Sardinia or Calabria?

Old Jul 16th, 2021, 07:19 PM
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Sardinia or Calabria?

We are thinking of Italy and want to spend a few days in a not too touristy area with great beaches and great food. From reading I have narrowed it down to Calabria and Sardinia. What do you think for family that includes a 13 year old and a 78 year old grand father? we love beaches, snorkling and want to eat good local fresh food. Thoughts? We only have 3 or 4 days... also, safety for both areas? and also, friendliness to non-italian speaking tourists?
thanks!
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Old Jul 16th, 2021, 10:53 PM
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I think I just answered your Greece question. We haven't been to Calabria but Sardinia is lovely. You could stay in Santa Teresa Gallura, it's a short drive from Olbia airport. There was a nice small beach there. We loved the day trip by ferry to Bonifacio on Corsica, there are amazing views of Bonifacio from the water. Take your passports! This was a few years ago but safety was never an issue. Do you have 3 or 4 days in total, including travel time to get there and get home? Or 3 days actually on an island? Don't underestimate travel time, it always takes longer than you think.
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 07:14 AM
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we are flying from Rome so flight to Sardinia said about an hour, do you think i should consider it a full day of travel? with transfers and what not?

3 days on island is what we were thinking... we just want to do 2 days big city, 3 or 4 days beach, then do the same in greece, 2 days athens, 3-4 days at the beach...

thanks for both answers!
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 11:20 AM
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It sounds like you have 12 days, but it's unclear if that's counting or not counting arrival and departure days. It would be helpful to know which, whether you're counting travel days, etc. For example, four full days anywhere means 5 nights, two days in a big city is 3 nights. It also depends on how much exploring you would want to do in either Calabria or on Sardinia. FYI, it takes about 4.5 hours to drive the length of Sardinia and about 2 hours to cross east-west. It would also be helpful to know when this trip is.

Have you found an equally good connecting flight from FCO to somewhere in Calabria? What logistics would be involved in getting from Sardinia to Greece and/or Calabria to Greece and then to your final destination in Greece?

I think I would slow down and stay in one country or the other. Otherwise, for me, it's too much time in airports, logistics of getting to/from airports, handling luggage, accepting the risk of delays or cancellations, etc.

If by "safety" you're asking about Covid, only you can evaluate the risk you're willing to take... either in contracting a variant and/or getting stuck somewhere because of illness or changing restrictions. You should keep following Covid and vaccination tracking websites and, obviously, both governments' latest Covid rules and restrictions. I wouldn't be booking anything that isn't totally refundable, and you might also look into the availability and cost of car rentals in Calabria and on Sardinia.
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 02:11 PM
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I too recommend staying in one country - or better - one smaller region. You'll waste too much time travelling with little real benefit I think. I think you'd have a better and more relaxing time if you covered less ground.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 03:03 AM
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Hi Sarah, in terms of English as it is spoken, once you get out of the main tourist areas it always goes down hill. Of these two, if staying on the coast you should be fine especially if you go to the main sites. If you are more concerned about generally having more English speakers about then somewhere like Florence/Venice/Central Rome will always be easier. However a very large part of the population just don't speak English.

Of the two you suggest Sardinia is a far better a visit. The island has a long history of supporting tourism and the facilites support it both in the north (the expensive bit) and the south (which is a bit cheaper). Calabria is a bit more used to non-foreign tourists.

In terms of absolute safety, I'd not worry too much, the days of kidnapping etc are long gone, though wandering hands on the buses and trams may be an issue.

The other issue is one of culture, the south is more "greek" in culture than the north. So if you go to Calabria be prepared to chill a bit more than usual. Personally I like it but it depends on your family members, some like "check please" (il conto per favore) to mean "get me the check now", not "we want the bill in the next 15/25 minutes if you can fit it in please".

"not too touristy area with great beaches and great food" really, in Italy? If it has great beaches and great food it has tourists, Italy has been at tourism for hundreds of years. If you really want this sort of thing then Puglia or Basilicata might be better, but in August (when Italy itself is on holiday) no way.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Jul 18th, 2021 at 03:07 AM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 08:15 AM
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thank you, exactly the info i was looking for... I think Sardinia is the way to go for us... I have been looking at beaches and I was leaning more towards south for beaches, why is the north more expensive? where would you say has the best beaches? "south is more greek" does that mean style of food also?

thanks again!

(we are planning for early June 2022)
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 08:25 AM
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Food variations do exist between north and south Italy (You'll find that italian food is all regional so Focaccia is northern for example) but to an American diet not that significant. More butter and oil in the north, more oil in the south, more polenta in the north, probably more meat in the north (but I don't eat much meat so hard for me to tell) etc. The south is poorer and so more focus on vegetables and lentils/beans etc. But the variation all over is the thing. Offal in Rome for example

The Aga Khan used to live in northern Sardinia and developed a few yacht harbours for the filthy rich. So the north can be very "bling"

The Best Beaches of South Sardinia - ??Sardinian Beaches

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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 09:11 AM
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I just meant for differences between north and south Sardinia... is south more greek style food as you said the culture is more greek? thanks again
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 10:38 AM
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My bad. No I was referring to north and south Italy having different cultures, not north south Sardinia. Sardinia is pretty much one culture food etc but has a blingy north.

