I can spend hours browsing social media just staring at amazing pictures of Sardinia. This island, where I grew up, is the place to be in the summer – though I insist that there’s plenty of things do to in Sardinia throughout the year.
My Instagram feed (oh hey, by the way, my Instagram is @myadventuresacrosstheworld) is a series of Sardinia images of gorgeous beaches (read more about my picks for the best beaches in Sardinia here); of lovely villages; of surfing locations (yes, Sardinia is a fantastic surf destination – read what the best surfing spots in Sardinia are on this post). This really feels like a slice of heaven on earth.
Not only do I like looking at pictures of Sardinia. I also like taking them. I never go out without my camera, and if I don’t have that for whatever reason, I find that my iPhone takes very good photos too. My friends are now used to me taking random photos while we walk around and talk, or asking them to “walk in the picture” when I need that extra touch.
I appreciate that to many Sardinia is still an obscure destination; a lot of people outside of Europe don’t know where Sardinia is. Besides, too many of those who visit Italy just stick to the mainland, going to Rome or Cinque Terre and little else, because Sardinia takes too much of an effort. With this in mind, I have decided to put together a post with my favorite pictures of Sardinia, complete with the exact photo location and description of the places where I took them.
Let me add a little disclaimer, however: I am based in Cagliari, the main city in Sardinia. It’s so gorgeous that National Geographic enlisted it in the most underrated destinations in the Mediterranean. Anyways, being from Cagliari means that most of my pictures of Sardinia have been taken around the South of the island, where I have the chance to go photo shooting more often. Having said that, I also believe that the north is amazing to visit!
Also, keep in mind that this post is meant to give tips of locations for places to take Sardinia photos in the summer months, so that you can enjoy the beach and take photos at the same time. Needless to say, the places I mention are wonderful any time of year, and while you won’t be able to enjoy the sea in the winter, photos will look even more amazing because there won’t be any crowd at the beach!
Anyways, without further ado, here’s where to take the best Sardinia photos.
Where To Take The Best Pictures Of Sardinia
Ok, Poetto may not be the best beach in Sardinia in terms of beauty (well at least not for us!). Yet, it makes an excellent location to get a feel for the island and to take some Sardinia images, especially when in Cagliari. Locals love hanging out here, so it’s the place to be if you are after a real local experience.
It’s easy to reach (there’s buses from the city center, in Piazza Matteotti and Via Rome, typically any “P” bus goes there). There’s several bus stops along Poetto, and locals typically identify the spot they hang out with the bus stop number. I took my photo from “sesta fermata” (sixth bus stop).
Poetto beach is incredibly long; and there’s plenty of places to rest for a coffee, a drink and a light meal. The best time of day to take pictures of Sardinia in this location is in the early morning hours, as the beach gets really crowded as the day goes on. Or else, go right before sunset. Do not go when it’s windy, unless you fancy being covered in sand.
Sella del Diavolo
Sella del Diavolo is by far one of my favorite spots in Cagliari, not only as it’s perfect to take gorgeous pictures of Sardinia, but simply because, although being within easy reach from the city center, it feels like a million miles away.
In order to get to Sella del Diavolo, take bus n. 11 from Via Einstein, and get off at the last bus stop in Calamosca. From there, follow the road on the left until you get to the entrance of what looks like a park, and follow the trail. It’s an easy walk, around 30 minutes at most to the panoramic view point from where I took this photo (one of my favorite locations for pictures of Sardinia). The view of the city, Poetto beach below and of Molentargius Protected Natural Oasis are gorgeous. I think the one above is the best view, but the trail goes further so there’s more good Sardinia photos opportunity.
The best time to go is either in the morning (sunrise from there is splendid) or in the late afternoon (though this isn’t a sunset spot).
Faro di Sant’Elia
To be fair, this isn’t the exact spot on the photo. The lighthouse (faro) is right behind (in the other photo). It’s very easy to reach from the center of town. Just take bus n. 11 and get off on the first stop in Calamosca. It is a short hike towards the lighthouse, but the area is packed with incredible photo opportunities, with some of the nicest pictures of Sardinia that can be taken in Cagliari. I really like the view from the Sant’Ignazio abandoned fortress.
The small beach below is Calamosca (the one I mentioned before), which is one of the urban beaches in Cagliari and a favorite of the locals. The area doesn’t really get crowded. The best time of day to go is in the late afternoon, especially for sunsets (though I wasn’t that lucky when I went last time, as it was just about to rain). To date, I think this is one of the best Sardinia photos I have ever taken.
