An oasis of sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Sardinia is without a doubt the place to be. And we truly believe that everyone should experience these unspoilt Italian landscapes at least once. So we’ve turned to our favourite local in the region to get the lowdown of her beautiful island home.
Elina Krecere is the manager of our stunning villas in Sardinia as well as a Sales Manager for Welcome To Sardinia and she has kindly agreed to help us bring you a Sardinia travel guide – straight from the mouth of someone who lives there. Enjoy!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do, how long have you lived where you are and what makes you an expert in the region? Do you have any special connection there?
I was born in Riga, Latvia, but I have lived in Sardinia for the last five years. However, my Italian connection first began after I graduated from university. The first time I stepped off the plane at Olbia Airport I was quickly taken back by the scent in the air. It was different and more fragrant than all the other destinations I’d visited before.
My colleagues and I have travelled all across the island both for pleasure and of course whilst accompanying our guests to ensure the service is first-class.
2. Why should people travel to your region at least once in their life? What might they find surprising on their first visit?
The island is like a small continent itself which is pretty amazing to see even if just once. And then there’s the eclectic mix of people. You’ll find the homegrown locals that keep to their traditions in Barbagia but if you’re looking for some glitz and glamour then the luxury lifestyle and designer boutiques are in Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast). History buffs can explore the key sights such as the Nuragic complex of Barumini, or explore the ancient city of Nora. And then there are the pristine beaches all along the coastline – also a surfers paradise. And of course, the elegant capital city Cagliari is always a delightful surprise. Best of all, this can be easily reached by car once you’re on the island.
3. And what makes people come back time and time again?
There is a term that the Italians use to describe that mild feeling of missing Sardinian land once you’ve left it: saudade sarda and I can assure you it’s a real thing. Whether they miss the sun, sea, the people or food (or all of the above) – everyone leaves Sardinia with an eagerness to come back.
4. Summarise the region for us in three words!
Sea, authenticity, exclusivity.
5. Have you had any famous visitors or well-known events (historical or otherwise) take place in the region?
The Emerald Coast is always full with the rich and famous; the place was created for the world’s most exclusive jet setters. Welcome to Sardinia operates in the area from Porto Rotondo which is right next to Porto Cervo, so we’ve been fortunate enough to provide services to quite a few celebrities including the singer Fiorella Mannoia. And our last client of international importance was former football player David Trezeguet. We have also organised events and celebrations for wealthy people, who however choose to guard their privacy and not to be mentioned. We have also organised events and celebrations for wealthy people, however, they choose to guard their privacy and not to be mentioned.
6. Time for some travel inspiration – can you give us your recommendations on…
The first thing to do – you should drop your bags and…go to the beach, simple as that.
What’s your favourite restaurant? My favourite restaurant is Opera Prima in Cagliari and you must try the fried orziadas which are prepared deliciously.
I can also highly recommend Il Pescatore in Porto Cervo. There you must try bottarga which is a salted, cured fish roe with celery or Sardinian artichoke.
If you had to choose the best activity, what would you pick? Make a boat excursion to the Orosei Gulf and see the marvellous beaches like Cala Goloritze or Cala Mariolu. Once you’re there you can also visit Grotta di Bue Marino a natural stalactite cave.
For anyone visiting, is there something free to get involved with– perhaps that people can’t do anywhere else? Since we’ve already mentioned the beaches, you can take an adventurous trip to the artistic mountain village of Orgosolo, famous for street art murals. The local people are known to be tough, independent and not trusting of outsiders. However thanks to developing tourism in the area they have become more open. Just give respect to locals and you will be granted their hospitality.
The best activities and things to do for families? That’s easy – dolphin watching near Golfo Aranci or Alghero, children love it.
Last but not least, your best-kept secret of the region? Sardinia is home to one of the biggest canyons in Europe – Gorroppu. It’s honestly breathtaking.
7. What would your perfect day in the area comprise of?
Oh, there’s so much! I would spend the day at the beach and after I would enjoy an aperitif with friends in the charming port of Porto Rotondo or on a boat from Cannigione. I would try to sneak in a few hours of shopping in Costa Smeralda. Many of the boutiques are open until late evening – bonus. To conclude the day, I would head to one of the famous clubs of Porto Cervo or Baia Sardinia.
8. What’s the one experience that really captures the essence of the region for you, and why?
Making a trip in a boat or catamaran from Porto Rotondo, Cannigione or any other coastal town – sailing along the rocks of Gallura that seem to be an artist’s work and fishing for some Mediterranean fish. That’s the real Sardinia.
Many thanks again to Elina and the team at Welcome to Sardinia for this amazing Sardinia travel guide! In the meantime, check out our gorgeous villas in Sardinia and if you need any help give our concierge team are always happy to help (not to be biased, but they offer some great advice).