Sardinia island is overshadowed by the other more popular Italian destinations and took me about 10 years of traveling to Italy to finally visit. My Sardinia road trip blew me away and surprised me in so many different ways. Sardinia is a lot bigger than I thought and there is SO much to see!
Sardinia is the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean behind Sicily. One week was not nearly enough to see all the highlights and I barely scratched the surface of the amazing-ness of this island.
Sardinia (aka Sardegna) is an agricultural island and very mountainous. It’s rough around the edges and perfect for those who want to see more off-the-beaten path beaches. Most the Sardinia beaches were a little hard to get to honestly, but all SO worth it.
For this 8 day trip, I focused on the East Coast of Sardinia and part of the Northern tip and I think it was a perfect introduction to Sardinia. But if you want to see most of the island highlights, you will need at least 2 weeks, or multiple trips.
How to Get to Sardinia
There are many daily flights to Sardinia from the mainland of Italy for very cheap, if you don’t mind the budget airlines.
My ticket from Milan to Olbia, Sardinia (on the Northeast of the island) cost $40 flying on EasyJet. It was less than a 1-hour flight. On the way back I flew to Rome on Meridiana for $88 on a direct flight.
Note: I went in the off-season in April. Expect much higher prices during peak season.
As Always, I used Skyscanner to find my tickets (9 out of 10 times it results in the cheapest tickets for me).
Renting a Car in Sardinia
Let me start by saying that having your own car is a MUST to explore the hidden spots and places that aren’t on the map. I have never rented a car on my own because it’s usually too expensive (and more so because I can’t drive stick shift). But through much research I realized that most of the best beaches in Sardinia can only be reached by car (or foot).
The public transportation is lacking on the island, especially outside of July and August. After spending a week there, I realized I definitely couldn’t have seen half of what I saw without a car and it was great being able to go at my own pace. I did LOTS of stopping at random cliffs to take pictures and I was loving it!
Note: the road conditions were not good in Sardinia, so drive carefully so you do not get a flat. There were a lot of potholes, even on the freeway. So just make sure to stay alert to avoid them.
It was also great not having to lug around all my camera equipment on my shoulder all day like I usually do when exploring a new place.
I went with Sicily by Car and paid $180 for an 8-day automatic car rental (which is SUPER cheap for an automatic in Europe). Prices were half that if I only knew how to drive a manual car! One day I’ll learn, damnit!
The company had mixed reviews and I initially had my concerns and said “oh hell no”. But I spoke with my host in Sardegna beforehand and she assured me she had used the company many times without any mishaps so I trusted that! In the end, Everything went smoothly and I don’t have any complaints.
I booked this car on RentalCars.com, which I love to use when renting cars in Europe.
PRO TIP: if you want to avoid a large deposit on your card, get the extra full coverage insurance (it’s worth it if only to avoid the 800 euro deposit). I paid a 250 Euro deposit. Also, make sure you walk around your rental and check for scratches that weren’t marked on the rental agreement. I saw 4 extra scratches that weren’t marked and had them added on the agreement so I wouldn’t get charged for them later! They happily agreed to sign off on it and I was on my way! Simple. Quick. Efficient. Bam!
(PS: this is before I had the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which I always use for car insurance overseas so that I don’t have to pay for extra coverage).
Sardinia Road Trip: Where to Visit in Sardinia
Best Beaches in Sardinia (North East)
Let me start by saying this list is my personal opinion. In one week I was only able to visit a handful of Sardinia beaches and wasn’t able to see all of the most popular beaches on the island as they are all spread out. I will say that Sardinia has the most consistently breathtaking beaches out of any country I’ve been. Every little beach I saw was spectacular, even the random little ones I saw while driving. Here is a list of the best beaches in Sardinia on the North East coast of the island.
My Top 5 Favorite Sardinia Beaches
1. Cala Goloritze
Cala Goloritze requires a 2-hour hike but is so worth it! This beach alone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that’s how special it is. It’s a rocky beach with huge boulders in the water with the most crystal blue/green waters.
