Skip to Content

3-Day Itinerary for Sardinia: Exploring the Best of the Island

If you’re planning a trip to Sardinia but only have a little time to explore, we have put together the perfect three-day itinerary for Sardinia to make the most of your visit!

Sardinia is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, and rugged landscapes. Even though you only have three days to spare, you can still experience some of the island’s most iconic sights.

City of Cagliari at night. 3-day itinerary for Sardinia. City lights and boats in the water in the evening.

On this 3-day Itinerary for Sardinia, we’ll take you through exploring the best of the island so you don’t feel you’ve missed a thing!

We will explore the capital city of Cagliari, with its rich history and culture, and plenty of landmarks to discover.

You will venture out of the city and explore the stunning Costa Smeralda, a stretch of coastline known for its turquoise waters and luxurious resorts.

On your final day, we will end your visit to Sardinia by visiting Nora, an archaeological site on the island’s southern coast. Here, you’ll take part in memorable experiences and see the unbelievable beauty and rich history as you visit the ancient ruins of Nora.

Travel Tip:
Make your trip to Sardinia worry-free with Safety Wing travel insurance! Guess what? You can get it even if you’re already exploring somewhere amazing. So, go ahead, dive into the fun, and let Safety Wing be your travel buddy, making sure you’re covered no matter where your adventures take you!

Planning Your 3-day Itinerary for Sardinia

When planning your three-day itinerary for Sardinia, there are a few things to consider to make the most out of your trip. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Best Time to Visit

Medieval town and beach of Castelsardo, Province of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. The summer months (June to August) are the busiest and most expensive, with high temperatures and crowded beaches.

If you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting in late spring (May) or early fall (September to October). Keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable during these months, so pack accordingly.

Your Sardinia Itinerary: Travel and Accommodation

Sardinia has three main airports: Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG), Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB), and Alghero-Fertilia Airport (AHO).

If you’re traveling from outside of Europe, the most convenient option is to fly into Cagliari Elmas Airport. However, if you’re planning to explore the northern part of the island, Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport may be a better choice.

When it comes to accommodation, Sardinia offers a wide range of options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels and B&Bs. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the season and location.

Getting Around

Cagliari, Sardinia in Italy: Hustle and Bustle around the harbour

To get the most of your trip, we recommend exploring Sardinia by car. While public transportation is available, it can be unreliable and infrequent, especially outside of the main cities.

Renting a car will give you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. So if you’re up for driving, make sure to add renting a car to your itinerary for Sardinia.

However, if you’re not comfortable driving, there are also private tours and taxis available. Keep in mind that these options can be more expensive than renting a car.

Here’s a quick summary of the main points to consider when planning your trip to Sardinia:

Best way to exploreRenting a car is the best way to explore the island.
Public transportationPublic transportation is available but can be unreliable and infrequent.
Main airportsSardinia has three main airports: Cagliari Elmas Airport, Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, and Alghero-Fertilia Airport.
International airportCagliari Elmas Airport is the most convenient option for travelers from outside of Europe.
Best time to visitLate spring (May) and early fall (September to October) offer fewer crowds and lower prices.
Summer monthsJune to August are the busiest and most expensive months to visit.
High seasonThe peak season is from mid-June to mid-September.
Getting aroundRenting a car will give you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. Private tours and taxis are also available.

Day One of Your Sardinia Itinerary: Northern Charms

Welcome to Sardinia! On your first day, you will explore the northern part of the island, which is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming towns.

Costa Smeralda Exploration

Panoramic view of Costa Smeralda

Your first stop on your Sardinia itinerary should be to explore the stunning Costa Smeralda. Costa Smeralda is also known as the Emerald Coast. This is a beautiful stretch of coastline and home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia.

We recommend renting a car as this allows you to drive along the coast and admire the stunning views with plenty of photo ops! If you prefer, you can also join a guided tour to learn more about the history and culture of the area.

La Maddalena Archipelago Adventure

Little old boat anchored in a turquoise of Cala Spinosa - bay in the La Maddalena Archipelago

Next, it’s time to explore the La Maddalena Archipelago, a group of small islands off the coast of Sardinia.

This is a good idea if you are looking for a boat trip and want to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can take a ferry or a private boat tour to explore the islands. Some of the best places to visit include Spargi, Budelli, and Santa Maria.

