Advantages Beautiful beaches and rugged scenery
Disadvantages Expensive around Costa Smeralda
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
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 tenniscourts 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.
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.
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