Arguably among the best in Europe, the beaches of the Costa Smeralda – The Emerald Coast – in Sardinia are as beautiful as you will find anywhere, as well as remaining unspoilt and easily accessible.
This north-eastern region of the island is perfect for family holidays and ideal for romantic breaks, and is somewhere you will fall in love with, and the magnificent beaches of the Costa Smeralda offer a mixture of stunning tranquillity and wonderful weather and lie within easy reach of surrounding towns and each other, as well as just a short drive from nearby Olbia Airport.
With a collection of Caribbean style soft white sand beaches this is one of the most glorious destinations in Europe, and should be on every shortlist for a holiday.
Below we describe some of the best Costa Smeralda beaches, with directions from the airport and approximate journey times.
1- Liscia Ruja
The wonderfully tranquil and beautiful Liscia Ruja – Long Beach – certainly lives up to its name.
This east-facing beach is among the longest on the Costa Smeralda, and features a vast expanse of amazing sand with views out across the bay.
A notably romantic and quiet place, you can take your time here and enjoy the slow pace of life that is typical of Sardinia, all the while enjoying the wonderful weather.
The beautiful white sand beach is home to a friendly bar and an excellent restaurant, perfect for a wonderful breakfast or casual lunch, and there are many fine hotels and other accommodation within a short distance of the beach.
Activities to enjoy here include the obligatory swimming and snorkelling, while boats can be hired to explore the bay and perhaps sail to the beautiful islands of Soffi and Mortorio, both of which can be seen out to sea from the beach.
The best way to enjoy Sardinia is by car; you can use car rental Olbia airport and look for car hire facilities at nearby Olbia Airport.
From here you should take the SS125 heading north, then follow the SP73 towards Portisco.
At Portisco you take the road signposted to Liscia Ruja, and be aware this is a lengthy road that is a rural one and not a major auto route. In good traffic your journey should take no more than 40 minutes.
One of the more popular beaches on the Costa Smeralda, thanks to its sheltered location and clear, shallow waters that are attractive for families with small children, Romazzino Beach is also one of the busiest in high season, yet remains a very beautiful and accessible place.
A more rustic and less expansive beach than others in the area, it nevertheless offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling, and boats can be rented for fun on the water.
Notably, the beach is home to the luxurious and very impressive Romazzino Hotel, considered by many to be the finest of all beach hotels on the island.
Car parking is available in designated areas close to the beach, and there is a pier in the centre of the beach so you can walk out over the water for a delightful view.
To drive to Romazzino Beach you take the same route as above to begin with: north on the SS125 then follow the SP73 to Portisco. Once at Portisco you follow the SP94 to Cala di Volpe, then the SP160 to Capriccioli.
From here you see signposts to Romazzino, and the journey should take you no more than 40 minutes.
Actually two beaches – Grande Pevero and Piccolo Pevero – this is considered among the most beautiful of all the beaches on the Costa Smeralda, and is a quite stunning place to relax and enjoy time to yourself.
Looking out onto the Pevero Gulf from the dunes is a spectacular sight and one that should not be missed.
The stunning clear blue waters that lap at the shores of the quiet and idyllic beach are simply amazing to behold, and the area around the beaches is certainly ripe for an enjoyable walk.
North facing and suitable tranquil, Pevero beach features a bar and golf club, and is close to a number of excellent hotels and other accommodation options.
This really is a place that cannot be recommended highly enough, and should feature on any shortlist of places to stay in Sardinia.
As with most beaches on the Emerald Coast you should take the SP125 from the airport at Olbia, and follow the directions above to Portisco and then onwards on the SP59 to Porto Cervo.
From here you will find adequate signposting to Pevero, and the journey should take no more than 40 minutes.
4- Spiaggia del Principe
The ‘Prince’s Beach’ is one of the most famous on the island, and is a stunning place to spend time.
So named as it was reputedly the favourite of Prince Karim Aga Khan, the beach is accessible by a charming rock-strewn path from the more than adequate car parking areas, and is worth the walk.
The amazing clear waters tell you instantly why the area is known as The Emerald Coast, such is the vivid colour, and you can enjoy the amazing peace and quiet of what is a small and untouched beach location.
Thanks to its fame and popularity, Principe does become busy in the high season, so it is worth considering a visit when not so crowded.
The beach features a small and friendly bar that serves meals at certain times, and there are many excellent hotels to choose from around the area.
For a romantic and enjoyable break there are few places to match this utterly charming beach, so make it one to consider when visiting beautiful Sardinia.
The directions for Spiaggia del Principe are as for Romazzino Beach when coming from Olbia Airport as the two beaches are close together.
When you see the first signs for Romazzino turn left; following this you can follow the signs for Principe, with a journey time of no more than 40 minutes.
A short distance from Spiaggia del Principe, the beautiful expanse of sand that makes up Capriccioli Beach is divided down the centre by spectacular granite rocks and is surrounded by notable greenery.
Among the smaller of the beaches on the Costa Smeralda, it is nevertheless a very impressive one with excellent snorkelling and swimming opportunities.
Almost on the beach itself is the Hotel Capriccioli, a well known hotel with an excellent restaurant and fine facilities, while there are a number of further hotels in the near vicinity.
For many visitors Capriccioli Beach is considered a must see location, so don’t miss this charming and relaxing beach when visiting Sardinia.
From the airport at Olbia, follow the directions for Romazzino which lead you to Capriccioli within 40 minutes.
Where to Stay and More Costa Smeralda Beaches
The above are perhaps the better known of the Emerald Coast beaches, yet there are many more that are worthy of a visit when in the region.
If you intend to visit more than beach then the pretty and welcoming town of Arzachena is a popular place to use as a base, and is home to plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets.
To reach Arzachena from the airport at Olbia take the SS125 north and then follow the signposts on the SP14 to the town itself, a journey that should take little more than 30 minutes.
All of the best beaches on the coast are within easy reach of the town, and never more than a 25 minute drive away.
Closer to the coast the accommodation tends to become more exclusive and therefore of greater cost, as exemplified by the beautiful and exclusive harbour town of Porto Cervo, which is worth a visit if staying there is beyond your budget.
Among the more exclusive beaches are the lesser known Razza di Junco and Rena Bianca, both of which remain quiet and unspoilt and offer superb views and wonderful sunbathing opportunities, and they are within easy reach of Arzachena.
All of the beaches on the Emerald Coast should be within a short drive of your Arzachena accommodation.
Sardinia is a wonderful place to take a holiday and offers a warm welcome to visitors; for example, you can take a look at the best Sardinia beaches.
As well as being a stunning beach destination it is an island with much history and a rich cultural background, and there are many places to see that are worth the journey.
The beaches of the Costa Smeralda are perfect for relaxing family holidays and romantic breaks for couples, and provide a perfect opportunity to experience the slow pace of life, wonderful weather and glorious Mediterranean food that the island is famous for.
By hiring a car you can get the very best out of your Sardinian holiday and enjoy the delights of this charming and beautiful island to the full, and those who visit once tend to want to come back time and time again.
We hope this guide gives you some ideas and inspires you to take a holiday in wonderful Sardinia.