The photos I took do NOT do it justice as it was super overcast and about to rain. Even so, it’s still gorgeous!
Tip: Drive to Brainei and then look for signs for Golgo. From there it’s about 20 minutes. Follow signs for Golgo restaurant/bar.
Capriccioli is one of the famous beaches of the ritzy Costa Smeralda region and was my second favorite beach in Sardinia.
It is made up of 4 small half crescent shaped beaches. There are 2 on the East and 2 on the West about 5 minutes walking distance from each other. The 2 small beaches on the East are prettier and less windy.
The 2 East beaches are separated by huge boulders and green vegetation. It’s absolutely breathtaking. You can drive right up to it and one of the easiest beaches to access on Sardinia, yet one of the prettiest.
This stunning beach was on the Island of La Maddalena. I stopped at this beach randomly on my road trip and it ended up being the nicest blue/green contrasted water on the island. It was one of the clearest waters I’ve ever seen and I was in a daze just staring out at it.
No filter whatsoever on the below photo. How freaking pretty is that water?
4. Capo Coda Cavillo
As you drive to it, you will be greeted with a beautiful panoramic view and private beach on the way. You will need to drive down a dirt road with lots of pot holes to get to it but it is worth well it.
There was a private little beach on the way to Capo Coda Cavillo that I just had to stop at and climb down to. There wasn’t a single soul there besides myself. Just the way I like it!
5. Cala Luna
Located in the gulf of Orosei, Cala Luna (“Moon Cove”) is a spectacular beach that has caves you can go into and get away from the sun. You can take a €12 boat ride from from Cala Gonone and get dropped off at this beach. You can also reach this beach by hiking from Cala Fuili about 1.5 hours and I heard it’s a difficult hike (proper shoes required!)
A sandy beach known as the “Tahiti of Sardinia” by the locals. The crystal waters are very shallow and you can walk out pretty far.
Cala Lunga Di Porto Massimo
A tiny private beach on La Maddalena with cascading colors from light blue green to rich blue and turquoise hues.
Puerto Cervo is a beautiful colorful village that reminded me of Arizona with the sand blast orange on the streets and buildings. For the best panoramic viewpoint, head to Stella Maris Church.
Best Scenic Routes in Sardinia
There were so many beautiful stops along the coastline during my road trip in Sardinia, so I thought I would mention a few here.
1. Road from Cannigione to Palau. On my way to catch the ferry to Maddalena I was slapped in the face with numerous turquoise waters that lined the coastline making this a great drive for photo ops.
2. Road from La Maddalena port to Cala Francesca. Blue, blue, and more blue.
3. Road from Caprera to Cala Coticcio (on Caprera Island). This drive is through a pine forest and up into the nature where you will have a great panoramic view over the island.
4. Northeast on Maddalena Island passing Spalmatore and “panoramica“. This stretch of coast took me awhile to pass since I kept stopping for photos of jaw-dropping waters.
Where to Visit in Sardinia: La Maddalena and Caprera Islands
La Maddalena and Caprera islands are part of the Sardinia archipelago and you can cover them both in a day if you start early. They are both gorgeous and should not be skipped, especially La Maddalena.
La Maddalena Island
La Maddalena is a small island off the Northeast of Sardinia. It is a short 20 minute ferry from Palau (€23,80 for 1 person plus car roundtrip) and I highly recommend you make a trip here while in Sardinia.
La Maddalena had the most consistently pretty waters in all of Sardinia. I would have liked to stay one or 2 more days. The island is very small, but there is a lot to see. You can drive the whole island in half a day.
Make sure to stop at Porto Massimo, a tiny private beach with cascading colors from light blue green to rich blue and turquoise hues.
