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Sardinia by Campervan: The West Coast

The west coast of Sardinia, Italy, is a breathtaking region known for its rugged cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and rich history. Highlights include the charming town of Alghero, with its Catalan heritage, and the stunning beaches of the Sinis Peninsula. Visitors can explore ancient ruins like the Phoenician city of Tharros or the mysterious Nuraghe structures scattered throughout the island. For nature enthusiasts, the area offers Neptune's Grotto and the scenic beauty of Capo Caccia. Each location promises a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural depth, making the west coast of Sardinia a must-visit destination.


OUR 47 DAY SARDINIA TRAVEL ROUTE

Over the course of April and May 2024, we embarked on a 47-day journey across Sardinia in our campervan. These months are part of the 'shoulder season,' and aside from the end of May, the island was largely free of tourists. During this time, we encountered a wide range of weather conditions, from bitterly cold temperatures in the single digits to sunny days with temperatures soaring into the mid-30s.


This post is part of our Sardinia series and deals with the western section (part 3) of our journey:


⬇️ MORE SARDINIA POSTS: ⬇️

See our complete Sardinia destination guide!⬇️


Bosa

3 May 2024 • 19°

The colourful town of Bosa sits on a small hill about 3km inland on the north bank of the Temo River. The town has a population of only 8000 people and has a very different character from other locations in Sardinia. Not surprisingly, it is also one of "The most beautiful villages of Italy".


Although the area was inhabited since prehistoric times, the present town of Bosa was founded in the 13th century by the Malaspina family. Today the Malaspina Castle is also a museum and stands proud upon the hilltop. Even if you don’t go into the museum, it’s worth walking up to the Castle to enjoy the panoramic views out over the town and surrounding countryside.

We parked streetside just outside the Eurospin and made our way into the old town across the “Ponte Vecchio”. We popped into the Cathedral which is currently under renovation. Making our way through the narrow alleys and stairways up to the castle felt very much like being in a maze. It didn’t help that we were constantly distracted by the colourful and quaint houses at every turn.


⬇️It's critical to have your own wheels around Sardinia to reach the best spots!⬇️


After walking all the way up to the castle and back down again we convinced ourselves that we deserved a gelato once we reached Piazza IV Novembre! We could have easily spent hours strolling along the river promenade and the pedestrian shopping street of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and can only imagine how this area must come to life in the evenings. Bosa is really a beautiful place with a unique character and we were very glad that we took the time to visit.

We were happy to get the corner spot for Milli at the parking just across the road from the sea. It wasn't the most peaceful night, with traffic on both sides of the parking area. But it was free and offered stunning views. The next morning we enjoyed a run all along the coast and peninsular to the "Torre di Bosa" on the other side of the little bay.


S'Archittu

4 May 2024 • 20°

S'Archittu Sardinia

S'Archittu means "the little arch" in Sardinian and is a tiny coastal village named after the impressive rock arch in its small bay. The 17m high arch has resulted from marine erosion of an ancient cave formed in the limestone. The town is not very welcoming to campers so it was a bit of a struggle to find suitable parking and after two failed attempts, we almost drove on in frustration. Giving it one more chance, we turned around to attempt driving into the town itself and were very pleased to notice that the complete ban on campers sign had been removed. Being such a popular tourist attraction, we were surprised to find the parking area almost empty - 3rd try lucky!


Walking along the coast towards the famous arch and little beach was even more of a pleasant surprise as there were hardly any people! The crystal clear water of the shallow bay looked so inviting that I regretted that we were not spending the entire day here. Once again, we found our little “by-the-wind-sailor” creatures and this time they were still bright blue with some even still floating about with their sails up. I can’t image how busy this place must be in summer, but right now it’s spectacular!


