Costa Smeralda Sardinia – The Emerald Coast
Embraced by the warm and salty waters of the Mediterranean, the diverse coastal area of the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia offers beachfront resorts, rental villas, boutique hotels, chic marinas, shopping areas and a vibrant nightlife – while keeping a balance with its beautiful surroundings. Located roughly between the villages of Baja Sardinia and Porto Rotondo, the Emerald Coast consists of miles and miles of picture-perfect bays, coves and white sandy beaches. As if that weren’t enough, the perfectly clear green and turquoise waters seem to come straight out of a Caribbean dream.
Hotel Cala di Volpe
Located in a romantic spot in the heart of the Costa Smeralda, Hotel Cala Di Volpe offers a very peaceful vibe in the midst of the charming village with Sardinian houses and villas. It is the very first hotel that was built on the Costa Smeralda in the early 1960’s. The five-star hotel surrounds itself with the unforgettable vibes of Mediterranean white sand beaches and tantalizing vistas of the mountains of Golfo Aranci and Isola Tavolara. Hotel Cala Di Volpe offers 124 guest rooms that include six suites, and an outdoor pool with a length of nearly 50 meters. The hotel offers an amazing experience of luxury and comfort with the classic double, premium double, superior double, and deluxe suites. The hotel features an intimate sanctuary that is filled with excitement with the amenities they provide right at your fingertips. There is complimentary WiFi, a private beach, three tennis courts, and two fitness centers available for hotel guests.
This perfect haven exudes beauty and isolation with its proximity to Spiaggia Capriccioli, which is about fifty meters away. Hotel Capriccioli sits to the eastern coastline of beautiful Sardinia and is about 1.4 kilometers from Spiaggia del Principe. Guests can also visit Spiaggia di Liscia Ruja at 1.6 kilometers and the Giants Tombs of Coddu Vecchiu at 13.3 kilometers. The 20.4-kilometer proximity to Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport makes the place even more charming for guests who want to enjoy the breeze of Sardinia at the most comfortable site. Hotel Capriccioli provides excellent choices for a double or twin room with side sea views, a small single room, or a small double room. A double room and triple room with balcony are perfect for guests’ varying requirements. A private parking area ensures the safety of vehicles and does not require reservations. There is also an outdoor pool for additional enjoyment for guests during their stay. A wide range of activities that guests may pick includes canoeing, bike rental, golf, and tennis.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million…
Costa Smeralda beaches belong to the best beaches in Europe, and the Emerald Coast is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Italy. All beaches are open to the public, and offer some of the best swimming and snorkeling in the entire Mediterranean. The best time to go to is spring, summer and autumn, all the way to late October. If you want to avoid the crowds and prefer cooler water temperatures, simply avoid July and August when water temperatures reach over 25 degrees Celsius. Spring and early Autumn are absolutely gorgeous.
If you want to be sure you’ve seen the best beaches, here’s your bucket list:
- Spiaggia del Piccolo Pevero and Spiaggia del Grande Pevero. 300 meters of white sands and shallow waters.
- Liscia Ruja. An absolute must-see, one of the longest beaches located between Portisco and Cala di Volpe.
- Spiaggia del Principe. Find out why this was Prince Karim Aga Khan’s favorite beach, located near Cala di Volpe. Lovely clear water, great for sunbathing and snorkeling! A 10 minutes’ walk from the parking lot. Bring proper footwear. Busy during high season, go early or later in the afternoon.
- Spiaggia del Romazzino. Sheltered from the wind, with shallow waters. Located right in front of Hotel Romazzino, 5 kilometers south-east of Porto Cervo. Park your car behind the hotel.
- Spiaggia Capriccioli. 200 meters long, with beautiful views of the islands of Mortorio, Soffi and Le Camere.
- Nikki Beach. An oasis for the selfie crowd. Situated on the bay of Spiaggia di Petra Ruja, best accessed by sea (or private yacht!). Shuttle services depart daily from the Porto Cervo Marina, Marina di Portisco, Marina di Porto Rotondo, the Romazzino Hotel and Hotel Cala di Volpe.
Use the map below to explore Costa Smeralda hotels and other places to stay.
Fill in your check-in and check-out dates to see the rates offered by our partner booking website.
A Brief History of Costa Smeralda
Shepherds and Farmers
When Sardinia was still “lost between Europe and Africa, and belonging to nowhere,” as English writer and poet D.H. Lawrence once wrote in “Sea and Sardinia“, and before the Costa Smeralda came into existence, the area was mostly agricultural, inhabited by local shepherds, farmers, and fishermen.