Caprera island is a 10 minute drive from La Maddalena which is connected by a bridge. Caprera is uninhabited so it’s perfect for nature enthusiasts. There are endless walking/hiking trails to explore.
The drive around the tiny island will mostly be through a beautiful pine forest. It’s a very quiet and peaceful place and I really enjoyed it.
Prettiest Regions in North East Sardinia
Orosei-way more rugged and untouched than the rest of the island. Mot of it is part of huge national park with lots of hiking and hidden beaches. This was my favorite area on Sardinia.
Costa Smeralda-more polished than the rest of the island kn own as being the playground of the rich and famous. It has beautiful beaches but they are more crowded.
Budoni-gorgeous beaches that are made of white sand and less crowded.
Where to Stay in Sardinia
L’essenza Luxury Huts
L’essenza eco friendly luxury huts (aka tipis) are set in a beautiful natural environment surrounded by lush greens and great views. Also, the kindest and most helpful hosts! This is truly a unique experience and if you go to Sardinia, you have to try it out
I stayed in a cute Airbnb up in the hills with the most spectacular view over the surroundings. The host was super kind and attentive. She even came with her car a few times to bring me back as I got lost (my sense of direction sucks). She served a filling breakfast and we had wine together each night. I wold highly recommend this place. It was only 20 minutes from Costa Smeralda and 30 minutes from the airport.
I paid $45 per night for this Airbnb. You can check out the listing on Airbnb HERE. And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF coupon HERE.
Travel Insurance for Italian Islands
I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).
My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them.
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Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love
Nestled between the secluded Sardinian mountains, lined with ancient olive trees and vineyards lies the world-renowned Su Gologone Hotel, an artistic masterpiece. Even if you’re not into art, a walk through the property will surely fester an appreciation for it.
Not only does the hotel reflect the local Sardinian culture, but it is finely crafted with natural elements from the local area, including juniper wood and terracotta. And get this, every piece of art in the hotel was hand-crafted from the owner, Giovanna, herself! Simply incredible.
The property is a lot larger than it looks, yet the spread out design helps it to retain a distinct coziness. There were so many different wings and sections, that you could take a whole afternoon exploring the different areas.
I’m not going to list off the hotel amenities here because I think that’s boring quite frankly. What I will highlight are the aspects of the hotel that really stood out and made it truly a unique place. Ready. Set. Go!
Top 11 Reasons Su Gologone Stood Out from All Other Hotels
1. Art, Art, & More Art
It’s no secret that Su Gologone is an art hotel. The owner, Giovanna and her mother, brought their creative visions to life in this fabulous hotel. Like I mentioned above, staying at this hotel will make you appreciate art a little more, it’s impossible not to!
2. Su Gologone Brings out the Creative in You
They say art stimulates the mind and brings out self expression, and I completely agree! Su Gologone is the perfect place to get away and stimulate the inner creative in you. The hotel offers numerous workshops including painting, sewing, embroidery, origami, cooking, and so much more!
3. Bold Colors Are Easy on the Eyes
I don’t know why but something as simple as color can make me happy. My favorite part of the hotel were the bright hues of color popping out behind every corner. Every little section of the hotel displayed a beautiful color pattern. What’s even more cool is that every decorative item on the hotel property is available for purchase. Score!
4. On-Site Herb Garden
The hotel has its own herb garden with fresh herbs that can be hand picked by the guests and made into an infusion tea! LED lights line the garden at night and it’s really nice to just walk around and admire the scenery. There were also art displays surrounding the herb garden, an unusual yet complementing background for the colorful displays.
5. Secluded Wellness Retreat
The secluded nature of Su Gologone is the perfect setting for a wellness retreat. The hotel has so much to offer to promote fitness & wellness, from the above mentioned fresh herbal teas, to an on-site indoor gym, to yoga classes held on the outdoor terraces, this place has it all! It’s truly a unique place to really get in touch with yourself.
