So you are planning your trip to Italy in the summer and are wondering what to do and where to go. How does exploring the best beaches in Sardinia sound?
As a local myself, I don’t like to suggest that the only interesting places to visit in Sardinia are its beaches, but admittedly, summer temperatures can be so unbearably hot that soaking in the fresh seawater is really the only relief you can find. In fact, whenever I go to Sardinia in summer, I mainly stay near the beach myself as sightseeing further away from the coast can be done only very early morning.
Of course, I would love for you to travel to Sardinia in other seasons to be able to explore more of the island, get to know the traditions my island is rich in, and attend some of the local festivals.
Thankfully, Sardinia is one of the Italian regions with more beaches and the coastline is so diverse that it can please the most different types of holidaymakers, from families with children to groups of friends. Whether you are looking for exclusive beach resorts or budget, secluded bays, Sardinia has something for everyone.
Best beaches in Sardinia map
Which part of Sardinia has the best beaches?
If someone tells you that the best beaches in Sardinia are in Costa Smeralda, don’t believe them. Sardinia has stunning beaches all around its coast and you can find picture-perfect stretches of sand or rocky coves literally on each side of the island.
This is why our guide will take you to all the provinces, each of them boasting natural wonders like Cala Domestica on the western side, Cala Goloritzè on the eastern coast, Chia on the south, and La Pelosa on the north.
Where are the best white sand beaches in Sardinia?
Some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Sardinia are:
- La Pelosa, Stintino
- Putzu Idu, San Vero Milis
- La Spiaggetta, S’Archittu, Marina di Cuglieri
- Is Arutas, Sinis Peninsula, Cabras
- Cala Golorizé, Baunei
- La Cinta, San Teodoro
- Cala Brandinchi, San Teodoro
- Tuerredda, Teulada
- Cala Mariolu, Baunei
- Costa Rei, Muravera, South Sardinia
What is the best month to swim in Sardinia?
The best months to swim in Sardinia go from late spring to early fall, so from June to September. I travel to Sardinia every summer and my own very favorite months to swim there are June and July.
Keep in mind that in June, the water is still not very warm as it’s early in the season, and in September, sometimes even early October, when you get out, it’s not summer hot anymore.
So, even though you will see people swimming at even end of May and the beginning of October, if you want to join them, do it in the warmest hours of the day.
Of course, July and August are the best and also the most crowded months on Sardinia’s beaches. From the second half of August, however, the weather starts to become slightly unpredictable, and also around the end of the month, you can find some showers, rough sea, and cloudy skies.
Best Beaches in Sardinia near Olbia and Costa Smeralda in Sassari province
Baja Sardinia and Arzachena
The coast of Sassari province includes the very famous, VIP-packed Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), and to begin to explore this exclusive stretch of tourist villages, Arzachena and Baja Sardinia look like the perfect starting point.
Baja Sardinia is on the northern coast, while Arzachena town lies more inland but its territory includes several famous beaches.
Some of the best beaches near Baja Sardinia are Cala Battistoni for its fine and white sand, Cala Bitta, perfect for families with children for its not-so-deep seabed, and the scenic La Pitrizza.
If you are traveling to Sardinia with your pets, the beach of Lu Postu located some 5 km from Baja Sardina is dog-friendly.
Near Arzachena, you can enjoy the stunning beaches of Capriccioli and Liscia Ruja, before heading to the expensive Costa Smeralda resorts.
Among the most famous beaches in northeast Sardinia beaches, the top of the list is certainly claimed by the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast). Exclusive, yacht-packed, and expensive, to explore the Costa Smeralda, you can start from its undisputed capital, Porto Cervo.
Porto Cervo is a small seaside resort part of the Arzachena municipality. The most famous town and beach symbol of the Costa Smeralda, in summer, Porto Cervo is packed with celebrities gathered there for parties, sports events, and plenty of swimming and sunbathing.
Luxury hotels, some of the best beaches in Sardinia, and a breathtaking natural landscape are the main attractions of this relatively small stretch of Sardinia’s coastline.
As a Sardinian native, when I visited Costa Smeralda, I didn’t feel “at home”. To me, this is not the “real Sardinia”. For sure more organized than the rest of the island, it’s also less wild and lacks in traditions. When it comes to entertainment, Costa Smeralda is hard to beat, but if you are more into getting to know the local culture, look elsewhere.
Among the best beaches in Sardinia near Olbia, Porto Rotondo in the northern Gallura region holds the record of being one of the favorite tourist villages. Together with Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo beach is one of the most famous summer tourist ports for celebrities and international travelers to Sardinia.
