Sardinia is an amazing family vacation destination. We visited Sardinia with kids twice and couldn’t get tired of its phenomenal beaches. White, powdery soft, fine sand and calm, crystalline, emerald blue seawater is just perfect for both little ones and the grown ups who want the enjoy the best seas.
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Is visiting Sardinia with kids a good idea?
Sardinia has some of the best kid friendly beaches in Europe with crystal clean, calm and shallow waters and powdery fine sand. Beaches alone make Sardinia a perfect summer destination. In addition, you have the traditional, family admiring Italian and Sardinian culture on the island. Meaning you can easily find great food, especially pizzas, pasta and gelato. Besides the restaurants are kids friendly, children can fuss or scream a little bit with no problem, no way they can beat those loud friendly chatters. Moreover you have a wide range of choices to stay from resort hotels to budget friendly accommodations all close distance to the sea. All of these accumulate to a stress free family vacation in Sardinia with kids.
Where is Sardinia located?
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily). As governance, Sardinia island is an autonomous region of Italy. It is located in the western Mediterranean Sea about 190 miles (300 km) off Italian west coast. Another popular summer destination, Corsica island, which belongs to France, is right above northern Sardinian coast.
Sardinia is relatively a big island that is 170 miles (270 km) long from North to South and 90 miles (145km) wide from West to East. About 370 miles (595 km) of island’s coastline is covered with beaches. In total, Sardinia has 1150 miles (1850km) of coastline which can be high and rocky at some parts.
How to get to Sardinia Italy?
There are three main options to go to Sardinia, Italy:
- Flying with one of many international flights from France, Spain, UK and other European countries.
- Catching a domestic flight from Italy. Wherever you can find a cheap flight works: Rome, Milan, Bologna; all can be an option.
- A ferry ride from many ports in Italy or France and Spain.
We flew to Sardinia from London with British Airways. As early birds we had found cheap return flights for £100 per person.
How we decided for a vacation in Sardinia with kids?
For our summer family vacation in July and August we started planning early. Definitely, as a sea loving family, we wanted to spend lots of time at the beach swimming, playing and just soaking some sun. Besides, we wanted to feel some cultural vibes and to eat good food.
First we focused in popular Greek islands, but even for early bookings flight prices were too high. A brief search for other Mediterranean islands with good beaches led us to Sardinia. Luckily, we found a cheap flight from London to Olbia with British Airways. Another option was London – Cagliari but it wasn’t as cheap as Olbia.
Where are best beaches in Sardinia?
Eventually, we focused in Olbia and northern region of Sardinia. As a bonus, most of the best Sardinia beaches were at this part! It seemed like, it was a perfect destination for a summer family vacation. We loved hopping among many gorgeous beaches on the island. We visited both the north eastern and north western coasts. In fact, we liked the region so much, we visited Sardinia with kids twice.
How are beaches in Sardinia like?
Sardinia beaches are famous for their crystal clear, pristine, turquoise waters. At some parts you can feel like you are in Carribean with the fine white sand under your feet. In other words, Sardinia island is a gem in the middle of Mediterranean Sea. Its beaches are considered among the best in Europe (may be in the world). Thanks to the Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers, seawater is warm enough to swim from May to October.
Are beaches good in Sardinia for kids?
Most Sardinia beaches are perfect for kids, even for the little ones and toddlers. There are plenty of beaches with shallow, calm waters and fine sand both on the beach and in the water. Also, all the beaches we visited had gentle slopes in the water and were protected from winds and currents.
The Best Sardinia Beaches we visited with kids
We visited many beaches during our vacations. Here are the best Sardinia beaches we visited with kids and liked the most.
Northern Sardinia beaches
Spiaggia La Pelosa
La Pelosa beach is located at the northernmost part of Sardinia island. It has the most turquoise waters we’ve ever seen! The sand of La Pelosa is white and powdery fine and is under protection. That’s why, you can not lay your towels directly on the sand. Initially, you need to put a beach mat, then towels can be laid on the mat. When you leave the beach you must wash all the sand on your feet.
Yes, there are many rules to experience this beauty but thanks to theses rules the seawater here looks incredible. I can easily say that La Pelosa was the best beach we visited in Sardinia. Also the beach was so fun with kids. It was shallow and sand in the water was super soft. We spent lots of time in the water. In addition, we rented a pedal boat with a slide and enjoyed the great turquoise at its best.
La Pelosa beach is very popular. As a result, we hardly found a place to park our car and a spot on the sand to sit on. Moreover, in recent years a reservation is required to enter the beach. Yet, it is so beautiful that it’s worth all the struggle to reach to the beach.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Stintino
- Stintino hotels can be found at €50-100 price range. Some hotels even have shuttles to La Pelosa.
