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Overview

This carefully manicured corner of Sardinia is where the glitterati hang out, pretending to hide from the paparazzi whose attention makes them glitterati. If you don’t understand this mindset, you probably don’t belong here. It’s all glitz and glamour, with cute little made-for-tourist “villages” artfully set in a stunning landscape of wind-carved rocks that drop to an emerald-colored sea. Between rocky promontories are idyllic beaches of powdery white sand. By law all these beaches are open to the public, but the land around them is not, so it sometimes takes some originality to get to them. One way is to sail there, or to hire a local ...

This carefully manicured corner of Sardinia is where the glitterati hang out, pretending to hide from the paparazzi whose attention makes them glitterati. If you don’t understand this mindset, you probably don’t belong here. It’s all glitz and glamour, with cute little made-for-tourist “villages” artfully set in a stunning landscape of wind-carved rocks that drop to an emerald-colored sea. Between rocky promontories are idyllic beaches of powdery white sand. By law all these beaches are open to the public, but the land around them is not, so it sometimes takes some originality to get to them. One way is to sail there, or to hire a local boat to take you and pick you up. But mostly it’s about seeing who’s there and being seen. Bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes and hotel lobbies are all part of the scene, as are the spectacular yachts that fill the harbors.

Porto Cervo, the largest development of the Costa Smeralda, was where the Aga Kahn and his friends began building this refuge for the very well-off in the 1960s. Designed to look like a Mediterranean fishing village, it looks more like the moneyed resort it is. A little footbridge connects the harbor to arcades and streets of designer-label shops. Along the nearby coast are Cala di Volpe, Liscia di Vacca, Capriccioli, Cugnana, Marina di Portisco and Porto Rotondo. Appreciate the Costa Smeralda resorts for what they are, but don’t mistake them for the real Sardinia that surrounds them.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer is the time to be here; in winter nearly everything is closed. But the weather is pleasant all year.