Italy With Pleasure

Sardinia Tour

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Price From:
From€2,600
Price From:
From€2,600

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Sardinia is part of Italy – and it is not. Such a proud and ancient population that has inhabited this island for millennia, it stands apart as a unique Mediterranean location that is distinctive and unusual. As we journey through the island we trace the evolution of this culture, starting with early Phoenician and Bronze Age Nuraghic structures, through to the Spanish influence on the cuisine. The Sardinian lifestyle is a key part of our tour. In the hills we hear the ‘canto a tenore’ singing, we discover the protest-art murals in the town of Orgosolo, and try the best examples of their pecorino cheese in the markets.

Our tours are a balance between being informative (examples of the culture and lifestyle, historical details) as well as having everything that makes for an enjoyable trip (long lunches in good restaurants, a relaxed pace). We plan the itinerary in the way that you would plan to travel yourself, or with a group of friends.

Highlights
Itinerary
DAY 1: BUONGIORNO SARDINIA - EXPLORING CAGLIARI

Welcome to Sardinia, over this week you’ll start to uncover what makes this island special – fiercely independent, wonderful natural environments, unique historical sites, and a cuisine that is specifically ‘sarda’.

We start the tour in our centrally located hotel, right in the historic area of Cagliari.

Together we look through the Castello area, the oldest part of the city, located within the 14th century fortified walls and hemmed in by cliffs on either side. The history of invaders here, through the millennia, makes it understandable that people would live in this tightly packed district up on the hill.

We take a break back in the hotel, then meet and walk together to the Marina area. Here we share our first meal. The Sardinian cuisine is distinctly different from the Italian food that most of us know, the result of diverse influences. The land where they raise their sheep and their fantastic pecorino cheese. The sea that has brought invaders and settlers to these shores, and the culinary traditions that have been absorbed and made their own. The breads such as carasau – wheat has been grown here since ancient Roman times, a local greeting is “saludi e trigu” (“good health and wheat”). Pasta that you don’t find in the rest of Italy, such as fregula (similar to couscous) and culurgionis (a type of ravioli). Through this week we will try all these foods and many more. We have an enjoyable start tonight.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Dinner (3 courses including wine)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Regina Margherita (4 star), Cagliari.

DAY 2: NORA ARCHAEOLOGICAL

In the morning we first drive a short distance to a viewpoint over the city, where you get another perspective on aspects of Cagliari. We view the ancient Roman amphitheatre, and we see the different wetlands that surround Cagliari, used for many centuries as salt pans.

We then leave the city and travel along the southern coastline to a place called Nora. This has a long history, from starting as a Phoenician settlement in the 8th century BC, then becoming a Roman town and port. It is the Roman town that we see today – the remains of what were elegant villas by the sea complete with detailed mosaic floors and ancient Roman roads.

Lunch is in the town of Pula.

In the afternoon we visit a place called Tuvixeddu. This is a necropolis, or burial area, used first by the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC.

This is the largest Punic burial site, comprised of 1000 “well tombs” and reveals this cultures’ belief in the afterlife.

We arrive back in Cagliari in the late afternoon.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Breakfast, Lunch (3 courses including wine)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Regina Margherita (4 star), Cagliari.

DAY 3 - NURAGHIC BRONZE AGE SITES - SU NURAXI

We first visit the San Benedetto markets. This is the key point for the trade of all types of fresh food for the city – some of which you’ll be tempted by, some that is a bit more challenging. In these markets you see how the locals shop, what they buy, what is fresh, and what is caught in this part of the Mediterranean sea.

Next we go further back in time, yesterday’s ancient Roman town being just an introduction. Our focus today is on the Nuraghic civilisation, a Bronze Age population that lived on Sardinia. They have left some impressive markers of their presence here. Firstly we see a nuraghi, a fortified structure with almost a beehive shape, built of basalt blocks. The nuraghi that we visit in Barumini is called Su Nuraxu and is the largest of these ancient fortresses. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The original settlement dates from 1500 BC, with constant habitation for over 2000 years. This is a physical timeline of Sardinia.

After lunch in a charming agriturismo nearby we continue on to another Bronze Age site. This is known as the ‘tomb of the giants’, or locally as ‘Sa Domu and S’Orcu’. This is like nothing else that you see in Italy – the size of the stone blocks, the fascinating shape, and also just the simplicity and scale of the structure situated up on a hilltop as a monument to a forgotten time. The tomb, as well as its burial function, may have been dedicated to the god Taurus.

We continue on to our hotel in the town of Oristano, arriving in the early evening.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Breakfast, Lunch (3 courses including wine)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Duomo (4 star), Oristano

DAY 4 - GIANTS OF MONT’E PRAMA – SANTA CRISTINA

From our base in Oristano we have a wealth of things to see and do in close proximity on the Sinis Peninsula. Firstly we visit the village of San Salvatore. The village itself is unlike any other town in Sardinia, with its narrow lanes lined with rows of tiny houses – in fact it has been used many times as a film set for these reasons.

We then view the ancient site of Tharros. Situated on a peninsula, this has been a prized location since Phoenician times.

Moving on to the archaeological museum in the town of Cabras, we see the statues known as the ‘giants of Mont’e Prama’. These recently found monolithic artifacts, carved in the Iron Age (900 BC), are unlike anything that you normally associate with Italian history. They were found in this area. Also in this museum we see many of the Punic and Roman items found in the nearby archaeological area of Tharros.