My friend Margherita calls me Miss Vicoletti (narrow alleys) for wherever in the world I may be, I make it a point to take photos of all the small streets. It’s where I find the best photo opportunities, and I enjoy the atmosphere. There’s many streets in Villanova that I like to take photos of. I think this is one of the best places to take city life pictures of Sardinia.
Either way, I love to walk around there to take photos, especially in the summer. Villanova is one of the oldest parts of Cagliari, but it has undergone major works in the last decade, to clean it up and bring new life to the beautiful buildings. The area is closed to traffic (so there’s plenty of time to sit and wait to take the best Sardinia photo), so it is the kind of place where locals and tourists alike enjoy a late afternoon walk and a drink; and where children can be still seen playing football in the streets.
The photos here were taken at various locations around Villanova: Via San Domenico, Via San Giacomo, Via San Giovanni and other small alleys which I find perfect locations for colorful, urban Sardinia images. The best time of day to go to take photos is in the late afternoon – in the summer season, any time between 6:00 and 7:00 pm. That’s when there’s the most action before it gets dark (it’s quite packed at night for those who like night photography).
Castello (and Stampace)
I have yet to decide whether I prefer Villanova or Castello. In doubt, I spend time in both of them. Castello is another perfect location to take great pictures of Sardinia in Cagliari. It’s one of the oldest parts of town, but contrary to Villanova it hasn’t undergone any major renovation work, with the result that most of its buildings are crumbling (something that the people who live in the area often complain about).
Castello has all the charm of the narrow alleys that Villanova has, but added to that there’s the fact that it’s on a hill, so the views of the city are stunning, making it one of my favorite places for Sardinia images. Furthermore, thanks to it’s orientation, it’s a great place to photograph at any time of day: go to the terrace of Via Santa Croce for the perfect sunset view (and a drink in one of the locals’ favorite spots). On the other side, towards Piazza Mafalda di Savoia, there’s beautiful sunrise views.
And all the alleys in between are perfect throughout the day.
I took the Sardinia images seen in this post various locations around Castello: Via Santa Croce is where the terrace with views of Torre dell’Elefante is located. Looking on the right, the view of Stampace quarters is splendid. And looking behind, there’s just lovely views of the buildings. The other photos were taken in Via Lamarmora, one of the most historic one, and Piazza Mafalda di Savoia. There’s also a photo of the Cathedral, just in case!
I did say before that I am mostly based in Cagliari. So, for as much as I like to travel around the island in search of gorgeous beaches (hey, that’s easy: they are literally everywhere) and to take the nicest pictures of Sardinia, I mostly end up going to the beaches that are no further than a couple of hours drive from home (yes, Sardinia is that big!). So, the following is a very personal selection of my favorite beaches to take Sardinia photos. Please note, it may be subject to change!
I went to this beach for the first time last summer. Kind of strange, considering that it’s on the way to Costa Rei, where I have been going since I was born, and it’s really close to Cagliari (around 40 minutes drive). It’s a great place, and a fantastic location to take iconic summer pictures of Sardinia.
Baccu Mandara is best reached by car. It’s East of Cagliari, on the way to Villasimus and Costa Rei, so once out of the city (either following the main road along Poetto, or SS 554), follow the signs to either Muravera on the new Strada Statale (SS) 125, getting out at Geremeas to then take SP 17, or to Villasimius on the Strada Provinciale (SP) 17, and take the exit after Geremeas. I suggest driving along the SP 17 actually – it’s a bit longer, but there’s plenty of photo opportunities so fabulous to take Sardinia images.
Baccu Mandara orientation is such that the nicest pictures of Sardinia can be taken both in the late morning (that’s when I took mine) or at sunset. In order to take this photo (one of my favorite of my Sardinia photos repertoire) I walked to the left of the beach and climbed the rocks (it’s fairly easy, but do wear at least flip flops as it may be slippery). The view from there are simply stunning.
I am absolutely in love with this tiny cove. It’s never too crowded, even during the peak summer months, and it’s the perfect location for amazing pictures of Sardinia. It’s located west of Cagliari, and there’s no direct road access – either drive west from Cagliari following SP 71 until a sign pointing to La Pinnetta, where there’s a gated parking lot and a short trail.
Alternatively, hike all the way from Cala Cipolla (about one hour drive from town along SP71, take the exit for Chia), then take the trail that goes all the way to Capo Spartivento lighthouse and continue walking. It is a good couple of hours walk – not the best in the summer, though the views are splendid and there’s many a possibility to take Sardinia photos. Finally, another way to do it (the most relaxing one for sure) is by boat. There’s boats departing from Capo Malfatano, further on SP71.