A short drive from Golfo Aranci, Palau, and Arzachena, Porto Rotondo was built with a spacious and well-equipped port able to host around 800 boats.
More than a relaxed Sardinia holiday, Porto Rotondo is for those who are looking for exciting nightlife, luxury hotels, and expensive shopping.
Porto Istana is another popular beach in the region and is located in the Olbia Gulf. Its soft sand and the sea with shimmering colors make it one of the favorite beaches near Olbia.
A coast as rugged as its reputation describes it, this lovely beach is surrounded by native Mediterranean vegetation and dramatic cliffs. Its diverse landscape offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and windsurfing when it’s windy.
Porto Istana is a bay with several beaches, so you can choose to spend the day where you prefer and where you find fewer people.
Budoni is a very popular beach also among locals in Sardinia. A seafaring town between Gallura and Baronia regions along Sardinia’s northeastern coast, picturesque Budoni is surrounded by beautiful beaches and intimate coves characterized by fine sand and crystal clear water.
If you are exploring this stretch of coastline in northern Sardinia, make it a point to stop in Cala Budoni. This is a great place to stay in Sardinia for families with kids because of the soft sand and seabed that’s not too deep, so safer for children.
Cala Budoni is pleasant also because equipped with amenities such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and even camping sites. It’s great also for lovers of water sports such as diving, snorkeling, and windsurfing.
If you want to discover other beaches around Budoni, enthusiast swimmers should go to Baia Sant’Anna for deep seabed and Cala Ottiolu for a different landscape of small white dunes. For a relaxing day on the beach, Li Cucutti is a great option as it also has free parking.
If you need help organizing your holiday, check out our extensive Italy travel guide.
San Teodoro is a town in the northern Gallura region and boasts some of the most famous and beautiful beaches in Sardinia.
Some of the beaches and intimate inlets you shouldn’t miss in this part of Sardinia’s northeastern coast are Cala Brandinchi, Lu Impostu, Cala Ginepro and Coda Cavallo with a great view of the small island of Tavolara.
If you feel like taking a break from the beach, this place is great also for history buffs and lovers of great food because the Gallura traditional cuisine is famous for being delicious from the first course to the fish-based mains all through the dessert.
We went to San Teodoro in June and visited the local beach of La Cinta, a long stretch of fine white sand and extremely clear water that remains low for hundreds of meters. It was absolutely packed but my husband loved it and nominated it as his favorite beach in Sardinia. At least until we went to La Pelosa in Stintino!
La Pelosa and the other beaches near Stintino
La Pelosa is another beach in the Sassari province, on the northwestern coast of the island facing the small island of L’Asinara National Park. This is truly heaven for families because the water remains low for like a hundred meters and then gradually gets deeper and allows for a lovely swim.
From Stintino you can see and take a boat to visit L’Asinara National Park.
Its position on the northeasternmost edge of Sardinia’s coast makes it lapped by the sea water all around. Its western coast is rugged and features several coves and intimate spaces, while the eastern side is La Pelosa beach and a rocky landscape with natural ponds, perfect for wildlife spotting.
We went to La Pelosa in July and my then 2-year-old loved it. We all spent most of the day soaking in the warm water. La Pelosa is very popular also among locals so to preserve the landscape, the municipality set a daily limit for visitors.
You need to book and pay for your spot online and you will be given a bracelet valid for the whole day. Children less than 12 don’t pay. When you get there, you will be able to park in the street along the beach and parking is paid too, you will find the ticket machines all along.
You can book your spot at La Pelosa beach here.
La Maddalena Beaches
Among the best beaches in Sardinia, you can’t possibly forget the countless coves and bays in the archipelago of La Maddalena. This archipelago counts some 60 little islands and dreamlike beaches are literally around every corner.
La Maddalena is the biggest of the islands after which the archipelago is named and the perfect starting point to go around to explore the other areas and islands such as Isola di Santo Stefano, Isola Spargi, and the very famous pink beach of Budelli.
A military naval base until not long ago, La Maddalena archipelago is also known for its Caprera island, where the Italian military leader of the Italian Risorgimento Giuseppe Garibaldi spent the last 26 years of his life and is now buried.
Most beautiful Sardinia Beaches in Oristano Province
San Giovanni di Sinis, Sinis Peninsula
Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia, San Giovanni is located in the scenic Sinis Peninsula. This is in the territory of the town of Cabras and is tucked away between the most azure sea will ever see and the charming Tharros archaeological site, the vestiges of an ancient Punic, Phoenician, Roman, and even Byzantine city.
