Dreaming about the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily

September 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Guest post, Italy, Leisure, Misc, Sardinia, Sightseeing

Italy isn’t just about the mainland – the islands of Sardinia and Sicily are unique culture and cuisine. Rougher around the edges – less style more substance. Sicily and Sardinia are the largest islands in the Mediterranean an like all of Italy, they ooze history, colourful festivals and traditions. The islands have thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, so are perfect if you really want to relax and enjoy some sunshine.

Cliffside sunset in Sardinia Photo by Christophe Mallet on Flickr

Cliffside sunset in Sardinia

Sardinia for All

Sardinia holidays offer something for just about everyone. The island has a warm, sunny climate with long summers. Typically, it is dry and quite hot from May to October with temperatures typically around 30C in July and August. It’s also lovely if you crave a little sunshine to break up a cold winter, particularly in March and April, when the spring flowers are in bloom, or the autumn when the days are still warm.

For history buffs, there’s lots to look at. Wander through some of the mysterious stone dwellings or nuraghi which date back some 3,500 years to add some ancient flavour to your Sardinia holiday, or spot the Roman influence on the buildings in the towns. Alghero has a lovely walled city, with cobbled streets and lookout towers in the ramparts.

If you want to rub shoulders with the jet-set, head to Costa Smeralda where you might bump into George Clooney and his girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis (she’s originally from the island), or footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. There are private jet and helicopter services to this part of the island which is all rather posh and exclusive. Conversely, if you want to get away for it all complete you can head for the unspoiled beaches to the south. The turquoise sea and deserted beaches give a jaded body the perfect opportunity to forget everything and simply ‘be’.

Eating out in Sardinia Photo by Heatheronhertravels.com

Eating out in Sardinia

And for foodies, Sardinia’s cuisine provides plenty of variety. Influenced by its neighbours, Italy and Corsica, the food is hearty and delicious. Recipes and ingredients vary from town to town with coastal menus bursting with seafood. Lobster, king prawns and octopus grace the tables here, along with just about every Mediterranean fish you can think of. Head inland for carnivore heaven with dishes such as spit-roasted suckling pig, rabbit dishes and lamb. A speciality, sanguinaccio, is a kind of sweet black pudding, studded with currants served roasted or boiled. Sardinian wines are also extremely good, so enjoy a glass or two with your meal.

Citrus-y Sicily

Sicily holidays are also full of lipsmacking food and cultural treasures. The island is packed full of archeology, history and folklore – you can immerse yourself in a different world here. Exploring its blend of European, African and Asian cultures is truly delightful, with more than enough temples and ancient amphitheatres to please the most budding of historians. At Agrigento, there’s a large archeological site surrounded by olive groves and almond trees, picture perfect for strolling around. And Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, dominates the skyline in the north east – you’ll see it glowing in the evenings.

Agrigento, Sicily Photo by Pacamanca

Agrigento, Sicily

Along the coasts you’ll spot orchards of orange and lemon trees, which perfume the air in spring, and are used in many of the local dishes. Sicilian lemons or citron as they are sometimes known, are renowned for being large and juicy, but can be knobbly or shaped like strange sea creatures. Don’t be put off as their flavour is superb, so make the most of them while you’re there – try them in a simple pasta dish with lots of fresh herbs or savour a granite – a kind of slushy mix of ice and fruit juice – tangy, refreshing and delicious all in one!

And make sure to try the classic Sicilian dish, caponata. Served as an appetizer, this mix of aubergine, olives and capers really captures the essence of the Mediterranean diet. All along the coast, you’ll find the freshest seafood, including swordfish and a local delicacy cuttlefish served in its ink on pasta.

More Mediterranean dreams

Swimming in river pools in Sardinia
A prehistoric village with a sea view in Sardinia
Sea caves and a boat trip in Sardinia

My thanks for this article, written by Belinda Weber, to Italy holidays specialist Citalia.

Photo credits: Cliffside sunset in Sardinia by christophe mallet, Agrigento, Sicily by pacamanca

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

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Explore the smaller islands of Sardinia

If you’re planning your Sardinia holiday, this article will inspire you to explore some of the smaller and unspoilt islands off the coast of Sardinia, such as the pink sand beach at Budelli, the old town of Calloforte on San Pietro, and the former prison of Mafia bosses on Asinara.

Sardinia is the second biggest Italian island after Sicily. You can easily recognize it as it’s the one that is foot-shaped, which is why it was once called Ichnusa (from the Greek Ichnion meaning track or footstep). Ichnusa has also become the name of the regional beer, which you can’t really miss tasting once here!

The island has a strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and has a varied inner geography, as well as more than 30 smaller islands surrounding the mainland. Most of these islands are very tiny and uninhabited, while the biggest ones have at least one populated centre and always a particular story. Let’s discover the most important minor islands in Sardinia….