6. My Sweet Suite
“You’ve been upgraded to a suite”. Those magic words we hardly ever hear. I didn’t expect the suite and that just made it more sweet. Ok, I’ll stop. The suite was made up of 2 rooms, and an outdoor balcony with a private jacuzzi. Umm, yes please!
The room oozed with Sardinian character, from the little handmade keychain to the juniper wood beams holding up the ceiling. It was just so adorable. I really liked the little sitting cove overlooking the balcony and I spent most my time there when I was in my room.
7. Nearby Orosei Peninsula
Sardinia is a huge island and everything worth seeing is very spread out. When planning a trip there, you must pick a region on the island and try to stick to that. It would take a month to see all the outstanding beaches on the island, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Su Gologone is in a great spot to explore the Orosei peninsula, one of the most rugged and naturally stunning areas on the island.
I recommend visiting Cala Luna and also Cala Goloritze, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. Cala Goloritze requires a 2-hour hike down to the beach, but it is well-worth it. I had the whole beach to myself and was in awe of the rich turquoise waters beating against the white cliffs. It was spectacular! But I would only recommend the hike if you’re in moderate to good shape. It’s not easy!
8. Su Gologone Restaurant
The Su Gologone restaurant is a popular dining spot not just for hotel guests, but is frequented from visitors all over the island. Its reputation precedes itself and its a dinner experience you shouldn’t miss.
Not only was the ambiance alone enough for a visit, the food was outstanding. On the first night, I was really tired from traveling so I went to the lobby, ordered from the menu, and had it delivered to my room. I had the homemade fennel ravioli and it ended up being my favourite meal on the island (they even had a homemade gluten free version for me). After that experience, I came back to the restaurant every night for dinner (and sometimes for lunch). The prices were very reasonable as well.
Reservations are required, even for hotel guests, especially during high season. A restaurant that is booked up every single night speaks for itself! #yumm
9. Terraces To Die For
There are terraces….and then there are Su Gologone terraces. Each decorated in a different theme with a splash of bold green, purple, and pure white, the 3 main terraces were to die for. Each had an amazing view of the property and/or landscape and were the perfect places to relax and get a suntan, or sip on a glass of wine…or both.
I found my fav spot for the sunset..
The Terrace of Dreams was decked out in purple and held once a week stargazing sessions (with telescopes) free to guests! How cool?
10. On-Site Winery (enough said…)
The only thing that could make this gorgeous property any better would be an on-site winery. Are you kidding me? The property has its own winery with tastings and two cellars. Complete heaven if you ask me! I didn’t partake in a tasting, but I had local Sardinian red wine at dinner every night and it was the perfect mixture of full bodied and a touch of sweetness. Just the way I like it!
11. Other Activities Offered
There are literally too many to list and I didn’t have time to try all of them. But what stood out for me was the cinema under the stars, the plethora of outdoor activities on offer nearby such as horseback riding, rafting, nature hikes, and the outdoor pool overlooking the country landscape. There was just so much to do on site of this hotel, that I almost forgot there was a whole beautiful island to explore!
The One Downfall (also a Catch 22)
The one downfall in this hotel was the wifi in the rooms, as it was very weak. I had trouble getting the wifi to work on my iPhone at all until the last day (it worked fine on my computer). It was also a little annoying that the code they give you only lasts 24 hours, so I found myself coming down to the lobby in my PJs late at night asking for a new code. The wifi in the lobby was excellent if you really needed it.
It’s also a catch 22 because this hotel is designed to be a wellness retreat, a secluded place to get in touch with yourself and disconnect with the world. Normally wifi is a huge issue for me because I need it to update the social media as part of my job, but hey, this is one time I let it slide and was actually at peace with it. It’s healthy to allow yourself a break every once in a while.