Mari Ermi

4 May 2024 • 20°

Every now and then when you arrive at a place you immediately know that you have found a gem… this was the case when we arrived at Mari Ermi. We had intended to stop at Spiaggia di Is Arutas but the parking there wasn’t quite what we had hoped for, so we decided to drive back a few kilometres along a narrow little road to see if we could perhaps find something nicer at Mari Ermi - and it was certainly worthwhile. We found the perfect spot, elevated on a grassy hill with a stunning view out over the beach and the lagoon.

Mari Ermi Sardinia Campervan

Having just stocked up on groceries, we had all the good Italian goodies: Burrata Affumicata with asparagus, bacon and fried eggs for breakfast. We tried a new dinner of “Gnocchetti alla Tirolesi con Spinaci” (typical small gnocchi of the Tyrol region of Italy) with Carciofi and Walnut pesto and Chicken Bombetti in Porchetta which was absolutely delicious. And we found a beautiful bottle of Rose Spumante from Puglia. As we watched the sun set, we knew we’d be staying here until we ran out of fresh water and had to move on!

It was stunning running along the coast all the way to Spiaggia di Is Arutas in the mornings. I could watch the flamingos from my workstation in Milli. Andre managed to find just enough wind for a kite session and we went for a hike along the coast to see some very impressive white cliffs. When the time came, I was very reluctant to leave!

PS: Note that even though you may find people dotted all over the coast and making themselves at home by camping, this is NOT allowed (see notice). In fact, on the last evening, the officials did arrive and move many people from their chosen spots! Like good Italians, we were in fact in an official parking area!


Sinis Peninsular

The Sinis Peninsula is home to some of Sardinia's most beautiful beaches. Among the best is the beach at San Giovanni di Sinis, known for its proximity to the ruins of the ancient city of Tharros. Is Arutas and Maimoni are also renowned for their unique quartz sands, offering a stunning backdrop for sunbathers and nature lovers. For those seeking a more secluded spot, S'Anea Scoada's beach is a hidden gem, nestled between scenic limestone cliffs. Each beach has its own charm, making the Sinis Peninsula a perfect destination for beach enthusiasts.

Sinis Peninsular Sardinia

8 May 2024 • 23°

This morning was the Perfect Vanlife Morning. Bright and early we drove the short distance from Mari Ermi to the parking area at the small marina of Spiaggia di Mare Morto. We set off on a slightly challenging morning run as we navigated the uneven terrain with the goal of making it to the lighthouse right at the tip of Capo San Marco - and what an extraordinary excursion it was!


This skinny peninsular of Sinis is best known for the large open-air museum of the ancient archaeological area of Tharros, dating back to the Bronze Age. Although we didn’t go into the archaeological area, we were able to see many of the ruins from the outside as we passed by. In fact, we even ran past one of the active excavation sites!



After a couple of wrong turns and a little bit of backtracking, we finally made it to the Capo San Marco Lighthouse, which we had seen for the past few nights from Mari Ermi. We thought the run had been scenic up to this point, but nothing quite prepared us for the incredibly stunning views that greeted us on our return! What a beautiful place!


Just before returning to Milli, we stopped at the Spiaggia di San Giovanni di Sinis, which may well be the most beautiful beach that we’ve seen in Sardinia so far (sorry Spiaggia La Perlosa)! We were lucky to find the Church of San Giovanni di Sinis open. Built during the Byzantine period in the mid-6th century, this church is one of the oldest in Sardinia and is really quite special.


Back to Milli for a shower and breakfast. What a way to start the day!


From here we headed inland to visit one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in Sardinia, the Roman thermal baths of Fordongianus (Terme Romane di Fordongianus). For more inland destinations read our blog Sardinia by Campervan: The Countryside.


Spiaggia di Arborea

11 May 2024 • 26°

After waiting until 6 pm for our package to arrive at GLS Oristano, we didn’t feel like driving far so we headed to the beach parking at Spiaggia di Arborea. Even though it was just simple streetside parking, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and it was pizza night!


