Europe,  🇮🇹 Italy

South Sardinia: from Chia to Carloforte

When June comes, usually I’m quite out of breath due to several months of hard work and I like very much – if possible – to take a short break. And it’s my desire of relaxation that, a couple of years ago, inspired me to fill one of my big gaps: always focused on the desire to travel elsewhere, I’ve never been to Sardinia in my life. Assuming that a one-stop holiday is not for me, as well as the concept of same sea, same seashore, and adding the fact that I prefer informal places to worldliness, these two things together brought me to conceive a short itinerant holiday in south Sardinia. The “wildest Sardinia” as some people described it to me.

The beaches near Chia

After landing at Cagliari airport we rent a car and, with no hesitation, we drive south-west to Chia. It’s early June and I have the impression that there are only a few tourists around. Close to Chia the beaches have golden sand and clear waters as I expected. They are wild in the sense that they are not equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas nor crowded; both factors that I extremely appreciate because it’s possible to enjoy the beauty of the natural environment at its best.

Sa Colonia is a tongue of golden sand bordered by a small promontory where the massive Torre di Chia stands. The sea water has a perfect light-blue shade, although it’s quite cold. Other beaches are located along this stretch of coast of south Sardinia, such as Su Giudeu or Cala Cipolla, all of them with a similar landscape made of blue sky and blue waters.

Sea and beaches near Chia in south Sardinia
The beach of Chia

In this area you can spend several days basking in the sun and relaxing yourself. In the evening you can go out in search of a good restaurant (red tuna is one of the specialties of the island) and after dinner just have to enjoy the stars…

Road SP71: amazing landscapes of south Sardinia

After a couple of lazy days spent in Chia, we’re on the move in our car, west direction. We pass Capo Spartivento and from the coastal road a lovely glimpse appears in front of us, not far from Tuerredda beach. A placid bay, a forested islet and some white boats dozing with the sails furled…

Tuaredda island in south Sardinia
The view on Tuaredda islot from the coastal road

Going further, the coastal SP71 becomes a winding panoramic road that unrolls one hairpin after another and offers some of amongst the most beautiful views of south Sardinia. We drive with no hurry to enjoy the amazing scenery of this area and spot the most hidden coves. Driving on a cabriolet would have been a top experience… keep this in mind if you come around here!

Minor islands in south Sardinia: Sant’Antioco and San Pietro

Travelling clockwise along the Sardinian southern coast we reach the island of Sant’Antioco, where a torrential rainstorm welcomes us. In half an hour a lot of water comes down from the sky, then it stops and a warm sun appears between the clouds. We spend the night in Sant’Antioco where we have dinner in a remarkable craft brewery serving excellent pizzas. The morning after we get up early to take the ferry that will bring us to a near island: the small and pretty island of San Pietro, a true hidden jewel of this region.

Sant'Antioco la Salina beach
La Salina beach in Sant’Antioco, after the rain
Ferry from Calasetta to Carloforte
On the ferry from Calasetta to Carloforte

Carloforte, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy

The ferry ride from Calasetta to Carloforte takes only 30 minutes. At our arrival, first of all we spend the morning walking through the streets of Carloforte. It’s a really picturesque city characterized by Genoese-style buildings with colorful facades, very unusual in this area. The narrow streets are full of picturesque sights, and local shops attract me as magnets. Who can refrain from wandering around and satisfy the sudden urgency of buying anything (no matters what)? Later we cannot resist the temptation to taste the local cuisine and we have lunch on the shaded veranda of a typical and very well known restaurant. A delicate appetizer made of red tuna fish carpaccio with figs is so delicious! Now I’m convinced I had such a brilliant idea to come here!

Getting lost in the blue

In the afternoon we take the car, we pass the salt pans that are close to Carloforte village, and we drive to La Bobba beach. It’s a small bay with crystal clear waters that magnetically attract us like a siren’s song. It’s hot and a refreshing bath is what it takes. Lying on the cliffs under the sun, the gaze is lost into the thousand shades of blue of the horizon.

salt pans near Carloforte
Former salt pans near Carloforte
clear waters at La Bobba beach, south Sardinia
The sea in front of La Bobba beach

Before returning to the ferry that will bring us back to the mainland, we stop on the scenic cliff of Punta delle Colonne. Time flies pleasantly in San Pietro island, and what I’m really sorry for is not having planned to stay here for a couple of days. We could have enjoyed the evening atmosphere of Carloforte and explored the other bays of this small enchanting island. My tight schedule includes new travels and other places to visit in south Sardinia. Come on now, hurry up, the ferry is about to leave!

Punta delle Colonne in San Pietro island south Sardinia
Punta delle Colonne, San Carlo island

 Useful Peanuts:

  • I preferred to book in B&Bs for my walking holiday in south Sardinia, there’s plenty of them in the region. The hosts we’ve met were so kind, they gave us great suggestions for the best restaurants and beaches.
  • While visiting the places described, we spent 2 nights in Chia and 2 in Sant’Antioco. Looking back, I’d recommend to stay at least one night on the island of San Carlo.
  • Ferries timetables and prices to go to Carloforte can be found here.
  • Renting a car is the best way to travel freely through Sardinia (I warmly recommend to book in advance). Car rentals might be quite expensive in Italy, but do not underestimate the advantage of being able to optimize your time.
  • Sea water in Sardinia tends to be quite cold. Bathing in early June requires a certain determination, but a half-wetsuit can help.
  • Are you looking for the most beautiful seas in the world? It’s hard to compete with Sardinia! But if you are willing (maybe one day) to fly in the Indian Ocean, you can find a similar palette of blue shades in Mauritius.
Nadia Bravo

Dreaming of imaginary space journeys and uncharted planets is what I used to do when I was a child. Planning my own routes here on Earth is what I do now. Each time a new destination. My travel partner in crime is Ale, my better half and definitely a much better photographer than me. Then there’s me, of course! I am the one who studies and plans. A travel couple who looks for beauty, new horizons and different points of view.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.