Jewel of the Mediterranean - Sardinia. Legends, castles and breathtaking beaches.
Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean, is well known as an amazing summer holiday destination. However, there is much more to the island, with it’s mysterious legends and ancient past. Perhaps the most fascinating legend about Sardinia is that it was home to the long-lost civilisation of Atlantis. The hypothesis was raised by the Italian researcher, Sergio Frau, who analysed Plato’s writings and believes Sardinia was in fact the land of Atlantis, wiped out by a huge tidal wave triggered by a comet. Some believe Atlantis was a creation of Plato’s imagination, however, there are historians who believe that Atlantean civilisation did, indeed, exist.
Sardinian ancestors, the Nuragic civilisation, was the culture which developed since the Bronze age - 18th century BC and lasted up to 238 BC, Roman colonisation. Scattered all around the island, Nuraghes (fort-like structures), Tombs of Giants and Sacred Wells remind us of the magnificence of the Nuragic culture. Another fascinating legend is attached to the Tombs of Giants - that an ancient race of giants lived in Sardinia and the tombs are their graves. Despite truly interesting legends, most likely, they were used as a massive communal graves and the doorways served as passages to the afterworld.
Researchers say that there are around 80 castles in Sardinia, most of them built during the Middle Ages. Undoubtedly the most famous one is located at the heart of capital city - Cagliari. The castle of San Michele is built on a steep hill, surrounded by mighty walls, aimed to protect its citizens from outside aggressors. Once in the area, you can visit the Cathedral and museums, walk medieval streets and enjoy a beautiful skyline.
In a beautiful small town of Burgos, a Sardinian province of Sassari, you will find a fairy-tale scenery - vineyards, mountains and the Burgos castle, resting at an elevation of 600 metres above sea level. The area is full of hiking trails and, if visiting during winter, popular for Roman thermal baths in the area.
With nearly 2,000 km of Sardinian coastline, there are many breathtaking, white-sand beaches to choose from. While the majority of tourists go to Cagliari, where they can enjoy both a seaside and a vibrant nightlife, Northern Sardinia is a hidden jewel for beach-hunters. Costa Smeralda or Emerald Coast, is a fascinating cocktail of powder-soft white sand beaches, crystal clear emerald water and cozy towns. Perhaps the most famous beaches are in the Archipelago of La Maddalena - it consists of 7 small islands. Spiaggia Rosa, or the pink sand beach in the Budelli island, is one of the few places on the planet to have pink sand.
Another beautiful spot in the Northern Sardinia is the Tavolara island, just off the Sardinian coast. Tavolara is 560 metres high granite and limestone mountain with a white sand beach and a small port. As per legend, King Charles Albert of Savoy, arrived to the island looking for legendary goats with golden teeth, met the only islands’ inhabitant, Paolo Bertoleoni, and named him a king of the island. Due to the story, Tavolara is known as the smallest kingdom in the world. P. Bertoleoni’s descendants are still the only inhabitants of the island. A film festival, A Night in Italy (Una notte in Italia), has been taking place in the island for decades. The island is in a marine protected area, meaning there is a spectacular underwater world. It is a perfect place for scuba-divers and snorkellers. To sum up, Sardinia is truly a wonderful holiday destination for hikers, divers, beach lovers or ancient history hunters.