Being an island, it’s no surprise that Sardinia loves water sports. Scuba divers, snorkellers, windsurfers and paddlers of all stripes will have plenty to keep them occupied in the waters surrounding the island, and the diverse landscape means the island has choppy seas perfect for more adrenaline-pumping water sports and calm waters for those looking to explore the local marine wildlife.
When you combine this with some of the most pristine and beautiful shoreline to hang out on after you’re done in the ocean, the island seems like a water sports paradise. If you want to get wet and wild, then read on, because we’re showing you the best of Sardinian water sports.
Often considered to be the best diving spot in the entire Mediterranean, there’s something for all types of diver in Sardinia. Wrecks, caves, and calm waters by the shore mean that all levels of ability are catered for.
Cave divers should head to Grotta del Nereo, where there are two shallow entrances and one deeper one at 30m. Here you can see a whole host of different marine wildlife. Wreck divers will enjoy KT, a German shipwreck that has sat of the coast for over half a century. There are many other wrecks to explore, although this is the most famous and largest. Reef diving is also possible at the Grouper Reef, so there really is something for everyone who wants to go scuba diving in Sardinia.
Nautilus Diving Centre are well regarded, and their beginner PADI course starts at EUR 140 (GBP 124) although equipment costs extra (depending on what you want, but it can be as cheap as additional EUR 40 (GBP 36)). More experienced divers can take a guided trip to one of the previously mentioned dive sites (or others). A four tank package costs EUR 225 (GBP 200). Tourists diving in Sardinia can expect a treasure trove of different wildlife and clear seas; the dives are usually quite tepid as well, especially in summer, although once you go below forty feet you may feel a large drop in temperature.
Choosing the best snorkelling spot in Sardinia is a bit like choosing your favourite restaurant; at a certain point, they’re all of such a high quality that you just have to go for personal preference over any attempt at objectivity. Budoni is an underrated spot, with the Ottiolu area offering the ability to spot large, colourful fish as well as Roman era artefacts. The Pedrami Rocks in this area are also well regarded; snorkelers in Sardinia can see the giant limpet here, among other fish.
Cala Goloritze is widely regarded as the best spot for snorkelling in Sardinia. The beach is at the base of a ravine and requires a bit of a hike to get to, but because it’s so deserted it affords incredible views. From land the water is a stunning mix of blue and green, but once you’re in there it’s clear as day. There are plenty of fish in this shallow, calm bay, so it’s good for families too (as long as you can stand the hike there). Cala Luna, another secluded beach, is a great place to go snorkelling in Sardinia for the same reasons as Cala Goloritze.
You can also snorkel in Tavloara, which is a protected area for marine wildlife. You have to be careful not to disturb the fish too much, but there’s so much variety here that it’s impossible not to be astounded by what you see.
Although the Mediterranean is known as a fairly calm sea, there is still some excellent surf around the coast of Sardinia. In fact, there are over 200 days of surfable waves in the area each year, at a minimum. Putzu Idu on the Western side of the island has consistent swells that are some of the best in Europe, as does Capo Mannu. Piscinas and Buggerru have tonnes of beach break, so more seasoned surfers can enjoy it down there.
Of course, the Med isn’t the Indian Ocean or Tasman Sea, but conditions usually vary enough that if you hang around you can get some good surf. If not, the beaches are waiting for you to relax on. Oristano probably has the best surfing community, so if you’re going for the social aspect you should base yourself there.
If you are going to Sardinia purely to surf, then the winter is the time to go and the Western side of the island is undoubtedly better for catching waves. If you’re there in the summer and just want to give it a go, Revolt Surf Shop or Waves Surf Shop are both in Oristano and costs around EUR 25 (GBP 22) for the day, with wetsuits an additional EUR 10 (GBP 8).
There are several spots to enjoy kitesurfing in Sardinia, focused mainly on the Northern and Southern tips of the island. The wind varies day to day, so it’s good to check the night before you’re planning on going out. The south of the island generally has more consistent winds, whereas the north can have stronger winds but they’re gustier.
The most popular spot for kitesurfing is Porto Pollo, which has facilities for windsurfing and kitesurfing and is easily accessible by car. Moreover, Porto Pollo has been home to kitesurfing events in the past, so you know the wind conditions are usually on point. If you’re a beginner you can stick to somewhere like Poetto, which is a much more touristy beach with better amenities, as you’ll likely spend less time on the water than keen kitesurfers. Porto Botte is on the South Western side of the island and also suitable for beginners but can offer a bit more for avid kitesurfers than Poetto.
If you’re looking for lessons or rental on the island, Kite Generation are your best bet. Their beginner two-hour course starts at EUR 59 (GBP 55) with advanced booking, or you can get a group lesson for EUR 35 (GBP 31) (again, booked in advance) if you’ve tried kitesurfing before and just need a refresher. Renting all the equipment for one day is EUR 79 (GBP 73).
Despite having plenty of lakes and rivers, those looking to kayak in Sardinia will most likely have to do so in the sea. With that being said, the waters tend to be quite calm and there are plenty of beautiful marine parks and untouched coastline to explore on a kayak, and in some cases you can even reach secluded beaches. The Maddalena Archipelago is a good sea kayak option for those who want to make kayaking the centre of their trip, delivering a few days of activity that offers up gorgeous views and plenty of sweat (EUR 485 (GBP 440) for five days during early June). Sea kayakers who want an easier excursion or have family with them can kayak around the Ogliastra area, through Coccorocci beach (EUR 25 (GBP 22) for a half day excursion).
If you are set on river kayaking, you can go down the Coghinas River from the mouth (EUR 25 (GBP 22) for half a day), spotting all manner of fish and birds along the way. The difficulty is quite low, so this is suitable for families. Lago Cedrino is another great non sea spot to kayak in Sardinia; an artificial lake, there are great views of rolling hills and jagged mountains, as well as tonnes of wildlife to spot (EUR 59 (GBP 52) for the entire day).
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