Sardinia, Italy, is a striking island—the rocks are colored black from basalt, silver from granite, red from porphyry—and it has had great historical and strategic importance.
Its location 150 mi/240 km southwest of Rome helps explain why every Mediterranean power has controlled the island at one time or another—Romans, Phoenicians, Spaniards, Turks, even a pope. The northern coast of present-day Sardinia is a favorite vacation spot of Italy's extremely wealthy, which explains the island's high prices.
A visit to Sardinia merits at least a week, which gives visitors the chance to experience the beaches, a city or two, and some of the beautiful interior. One of the bigger cities, such as Olbia, Cagliari or Alghero, makes a good base, and visitors can continue on to explore the coast by boat or navigate the island's scenic interior.
A good alternative to renting a car is to circle the island by boat over the course of two weeks, stopping in the small towns and coves along the way. If you're not yachting around the isle, plan a minimum of three nights. Also keep in mind that many hotels shut down in the fall and spring.
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