Exploring the Enchanting Charms of Costa Smeralda, Sardinia
Welcome to the captivating stretch of shoreline known as the Costa Smeralda, or the Emerald Coast, located in the north-eastern part of the beautiful island of Sardinia. This 55km (35-mile) coastal strip in northwest Sardinia is a true gem of the Mediterranean, boasting stunning landscapes, picturesque bays, and an air of exclusivity that has made it one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. In this comprehensive guide, we invite you to join us on an enchanting journey as we delve into the highlights, attractions, and unique aspects of Costa Smeralda.
The Origins of Luxury
The history of Costa Smeralda’s transformation into an exclusive tourist resort can be traced back over half a century when His Highness Karim Aga Khan, with his visionary foresight, recognized the untamed potential of this rugged coastline. Together with his influential friends, he established the Consorzio Costa Smeralda, a non-profit organization committed to preserving the harmonious relationship between nature and man. One cardinal rule laid the foundation for its development—no villa, hotel, or apartment block could exceed the height of the surrounding holm oaks and tamarisks, preserving the natural beauty of the landscape.
Exclusivity and Preservation
Costa Smeralda’s allure lies not only in its breathtaking beauty but also in its commitment to preserving its natural splendor. To this day, all telephone wires and electric cables are buried underground, and a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant ensures the utmost care for the environment. Boat owners are held to strict regulations, facing hefty fines and potential banishment from the marina if caught polluting the pristine waters.
Luxury Lifestyle and Yachting
One of the hallmarks of Costa Smeralda’s exclusivity is its appeal to the very wealthy and sometimes famous individuals seeking a sanctuary away from the paparazzi’s lens. Private yachts become the ultimate status symbol in this region, and the Costa Smeralda marina, boasting 650 berths for boats between 12 and 55 meters in length, attracts yacht owners and skilled yachting crews from around the world.
Unparalleled Beaches and Golf
For those without private yachts, Costa Esmeralda offers a plethora of stunning beaches to explore. From the sheltered Petra Manna Beach to the rose-tinted sands of Spiaggia Rosa, there is no shortage of natural wonders to discover. Golf enthusiasts will find their paradise at the Pevero Golf Course, designed by the renowned Robert Trent-Jones, offering breath-taking views of the coast and the sea from each hole.
Porto Cervo: The Glittering Gem
As the focal point of Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo exudes glamour and luxury. The Piazzetta, adorned with designer boutiques, attracts the beautiful people for a sundowner, while the Stella Maris church, with its valuable artworks, offers a cultural respite. Porto Cervo’s nightlife may not be the most vibrant, but it compensates with charming bars and restaurants like the Terrace Bar at Hotel Cervo, where visitors can soak in the resort’s atmosphere.
The Legendary Berlusconi and Beyond
Costa Smeralda’s exclusivity is further enhanced by the presence of the incredibly rich, the famous, and the headline-makers from around the world. From Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Princess Diana and Dodi, this coastline has been frequented by some of the world’s most prominent figures. Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous “parties” in Porto Cervo made headlines, adding to the allure of this glamorous destination.
Where to Eat in Costa Smerelda: A Foodie’s Guide to Paradise
From fresh fish to smoked wild boar ham, visitors can indulge in the tastes of Sardinia accompanied by warm pane carasau.
1. Punta Baja: A Treat for the Senses
Punta Baja is the go-to restaurant for anyone looking for classic Sardinian cuisine paired with an out-of-this-world view. Whether you’re eating alfresco and soaking up the views or enjoying a cosy indoor meal, its gastronomical delights will surely win you over.
2. Tenuta Pilastru: A Gourmet Extravaganza
Accompanied by its picturesque setting, Tenuta Pilastru offers a savouring selection of local and Mediterranean dishes. An embodiment of Italian hospitality, Tenuta Pilastru guarantees a delightful dining experience.
Tanit Fine Restaurant stands out in the culinary panorama of Costa Smeralda. It is known for its inventive dishes that are an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary, giving diners a unique and satisfying dining experience.
4. Brezza di Mare: Seafood Galore
Just as the name suggests, Brezza di Mare is the ultimate place for seafood lovers. Freshly caught fish prepared with local ingredients, this place is a must-visit for an authentic taste of Costa Smeralda’s coastal cuisine.
Who doesn’t love a good pizza? Ideal for casual dining, Barracuda offers a wide selection of pizzas. From classic Margherita to intriguing gourmet options, Barracuda has it all.
6. Osteria Gourmet Li Finistreddi: Traditional with a Twist
Osteria Gourmet Li Finistreddi offers a unique take on Sardinian cuisine. Executed with flair and finesse, each dish is a testament to the beauty of Sardinian food culture.
From spectacular views to tantalizing flavors, the stunning Costa Smeralda offers a gastronomic journey that leaves one fascinated and satiated. So the next time you find yourself here, be sure to drop by these amazing restaurants and bask in their culinary glory.
Where to Stay in The Costa Smeralda
Budget Option: Hotel Regina Elena
- This smoke-free hotel is located in Olbia City Centre, within 1 mi (2 km) of Piazza Matteotti and Port of Olbia. It offers a fitness center, a bar/lounge, and dry cleaning services. Free WiFi in public areas and free self parking are also provided. The hotel also has tour/ticket assistance, multilingual staff, and a TV in a common area.
- Guest Rating: 9.2 / 10.0
- Average Nightly Price: $152.81
- Book Here
Mid-range Option: Hotel Luci di La Muntagna
- This golf hotel is situated in Arzachena, within 1 mi (2 km) of Stella Maris Church, Marina di Porto Cervo, and Gregoland. The hotel offers a restaurant, a fitness center, and a bar/lounge. Free buffet breakfast and free WiFi in public areas are also provided. The hotel also has a poolside bar, a snack bar/deli, and a steam room.
- Guest Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
- Star Rating: 4.0
- Average Nightly Price: $352.21
- Book Here
Luxury Option: Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda
- This beachfront hotel is located in a provincial park in Arzachena, within a 10-minute walk of Piccolo Pevero Beach and Spiaggia del Grande Pevero. You can spend the day relaxing at the beach, practicing your swing on the hotel’s golf course, or pampering yourself at the full-service spa. The hotel also offers 3 restaurants.
- Guest Rating: 9.2 / 10.0
- Star Rating: 5.0
- Average Nightly Price: $1787.60
- Book Here
Exploring Beyond Costa Smeralda
For those seeking to venture beyond the confines of Costa Smeralda, the nearby Porto Rotondo offers an elegant resort with beautiful beaches, designer boutiques, and a vibrant atmosphere. Visitors can explore the charming granite church of San Lorenzo and enjoy concerts in the open-air theatre during the summer months.
The Costa Smeralda remains an enchanting and alluring destination, combining the pristine beauty of nature with the glamour of luxury living. From its exclusive marinas to its stunning beaches and cultural highlights, this stretch of Sardinia continues to attract visitors from around the globe. As you embark on your journey to discover Costa Smeralda’s charms, let its turquoise waters, golden sands, and natural splendor captivate your heart, leaving you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.