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The Costa Smeralda literally means the Emerald coast and is a popular holiday area in the North east of Sardinia. The Aga Khan changed this area from just a beautiful area to a paradise for the rich to play in, and later holiday resorts and timeshare style areas were built. Wonderful beaches and clear seas lure people to soak up the sun and relax on sun beds under the shade of bright umbrellas. Pedaloes and other water sports are available for hire at different beaches to encourage a little exercise. . A short distance from Porto Cervo is Liscia di Vacca where we stayed in 2004 in a time-share village, the beach was beautiful but the village quiet in September. There are many popular restaurants in this area and people seem to drink and drive in Sardinia, so happily drive a distance to enjoy a good restaurant. Another town on the Costa Smeralda is Baia Sardinia, it is popular with holiday makers and day trippers and we visited a couple of times, enjoying browsing through the little shops- selecting some postcards to send home, popular with locals too who seemed to flock there on the Sunday afternoon to enjoy lunch overlooking the sea. Modern hotels and smart houses made up this town, with plenty of parking and shops. A car is necessary to get around the area, especially to find the lovely beaches.
Porto Cervo is a few kilometres north of Olbia. Walking around the marina you can watch the rich and possibly famous reclining on the sun decks of their yachts whilst vans arrive with supplies and smart crew load up exotic fruit and vegetables to feed the guests as they cruise around the island. When we visited in 2004 there was a Rolex yacht race and we watched as they set off for a days racing. Around the marina are hotels and restaurants were you pay dearly to sit and enjoy a coffee, small shops and boutiques selling everything the holidaymaker may need and souvenirs to take home, were all over priced even the postcards! I only looked in the window of Cartier and Armani, as I didn't feel I was dressed smartly enough to step through the door, but strangely enough rubbing shoulders with these expensive shops was a common or garden Supermarket! Looking down on the busy scene is the church, called Stella Maris which is the home of a beautiful painting by El Greco called Mater Dolorosa. Here you can look out to the Isola Lunga with its famous beach. There are golf courses and tennis courts for the energetic, and although the car parks can be busy, it wasn't too difficult to park. If you are rich then this is where you want to stay. The Romazzino and the Pitrizzia are 5 Star+, where the "Beautiful people" are on view. We enjoyed our visit to Porto Cervo but preferred to explore the real Sardinia.
Santa Teresa di Gallura
We drove on through wonderful rock formations and tree and shrub lands to Santa Teresa di Gallura, although to us it was a small town it actually was a little city and is the most northerly community in Sardinia. The area of Gallura is mainly granite, and its name comes from the word gallo meaning cock, the heraldic beast of the Pisan family who ruled this region. Originally called Longo Sardo, it changed its name in honour of Queen Maria Teresa the wife of Vittorio Emanuele I. The beach is perfect for swimming, and sunbathing and surfers and divers like this area. There are several shops, bars, and cafes and although we didn't stay into the evening we were told the nightlife is busy. There are several campsites in the area and some smaller hotels. A few trees provide some shade around benches in a square when old men sat and smoked, watching the tourists strolling by, and a church bell rang disturbing the peace in this little town for a few minutes. We climbed a newly finished path to visit the remains of the castle and climbed up the steep stairs to climb out onto the parapet. The view was spectacular and although we felt there was little to see in the way of displays inside it was worth paying for the view! Looking out to sea was a statue of the Madonna and child. Simplistic in style, but I felt it was beautiful and could admire the clean lines. We walked around the headland a bit through the tall grasses and flowers and could hear the crickets and drone of bees, plus the occasional sound of a fishing boat engine returning to port. We absorbed a sense of peace here, so different to Porto Cervo.
Now having spent another holiday in Sardinia, we have explored more places and much prefer the real Sardinia , beaches which the locals use, not places built for only rich people. The Cost Smeralda is a beautiful area nevertheless and we enjoyed visiting places along the coast, but for me now I prefer the village we stayed in overlooking La Tavolara. Roll on our next visit!
Stella Maris Church in Porto Cervo
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Wow, what a place :-) You describe it so well I can almost smell the expensive Sardinian air.. ;) It is very nice to read about all these nice places as I can't afford to travel a lot myself -it's bit like window shopping, reading nice reviews... Lisa
Multtinems 11.02.2006 17:47
Sounds fantastic S xxx
micheledog 07.01.2006 21:55
jo lovely photos, really nice review. I want to go now x take care michele x x