Sardinia is a perfect summer destination for families with great beaches. So, where should you stay to enjoy those incredible beaches? Without a doubt, for a joyful vacation a town with lively atmosphere, a charming village with character, good restaurants and bars would contribute a lot. Here are the best places to stay in Sardinia for families, that we stayed in or visited during our family Sardinia vacation.
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The best places to stay in Sardinia for families criteria for us
As a family with two young kids, our first criteria for the best places to stay in Sardinia for families was proximity to the sea. Also, all members of our family really adore great food and local cuisine. So, good restaurants and trattorias serving yummy pizzas, pasta, desserts and of course lots of gelato would be much appreciated. Actually we searched for the best places to stay in Sardinia for families where you can find both: a good beach in walking distance and charming, lively town vibes. Honestly, not all the places had both of them. But thanks to our rental car, we managed to find the missing parts anyways.
Lively atmosphere, great old town vibes
Alghero is a well preserved historical town with lively cobbled streets and great atmosphere. It is a Catalan city on the north west of Sardinia. We loved all the things Alghero offered: its well preserved medieval architecture, colorful streets and many restaurants from pizzerias to high end fine dining ones.
Abundant shops are spread around the streets of old town, mostly selling red corral jewelry, a thing Alghero is famous for. At the time of our visit I was concerned about all the red corral used for jewelry making. After a little search I found out that corral harvesting was strictly regulated in Alghero. Actually it was harvested so little, thus it was very expensive. In other words, the red corral jewelry sold in all touristic shops with affordable prices was no way a genuine one I suppose. Good and bad news at the same time. 🙂
Things to do in Alghero
Alghero is one of the best towns in Sardinia to spend amazing time with kids. We ate lots of gelato, rode the touristic train through the narrow streets of old town, visited the fun fair every night and had a blast!
And for the grown ups, would you fancy a sunset cocktail after a day at the beach? Take your place by the historic city walls overlooking the harbor and enjoy the view! Dining al fresco on the old town streets with great atmosphere is another great thing to do in Alghero. Add to that scene a large pan of seafood paella and other delicious Catalan food with glass of wine in a warm summer evening. Now we started talking about a great vacation, right? We can easily say that Alghero was the best town in Sardinia among the ones we visited, and we made lots of great memories there.
Where to stay in Alghero?
We stayed in an Airbnb primarily for an option of cooking some of our meals at home in Alghero. Whereas, for my next visits I’d love to stay in a hotel close to the historical center. There are many good restaurants and lots of cafes and bars to be enjoyed in the area, so no need to spend time cooking.
Hotel Angedras (booking.com score 8.5/ over 1000 reviews) close to the center looks like a good option.
Alma di Alghero Hotel (booking.com score 8.5/ over 1100 reviews) can be another option with modern rooms and breakfast. Both hotels I mentioned above have quadruple rooms, which is more convenient for bigger families.
Generally, I can say that, Alghero hotels are cheaper than the other parts of Sardinia.
For more choice of Alghero hotels, please click here.
The prettiest village
San Pantaleo is a cute, mountain village that I definitely would want to visit again and again. We discovered there on our second Sardinia vacation, with a bit of a regret why it was out of our radar at the first time. In fact, it wasn’t mentioned enough at “the best towns in Sardinia” lists, which is why I missed here initially.
Where is San Pantaleo located?
This picturesque small town is very close to Sardinian north eastern coast, renowned Costa Smeralda. In other words, the best beaches of Sardinia are only a short drive away. (6 km to the coast) Yet the proximity to great beaches, is not the main reason that makes San Pantaleo one of the best small towns in Sardinia. Its forte is its charming location and traditional atmosphere. San Pantaleo is nestled between granite mountains with a breathtaking scenery. It is the kind of place where you can still feel the Sardinian character in spite of being so close to the glamorous coast.
The cute village is all constructed of rustic stone buildings, which are transformed into boutique hotels, nice cafes and bars or shops and art galleries spread along cobbled streets. There is a delightful, little piazza in the middle of the village. You can find many good restaurants around that area from traditional trattorias to really expensive fine dining ones.
What we did in San Pantaleo?
We had our aperativos at Caffe Nina in the piazza, while our kids kicked a football back and fort with the local kids. We ate many good pizzas and pasta at Trattoria Ichnos, where we visited multiple times. Of course, our every meal was followed by some delicious gelato. Mirto (or Myrtle) flavored, purple blue colored gelato was my favorite one. (Mirto is also a liquor unique to Sardinia island which is made from myrtle berries growing here.) We even had a chance to stroll around the famous Thursday farmers market where great food and fashionable stuff was sold.
Where we stayed in San Pantaleo?
We stayed in a quadruple room in Antica Dimora La Corona right in the center of San Pantaleo. Our room was spacious with some antique furniture and the common areas were so elegant. Breakfast was served at the top floor terrace with great mountain views. We had a chance to experience Sardinian breakfast there, which consisted of crispy filo like bread, ricotta cheese and honey. Hotel owner, fashionable dressed Francesca made our cappuccini each breakfast which we enjoyed drinking viewing the great scenery. In other words, it was a pleasant stay at hotel Antica Dimora La Corona.
For other hotels in San Pantaleo, please click here.
