Costa Smeralda is a coastal area in the north east of Sardinia, between Palau and Olbia.
The area is about 20kms long and is part of the municipality of Arzachena. The towns and villages of Costa Smeralda were developed according to a urban plan, and the woks started in 1961 financed by companies led by prince Karim Aga Khan. It rapidly became one of Europe's most luxurious tourist resort as well as its most expensive location. It boasts beautiful sand beaches, luxury hotels, world-renowned golf clubs and draws celebrities from all over the world.
In order to have access to the best of the beaches you will probably need to hire a car (mopeds are not so good on the bumpy tracks down to the beaches). Driving on the coastal roads gives great views over the yacht lined Costa Smeralda coastline.
You can get up close to the super yachts when they come in to Porto Cervo in the evening. For snorkeling take a trip around the archipelago Della Maddalena from Porto Palau.
If you want to go sightseeing, go somewhere else. Along Costa Smeralda there is really only one thing to do: Go to the beach! There are many beaches along the coast and some of the best are: Liscia Ruja, Cappriccioli, Piccolo Pevero, Spiaggia del Principe and Romazzino. But the the most frequented is probably La Cinta with it's thin strip of sand between the Tyrrhenian Sea and a lagoon which hosts a lot of migrating birds as well as pink flamingos. On the beach there are many business renting out sun chairs and sun protection as well as gear for surfing and other water activities. The further north you go on the beach the less crowded it will be.
The lagoon behind the beach is a sanctuary for birds run by a non-profit. They also organize boat tours where you can see some of the wildlife. Orizzonti Di Gallura
One of the most child friendly beaches is Cala Brandinchi. There are two entries to the beach, the north which is run by a resort where you have access to sun chairs, food and drinks and from the south via Lu Impostu where there is no service at all. From the parking lot you get to wade on about 30-40 cm of water to get to the beach and the water is very clear and shallow for 20-30 meters out. If you prefer not to wade, just take right when coming from the parking lot and there is a small strip perfect for children and families.
You can pick up fantastic bargains from the beach traders who sell jewellery, clothes, CDs etc. But if you want to be as stylish as the rich tourists of Costa Smeralda you may go to Porto Cervo or Porto Rotondo for expensive clothing.
Most restaurants on the Costa Smerelda are overpriced. For authentic Sardinian cuisine try the campsite restaurants where all the locals go. You might also try one of the Agriturismo's in the area. You can also cook your own meals. There are plenty of supermarkets and farms around where you can buy what you need.
It can be quite difficult finding accommodation in the Costa Smeralda as the area is mainly serviced by Italian tour operators but some local operators provide detailed accomodation information online. If you don't have your own private yacht to stay on and can't afford the £300 per night prices of the exclusive hotels then you might want to hire a villa or apartment through a website. Alternatively you can hire bungalows at a number of the campsites on the coast.
You will find Costa Smeralda to be a very safe and friendly place for your vacation, just remember to follow some easy rules.
When you’re going to the beach, you need to bring sun block and possibly to find out what the UV rating is for that day. UV rays are calculated on a 1-15 scale. Higher numbers mean more intense rays and the sun in Sardinia is going to shine every single day.
Keep plenty of water on hand. It's very easy to become dehydrated when you're in the sun all day.
To avoid loss, it's always wise to leave any important documents (like your passport), your credit cards, and most of your money at your hotel.