They say relaxation is therapeutic, but can it actually add years to your life? Why not visit the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia and find out for yourself? In addition to beautiful beaches and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is one of only five “Blue Zones” in the world, which are regions where the population typically reaches the age of 90 or older.
If scenery has anything to do with longevity, perhaps Sardinia’s thousands of miles of coastline, stunning valleys and rocky mountains can help explain the well-aging population. Touted as one of the safest places to visit in all of Italy, it takes about four hours to drive north to south and two and a half hours east to west. From exploring ancient ruins to modern dining and shopping, discover some of the best things to do and see in the island’s capital and along its southern coast.
Hotel Il Monastero
A short drive from Cagliari Airport and just 10 minutes from the sea, Hotel Il Monastero is a former Jesuit monastery nestled in the hillside on the outskirts of Sette Fratelli, a state property area that includes a mountain range and forests. The hotel’s original structure, which dates back to the late 1700s, has preserved the charming integrity of its historical roots as a former religious boarding school and a fruit and nut tree farm.
Spiaggia di Mari Pintau
If you’re on Sardinia, you’ll be spending time by the sea. One of the most beautiful spots on the island is Spiaggia di Mari Pintau—Mari Pintau translates to “painted sea” in Italian. The beach is tucked between the curving coastal roads and southern Sardinian surf. Grab a daybed and an Aperol spritz while you enjoy the stunning Mediterranean views.
Ristorante Da Barbara
For a memorable meal after a day at the beach, visit Ristorante Da Barbara, which is also located on the southern coast in the village of Solanas. Call ahead to reserve a table and come early to watch the local sheep head to the hills at sundown. Pick out your dinner selections from the fresh fish showcase located in the center of the restaurant.
For a bigger city adventure, head to Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital city. A modern metropolis with much to offer for the more historically minded, Cagliari is home to the remains of the ancient city of Karalis, medieval castles, basilicas, and other landmark limestone structures such as Bastione Saint Remy, which has a rooftop promenade that offers expansive views of the city. If you’re looking for a more modern setting and the opportunity to shop, Cagliari is a bustling destination for shopping and food. The city, perched on a hill above the sea with a population of 150,000, is Sardinia’s largest and has been called “the most Italian” of all its cities.
The North Coast Portisco
Leaving the city behind, at the other end of the island is Portisco. A small harbor village located in the North Eastern part of the island, it is home to some of the most picturesque beaches in all of Sardinia. The harbor accommodates boats and yachts of many sizes, while the town provides a rich experience for visitors. Sail along the coastline north to the area of La Maddalena and snorkel along the sandy beach inlets surrounded by stony bluffs like Cala Coticcio. After your voyage, grab a refreshing Sardinian-made lager (also known as Ichnusa) and delicious aperitives at one of the local seafront bars.