Located off the western coast of Italy, the magnificent Costa Smeralda in Sardinia is ideal for a romantic honeymoon in Italy. Although it has been a magnet for celebrities, royals, and Arab sheikhs and Russian for decades, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the Emerald Coast.
Running about 35 miles on the north-eastern shores of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda boasts some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean.
The Spiaggia Liscia Ruia, is the region’s largest, can get crowded during the high season. The small beaches of Capriccioli are in an idyllic location with crystal clear water on one side and fragrant wild rosemary and oregano shrubs on the other. The Spiaggia del Principe is a popular celebrity hang-out, so keep your eyes peeled for Pierce Brosnan, Julia Roberts, or Donatella Versace. Further up the coast are the equally stunning Spiaggia Romazzino and Spiaggia Pevero, both backed by wild herbs and frequented by the rich and famous.
You will be sure to find a quiet spot among hills, fragrant shrubs and white sand beaches for a romantic picnic of pane carasau (Sardinian flat bread), delicious sheep cheese and a bottle of excellent local wine.
However, there is more to the Costa Smeralda than glorious beaches. You can explore the 10th century Church of San Simplicio and beautiful Church of San Paolo, the Byzantine Castello di Sa Paulazza. Heading inland you will find Cabu Assas Nuragic Complex, a group of mysterious prehistoric stone structures and Sacred Well of Sa Testa. On a lazy afternoon wonder around the village of Porto Rotondo that boasts spectacular sea views and up-market boutiques, sip a cocktail in a bar taking in the vista of the Gulf of Cugnana. If you are curious about modern day ostentations visit Porto Cervo, where luxury properties are the most expensive in Europe. Rows of beautiful yachts, bars, restaurants, flocks of paparazzi and an occasional Russian oligarch will keep you amused.
Local food on the Emerald Coast will not disappoint you: lamb, fava beans, sea bass, lobster, sea urchins, mussels, salami, and sheep cheese are fresh and tasty here.
Photos by: Natalia Romay, Salomao Nunes, Diane Byrne.