After a seaside lunch, we travel to the village of Santa Cristina. Here we find a sacred well, over 3000 years old and incredible for the precision of its construction. The feeling of this being a sacred place is pervasive, and we marvel at how the structure is aligned with celestial bodies.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Breakfast, Lunch (3 courses including wine)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Duomo (4 star), Oristano

DAY 5: ORGOSOLO MURALS – CANTO TENORE SINGING

As a contrast to yesterday’s coastal jaunt, today we head inland, into the mountainous interior. First we visit the town of Orgosolo. This is the key mural town of Sardinia, with numerous building painted with local scenes, slogans, and an incredible variety of weird and wonderful things. We look around the town centre with a local guide. Learning about Orgosolo and the history of these murals reveals much about the more recent history of Sardinia, and the challenges and aspirations of the people who live here.

Orgosolo is also in the ‘blue zone’ of Sardinia, known for the longevity of the inhabitants here.

For lunch we visit one of the large forest parks that cover much of this central area, the Supramonte. We dine on the traditional foods cooked on an open grill, enjoyed outdoors in a casual setting.

After lunch we have a very special performance of ‘canto tenore‘ – most visitors to Sardinia do not get to experience this local polyphonic singing method. Canto tenore consists of three men singing together with different tones, creating a curious effect, while a fourth sings or chants a poem. This type of singing is specific to this Barbagia region of Sardinia and is recognised by UNESCO with its inclusion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

During the afternoon we reach our final destination, Alghero.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Breakfast, Lunch (picnic style)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Punta Negra or Hotel Catalunya (both 4 star), Alghero.

DAY 6: ALGHERO

In the morning we walk together through the historic centre of Alghero, looking at the aspects that make this such a fascinating city.

Alghero has a culture that is distinctly different from the rest of Sardinia. The key influences here are Spanish, following the conquering of the city by the Aragonese in the 14th century. The local dialect is closely related to Catalan. The old town has a superb seaside location, and much to discover. We leave you some free time to wander the lanes of the town or to enjoy the waterfront cafes.

The cuisine here is also heavily influenced by the Spanish, with paella being the signature dish.

The old town has a superb seaside location, and much to discover. There are numerous cafes along the walls and bastions of the old town, where we can enjoy a coffee looking out to sea.

Next we travel to a Bombarde beach. Sardinia is famed for its turquoise clear waters and great beaches, and we give you some time to relax on the beach, have a swim or just take it easy in the cafe nearby. Those that prefer not to have beach time will be dropped back to the hotel.

In the evening we cap off the week with ‘the last supper’, our final Sardinian meal together.

MEALS INCLUDED:
Breakfast, Dinner (3 courses including wine)

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel Punta Negra or Hotel Catalunya (both 4 star), Alghero.

DAY 7 - ARRIVEDERCI

As we have now reached the end of our tour, we drop off at Alghero’s airport nearby and bid you “buon viaggio”.

Sardinia Tour Dates 2024
Sardinia Tour Dates 2025
Cost and Inclusions

TOUR PRICE: €2600

* Price is denominated in Euros. Price listed is based on twin share
* Single supplement of €300 for solo travellers

Accommodation

We use good quality 4 star rated hotels located in Cagliari, Oristano and Alghero.

In Cagliari we stay in the historic central area in the Hotel Regina Margherita. The hotel is a modern, well presented establishment with a good restaurant and cocktail bar.

In Oristano we stay in a boutique hotel, the Hotel Duomo. This has many interesting features and you’ll love the lounge areas where you can relax and chat in the evenings.

Near Alghero we stay in either the Hotel Catalunya or the Hotel Punta Negra looking out over the coast – a fine way to end your week in Sardinia.

Reviews

M D, USA Google Reviews Logo

Our tour of Sardinia was wonderful! Our guide, Silvia, was knowledgeable about the culture, history, food and customs. We enjoyed the attention paid to each of the travelers. Sardinia’s ancient history was a revelation into the ingenuity of ancient civilizations. An exciting and humbling experience!

R P, USA Google Reviews Logo

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Sardinia with Italy With Pleasure. The tour was well planned, fun and educational. Hotels were well located, meals were delicious and plentiful. Our tour guide, Silvia, was extremely knowledgeable and considerate of everyone’s needs. The group was small and very compatible.
I would not hesitate to tour again with IWP.

J W, UK Google Reviews Logo

I only really wanted to feedback how much my sister and I had enjoyed being part of the Italy with Pleasure October 2022 small group tour in Sardinia. It was the first time either of us had visited the island and the tour certainly gave us a good introduction to its history and culture, in addition to seeing a lot of the countryside whilst being driven on the tour minibus. We much appreciated the informative Sardinia Tour 2022 booklet given to us at the introductory meeting with Marco, our guide for the week, as well as the other printed handouts given out during our visits. We were fortunate in having a beautiful warm sunny week for our visit - ideal sightseeing weather - and also fortunate that the summer crowds had mostly disappeared so that we often had the archaeological sites to ourselves. We enjoyed all of the visits and also having some free time most evenings to explore our new surroundings; Marco, our guide, was always on hand to give suggestions of things to do or places to eat and to make sure that no member of the group was ever excluded. Whilst it was my first time in Sardinia, I hope it will not be my last, and I have no hesitation in recommending a trip with Italy with Pleasure.

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