San Giovanni beach is quite rocky and you will find large boulders also in the water, which is also what makes it look so beautiful and picture-perfect.
If you are thinking about sunbathing and swimming at San Giovanni di Sinis beach, I suggest booking your accommodation in Cabras because it’s the closes town that can provide everything you need from food stores to the pharmacy.
Also, in Cabras you are going to find great restaurants serving amazing local seafood dishes and a fantastic museum showing the Bronze and Iron Age findings of the area, including the famous Giganti di Mont’e Prama stone giants.
Don’t miss our complete guide to the best traditional Italian foods.
Is Arutas is another beach of the Sinis Peninsula and its reputation is related to its one-of-a-kind sand that looks like rice grains. Its pastel-colored quartz pebbles give this stretch of coastline the characteristic look that makes it one of the most famous beaches in Sardinia.
Pay extra attention if you are traveling with children because in Is Arutas the water becomes deep quite soon after a few steps. If the sea is rough, I suggest children don’t enter the water. On calm days, snorkeling here is lovely because the seabed is diverse and rocky.
When it’s windy, kite and windsurfing enthusiasts flock to Is Arutas because the waves can become pretty high. Nearby, you will find handy services such as a parking lot, a bar, and a camping site.
If you or your friends are planning an RV trip around Sardinian beaches, check out here the best camping gifts for couples so that what you need is always handy and within easy reach.
Mari Ermi and Maimoni
Mari Ermi and Maimoni are the other two beaches part of the protected marine area of the Sinis Peninsula in the Cabras region. Within the fine golden sand, small white and pink quartz pebbles give these west coast beaches in Sardinia the typical gorgeous hues. The seabed becomes deep gradually, so it’s safe also for kids. Even though, if you are looking for the best beaches in Sardinia to go to with children, I wouldn’t opt for these but rather Putzu Idu or S’Archittu that I describe below.
Mari Ermi is nestled between high dunes and a large pond with several water birds. Among these, if you are lucky, you can even spot the beautiful pink flamingos. Facing the coast is the Malu Entu island, known for its sea turtles and a sea bottom rich in ancient shipwrecks. Nearby you can find camping sites, a parking lot, and snack bars.
Maimoni is a 2 km sandy beach the name of which originates from the Phoenician god of rain and water. Apparently, this is linked to the nearby San Salvatore village where a little church was built on top of an ancient pagan site.
The water is of gorgeous turquoise and the mistral wind makes it one of the popular spots in Sardinia for kite and windsurfing. The sea gets deep gradually so it’s safe also for children, but definitely be careful when it’s windy and the waves rough.
If you prefer a family-friendly beach near Oristano in the western coast, S’Archittu is perfect. This is a very small sea resort part of the Marina di Cuglieri together with Santa Caterina di Pittnuri and Torre del Pozzo. With its sea protected by a natural rock barrier, the waves reach the shore weakened so even when the sea is rough, the beach is safer.
Even though it’s a very small sea resort, there’s plenty of space to pick your spot. There is the larger beach where most people go, then on both sides there are rocky areas where you can lay your towel and relax. The small sandy stretches towards Torre del Pozzo are usually empty because not many people know of them and usually you will find only locals.
On the other side, venturing on the path beyond the larger beach, you will arrive at the biggest draw of the area, a large calcareous arch facing a small, white sandy beach where people lay down their towels and swim to the arch itself. You can reach the arch also from above by keeping following the cobbled path and then climbing down. Be careful here because the descent can be quite slippery and if you fall from here, you are definitely going to hurt yourself.
The sea right below the arch is very deep, reaching almost 10 meters, so swim only if you are very confident. You will see many people plunging from the top of the arch. These are mainly locals. Join them if you feel confident and only after you checked where to plunge because the seabed is very rocky and in some parts not deep enough to come down high-speed from 20 meters!
Last but not least, NEVER EVER swim on the pond between the arch and the facing coast when the sea is rough. Even if you are an experienced swimmer, the rough sea makes it extra dangerous as it will hit you against the rocks and there’s nothing you can really do. I have personally seen one too many people who tried their luck and lost their lives or got injured.
All along the beach and elevated from the shores runs a pedestrian seafront boulevard where you can enjoy a walk and chill out at one of the local bars.
Putzu Idu is possibly one of the very best beaches in Sardinia for families with children. Once you dip your feet in the water, you can literally walk for 500 meters before it starts getting deeper. For a long distance, it stays below knee level. This is true heaven for children who want to play in the water the whole day and learn to swim.
The beach of Putzu Idu is relaxing for parents, too, because the sea seems like a kids’ swimming pool and is safer than most beaches. The sand is candid white and soft and the beach is protected from the strong wind.
Next to the beach is a paid parking lot and right on the beach a small but well-equipped bar. July and August are the busiest months and especially on weekends, the beach gets very crowded so I suggest going early in the morning to find your spot.
Named one of Italy’s prettiest towns, Bosa is a lovely seafaring hamlet crossed by a river and known for its colorful little houses.
The local sea resort is called Bosa Marina and if you are traveling to Sardinia’s western coast in summer, I think this is one of the beaches you’ll want to visit. Bosa is also famous for its beautiful natural pool known as Cane Malu. Here, you can plunge from the rock and have a peaceful swim or even just take a walk if the weather is not ideal.
In fact, keep in mind that to swim here you need to be confident and when the sea is rough, it becomes pretty dangerous. Also, pay attention to the seabed, especially where it’s not deep. The sea moss makes it slippery and there are sea urchins. While they are endangered so we hope to see them re-populating our coast, if you step on them their thorns will definitely give you a hard time.
Sa Mesa Longa
Translating from the Sardinian language into “the long table”, Sa Mesa Longa is a lovely, long beach to go to with your family and groups of friends. The sand is brown and fine, and the water is very clear.
You can enjoy a tranquil swim to the facing rock that gives the name to the beach back and forth. The beach is large and very spacious. When we went, there were quite a few other families but we all had enough space and we weren’t stepping on each other.
You can reach the beach with a short walk through the wild countryside and park your car before that in the dedicated parking. Near the beach, there is a bar/restaurant but when we went, it was closed, so I’m not sure it’s still operating.
Sa Mesa Longa is also in the Oristano province and is located not far from Putzu Idu. If you are coming from Oristano city, you need to drive beyond the sign to Putzu Idu, and from the SP80, take the Ex Strada Provinciale 10 to your destination. The street signs give clear directions.
Voted the best among Oristano beaches and one of the most beautiful along the Sardinian coast, Su Pallosu is another pearl of the protected marine area of the Sinis Peninsula and lies in the territory of San Vero Milis like Putzu Idu.
Located on the northern edge of the peninsula, Su Pallosu is home to a large feline colony. There are volunteers taking care of the cats and the local municipality even arranges guided tour to visit the cats.
The sand of this beach is of a lovely golden-amber hue and the water is blue-green. Nearby are a parking lot and some refreshment points.
Top Sardinia Beaches in South Sardinia Province
Part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast), featuring large dunes all throughout its length, Piscinas is also known as Sardinia’s desert.
These tall dunes are constantly shaped by the wind are surrounded by native Mediterranean vegetation such as lentisk, juniper, and olive trees. If you are looking for Sardinia sandy beaches, Piscinas is a fantastic choice.
The seabed of the area is rich in ancient relics and the local fish. While wandering the beach and the nearby area you might encounter the Sardinian deer and see some turtle eggs. Visit also the Piscinas river and don’t be surprised by its rusty red color: it comes from the dismissed local mines once operative in southern Sardinia.
Piscinas is a well organized beach. In fact, here is a hotel, a bar, a restaurant, and a parking lot.
Buggerru is a former mining village and includes also a famous beach. The beach of Buggerru is very long and can get quite windy. Along with a series of beautiful beaches and intimate bays, this area of Sardinia is very fascinating because of its modern history and the presence of coal mines.
From the village, you can even visit the old tunnel used for the train to carry the load extracted from the mines. Nearby are other beaches famous for the breathtaking scenery including Cala Domestica, a small cove where you can enjoy swimming as well as trekking or mountain biking. Keep in mind that Cala Domestica is small and very famous so in summer, it gets crowded pretty quickly.
If you enjoy some historical sightseeing, nearby are the towns of Masua and Nebida where you can see the vestiges of the old Sardinia’s industrial archaeology of the dismissed mines and miners’ residences.
In Masua is also the old coastal port of Porto Flavia built on a cliff. This is now a scenic tourist attraction and an interesting historical site that you can visit both inside or see from the sea with a boat tour. Facing Porto Flavia are the sea stacks of Masua and the famous one known as Pan di Zucchero.
One of the most popular beaches in South Sardinia is Chia in Domus De Maria town along the southwestern coast.
Chia beach in Sardinia is actually a stretch of coastline around the ancient Phoenician Chia town and is directly connected to the ancient city of Nora, one of the most important archaeological sites in Sardinia.
Some of the most popular Chia beaches are Su Giudeu, Cala Cipolla, Spiaggia Sa Colonia, the scenic Cala del Morto and Porto Campana.
