Very distinct from mainland Italy in terms of language, history and cuisine, the island of Sardinia is what could be defined as a perfect paradox. It is geographically detached from mainland Italy and is older geologically. When you visit, this autonomous region has a unique and interesting story to tell you.
This is a paradise that waits to be explored. Here’s what the Holiday Taxis team thinks are some of the things that make Sardinia unique include the following.
One way of discovering the distinctness of this special island is by blending into the colourful and amazing diversity of Sardinian life through the various festivals celebrated and marked here. Between September and October, different Barbagia mountain villages take turns to host events showcasing local crafts and traditions.
The residents in fact open their doors welcoming visitors and offering various food samples and amazing workshops across Sardinia. Wine is a popular ice-breaker here, and the Festival of Young Wine that is held in Millis offers a great occasion for sampling and discussing the food and drinks provided by the numerous street-side cosy stalls.
The Pristine Beaches
The translucent turquoise waters and dazzling white sands of the Costa Emeralda generally sets the beaches of Sardinia apart. Although the Emerald Coast is typically for the high-profile visitors, other Sardinian beaches do deserve mentioning. The Cala Cartoe is bordered by pinewoods while the Cala Luna cove in the east is set by limestone cliffs. The Chia beach to the south hosts a competition in windsurfing – the pond set behind the Chai beach hosts beautiful travelling pink flamingos.
Besides their cleanliness, these beaches literally offer you a walk on the wilder side. Most of them are studded with beaches set against the backdrop of a rocky coastline also perfumed with shrubs of several untamed herbs.
Come Face-to-Face with Elusive Wild Creatures
The isolation of Sardinia has facilitated the evolvement of flora and fauna in ways that are unique. A number of local species are in fact smaller when compared to their counterparts in the mainland. Several other species will not be found at all on the mainland, like the achettas – these are small wild horses that freely roam the Giara di Gesturi plateau. Once a prison island, the Isola dell’ Assinara is now a national park housing even wilder local species.
The rare inhabitants of the island include the seemingly gravity-defying mouflon (a type of mountain sheep) and the shaggy-looking forelocked albino donkeys whose origins are mysterious. The monk seal, another elusive creature, is to be found taking shelter along the coves in Golfo di Orosei.
Sardinia, at higher altitudes is a major migratory bird’s thoroughfare. Around 200 species that includes cranes, flamingos, and ducks tend to stop here during their journeys, especially during spring and autumn.
Want to Live a Little Longer?
It is said that the average number of centenarians you will find in Sardinia is twice the average of the world. Several researchers credit this to good genes, other point to the amiable Mediterranean climate while others have pointed to the unique Sardinian diet plus active lifestyle as the main contributors.
So when in Sardinia, what should you indulge yourself in? Cannonau, a local dark red wine is said to be particularly high in terms of heart-protecting procyanidins. Another ingredient, Saffron, rich in minerals and anti-oxidants plays a prominent role in lots of dishes. Pecorino sardo cheese, made from grass-fed sheep milk, is rich in terms of Omega-3 fatty acids. Sardinian bread is leavened traditionally through slow fermentation to produce friendly digestion.
You may arrive in Sardinia a stranger, but by the time you leave you will be someone’s friend. Since time immemorial, hospitality to the stranger holds a high position in the code of honour among the Sardinians.
Sardinia is very close to the south of France and is also easily accessible from the Mediterranean Sea. So why not plan your next vacation to be on this island paradise and see for yourself what it has to offer?
This article was originally published on thetravelerszone.com