- For Booking.com, Stintino hotels options click here.
Rena Bianca Beach
Rena Bianca beach is walking distance to seaside town Santa Teresa di Gallura. It has white sand and turquoise water and quite protected from winds and currents. Just behind the beach there is a cafe for food and drinks.
Rena Bianca was a pretty beach to spend great time with kids. We especially liked the humble, little seaside town vibes of Santa Teresa di Gallura with a good beach in walking distance and noted it for future Sardinia holidays to stay.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Santa Teresa di Gallura
- Santa Teresa di Gallura hotels can be found at €50-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, Santa Teresa di Gallura hotels options click here.
East Sardinia beaches
Spiaggia di Cala Brandinchi
Cala Brandinchi beach looks like a postcard with its fine white sand and turquoise water. It was such a great experience visiting there. In our way to Cala Brandinchi, we drove through eastern Sardinian countryside and little villages. Finally, when there was a few kilometers to the beach we entered a national park. The hourly increasing and quite expensive parking price was applicable starting just after the entrance. I think, in order to prevent people to park outside the park and walk the rest of the way, they had built the entrance as far as possible. 🙂
Cala Brandinchi beach consisted of a few middle sized coves and it’s definitely worth every mile we drove to find this beauty. You can figure out that you are in an unique place seeing all the yachts anchored off the beach. Despite Cala Brandinchi being not very close to main towns, it can get very crowded. In fact, we literally, laid down on sand side by side with strangers when we were there. Try going earlier in the morning to beat the crowds. There is a cafe on the beach for food and drinks.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: San Teodoro
- San Teodoro hotels can be found at €50-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, San Teodoro hotels options click here.
Pittulongu Beach is a long beach in a short drive from Olbia, one of the main cities in Sardinia. It is Olbia’s main beach with chaise lounge – umbrella rentals and restaurants along the beach. There is free parking area just behind the beach. Nevertheless, I can easily say that Pittulongu is the most average beach in the area. You can find beaches with incredible white sand just a few coves ahead. I think, Pittulongu main beach is good for services provided and its beach vibes.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Olbia
- Olbia hotels can be found at €75-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, Olbia hotels options click here.
Spiaggia del Pelicano & Spiaggia Bados
Pittulongu is a little seaside town with some breathtaking beaches. We stayed in Pittulongu twice and at both times enjoyed the sea and the shore a lot. Even stayed at a beach house that had a direct beach access leading to white sand and crystal clear water. It is mostly a summer house vacationist community here and there is not much to do in the town. But the sea and beaches are gorgeous! Spiaggia del Pelicano and Spiaggia Bados are the two beautiful beaches walking distance to the town.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Pittulongu
- Pittulongu hotels can be found at €75-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, Pittulongu hotels options click here.
Spiaggia Bianca, which translates as White Beach, is the most popular beach around Olbia. After you park your car, you can access the beach climbing down a slightly steep area but it’s not a big deal. The sand of the beach is white as mentioned in its name. Sea is crystal clear, shallow and has a gentle slope. We had fantastic time here swimming and playing all day with the kids. Eventually, when leaving at sunset, we couldn’t find anyone to pay for our parking place.
As far as I observed chaise lounge rental prices increased going north of Olbia to Costa Smeralda coast. At this beach you could rent a pair of chaise lounges and an umbrella for a price range of €20-30. The price varied according the proximity to the sea. Or you can bring your own beach chairs and umbrella like we did and sit on the beach for free as all beaches on Sardinia.
Costa Smeralda Beaches
The Emerald Coast (Costa Smeralda), is the most glamorous part of Sardinia, filled with luxury resorts and villas, and giant yachts. The beauty of this northeastern Sardinian coast attracts celebrities and billionaires for decades to spend their vacations. As you can guess, The Emerald Coast gets its name from the particular hue of seawater here. Hence, there are many beaches along the coast with emerald blue waters, some with white sand and others with coarser sand. We visited a few of the beaches here. We liked them but I can’t say they were the best among we visited in Sardinia.
As the Emerald Coast is so famous, maybe even more than Sardinia itself, we definitely wanted to visit here. But there was a question in our minds: with all luxurious and expensive accommodations around, could you find a reasonable and good place to stay? After our vacation I can tell, yes you can. We stayed in San Pantaleo, a cute mountain village not far from the Emerald Coast. The adorable Sardinian village had great vibes and character. Stone houses, good restaurants, yummy gelato, pretty streets, even a weekly farmers market all contributed to San Pantaleo’s charm for us. (For more about “The best towns in Sardinia” my blog post is here.)