Overall, this hotel blew me away and I encourage those exploring Sardinia to visit here, even if it’s just to drop by and admire the beauty. The setting deep into the country, the focus on authentic Sardinian culture, the fabulously displayed art, the relaxing terraces, the creative workshops and wellness activities, I can see why this hotel is world renowned and has gotten so much media attention. I can honestly say it’s the most unique, artsy/funky hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. This hotel made it to my top 3 favorite hotels ever!
Have you been to Sardinia? What was your favorite part? Do tell, I need some tips for my return!
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♥A special thanks to Su Gologone for hosting me during my stay. All opinions, however, are my own. I don’t bullsh*t and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t truly enjoy!♥
It seems a popular new trend in traveling is shifting toward sustainable tourism.Think traveling with the least amount of harm to the environment as possible. When I found these cozy little luxury huts at L’essenza Sardinia I couldn’t have been more excited to experience it for myself! I’m jumping right on the bandwagon and I hope to find more ecofriendly accommodations in the future.
L’essenza’s key focus is on sustainability and responsible tourism. The ecofriendly property consists of 4 luxury huts, or pinnetos (traditional hut of ancient Sardinian shepherds), each having their own unique color therapy and aromatherapy to stimulate the senses. I had the pleasure of staying in the yellow room which was characterized by the oils of the yellow plant Helichrysum, an anti-inflammatory and fungicidal. The aroma inside the hut was both soothing and calming.
L’essenza Sardinia is located on a hilltop in a secluded setting in the Northeast of Sardinia island. After spending a week on the island, I can confirm that this location was the most ideal and central to all the places I visited. If you really want to “get away from it all”, this is a perfect place to do just that! The property is completely surrounded by nature in a quiet setting, overlooking farmlands, lush olive trees, and the Mediterranean Sea. And I mean, have you ever seen an outdoor living room like this? So cool!
Note: you WILL need a car while staying at this property. In fact, you really need a car to explore the island, as public transportation is highly lacking, especially in the off season.
Luxury Hut Rooms
The unique pinnetos were anything but basic inside. Marina, the owner, designed each room herself each with a special attention to fine detail. The rooms were equipped with (reliable) wifi, an en suite bathroom/shower, queen size bed, desk, clothes rack, and candles to enhance the ambiance in the evenings. The ceilings are finely crafted out of bamboo and give you that sort of outdoor log cabin type feel. The rooms are quite large with lots of space, yet they still retain a nice warmth and cozy aspect to them.
Each morning started out with some fresh made local herbal tea which I drank overlooking the gorgeous panoramic landscape. Both the owner and her daughter are vegans themselves and always had plenty vegan as well as gluten free options for breakfast. I devoured daily vegan butter,vegan cream cheese, homemade jams with toast, home grown fruits and veggies, gluten free pastries, and cereal. Although there were no hot plates such as eggs/bacon offered, there was plenty of variety and I always left feeling stuffed. It was the prefect typical Italian breakfast.
Found this little guy sunbathing outside my window 🙂
If you know me at all, you will know that I am obsessed with cats. Ok, obsessed is an understatement, I am just crazy about them! When I found out that there were around 20 cats living around the property, I was so ecstatic! Luckily for me, one of the cats had kittens on the first morning I was there, and I almost died at the cuteness of newborn tiny kittens. This was the perfect place for a crazy cat lady like me. No shame.
Note: the cats are outdoors and they are NOT allowed inside. So if you are allergic to cats, have no fear, there is no cat hair or dander inside whatsoever. And if you don’t like cats (first off, we can’t be friends), they wont bother you and mostly keep to themselves unless they are summoned to play.
You Will Be Welcomed Into the Family
I may mention this in every review I’ve done so far, but you know what, the PEOPLE are what really makes the experience. PERIOD. I can say it a thousand times. Valeria, the daughter of the owner Marina, helped me plan my trip months in advance and went out of her way to help me with my plans, including renting a car on the island….a dreaded task in Italy.
The family was so nurturing and hospitable and loved to joke around. I was constantly smiling and laughing with them and I felt instantly at home. I felt like I was visiting as a friend, not as a guest. A++ for hospitality!
