Italy - Sardinia

Surrounded by turquiose seas, equidistant from Tunis, Rome and Monaco, lies the Mediterranean's second largest island. Sardinia's magnificent coastline is its best asset, from cost rocky inlets to vast strands; the golden beaches are caressed by azure waters. Sardinia is an Italian island of untold delights and amazing natural beauty plus plenty of celebrity appeal.

Insider Tip

If you are going to Sardinia in August, expect to see many firework displays o the beaches as the Italians celebrate their national holiday.

Sardinian fare has similarities to Italian cuisine, though there are dishes that even visitors from Rome wouldn't recognise and only the tastiest, ripest and freshest ingredients will do. Typical Sardinian pasta dishes are malloreddus (shell-shaped pasta served with sauce or seafood) and culurgiones (a type of ravioli). Pizza is the best fast food around and is usually thin crusted with delicious toppings, from mushrooms to meatballs. Sardinia has some amazing seafood restaurants but traditionally the preference is for heartier meat dishes sourced from the mountains; look out for tender young lamb, roasted suckling pig and goat.

Enter a bakery and be faced with the most fabulous selection of bread that cannot be beaten! Possibly the strangest is pane carasau, thin crispy bread sold in 10 or 20 sheet thick rounds. A meal is not complete in Sardinia without a dessert, and local favourites include almond biscuits and sebeadas (pastry filled with ricotta cheese then drizzled with honey). Wash all of this delicious food down with a bottole of Sardinian wine; look out for Cannonau (red), Vermentino, Torbato, Semidano (white) and Campidano di Terralba (red and white) or try one of the local brews, Ichnusa, the island's favourite beer.

Shopping in Sardinia is a delighful experience. Walk through the old streets and you will come across old ladies wedged in their doorways making lace and weaving baskets in the traditional fashion. Sardinians are rightly proud of their fine, flowery honey, which is often sold in the many souvenir shops around the island. Known as the Coral Riviera for its poduction of beautiful coral jewellery in shades from pink to blood red, Sardinia is an ideal place to buy some unique jewellery. Other stores selling traditional Italian fashions can be found in the larger towns and cities of Sardinia.

La Maddalena Archipelago

This boat trip takes you to three beautiful islands Spargi, Budelli and La Maddalena. Explore the islands coves, home to white sandy beaches and emerald green waters.

Head over to the Catalan town of Alghero with its quaint backstreets shops, beautiful cathedrals and marina.