You’d find only a few so-called ‘stazzi’ (from the Latin word “statio”), the typical granite country houses of the shepherds, scattered around the areas of Cala di Volpe, Abbiadori, Monte Tundi, and Liscia di Vacca. Polto Celvu, the harbor which was soon to become Porto Cervo, was visited only by cattle that went to the shore in search of shade.
A New Costa
Construction of the Costa Smeralda holiday resort area began in the early 1960’s, and took many years before it was completed. The project was enormous, as the Emerald Coast consists of 25000 acres with 35 miles (56 kilometers) of beachfront land.
John Duncan Miller, a London banker, came up with the initial plan to transform the area known as Monti di Mola (which, as a matter of fact, means “Rocky Mountains”) into a new Costa in the Mediterranean included building a new airport and terminal (now Olbia Airport), an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones (the Pevero Golf Club), and a far larger mooring capacity for the port of Porto Cervo, the “capital” of the Costa.
The Costa Smeralda Consortium
To serve the future flock of tourists and prepare for mass tourism, 35 hotels, nearly 10000 villas and apartments and over 80 beaches had to be developed. The very first hotel to be built was the 54-room Hotel Cala di Volpe, designed by the French architect Jacques Couelle, a friend of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.
Back in the day, the development of the Emerald Coast was estimated at $300 million (about $2.5 billion in today’s dollars) – one of the most ambitious European land development projects ever undertaken. The project was funded by a consortium of private European investors, including Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, André Ardoin, John Duncan Miller, Giuseppe Kerry Mentasti, Enzo Fumagalli, Patrick Guinness, and René Podbielski.
Watch the video below to learn more about the history of the Costa Smeralda:
Where to Go
To help you decide where to go, below you’ll find a practical overview of all the beautiful seaside villages and beaches to visit during your holiday in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia.
Porto Cervo is a world-renowned Italian seaside resort and the main centre of the Costa Smeralda. The village is located 23 kilometers north of Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, in the municipality of Arzachena, Olbia-Tempio. The area around Porto Cervo is home to some of the most expensive hotels in the world.
Beaches Near Porto Cervo
Cala di Volpe ('the bay of foxes’) is a small community located in Arzachena in the province of Olbia-Tempio, in north-east Sardinia, Italy. The village is located in the historical region known as Gallura on the Emerald Coast, between the beaches of Li Itriceddi and Capriccioli. Its strategic position offers easy access to several famous Costa Smeralda beaches. This near-perfect travel destination is overflowing with celebrities and attractions, and here you'll find some of the most highly regarded Costa Smeralda hotels, such as Hotel Cala di Volpe and Hotel Romazzino.
Beaches Near Cala di Volpe
Portisco is a small village in the municipality of Olbia, in the province of Olbia-Tempio. It is located near the Gulf of Cugnana, west of Porto Rotondo. The village is well-known for its harbor, home to many yachts sailing the Costa Smeralda in summer.
Beaches Near Portisco
Porto Rotondo is located between the Gulf of Cugnana and the Gulf of Marinella, 13 kilometers north of Olbia. Together with Porto Cervo, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Costa Smeralda. Some of its beaches make up the crown to the Emerald Coast, and its marina offers a safe haven to over 600 boats of all sizes. Ideal for a either short getaway or an extended stay, Porto Rotondo is a small port with big reputation and some of the most stunning scenery anywhere along the coastline.
Beaches Near Porto Rotondo
Baja Sardinia is a popular beach resort in the Gulf of Arzachena, just a few minutes away from the Costa Smeralda on the northeast coast of Sardinia. Over the years, the small seaside village has grown in popularity, thanks to the development of the Costa Smeralda. Baja Sardinia comprises of villa complexes, hotels, and resorts, alongside a handful of restaurants, bars, and boutiques, all arranged in a small square by the beach. The beaches at Baja Sardinia are famous for scuba diving, and thanks to the bay’s position, it’s a perfect spot for water sports activities such as windsurfing and sailing.
Beaches Near Baja Sardinia
Golfo di Marinella is just a 25-minute drive away from Olbia Costa Smeralda airport. While it may not be the best-known destination of the Emerald Coast, there are plenty of things to do in this little seaside town and more than enough reasons to visit this idyllic pocket of Sardinia.