The Verdict: L’essenza Sardinia
My stay at L’essenza Sardinia was hands-down one of the most unique accommodations I have ever stayed at and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants something different than your average hotel or Airbnb stay! The setting, the focus on responsible tourism, the cozy/colorful rooms, the hospitality, and of course the kitties. It was all just perfect. And NO, I am NOT obligated to write a positive review by any means. I want future guests to have an honest opinion of my stay and know what to expect. The one negative I will mention is that the road up to the huts was not paved and extremely rocky (and steep in some areas), so just be careful if you’re renting a car that’s low to the ground. I was a little worried I would scratch my car, but it ended up being okay. Also, I had an issue with the hot water, until I was told of the “trick”. You must open the sink and let the hot water run before you turn on the shower water to “open” the hot water pipe. Overall, a unique place with a special attention to details that will leave a lasting impression!
♥A special thanks to L’essenza Sardinia for hosting me during my stay. All opinions, however, are my own. I don’t bullsh*t and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t truly enjoy!♥
Have you ever stayed in a luxury hut? Better yet, have you ever stayed in an ecofriendly property? Please let me know as I would love to add more to my list! 🙂
Last October, I decided to take a mini family trip to Alberobello, Italy, a destination I had been dying to visit for the past 2 years. I desperately wanted to see the unique Trulli of Alberobello, Italy with my own eyes, only to be found in a certain region of Southern Italy. So my little brother, my cousin, and I rented a car and decided to make a stop in Alberobello for a day, as part of our epic Italian road trip, which I’ll write about in a future post. If you ever make it to Puglia, don’t leave without stopping in Alberobello!
Alberobello, Italy: a Trulli Unique Experience
Where is Alberobello?
Alberobello is located in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, in the “heel” of the boot. Puglia has become one of my favourite regions in Italy, and I highly recommend a visit here. It is definitely more rugged and less structured than other parts of Italy, but that means less tourists and a more raw Italian experience.
What’s So Special about Alberobello?
Alberobello is famous for its traditional cone-shaped white-washed housing carved from limestone. The Trulli of Alberobello are so distinctive and unique that they were coined a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Viewing the Trulli from above as a storm is brewing in the depths
Quick History of the Trulli
The Trulli originated in Alberobello back in the 14th century. The Trulli were strategically built to throw off the government to hide under the law and evade taxes, so they were meant to look like an “uninhabited settlement”. For this reason, the Trulli were built without mortar so they could easily be disassembled quickly if needed. The clever things people do to avoid taxes. Ha!
What it’s Like to Stay in an Actual Trullo
We found our awesome Trullo on AirBnb for $80/night. Today, trulli are a popular accommodation type in this region and are fully functional with electricity and plumbing. Our specific trullo had 2 bedrooms and could sleep up to 5 people. It had a super cozy feel to it and everything inside seemed a bit miniature.
It was a 5 minute drive from town so a car was necessary. I’m so glad we decided to stay in a Trullo a little outside the city because we had a HUGE yard filled with olive trees and vineyards. Plus, we had the entire property to ourselves! An added bonus.
If you’re interested, here is the Airbnb listing here. If you’re new to Airbnb, use my coupon for $30USD off!
There aren’t a whole lot of activities in Alberobello, it’s just one of those places you come to see and experience for yourself. It’s truly like nowhere else in the world and it’s fun to just wander the streets. There are a few museums, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a bunch of liqueur tasting spots. I can’t say we didn’t do a little bit of our own “liqueur crawl”. Don’t worry, we bought a few bottles as well, to support the local community.
♥Have a Mini Photo Shoot♥
Alberobello is very Instagram friendly, and there are endless amounts of photo ops around every corner. We spent a good hour just goofing off and taking some silly photos.
♥Try the Local Coffee♥
Caffe Leccesse, one of the BEST coffees you will ever drink. Period. My mouth is still watering.