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: San Pantaleo
- San Pantaleo hotels can be found at €90-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, San Pantaleo hotels options click here.
Spiaggia del Principe
Spiaggia del Principe was one of the beaches we visited in Costa Smeralda. It was a nice beach with white sands and calm, warm water. After you park your car in the parking place (parking is a bit expensive) you need to walk about 10 minutes to the beach. It was pretty crowded, thus coming earlier can be a good idea.
West Sardinia beaches
The main city of western Sardinia is Alghero. Alghero has great historic vibes and character thanks to its well preserved old town, cobbled streets and lively atmosphere. After a day at the beach, strolling in Alghero’s main streets and piazzas was lovely. Also there were many good restaurant options here from a good paella or pizza to fine dining.
We chose our accommodation in Alghero in walking distance to the sea but we didn’t like the sea in the town very much. At the time of our visit there was lots of black seaweed looking particles on the shore and the very shallow parts of the sea. Sea was clean and when you got in a little more off the shore there wasn’t much seaweed (I mean natural, seaweedy black particles) but it wasn’t very pleasant at that state. We preferred beaches outside Alghero and had quite good time during our time in Alghero.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Alghero.
- Alghero hotels can be found at €40-100 price range.
- For Booking.com, Alghero hotels options click here.
Mugoni beach was a nice beach surrounded by trees and lots of shade. It was shallow, sandy and a good family destination to spend a great day at the beach with kids. Since it was close to Alghero city center it was quite crowded especially at weekends.
Porto Ferro Beach
Searching for an uncrowded beach in the middle of August, we found a really pristine one: Porto Ferro Beach. It was a long, sandy cove with only a few people. Since we read that the road to the the south part of the beach was bad we went from the north. For north access we had to walk about 20 minutes through the forest but it was part of the adventure. We stayed all day and enjoyed this beach. There is a nudist section on the northernmost part of the beach, which we accidentally discovered during our strolls on the shore. There aren’t any facilities on the beach, thus you need to go stocked with food and drinks.
South Sardinia Beaches
Since we based our vacation in northern Sardinia we didn’t have a chance to see the beaches on the south. But as far as I explored for my future vacations there are many great beaches at this part too. You can stay in the capital city Cagliari which looks very charming with old town and historic vibes. There are many nice beaches around Cagliari like Poetto or Chia to name a few. In other words, Cagliari can be a good option for those who want to experience the best of the two worlds: a historical town and good beaches.
- Base town you can settle to explore the region: Cagliari
- Cagliari hotels can be found at €80-160 price range.
- For Booking.com, Cagliari hotels options click here.
Things to do in Sardinia with kids besides beaches
1. Explore the historical town of Alghero
Alghero was our favorite place to stay in Sardinia and we had great time there with our kids. We explored the colorful streets and the walls of the old town. Rode the touristic train through its narrow streets. Enjoyed lots of gelato and the great food in Alghero. Went each evening to the fun fair outside the walls and had a wonderful time.
2. Visit Grotta di Nettuno
Grotta di Nettuno or The Neptune’s Cave is an amazing underground place close to Alghero. (click for the official webpage of Grotta di Nettuno) It is accessed either by land after climbing down 654 steps to the cave from a cliff top or by sea with boat tours from Alghero. Grotta Di Nettuno is an enchanting cave with majestic halls, tunnels, galleries and rock formations that will fascinate both the kids and the grown ups.
3. Visit a prehistoric Nuraghe
Nuraghes are ancient tower like defensive structures from Bronze Age spread throughout Sardinia and found nowhere else on the world. There are more than 7000 nuraghi in Sardinia and the ones in Barumini (Su Nuraxi di Barumini) are named as UNESCO World Heritage site. (for its official webpage click here)
4. Have Fun at the Waterpark
Our kids enjoy spending time on the beach but they love waterslides as well. For water amusement park lovers Aquafantasy is a waterpark on the northern coast of Sardinia. It’s a child friendly water park that kids of all ages would have fun.
5. Board on “The Little Green Train”
Trenino Verde (Green Train) is a train journey that crosses wild and unaltered landscapes in Sardinia. It is an opportunity to see the real and authentic side of of the island. (for the official webpage click here) The Little Green Train is called “little” because of its narrow gauge (actually it’s the longest line in Europe), called “green” because of the territories crossed by. It would be a unique experience for the little train lovvers and bigger ones alike.
Note: The webpage on the images above is my other travel blog: GezenAnne.com , which means “the traveling mom” in Turkish. All images are taken by me and subject to copyright.
My other blog posts about Sardinia:
My other post about Italy with kids: