one of the largest salt-water lakes in Europe. Neptune's Grotto is special not only for the subterranean lagoons and stalactites, but the colours ranging from white to orange.
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