Sardinia is a sparkling jewel in the Mediterranean's crown, famous for its white sandy beaches and forested mountain peaks.
We share four of the top sights not to be missed as you make your way around the island:
No visit to Sassari is complete without visiting the Anghelu Ruju, one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.
This huge area of ancient artificial caves was accidentally discovered in 1903 before being purchased by one of Sardinia’s most celebrated wine producers, Sella e Mosca.
The caves were used by different civilisations from around 3000BC to 1500BC. Many of the tombs are gouged out of the ground so they can be entered through low doorways. These tombs are some of the best examples of what Sards call the “Domus de Jonas” which means fairies’ or witches’ houses.
These tombs are scattered throughout the island and most of them are connected by a series of passages. Most of the dead were embalmed in these tombs and mass burials were often a common thing. The dead were sometimes half cremated and even skinned before the burial.
Walk down 650 steps at Alghero and you'll be rewarded with a glimpse inside Neptune's Grotto, a fascinating complex of caves. Discovered by fishermen in the eighteenth century, dramatic lighting is used to enhance the multitude of stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
As you walk through a number of different caves, you'll finally reach the Grand Chamber, where enormous columns of rock protrude from the roof, merging into the walls, contorting into wondrous organic formations before finally plunging into a placid lake of salt water below. At the time of discovery, the superstitious locals deeply believed that Neptune himself lived in these remarkable caves with his nymphs and mermaids, hence the name.
One centimetre of limestone takes about one hundred years to form, so you can imagine the painstaking natural process that has been going on here for thousands of years. Drops of natural rain water seep in from the ground above, dragging with them the calcium carbonate found in the earth. These droplets then drip from the ceiling onto the floor, and once the water evaporates, the calcium is left behind forming deposits of limestone stalactites and stalagmites. Inside, you'll see them shaped into church organ pipes, helmets of medieval warriors, curled up tobacco leaves and delicate chandeliers of rock.
Parco dei sette Fratelli
The Parco dei sette Fratelli, or The Seven Brothers Park is located in Cagliari, and has been a protected park since 1886. Well-worn paths will take you past holm-oaks, cork-oaks, Mediterranean vegetation, alders, oleanders and willow trees. You might even be lucky enough to spot the Sardinian deer together with wild boars and moufflons.
Cagliari is also famous for being home to the ruins of the roman amphitheatre and the ruins of Nora. But it is most well known for its beautiful beaches, including the Poetto Beach with its turquoise waters and the Calamosca Beach which is only a short distance away from the city.
The Sardinian landscape is dotted with more than 7,000 nuraghi, mysterious stone towers belonging to the Bronze Age. These monumental towers of stone are not found anywhere else on earth, and are significant enough to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Megolithic Towers belong to a Bronze Age culture that lived about 3000 years ago. The use of the nuraghes has not been determined: they could have been religious temples, ordinary dwellings, rulers' residences, military strongholds, meeting halls or a combination of all of these.
Nuraghes are found all over Sardinia, and you can often just get out of the car and visit one. The best examples are found at Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Santu Antine, Su Nuraxi, Losa and Arrubiu.
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