This is also a fantastic destination for trekking so great to visit in spring since the summer is very hot to organize a hiking trip. If you are there in summer, you can enjoy diving and relaxing on the beach with your family as the water doesn’t drop suddenly but gets deep gradually, instead.
Villasimius is both the name of one of the most famous and best beaches in South Sardinia province and the area where you can find several other smaller seaside shores.
These beaches are located near the city of Cagliari and are typically covered with clear sand, while the sea water shimmers with crystal clear light blue.
Some of the favourite beaches around Villasimius in Sardinia’s southern coast are Porto Giunco, Punta Molentis, Porto Sa Ruxi, and Spiaggia di Campo.
Porto Giunco is very popular because of the scenic seabed that gifts its visitors with great snorkeling adventures, while on windy days, it’s the windsurfers paradise. The area is also equipped with a parking lot and some refreshment points.
The Beach of Cagliari
This long and diverse piece of south Sardinia coast runs through Cagliari and Quartu Sant’Elena, a nearby town. In its 8 km, the Poetto beach of Cagliari offers countless activities such as swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, as well as bars and restaurants where you can enjoy your meal or an aperitif.
Easy to reach from the city center, Poetto runs all throughout up to the Parco Molentargius, a city oasis where you can see the pink flamingos. On summer nights, they often organize live music shows and al fresco dinners.
Cagliari’s coast is famous also for the gorgeous Sella del Diavolo (devil’s saddle), a rock formation where they also organize hiking tours that offers fantastic views.
Best Beaches in Sardinia Nuoro Province
Orosei is a lively town in Nuoro province that takes its name from the Orosei gulf, part of a large natural park together with the Gennargentu mountain range. A sleepy town in winter, in the summer months it becomes crowded with tourists who rent a house there to enjoy their vacation in the closest beaches.
Orosei coastline covers about 20 km, so there are plenty of sandy beaches and more intimate coves that alternate the scenic views of dramatic cliffs dopping onto the sea.
The main beach and the closest to the town is known as Marina di Orosei. Five kilometres of beautiful sandy stretch where you can find plenty of space for your perfect spot easily choose your perfect spot, secluded inlet and piece of beach to spread out your towel, place your beach umbrella and enjoy a day of sunbathing and swimming.
Another popular beach near Orosei is called Su Petrosu, and while the sea can get pretty rough with huge waves, the beach is sandy and very long and framed by a lovely pine forest where the shade provides great fresh air even on sunny hot days. As a plus, right there is a rustic restaurant called Osalla Beach Garden where you can eat a great seafood meal.
Cala Liberotto is another beach of the Orosei Gulf featuring golden thick sand and clear water that is often very warm, much warmer than in the western Sardinian coast.
Worth noticing in Cala Liberotto are its natural surroundings. From the shore, you can see and reach three large rocks, while on the back is Sos Alinos pond.
The scent of local juniper, myrtle and Mediterranean vegetation will make exploring the hills, dunes and other inlets an unforgettable adventure.
Cala Gonone is a fraction of Dorgali municipality and also part of the Gulf of Orosei.
Nestled between the peaks of the Supramonte mountain range and crystal clear sea, Cala Gonone offers breathtaking views and is widely known as one of the most scenic beaches in Sardinia.
Cala Gonone town actually counts three beaches, the most central and easiest to reach being the one called Spiaggia Centrale (central beach) and is near the little port. Rather than sand, this beach is made of pebbles and is not as beautiful as the others.
The most spectacular among the beaches of Cala Gonone is Cala Fuili, easy to reach via land.
From Cala Gonone’s port you can take the boat to Baunei’s beaches Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu, and Cala Biriala, and to the stunning sea grottoes known as Grotte del Bue Marino (Sea Oxen Grottoes).
Cala Goloritzé is a wonderful cove along the rugged coastline of Baunei in the fascinating Ogliastra region in the Nuoro province.
Here, you will swim in the clearest and most azure turquoise waters and the surrounding rock formations make it one of the picture-perfect stretches of white sand that are often used to represent Sardinia’s coast.
This is hands-down one of the favourite and most famous Sardinia beaches, but definitely a place for the adventurous traveller. In fact, you can reach Cala Goloritzé either by trekking through the Supramonte mountain (long but not so difficult) or by boat. If you decide to go by boat, you can take it from Cala Gonone in Dorgali, Arbatax or Santa Maria Navarrese in Tortolì municipality.
I suggest going by boat also because they arrange tours to visit the other beautiful coves and natural pools of the Baunei area.