Where to Eat in Alberobello, Italy
Casa Nova il Ristorante-We really enjoyed this restaurant as it had a cave-like vibe being underground. We were surprised at the exceptional service as 2 waiters served us with the utmost respect. The food was really tasty, and they even had some gluten-free pastas and bread for me as well! They also gave us some appetizers for free! Oh, and the best part was the whole entire bottle of Limoncello they gave us to try at the end. I highly recommend this place if you’re in town.
Secret Find in Alberobello
As it started to storm during our day in Alberobello, we ran into this cute little shop called Il Ricardino where they had wine tastings for 1€ a cup. The owner Georgina has owned the place for 50 years and she was so friendly and awesome! She came to drink with us and played some fun Italian music so we could all dance. Then she insisted we all take a “selfie” together. Such a sweet lady!
Cheers to discovering this cute little spot with our own chill out attic
The best part of this little shop was the tiny attic in the roof of the trullo, where there was a little chill out spot where we could relax and sip our wine. It was so cozy and authentic and this was a highlight of our time there. If you’re in Alberobello, make sure to stop at this shop and take a selfie with Georgina! It will make her very happy.
How to Get to Alberobello
By Car-Having a car in this region of Italy is highly recommended, especially if you want to rent a Trullo with some land away from the city. We rented a car from Bari and it took about an hour to get there.
By Train– you can reach Alberobello on a direct train route from the 2 major ports nearby, Bari and Brindisi. It will take about 1.5 hours from Bari and 1 hour from Brindisi. Check the Trenitalia website for timetables.
How Long do I need in Alberobello?
Honestly, one day and one night is all you need as there isn’t a whole lot to do activity-wise. But I must stress, you shouldn’t come to Alberobello without staying in your own Trullo! It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime unique experiences that you shouldn’t pass up. When in Rome, right?
Book ahead as they to sell out in the high season.
When to Visit the Trulli of Alberobello
Going to Alberobello in October means you have the whole town all to yourself 🙂
Early spring or late fall is the best time to visit the Trulli of Alberobello, Italy, when there are virtually no crowds. We went in October and had almost the entire town to ourselves, which made it extra special.
Have you been to Alberobello or stayed in a Trulli? Was it everything you expected? I want to hear your thoughts!
On a last-minute whim, I decided to go to take a trip to San Marino from Italy. Mainly because I tend to like visiting places that are lesser known. And since most people I asked had never even heard of it or could not even point it out on a map, I sensed this was definitely one of the more off-the-beaten path destinations.
Where is San Marino?
Truthfully, I hadn’t heard of San Marino until about 6 months ago, and I thought it was just another city in Italy. Little did I know it was its own autonomous country landlocked by Italy. It lies on the east between the Emilia Romagna and Le Marche regions of Italy.
Top 5 Coolest Facts about San Marino
San Marino is the 5th smallest country in the world and the 3rd smallest in Europe, after Monaco and the Vatican.
San Marino spans 24 only square miles, about 1/3 the size of Washington, DC (my birthplace).
San Marino has the oldest republic in the world.
San Marino has no national debt.
San Marino has the lowest unemployment rate in all of Europe.
Architecture of San Marino
Did you know any of these unique facts about San Marino? I sure didn’t before I visited.
Above the Clouds
I decided to stay in Rimini, since it was significantly cheaper than staying in San Marino itself. While chatting with my friendly Airbnb hosts, they informed me that it had been cloudy most days in Rimini and San Marino, and to not expect anything different in the next few days. At least they gave me a head’s up. As I left the apartment the next morning, I immediately stepped out into a cloud of fog. I couldn’t even see 20 feet in front of me, it was that bad. Oh no, this isn’t good news. I only had one day to explore San Marino, so I had no choice but to move on with my plans. Maybe it will be more clear in San Marino?
