Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013

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Sardinia Emerging

Sardinia beckons with accessible hotels that deliver more splash for less cash

Why Go Now Set "sale" for Sardinia! No longer just a Billionaire's Boys Club, this off-the-grid Italian island is appreciated for much more than the gilded resorts of its Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast). Devoted foodies are discovering the joys of Sardinian culinary culture, while the island's near-prehistoric landscapes are a lure for outdoor types. Yachting and unbelievable beaches can be indulged at the less exclusive resorts found at La Maddalena, Villasimius, and Pula. Here in Sardinia, affordable is the new chic. –by Robert I.C. Fisher

Where to StaySet in a secluded inlet amid lush gardens, Hotel Nibaru offers many of the best features of the Costa Smeralda at comparatively low rates. Situated not far from Cale di Volpe—address to some of Europe's ritziest resorts—Nibaru rambles along like a Sardinian village with low-lying pavilions aglow in pomegranate red. Or opt for the Is Molas Resort in Pula, with 80 Mediterranean-style rooms, an 18-hole golf course (Jack Nicklaus loved it), and a shuttle bus to great beaches.

Insider TipTo discover Sardinian culture in all its glory (talk about handicrafts heaven), head to the Barbagia region, located in the rugged countryside of the south-central mountains—ironically still called "Land of Strangers."

Word of Mouth "I don't think any of Sardinia's wine is exported so it is a pleasure just for those that are here," writes Fodorite LuvToRoam. I may have to carry a few bottles home..."

When to Go To combine sightseeing with sunbathing, June and September are the best months; May and October are best for touring, as Italians take the island by storm in July and August.

Plan Your Trip Visit Sardinia via Italy's official tourism website.

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