Sardinia or Corsica? Why Choose?
When deciding on our Spring/early Summer beach holiday we could not decide between Italy's Sardinia & France's Corsica. We had heard so much about both islands. After endless research and discussions we decided we'll do weekend getaways to both a month apart :P Yes, it was THAT hard to pick.
It is amazing how these two islands like two siblings are so similar yet so different in so many ways. Here's hoping that our experience and this two part blog makes your choice a little easier. Both islands offer pretty much identical climate. I mean, they are two different countries, but the southern tip of Corsica and the Northern tip of Sardinia are only about 10 kilometers apart.
In Spring/early Summer expect to have temperatures around mid 20s C during the day, but the waters and the evenings can still be a little less than perfect for swimming. It takes a dip or two to get used to it. Honestly, that can happen even in late Summer, given how unpredictable European weather has been lately. The nice thing about late Spring or early Summer however is that you beat the crowds that flock both these islands in peak Summer.
Supremely Seductive Sardinia
If you are looking for more sandy than rocky coastline in Sardinia like we were, it is better to stick to eastern end of the island with Olbia in the north and Cagliari in the south. It's an island popular with the rich and the famous so it was a real struggle to find a resort, which would not break the bank without compromising on the Mexican & Caribbean service standards that we had gotten used to over the years on our North American beach vacations.
We were able to find a lovely resort in the north so we flew into Olbia on a friday night and since we were getting in late, we stayed the night in Olbia. (Also, our resort did not open for the season till the next day :P) One thing to note is that you really need a rental to explore either of these islands, or even if you are not an explorer in most cases just to get to the resorts as they are scattered all across the island.
Our hotel in Olbia was just a conveniently located & comfortable hotel where we could spend the night. It was located on a cute little colorful street and the nice thing about it was that despite checking in almost at midnight we could just walk out to a restaurant steps away that was open late for a nice Italian meal. I still cannot forget how amazing the food was. It took them a while, but the wait was worth the fresh and fabulous meal, and it was pretty reasonably priced as well.
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we took a little tour of the town of Olbia and did some shopping (not planned :P) and drove South to have lunch at this restaurant on the Porto Taverna beach that we found on Tripadvisor.
We were not expecting much, but it turned out to be amazing. What a lovely little beach with a bunch of locals playing volleyball. Not to mention the stunning turquoise waters. The restaurant owner was super friendly, we had the most amazing calamari and prawns, and the kids had a fantastic time playing on the gorgeous beach. Definitely, an afternoon we will cherish for a long long time.
It was time for us to check-in at our resort so we drove to Costa Dorata and right on the main road we could see the signs for Hotel Don Diego. Don't you just love that name? :) The resort was just beautiful, the two bedroom suite on top of the hill was lovely, and the views of the ocean and Tavolara mountain were just fantastic.
It was the first day the resort was open, perhaps 5 or 6 other couples/families besides us, so it felt like it was our private resort, which made it even more enjoyable. The private beach was small, nice and fine sand, and perhaps the calmest and clearest waters I have ever seen. So clear that one could see through the transparent fish if you were standing in it. Just amazing.
The service staff was super nice, and the owner could always be seen around the resort, either having a meal with the guests at the restaurant, or relaxing on the beach. You could tell he personally looks over how the resort is run. We had signed up for half-board arrangement and the breakfasts and dinners were top notch all three days.
At lunch one could either have a light meal or snacks at the poolside bar or drive around and try some of other restaurants in the area. Since this vacation was mainly for my three lazy guys we were on an eat, beach, eat, dress up, eat ,sleep, repeat schedule. :P I must say, it was really nice to not have anything planned for a change, except for dressing up and showing up for dinner every night :)
And, just like that it was day 4 and time to head back home. With everything from colorful culture, luxurious lifestyle, amazing cuisine, Italian hospitality, & endless natural beauty on offer, no wonder it is the Summer playground of celebrities and the wealthy.
We caught an afternoon flight back home via Milan. This was our third time taking Easyjet via Milan. We searched and booked Paris to Milan & Milan to Olbia separately and it was still cheaper than any other airline. Interestingly when you book, it does let you do it one itinerary, which is nice.
The only thing that made leaving this little paradise easy was that we had another beach weekend trip coming up in about 4 weeks. Sardinia set the bar pretty high for Corsica to be compared to. We were super excited to put it to the test.