As the bus ascended up the windy mountain road to the tiny hillside country, we became more and more enveloped in clouds. It was getting worse, not better. I was extremely bummed to say the least. I’m not going to see anything, I though to myself. This is probably the only time i’m going to come to San Marino, and I’m going to miss that beautiful view I see in all the pictures. The magnificent Fortress of Guaita perched atop a glorious mountain overlooking the green rolling hills and Adriatic Sea in the deep distance. But I was going to miss all of that, sadly.
When the bus finally stopped at the top, I got off, and made my way to what looked like a lookout over the area. Holy crap!!! We were ABOVE the clouds, literally. For what it seemed like miles, white, fluffy, powdery clouds were all I could see. I had only witnessed this while in an airplane. But here I was, in San Marino, above the clouds. Wow.
Above the clouds…
Drop Everything and go to the First Tower!
Honestly, there isn’t a ton to do in San Marino. But, the one thing you must do is go to the first tower, Guaita (or Rocca), for one of the most EPIC views you will ever see. Guaranteed. It costs 4.50 Euro to enter and it was well worth it. After seeing what I saw, I would have paid more! The 3 towers are located on Mount Titano, which overlook the surrounding land.
Fortress of Guaita
I was afraid that it was too foggy to see anything so I even questioned paying to go up there. But I decided, why not? I came all the way here for this, I might as well take a chance. Best. Decision. Ever.
Clouds for days
As I started exploring the little castle, I began to climb higher naturally. After the first set of stairs, there was a little lookout, where all you could see was clouds. I noticed the set of stairs to the big tower, where I presumed the best views were. I then spotted a little detour to the mini stairs, leading to a ledge. I made the little detour slowly. Another lookout with clouds, hmm. Before I went back down, I turned my head to the right, and there is was. BAM!
Wowzers, what an epic view! (shot with my iPhone 6)
It was one of those “ah hah”moments that stops you in your tracks, leaving you crippled and momentarily void of expression. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t speak. It might sound a little cheesy, but it was exactly how I felt in the moment. The Rocca was not only visible, but it was mightily demanding a presence amidst the thick fog. The sun began to peak out, as if it were a spotlight highlighting the magic kingdom. It was perfect. It was ethereal. It was honestly the closest to heaven on earth I have ever seen. Pictures cannot properly convey the essence of this place.
I worried about not seeing the landscape that San Marino so famously frames, but I got something even better. I only hope that others get to see it in the same light that I did.
On cloud 9 🙂
I originally planned on going to all 3 towers, but after the first one, I was completely content. There is no way there was a better view than that. At least that’s what I told myself. I could die a happy girl. It is moments like these that really make traveling so special, and what continues to spark my passion to see more.
How to Get to San Marino
There is a bus that leaves from Rimini train station that costs 5 Euro each way and takes 50 minutes. You pay for the ticket on the bus. The bus stop is right next to the Burger King. During the summer months, the busses leave about once every hour.
Do I need a Passport to Enter San Marino?
You do NOT need to bring your passport with you to enter San Marino. Although San Marino is not a member of the EU or in the Schengen Zone, they have free borders with the surrounding country (Italy) and operate on similar principles.
First peek of the clouds surrounding San Marino
What else is Great about San Marino?
No tax!!! They have many leather shops throughout the tiny country, so make sure to spend some time shopping while you’re there. I stopped at the leather stand right outside of the first tower, and I ended up buying 3 pieces of leather for 95 Euros! I even got my mommy her Christmas present. Score!
I sat up on this ledge for an hour, admiring the heavenly view!
Crazy Travelista’s Gluten Free dining Pick
Il Beccafico-had an entirely separate gluten-free menu with pastas, pizza, and desserts. I tried the homemade tortellini with ragu sauce and it was really delicious. It also had a great view of the surrounding landscape. There aren’t many restaurants in San Marino, so this may be your only option for gluten-free food.
Have you ever been to San Marino? Did it exceed your expectations or did it let you down? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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