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A secret Sardinia that will cure your wanderlust

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The Mediterranean’s second largest island, Sardinia boasts pristine white beaches and aquamarine waters throughout its fascinating coastline, and is an ideal destination for a luxury holiday.

Since the 1960s, Sardinia has become an exciting and unrivalled luxury holiday destination for musicians, designers and political leaders. The likes of George Clooney, Harrison Ford and Sting is to name but a few of its’ devotees. A spot that can offer both privacy and panache in equal measure makes this an alluring and intriguing part of the world to explore.

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Bordering the glitz and glamour of the Costa Smeralda is a hidden and quietly understated territory that is unspoiled and secluded. Head to the furthest north-easterly point of the island and you will reach the region of Gallura. It’s definition; ‘on high ground’ is very descriptive of the landscape, characterised by small fiords, granite rock-cliffs and multiple islands which creates sea views that are both mesmerising and unforgettable. This region generates the highest income of the entire island and if you go there, you can appreciate why.

Many of the hotels are four and five star. So if you are looking for a romantic, charming and elegant retreat, the five-star Hotel Capo D’orso can offer that in abundance. It’s located in private gardens surrounded by olive and juniper trees and overlooking stunning views of Caprera Island and the Costa Smeralda. Here you can expect fine dining Gallura style, golf surrounded by acres of lush scenery and luxury spa treatments followed by a private yacht taking you out to sea from its very own exclusive Marina.

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And if rest and recuperation are on the agenda, right on the borders of The National Marine Park is the Resort Valle dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa. Treat yourself to a relaxing back massage or a seaweed detoxifying body wrap followed by a visit to the Turkish baths, sauna and relaxation area, or simply unwind by seawater swimming pools flaunting 180° panoramic sea views. The tranquil spa will certainly help you get into the holiday spirit.

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Similar to the Italian counterpart, Northern Sardinia promotes its rich heritage and history. Traditions and influences are very reminiscent of an ancient and lost world. Indulge in Sardinian culture, the food and architecture and you will experience a refined territory where old meets new.

Take a trip to the northern port of Santa Teresa Gallura and you will be walking through an area dating back to 4000 BC. But one can also appreciate the more modern features of this interesting town as you walk through charming colourfully painted streets and alleyways. The calmness fades as the sun goes down and the town comes alive after dawn as the locals enjoying their siestas make the most of the long sunny days. A pleasing atmosphere, which will elevate you into the Sardinian pace of life.

Take a stroll or have an espresso in the central square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele; typically lined with quant cafe bars and distinctive local stores. The pastel coloured buildings are made from home grown granite and are a beautiful contrast to the blue sky in the heart of the high season. And if you are looking for a panoramic spot, then head to the historic watchtower, the Torre Longonsardo, to admire breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and in the distance the coast of Corsica which is only 11km away into the horizon.

To immerse in Sardinia’s natural beauty, visit the town of Palau, which neighbours the Emerald Coast. A modern harbour, which is connected to miles of gorgeous sandy bays entwined in crystal clear waters. The focal point of this town is Roccia dell’Orso or Bear Rock owing its name to a 300 million year old granite rock. The bear like formation is a testament to the island’s history. In the past, it was used as an essential reference point in ancient navigation, reminding us once again of the forgotten heritage that this land possesses.

Once you have taken in the breath taking views of Palau, head to the main town and here you will enjoy boutiques boasting locally produced items and culinary delights that will satisfy your senses, with a vast selection of local restaurants, pizzerias and gelaterias.

The food in the north is something that the local Sardinian community is very proud of. To them, food is a universal language which they will use to welcome you. Traditional Gallura cuisine has been cooked by Sardinian families for generations. Try the Pane Carasau; locally produced, delicious thin flat bread, made with salt and olive oil. A great start to a meal accompanied with a glass of Cannonau wine. And a real delicacy is the roasted suckling pig known as porceddu. Slow cooked for hours and food that melts in the mouth.

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Back to the coast and one may start to think that Sardinian beaches lack diversity but if you want a more adventurous addition included in your itinerary, take a drive to Porto Pollo. This spot has some of the best wind conditions in Europe, transforming it into a water-sports haven that offers windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. The huge sandy bay is split in two by a peninsula, offering beautiful beaches to sunbathe on or if you fancy, to sail around whilst surrounded by views of Isola dei Gabbiani to the north, the Maddalena Archipelago to the north-east, and Corsica to the north-west. You will be spoilt for choice.

A very enchanting part of the coastline is Archipelago of La Maddalena; a National Marine Park made up of seven main islands and small islets. The only way to explore this gem is by boat, so take a magical journey and float from one stunning island to the other. Whether you decide to go swimming in Caprera, or sunbathing in Razzoli, or a visit to all seven; this cluster of magnificent islands are beautifully isolated, inhabited and unspoiled. The scenery is memorable and the beaches, striking. Your expectations will surely be exceeded, when you arrive here.

The main village of The National Marine Park is La Maddalena and the only island that is inhabited. Its popularity has transformed it into a thriving port and yacht marina surrounded by cute café, bars and restaurants. It is a great place to shop or to just to watch the world go by. The world is really your oyster here. The traditional architecture with typically colourful Sardinian streets, coupled with a laid back atmosphere and a friendly community, gives you the true meaning of Sardinia’s humble culture, here.

To unlock Sardinia’s secrets in the region of Gallura is to discover a location that is quietly confident and untouched by over-development and interference. So whether you wish to unwind, socialise or simply explore, you will be enriched by a warm welcome, a colourful culture and an intriguing history……..so what are you waiting for?

Adelto was a guest of Delphina Resorts and stayed at the five-star Valle dell’Erica Resort, Loc. Valle dell’Erica, 07028, Santa Teresa Gallura (OT), Sardinia, Italy, delphina.it

Images courtesy of Delphina Resorts and Sardegna Turismo

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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August 22, 2014 | Italy Sardinia Travel Travel Reviews Western Europe | View comments

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