Escape Plan: What to eat and do in Sardinia, the beautiful island of Italy


To discover the true beauty of Sardinia, take a look at the lesser explored areas with Matteo Atti, the chief marketing officer at VistaJet

Editor’s note: See other Escape Plan stories here.

Sardinia, one of the world’s five blue zones, has always impressed me as an incredible place of rich and diverse nature and culture. The idyllic island is known for its turquoise blue waters and beautiful beaches, and I’ve been discovering the island for many years, spending time with the locals to understand why they do things the way they do; taking a peek into their secret of longevity through their diet and quality of life.

Sardinian cuisine
Sardinian cuisine features cheeses, spit-roasted meats, pane carasau (flatbread) and handmade pasta. Photo by Su Gologone Experience Hotel

Sip and savour

In order to crack the code of longevity, diet is key. A popular traditional dish is su porceddu, a buttery roast suckling pig prepared for hours on a spit. Sardinia is also famous for pecorino, a sheep milk cheese that is rich in flavour and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s one of Italy’s best cheeses and studies have shown that sheep’s milk lowers bad cholesterol and has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Follow a local shepherd and you could be invited to their home for an authentic farm-to-table experience, but for a more luxurious treat, enjoy a stroll through the ancient town of Oliena and end with a visit to the beautiful boutique hotel, Su Gologone. It has sweeping views of the countryside and a one-Michelin-starred restaurant that serves classic Barbagia dishes, with most of the produce from its own farm and garden. Drop by for an aperitivo in the evening and tasty traditional tapas.

Cala Mariolu
Cala Mariolu. Photo by Leon Rohrwild/Unsplash

Sights and sounds

Sardinia is famous for its pristine beaches and clear waters, many of them only accessible by boat. Choose to charter a yacht from one of VistaJet’s prestige yacht partners, and explore the beaches and hidden coves along the spectacular coastline with many ideal anchorages. We can help you select the perfect crew to deliver exceptional hospitality, acting as your insider guide. 

Soak up the sun on board, surf the waters on a paddleboard or snorkel over the seabed. Don’t miss the famed Cala Goloritze, a National monument of Italy since 1995 and one of the best snorkelling sites. The sandy beach is surrounded by spectacular limestone pinnacles, including a 143-metre limestone pinnacle, Dolomia, standing tall over the beach. During the summer, when it is incredibly hot, spring water shoots straight out of the earth in some spots. It’s very refreshing.

Cala Mariolu is another of Sardinia’s best beaches. The name stands for ‘fortress of thieves’ and comes from an old tale where Mediterranean monk seals were said to have stolen fresh fish from fishermen’s boats. Another beautiful beach is Cala Biriola which also has white sand and limestone pinnacles sculpted by the wind and nature. Take in the different shades of the sea—from intense green to blue—on a boat excursion along the incredible coastline, but leave the beautiful sand, stones and shells where they are. Attempting to leave with any of these can result in an expensive fine.

The dunes of Piscinas, on the southwest of the island, are imposing golden sand hills that can be up to 60 metres tall and cover several kilometres. The dunes were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for their untouched landscape. It is one of Europe’s highest and largest desert landscapes. 

Go horseback riding through a lagoon. Photo by Matteo Atti

For the more adventurous, discover Sardinia’s wild interiors; the deep and magnificent gorges are the best spot for canyon abseiling. You can enjoy the fresh air and trek through the surrounding valleys and mountains. I also adore horseback riding through the fields, rivers, lagoons and along the shores with a guide that will show you wild and rural Sardinia. 

The town of Orgosolo is full of more than 150 colourful building murals; some are evocative and thought-provoking while others showcase a slice of local life. People are eager to share their heritage through Cantu a Tenore, Sardinian folk singing that takes centrestage during festivals and special occasions. 

Another interesting thing to see in Sardinia is silkworm farming—still a common sight in Orgosolo. The silk used to weave the village’s traditional costumes and handkerchiefs is manually dyed with saffron. And if you’re in Sardinia later in the year, there is Autunno in Barbagia (Autumn in Barbagia), a celebration of ancient traditions revolving around the arts and crafts of the local people. The series of events runs from September to December across different villages on the island.

Handmade Sardinian knives. Photo by Matteo Atti


Sardinian handicrafts are ideal souvenirs to bring home. The best places are the local shops and markets where you meet the locals. Listen to the craftsmen as they explain the traditional techniques and workmanship for each technique they honed for centuries. Craft products include vibrantly coloured woven products: mats, trays and baskets. There are also local ceramics, items from the local cork trees and local foods such as the Pecorino Sardo cheese. 

Handmade Sardinian knives make wonderful gifts and souvenirs, too. Once an essential for every life, it is now an artisan craft. The handle is typically made from carved animal horn.

Su Gologone Experience Hotel
The Experience Suite at Su Gologone Experience Hotel. Photo by Su Gologone Experience Hotel


VistaJet’s Private World gives access to the world’s most incredible bespoke experiences, including a portfolio of the finest accommodations and partners. Imagine waking up to clear blue turquoise waters and a white sandy beach 100m from your room! These private beachfront villas include panoramic sea views and a private beach. 

Su Gologone Experience Hotel is out of this world. Nestled next to a captivating beach, it offers inspiring activities like diving into the local arts scene or a cooking experience. The tastefully furnished rooms and suites are dotted with authentic designer pieces and traditional furnishings. You can also choose to experience sleeping under a sky full of stars close to nature. 

Have a chat with a Sardinian artist from the hotel and learn about their inspirations. The hotel has communal areas including an artist’s enclave where you can immerse in the local art scene. You can even commission an artist to create something for you during your stay.

Getting around

Arrive in Sardinia on board your VistaJet aircraft, from any part of the world.  A car or limousine will then pick you up and take you wherever you are staying in Sardinia.

Matteo Atti is the CMO at VistaJet, the largest on-demand private aviation group in the world. At Vista, Atti heads a global team in charge of the entire customer journey and harnessing insights and creating experiences based on clients’ passions and interests. He is inspired by his travels and the knowledge gained all over the world, translating them to the authentic and exclusive programmes that are offered by VistaJet.