Pink Beach at La Maddalena, Sardinia

Pink Beach at La Maddalena, Sardinia

La Maddalena Archipelago: Maddalena and Caprera islands

This is the most popular Sardinian Archipelago, well known around the world for the beauty and singularity of its beaches and waters. The Archipelago is part of the National Park and is a well loved tourist location. The main island of the Archipelago is La Maddalena, while Caprera Island is popular for having hosted the Italian general and hero Giuseppe Garibaldi during his exile and until his death in 1882. You can find the Museum dedicated to him, called the “Hero of two Worlds” for his expeditions both in Europe and South America. If you are on holidays here,don’t miss visiting the spectacular pink beach, on Budelli Island.

Sant Antioco beach in Sardinia

Sant Antioco beach in Sardinia

Sulcis Archipelago: Sant Antioco and San Pietro islands

Located in south-western Sardinia, the archipelago has two main islands: Sant’Antioco (108 Km2, connected to the mainland by an artificial stretch of land) and San Pietro (51 Km2). San Pietro’s unique centre is Carloforte, a small jewel and much appreciated tourist resort.

Carloforte on San Pietro

Carloforte on San Pietro

Carloforte has been listed among “the best Italian municipalities” and has a linguistic and cultural particularity: the island was colonized in 1738 by Ligurian people who introduced their dialect and habits. The language people speak today comes directly from Ligurian and has literally nothing to do with Sardinian language! Carloforte is a very charming locationwhere you can enjoy the old town, the small beaches with clear blue sea and a delicious plate of Spaghetti alla Carlofortina (Carloforte style) with fresh tuna (a typical local product), pesto and cherry tomatoes.

Asinara Island

Devils’s island, as it was called in the past, is today a true corner of paradise. Asinara is found in the northern part of Sardinia and was closed to the public from 1885 to 1997. It has been health quarantine station, prison camp during World War I and finally maximum-security prison in the 70s, hosting a few Mafia bosses. This isolation enabled to preserve its natural beauty, which is today finally safeguarded as Asinara has been declared National Park and can be visited only by following authorized paths and procedures.

Pan di zucchero in Asinara

Scoglio di Pan di Zucchero

Visiting some of the smaller islands off Sardinia will enable you to get in touch with a unique and unspoilt aspect of Sardinia.

This article is by Giulia Garau, an Italian travel lover living in Sardinia. She works in tourism field for the travel agency CharmingSardinia.com, which deals with Sardinia Holidays. She also runs the blog CharmingItaly.com, where she shares information about Italy.

You can download Charming Sardinia’s free guide to Sardinia from their website here

Photo Credits: Scoglio di Pan di Zuchero by monastereo, Calaforte on San Pietro by chaz 77, San Antioco beach in Sardinia by Giulia Garau, Pink beach La Maddalena by lamaddalenapark

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels


Pavement poetry in Manchester

You may have realised that I like a bit of street-art but pavement art is a little more unusual to find. It’s easy to miss what’s beneath your feet, being trodden on, walked over, hurried past.

Manchester pavement art in the Northern quarter

Manchester pavement art in the Northern quarter

But what about this little poem I looked down and saw when walking around the Northern Quarter of Manchester recently – Perhaps these pavement cracks are the places where flattened flags lie as solidified waves? Very cryptic indeed and I couldn’t find it as a poem when I googled it so I assume that it’s entirely created by whoever installed it. Glad to see the road repair men worked their tarmac around it!

Carved kerb stones in Nuoro, Sardinia

Carved kerb stones in Nuoro, Sardinia

And staying on the pavements but straying a little further afield, you may enjoy this little face carved into a kerb stone, one of several that I walked over in the town of Nuoro in Sardinia – read the story about these cool kerbstones in Nuoro here

Poetry at the cafe at Blaise Castle, Bristol

Poetry at the cafe at Blaise Castle, Bristol

And just to leave you with a piece of passing poetry that’s made to fit it’s surroundings, how about this one in my home town of Bristol on the cafe window at Blaize castle – Light on leaves, a bird’s dark wing, what you see depends on the glass you look through. You can read about our walk from Blaise Castle to Kingsweston for tea here.

Do you have any pavement art on a street near you?

I was invited to get creative in Manchester by Creativetourist.com who celebrate the creativity, exhibitions and museums of Manchester – check out their website for more creative inspiration and you can find the Urban Culture Trail that took me round the Northern Quarter on the Visit Manchester site here

Compare prices and book your hotel in Manchester through Hotels Combined

Other Manchester articles to enjoy

Leonardo’s bicycle at MOSI in Manchester
Getting to know LS Lowry at The Lowry in Manchesterr
Steak and Seafood at the Grill on the Alley in Manchester



heatheronhertravels' Manchester photoset heatheronhertravels’ Manchester photoset


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