I think the reason for any confusion is Calabria is in the south and Sardinia is in the north.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 05:00 PM
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If the flight from Rome to Sardinia is an hour, then it could take all day from door to door. Get up in the morning, pack and check out. Transport to Rome airport. Wait for flight which may or may not be on time. Flight. Wait for bags. Transport to hotel, extra time if you are collecting a hire car. Check in and unpack. Also there have been reports that hire cars are hard to find and expensive as a result, this is not on Sardinia specifically but it's definitely worth checking before you make a final decision. If cars are hard to rent, then you could pick somewhere else with better public transport.

There are parts of Sardinia that are expensive but we had about ten days there (in the north only) and travel on a budget. It didn't seem ritzy at all to us but probably we didn't visit the areas that are like that.

Agree with others that I'd stick to one country. Spending half of your time in Greece, then the other half in Italy doesn't give you much time anywhere. If you lose a day every time you move on, that's a lot of travel days.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sarahmoore9180 View Post
why is the north more expensive?
Because it attracts wealthier customers looking for easy-to-reach beaches and nightlife.

Originally Posted by sarahmoore9180 View Post
where would you say has the best beaches?
In the north, but there are some great beaches also on southern side of the Island. Some think that Cala Luna is the most beautiful beach in Sardinia, but it's almost in the middle section of the eastern coast!

Originally Posted by sarahmoore9180 View Post
style of food
The Sardinian cuisine is based on meat, cheese and semolina. Pig, goat and sheep meat: the lack of water made raising cattle almost impossible. More, a flood of invaders over the centuries pushed the locals further and further away from the sea. For the same reasons they make cheese with sheep milk, the famous and ubiquitous Pecorino.
There are exceptions: the tuna fishery At Carloforte "shaped" the local cuisine; foreign fishermen and their boats made a few villages on the coast like Alghero more prosperous than those in the inland areas and more used to eat fish and crustaceans.

Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Focaccia is northern for example
I don't find the neverending stream of mistakes in your messages surprising, but your carelessness in giving wrong info is almost fascinating. It's like seeing a stereotype come alive.
Try to go to Puglia, Abruzzo and Basilicata and tell them that Focaccia is "northern". In Messina you'd be directly thrown into the Strait.
The posh Roman "pizza by the slice" they now sell in Chicago is just the refurbished version of the old Roman focaccia & baloney eaten by generations of kids after school.

Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Sardinia is in the north.
Sardinia is in front of Tuscany, but it is considered part of southern Italy from an economic, social, religious and statistical point of view. Unlike other regions, Sardinia was occupied and spoiled by northern Italians and not by foreigners, but labelling it as "Northern" would make any Italian laugh. Lack of infrastructures, subsidized industry and an archaic criminal code based on not trusting anyone out of your family? That's the good ol' South.

Last edited by Falcio; Jul 19th, 2021 at 05:10 AM.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by sarahmoore9180 View Post
We only have 3 or 4 days...
I think you are underestimating travel time. Why not just travel outside Rome a couple hours? The southern Tuscan coast is gorgeous, and outside of July and August it is not crowded.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 07:38 AM
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Falcio your courtesy for my lack of knowledge (of which there is much) is always wonderful and I do appreciate it. Still, Italian friends of mine would have different opinions which just makes the whole subject of Italy and its internal pressures so fascinating. Certainly my two Sardinian friends believe it is in the north and my good friend in Bari agreed last night as part of our weekly chat.

So I thought I would check with the ultimate, Wiki.

You win, southern. But would you really see the poverty of Calabria, Sicily etc in Sardinia, I think not

I quote Wiki "Southern Italy is generally thought to comprise the administrative regions that correspond to the geopolitical extent of the historical Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, including Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Sicily. Some also include the southernmost and easternmost parts of Lazio, (namely the districts of Frosinone, Sora, Cassino, Gaeta, Cittaducale, Formia and Amatrice) within the Mezzogiorno.[citation needed] The island of Sardinia, although being culturally, linguistically and historically less related to the aforementioned regions than any of them is to each other, is frequently included as part of the Mezzogiorno,[12][14] often for statistical and economical purposes.[15][14][16]"

Last edited by bilboburgler; Jul 19th, 2021 at 07:56 AM.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 01:00 PM
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Bilbo

the interior of Sardinia is extremely undeveloped.

sarahmoore

yes , Sardinia is a good option.

The Northern coast has easy ferry access from Rome and easy private boat access from Rome, Corsica and Southern France. It also has the best and some of most challenging sailing in the Mediterranean, is been high end since the 1970s, although I do agree that Santa Teresa is a great place as a base and much normal / main stream.

Everyone has their favourite beach on Sardinia ...mine’s Spiaggia Dell’Elefante on Cala do Volpe in May NOT August.

It’s subjective but I’ve been to much of the European coast and along with the Outer Hebrides , Sardinia has the best beaches in Europe.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Jul 19th, 2021 at 01:02 PM.
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