Evening in Porto Cervo

In the evening, head to Porto Cervo, the main town of Costa Smeralda. This is an excellent place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can take a walk along the marina and admire the luxury yachts. Or enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants, which are incredible!

Porto Cervo is also a good base if you want to explore other parts of northern Sardinia, such as Santa Teresa di Gallura or the smaller islands nearby.

People and promenade with shops in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy

That’s it for day one of your Sardinia itinerary. Get some rest and get ready for another day of adventure tomorrow!

Day Two of Your Sardinia Itinerary: Central Sights

On your second day in Sardinia, it’s time to explore the central part of the island. Here are some of the best things to see and do:

Historic Center and Archeological Sites

Main street in historic center of Orgosolo, in Sardinia

You’ll start by exploring the capital city of Cagliari. This charming city has a rich history and culture, with plenty of landmarks to discover. The Castello district, a medieval hilltop neighborhood has beautiful city and sea views.

Alghero is another of the island’s charming towns. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the colorful buildings, and soak up the local atmosphere.

dusk photo of the city of Sardinia, Italy

Take the chance to visit the archeological sites in the area, such as the Nuraghe di Barumini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the Bronze Age.

You can also explore the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, which houses artifacts from the island’s ancient Nuragic civilization.

Beach Hopping and Coastal Delights

One of the most beautiful and the most visited beaches of Sardinia

After a morning of sightseeing, head to the coast for some beach hopping and coastal delights. Sardinia is known for its white sand and crystal-clear water.

Some of the best beaches in the area include Spiaggia del Principe, Cala Mariolu, and Cala Goloritze. Spend the afternoon soaking up the sun, swimming in the sea, and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Another great beach we love with beautiful sunsets is Poetto Beach!

Culinary Experiences for Your Sardinia Itinerary

No trip to Sardinia is complete without experiencing the taste of Sardinia. After a day of sightseeing and beach hopping, it’s time to indulge in some of the island’s best culinary experiences.

A seller preparing a traditional local food from Sardinia called `Panadas` during a local evento called `sa sagra`

There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from, serving up traditional Sardinian dishes such as porceddu (roast suckling pig), culurgiones (stuffed pasta), and seadas (deep-fried pastry filled with cheese and drizzled with honey). Some of the best restaurants in the area include Su Carduleu, Il Refettorio, and La Perla.

Day Three of Your Sardinia Itinerary: Southern Wonders

As the last day of your trip to Sardinia begins, you’ll find yourself immersed in the beauty of South Sardinia. With a variety of activities and sights to explore, you’ll be able to experience the best of what the region has to offer.

Ancient Ruins of Nora

Rock at the archaeological site at Nora

Ending your last day immersed in the island’s history is the best type of farewell. Nora is an archaeological site located on the southern coast of the island.

This ancient city was founded by the Phoenicians and later occupied by the Romans. And you can still see the remains of its amphitheater, temples, and baths.

After you visit Nora, head to the nearby beach of Chia, known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or trying some water sports before heading back to Cagliari.

Tip: If you have extra time, be sure to visit the Bastione di Saint Remy, a historic landmark with stunning views of the city.

Beach Relaxation in South Sardinia

People in the sun on the famous La Pelosa Beach on island Sardinia.

After your city tour, head to La Pelosa Beach, one of the most beautiful places in Sardinia. This beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand, making it one of the best beaches in the region. So be sure to add this to your Sardinia Itinerary. Spend some time relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun.

Sunset at Capo Caccia

As the end of the day approaches, head to the west coast of Sardinia to witness a breathtaking sunset at Capo Caccia. This stunning cliff overlooks the sea and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some pink flamingos in the nearby lagoon.

Interior view of the Neptune Cave known also as Grotte di Nettuno at the Capo Caccia cape

Wrap up your three-day trip to Sardinia with a visit to Cala Gonone, a charming seaside village on the east coast. With its picturesque harbor and stunning beaches, it’s the perfect place to end your trip on a high note.

Beach Guide for Your Sardinia Itinerary

Sardinia is famous for its stunning beaches, known for their crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sand. Here are some of the top beaches for sunbathing and secluded spots for privacy.