For best local vibes
Sassari is the second largest city in Sardinia and one of the oldest ones on the island. It is a beautiful city with rich history and well preserved medieval architecture. Catalan-gothic, baroque and neoclassical buildings are spread around the old town. Pretty piazzas (Piazza D’Italia, Piazza Castello), a nice urban park (Gardini Pubblici), and many palazzos are located in a short walking distance in the historic centre.
Where is Sassari located?
Sassari is located on the north west Sardinia, but it is not a seaside town. It is about 15 km (20 minutes) away from the coast and it is at a central location close to both north and west towns and beaches on the island. La Pelosa Beach (renowned as the best beach in Europe), Alghero, Porto Torres, Castelsardo, even Santa Teresa Di Gallura are all in 1 or 2 hours driving distance to Sassari, making the town a wise choice as a base for northern Sardinian coast.
What we did in Sassari?
We stopped in Sassari on our road trip from Olbia to Alghero and spent a few hours there. We really liked its less touristy atmosphere with local vibes. First, we strolled around plam tree lined historical streets. Then, we had a great lunch at a local restaurant feeling like a local. And finally at the end of our short break we enjoyed our gelatos at one of the beautiful piazzas and definitely noted this pretty town as a place to stay for our future vacations.
Where to stay in Sassari?
There are many great Sassari hotels in walking distance to historic centre and most of them are great choices with booking.com scores 9.0 and more.
Palazzo Polo looks like a great choice only 0.3 miles to the centre and a wonderful 9.1 score for more than 250 reviews. It offers a buffet breakfast and family rooms.
Al Vicole Tre is another hotel in the historic centre top rated by the couples and families. It has a score of 9.4 from more than 300 reviews.The hotel has microwave and fridge in the rooms and offers daily Italian breakfast.
For more Sassari hotels options, please click here.
Santa Teresa di Gallura:
Affordable town with great beaches
Santa Teresa Di Gallura is located on the Northern tip of Sardinia. It is a little seaside town with humble atmosphere and a good beach in walking distance. We drove through Santa Teresa di Gallura on our way to its beautiful beach Spiaggia Rena Bianca and really liked its cute seaside town vibes. We can easily spend relaxed few days here in our future vacations.
Where to stay in Santa Teresa Di Gallura?
Hotel Corallaro (booking.com score 8.6 /more than 450 reviews) is a good option in the historical center of Santa Teresa Di Gallura and walking distance to Rena Bianca beach.
- Santa Teresa di Gallura hotels can be found at €50-150 price range.
- For Booking.com, Santa Teresa di Gallura hotels options click here.
Base for dreamy beaches
Olbia is one of the three main cities in Sardinia (the other two are Cagliari and Alghero). It has a historic center filled with archaeological landmarks, piazzas surrounded by wine bars and authentic eateries. Actually for most people, Olbia basically is a gate to northeastern Sardinian coast. Both on the north and the south of Olbia there are plenty of beaches, without a doubt, among the best on the island. The glamorous Costa Smeralda coast is only half an hour drive from Olbia. Thus, you can easily say it’s the best town in Sardinia for beaches.
Best Olbia Hotels to Stay
L’Essenza Hotel (booking.com score 9.0 / more than 1100 reviews) has an excellent location in the old town of Olbia. It is very close to Archeological Museum of Olbia and Church of St.Paul the Apostle. The hotel offers continental or buffet breakfast and has family rooms.
For more Olbia Hotels options, please click here.
Where we stayed in Olbia?
We stayed in Olbia at our two separate Sardinia vacations. Having an international airport with many cheap flights makes Olbia an obvious first stop. (For more on how to get to Sardinia click to my post here.) Moreover after visiting many places on the northern Sardinia, we think Olbia beaches are among the best. That’s why, white sandy turquoise waters attract us spontaneously as soon as we set foot on the island.
We preferred to stay in Pittulongu, a small seaside town, just 7 km out of Olbia. It has easily accessible some breathtaking beaches. Since it is mostly a summerhouse vacationist community, there is not much to do in Pittulongu. Nevertheless its beautiful beaches are charming enough to make us come again and again. There is a great pizzeria and some nice beach restaurants. If you plan a few days at the gorgeous beaches, not doing much but enjoying the great sea, Pittulongu can be an option for you too.
- Pittulongu hotels can be found at €75-150 price range.
- Hotel Mare Blue (booking.com score 8.0 / more than 490 reviews) is located right on one of the cute beaches of Pitulongu. It offers breakfast and family or quadruple rooms.
- For Booking.com, Pittulongu hotels options click here.
Best part of Sardinia for families
We explored north parts of Sardinia in two different vacations and I can say that all places we visited were great for families. You can find swimmable, fantastic beaches at all of the region. Some beaches offer floating water parks or pedal boat with a slide rentals, which is very fun doing on the calm waters in Sardinia.
Which is better Alghero or Olbia?
We visited both northeaster coast (Olbia) and northwestern coast (Alghero) in Sardinia. Actually, I can say that each of them has better sides than the other. Alghero is a great historical city, the best among we visited in Sardinia. There are lots of things to do with kids in Alghero. Also, Alghero is cheaper than the eastern glamorous coast. However we liked the beaches in Olbia more. For more lively historical atmosphere go for Alghero. If powdery sandy beaches with turquoise waters is your priority don’t skip Olbia.
We couldn’t choose between Alghero and Olbia and visited them both at our first time. On our second time, we divided our time between Olbia Pittulongu, San Pantaleo and Santa Teresa di Gallura.