The images I have of Cala Antoniareddu are among my favorite Sardinia images. I have taken them from pretty much any angle – during the hike, directly from the beach and from the boat. Unfortunately in order to get the best light it’s better to go during the day, when the sun is really strong. But it’s worth it, I promise!
I love this small cove, it’s the perfect location to take amazing pictures of Sardinia. It’s on the way to Costa Rei, very easy to find – drive east of Cagliari on SS125 towards Muravera, take the first exict to Costa Rei, drive a couple of km until you reach a small bridge and a traffic light. Go straight and then take it left, but go slowly as the turn for the beach is soon after, on the right.
Monte Turnu tends to get crowded in the summer. I won’t let it deter me, especially if I am after Sardinia photos. The best time to go to take photos actually is between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. That’s when I took my photo. I walked right at the kiosk and got straight into the water.
This is home to me, and here’s what I think is one of the best beaches in Sardinia. My parents would take me there as a baby, then they bought a property where we’d spend the summer months when I grew up. And even now, that’s where they spend the summer, so I go all the time. It’s among my favorite locations to take pictures of Sardinia.
Costa Rei can actually be reached by bus – there’s regular buses leaving from Cagliari main bus station, it takes a couple of hours. Otherwise, it takes around one hour by car, depending on traffic, along SS125. Alternatively, follow the old SP17 to Villasimius and take SS125 from there – there will be plenty of opportunities to get good Sardinia photos along the way.
As I go to Costa Rei all the time, I take photos at about any time of day. The orientation is such that this is a good place for sunrise – so wake up extra early for beautiful sunrise pictures of Sardinia. Or else, the best time for photos is when the sun is bright in the sky, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Also, don’t expect this to be a secluded beach with no crowds. Quite the opposite: as it is easy to access, it gets really crowded in the summer months. So perhaps your best shot for some solitary Sardinia photos in the area is at sunrise.
For my sunrise photo, I walked down Via delle Rose and left once on the beach. I just shot randomly with no specific idea in mind, but I loved finding the boats on shore as they added an extra touch to the photo.
I took the other photo from Santa Giusta, where I went on top of the massive rock – an incredible location for great pictures of Sardinia. Keep in mind I took that at the beginning of October, that’s why the beach looks so empty. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as peaceful in the peak summer months as there’s a resort nearby. Either way, the views are gorgeous.
The last of my pictures of Sardinia in Costa Rei was taken near a kiosk called “I Tarocchi” – the kiosk isn’t too nice, it’s quite run down to be honest. But there’s a bit less people on this stretch. I walked along the beach, to the left, until I got to this massive rock that I climbed and that gave me great views of the water and all the action.
This is one of the most amazing places in Sardinia, and the best part of it is that access is restricted to only 140 cars per day in the overall natural park, which counts 5 beautiful small beaches. This means that Oasi Bidderosa is never crowded, and it’s simply perfect to take amazing Sardinia photos. Do keep in mind though that, as access is restricted, it’s better to book in advance.
Bidderosa is at about 10 km north of Orosei, a lovely village on the East coast of Sardinia. The best way to get there is from Nuoro (along the route of SS131 bis), one of the main cities on the island. Once there, take SS129 and, from Orosei, SS125 heading north.
The beaches in Bidderosa are numbered, and it’s possible to move from one to the other throughout the day – better to walk, though, as the parking lots near the various beaches get full. I find beach 4 to be an excellent location to take iconic pictures of Sardinia, as there’s beautiful rocks that give photos that extra depth.
As Bidderosa never gets crowded, it’s a fantastic location to visit even throughout the summer months. The best photos are taken during the day (it’s facing east, so unfortunately there’s no sunsets). I took my Sardinia photos of Bidderosa during the early afternoon, at beach 4; whereas the photo of me walking almost like a soldier was taken a bit later on the walk between beach 3 and beach 4.
More Amazing Pictures of Sardinia
As I have said, my list of locations to take pictures of Sardinia is not exhaustive. There are fantastic places that have lots of street art in Sardinia – the traditional kind though! There are some incredible and unique archaeological sites, such as the famous nuraghi.
I have browsed Trover and found some more incredible pictures of Sardinia, complete with locations. I have compiled a list and embedded it below for you to see. If you have any other Sardinia photos to add to this, get on Trover and also let me know!
If you have been to Sardinia and would like to recommend your favorite places to take pictures of Sardinia, you should upload them on Trover so others can be inspired too!