Top Beaches for Sunbathing

If you’re looking for great beaches to add to your Sardinia itinerary, you won’t be disappointed. Spiaggia del Principe is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, with its soft white sand and clear waters. It’s a great spot for sunbathing and swimming, and there are plenty of facilities nearby.

Another great option is Spiaggia di Liscia Ruja, which is also known as Long Beach due to its length. It’s a popular spot for families. And there are lots of activities available, including water sports and beach volleyball.

Secluded Spots for Privacy

Famous Cala Luna beach at Gulf of Orosei in Sardinia

If you’re looking for a bit more privacy, Cala Petra Ruja is a great option. It’s a small, secluded beach that’s perfect for couples or anyone who wants to get away from the crowds. The water is crystal clear, and there are plenty of rocks to explore if you’re feeling adventurous.

For more amazing beaches, head to the east coast of Sardinia, where you’ll find some of the island’s most beautiful spots. The turquoise waters and white sand are simply breathtaking, and you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.

Overall, Sardinian beaches are some of the most amazing beaches in the world, with their clear waters and stunning scenery. Whether you’re looking for a spot to sunbathe or a secluded beach to explore, you’ll find plenty of options on this beautiful island.

Outdoor Activities for Your Sardinia Itinerary

Sardinia is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With its crystal-clear waters, rugged coastline, and stunning natural parks, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy during your three-day itinerary. Here are some of the best outdoor activities to add to your Sardinia itinerary:

Water Sports and Excursions

Kitesurfers riding near Punta Trettu, near Cagliari, in Sardinia

Sardinia’s coastline is perfect for water sports and excursions. Whether you want to go on a boat trip, a day trip, or just enjoy a short walk along the beach, there is something for everyone.

Porto Pollo is one of the best places to go for water sports. Its calm waters and reliable winds make it a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. There are also plenty of boat tours available, taking you to some of the most beautiful spots along the coast.

Hiking and Nature Trails

Sardinia is home to several natural parks, offering some of the best hiking and nature trails in Italy. The Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte is a must-visit for nature lovers, with its stunning coastal views and diverse flora and fauna.

Cala Goloritze hiking trail sign in Sardinia

The Gola di Gorropu is another popular spot for hiking, with its dramatic canyon and challenging trails. But if you’re looking for a shorter hike, the Capo Testa scenic route offers a beautiful walk with stunning views of the coastline. Or if you’re looking for something more laid back, try a scenic electric bike nature tour.

When planning your outdoor activities, check for parking lot availability and any necessary permits or fees. It is also important to note that some activities may require a guide or tour operator, especially if you are not familiar with the area.

Local Culture and Customs for Your Sardinia Itinerary

Sardinia is a great place to experience local culture and customs. The island has a rich history and many small towns with narrow streets and local shops. Here are some traditional experiences you can have during your three-day Sardinia itinerary.

Traditional Sardinian Experiences

Culurgiones is a traditional pasta made in Sardinia, Italy, stuffing with potato,mint and pecorino cheese

One of the best ways to experience Sardinian culture is through food. Sardinian cuisine is unique and delicious, with many traditional dishes to try.

You can visit local restaurants and try dishes like culurgiones, which are handmade pasta stuffed with potatoes, cheese, and mint. And if you’re interested, you can also learn the traditional Sardinian art of pasta-making while you’re at it!

Another popular dish is porceddu, which is roasted suckling pig. But your foodie adventure doesn’t have to end there. You can also try local cheeses like pecorino sardo and casu marzu, a cheese with live maggots. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Shopping and Local Markets

Fruits and vegetables at a local markets

Sardinia is a lovely place to shop for local crafts and souvenirs. Visit local markets like the Mercato di San Benedetto in Cagliari, which is the second-largest covered market in Italy. Here you can find fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables, as well as local cheeses and meats. You can also find handmade crafts like baskets, textiles, and ceramics.

If you’re looking for a good place to buy souvenirs, explore the town of Carloforte on the island of San Pietro.

This town is known for its coral jewelry, made from the red coral that grows in the waters around the island. You can also find local wines, olive oil, and honey, which make great gifts to take home.

Historical Buildings in the Old Town of Carloforte on the Island of San Pietro

Overall, Sardinia is a beautiful Italian island with a rich history and culture. During your three-day Sardinia itinerary, make sure to experience some of the local traditions and customs, whether it’s through food, history, or shopping.