The following morning we awoke to the most stunning day. The advantage of travelling off-season is that many beach bars are closed and their decks are ideal for doing yoga! We had read that the beach was covered in seaweed and not enticing for swimming. The seaweed turned out to be the strangest grass balls and the water was absolutely crystal clear in the morning - just perfect for a morning swim after yoga! However, being weekend and the nearby bars being open, we decided to head inland.


Looking to escape the coast for the weekend, we headed inland to the Nuraghe Genna Maria, just outside the village of Villanovaforru.


WHERE TO STAY IN THE WEST OF SARDINIA

Not everyone travels by motorhome or camper, and if you are looking for accommodation in this region of Sardinia, we can make some suggestions:


ORISTANO & THE WEST COAST

Offering a mix of historical sites and access to beautiful, less crowded beaches on the Sinis Peninsula. Great for a more relaxed and authentic Sardinian experience. Here are some highly rated options across different price ranges:

Budget:

  • Hostel Rodia - This budget-friendly option offers clean and comfortable rooms with basic amenities. It's located in a peaceful area, close to the town centre and attractions such as the Cathedral of Oristano and the Tower of St. Christophoros.

  • Hotel Mistral - Another affordable option, Hotel Mistral provides cozy accommodations with a friendly atmosphere. It's conveniently located near the historic center and within walking distance to local shops and restaurants.

Mid-Range:

  • Mariano IV Palace Hotel - This hotel offers spacious and well-appointed rooms with modern amenities. It's situated in the heart of Oristano, making it easy to explore the city's main attractions and enjoy the local dining scene.

Mariano IV Palace Hotel


  • Hotel Duomo - Located in a historic building near Oristano's cathedral, Hotel Duomo combines traditional charm with modern comforts. Guests can enjoy stylish rooms, a central location, and a delicious breakfast.

Luxury:

  • Aquae Sinis Albergo Diffuso - This luxury hotel offers a unique experience with its "albergo diffuso" concept, where rooms are spread across different historic buildings in the village of Cabras, near Oristano. The hotel features elegant accommodations, a spa, and a fine dining restaurant, all set in a charming and tranquil environment.

  • Is Benas Country Lodge - Situated a short drive from Oristano, this luxury lodge provides upscale accommodations in a serene countryside setting. Guests can enjoy beautifully designed rooms, a swimming pool, gourmet dining, and easy access to nearby beaches and nature reserves.

Is Benas Country Lodge


BOSA

A picturesque town with colourful houses along the Temo River, offering a slower pace and a glimpse into traditional Sardinian life. Here are some highly rated options across different price ranges:

Budget:

  • Bosa Guest House - Another affordable option, Bosa Guest House provides cozy accommodations with modern amenities. It's conveniently located near the town center, offering easy access to local shops, restaurants, and the riverfront.

Mid-Range:

  • Palazzo Pischedda - This mid-range hotel is housed in a beautiful historic building and offers stylish rooms with a blend of traditional and modern decor. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the Temo River and Bosa Castle from the hotel, as well as a delicious breakfast and an on-site restaurant.

  • Corte Fiorita Albergo Diffuso - Located in the heart of Bosa's old town, this charming hotel features rooms spread across different historic buildings, providing a unique and authentic experience. The accommodations are well-appointed and the location is ideal for exploring Bosa's narrow streets and colorful houses.

Luxury:

  • Hotel Sa Pischedda - Offering luxurious accommodations with elegant furnishings and modern amenities, Hotel Sa Pischedda is situated along the river, providing beautiful views and a serene atmosphere. The hotel also features an excellent restaurant, a terrace, and easy access to Bosa's attractions.

  • Villa Asfodeli - Located a short drive from Bosa in the village of Tresnuraghes, this luxury boutique hotel offers upscale rooms and suites in a beautifully restored villa. Guests can relax in the lush gardens, swim in the outdoor pool, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the sea.


⬇️ MORE SARDINIA POSTS: ⬇️

See our complete Sardinia destination guide!⬇️





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