TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL - THE SARDINIA GUIDE

Welcome to part two of my Travel Like A Local Guide, the Sardinia edition. For those of you not familiar with this slice of paradise, Sardinia is the second-largest island situated upon the Mediterranean Sea. The location alone makes it a must during a European Summer, not to mention the endless coastline dotted with pristine beaches and crystal clear water. An island of salt water & Aperol Spritz.



WHEN
Much like the Amalfi Coast, this Italian island tends to get quite crowded during its Summer peak. Visiting during the months of May-June will ensure you make the most of the warm weather without vying for a spot on the sand.



STAY
Sardinia is served by three separate airports, two up the North and one down South. Taking the four hour journey from top to bottom into consideration, we decided upon flying into the island's capital, Cagliari. After much research, I discovered that even though this southern city was brimming with culture, good food and incredible architecture, it wasn't as touristy as its counterparts. Finding an Airbnb the day before arriving was actually a breeze. Don't judge me, I like to be flexible when I travel. On  overage, we looked at spending roughly €65 a night for a stunning two bedroom apartment in the city centre.  




GETTING AROUND & GETTING THERE
Flights to Cagliari from Europe come fairly cheaply, even during the peak season. Having booked our flights from Berlin the day prior (I can feel you judging me even more), our total cost (including checked in baggage) sat around €90. If you're an incredibly organised human, you can score the same route for as low as  €16.99. When exploring the island of Sardinia, it's imperative that you hire a car. Buses are almost non-existent and taxis don't come cheap. Considering that the coastline stretches over 1,849km, you're going to want to discover it at your own pace. Booking online and collecting your car at the airport will save you a lot of time (approximately 1.5 hours to be more precise). It also doesn't hurt to get the extra insurance, Sardinia isn't exactly known for it's smooth, straight roads.



PLAY
Where do I begin? When it comes to beaches, you're utterly spoilt for choice. Cagliari is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking locations Europe has to offer. One particular beach that is well worth the trek, is Cala Fuili. A journey North up the island will lead you to the windy hill down to Cala Gonone. Upon arrival, you'll notice the side of the road filling up with parked cars. The second you see a vacant stretch, take it. A stroll to the end of the road and a small hike down the stairs on the cliff will lead you straight to heaven. Or what I assume heaven looks like. The quartz rock beneath the soft waves produces a bright blue glow that I've never witnessed before (not even in the Caymans). Be sure to come fully equipped as you won't find a single vendor on this little stretch of paradise.



FOR (ARGUABLY) THE WORLD'S BEST PIZZA
Of the copious amounts of pizza that I consumed in Italy, Cagliari was actually home to my absolute favourite. Pizzeria Floris is a small, unassuming, hole-in-the-wall style restaurant with friendly staff and a mouthwatering menu. Don't be deterred by the crowds, this one is well worth the wait. A large pizza will only set you back around €6 and to be entirely honest, it may just change your life. I highly recommend warming up your tastebuds at Osteria Paradiso with one or two of their signature spritz.  

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THE IN-BETWEENERS

Scents that transcend trend. Two perfumes for those awkward times of year between the four definitive seasons, when the weather is neither here nor there. Before the climate finally settles, I like to introduce a steady rotation of Diptyque's Philosykos & Byredo's Bibliothèque. Both subtle, yet unmistakably unique. 


With top notes of fig leaves, coriander and black pepper all finished with hints of coconut and cedar, Philosykos is the perfect neutral scent. It doesn't demand immediate attention - instead, it lingers. 

Bibliothèque was initially concocted by Byredo to scent a candle. Due to its unprecedented success, the brand released a limited edition Eau De Parfum & Eau De Toilette that both sold out in the blink of an eye. With sweet notes of peach and plum, a heart of peony and violet and a base of leather, patchouli and vanilla, this scent transports you to another time. 
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TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL - THE AMALFI COAST GUIDE

If you've ever glanced over my Instagram, it will come as no surprise that I am deeply and irrevocably in love with Italy. How can one not be obsessed with a nation built on fresh food, local vino, stunning coastlines and siestas? One particular stretch of Italy that has a special place in my heart is the Amalfi Coast. For most, this southern coastline is synonymous with overcrowded beaches, tourist traps and expensive accommodation - this guide is here to shatter those notions. 


WHEN
The optimal time to hit the Amalfi Coast is right before the peak season hits, around May-June. The weather is warm and the sky is (usually) free of clouds. Once July kicks in, the coastline becomes a hot mess, swarming with tourists, all vying (read: fighting) for the same Instagram shot. 



STAY
When glancing at a map of the Gulf of Salerno, the Amalfi Coast appears to cover quite a large area. What many don't realise is that the towns sit almost on top of each other, connected by an incredible system of ferries and buses (more on that later). When it comes to selecting a town to stay, my recommendation will always be Minori. This sleepy coastal town is often overlooked by international tourists, making it the perfect destination to base yourself. The only travellers you'll encounter during your stay will be Italian. When booking, Airbnb has always provided us with local gems right in the heart of the town, for roughly 60 a night. For those wanting the luxury of housekeeping & room service, Palazzo Vingius & Villa Romana Hotel & Spa are two hotels right along the beach that won't break the bank. 




GETTING THERE & GETTING AROUND
Getting into Minori may seem like a mission, but even the daunting prospect of traversing the narrow road in, melts away the second you start the scenic journey. For those relying on public transport, a train into Salerno will usually set you back around 17 and the bus into Minori only €3. Travelling between towns via public transport is a breeze. Buses leave Minori every hour, travelling up towards Amalfi, Ravello and Furore and then back towards Maiori and Salerno. I highly recommend exploring the coastline by boat, ferries depart from Minori to Amalfi, Positano & Capri all throughout the day. 



PLAY
Everyone's idea of the perfect holiday will always differ but one spot I always recommend on the Amalfi Coast is the Furore Fjord. Nestled down below the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast, this little slice of paradise is a must. A short ferry over to Amalfi and an even shorter bus ride will take you directly to the bridge above. If you've hired a car, I still recommend the public transport as there's absolutely nowhere to park on this stretch. Head down early to watch the light filter down through the mountains and into the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you're starting to feel peckish, a short walk up the road will take you to Ristorante Euroconca, a hidden gem with sweeping views of the ocean. Make sure to ask what the specials are, there's a good chance you'll want to snap one up.  



FOR UNCOMPLICATED PASTA
The main square of Minori is home to a few incredible restaurants that certainly shouldn't be looked over. Don't be fooled by the poorly constructed menus featuring images that look like they've been pulled from the 90's - these guys know their food. Midnight Sun, run by Antonio, will satiate your cravings for an authentic, uncomplicated pasta. If you're wanting to step it up a notch, head to Ristorante Trattoria for an incredible seafood pasta and local vino.    



FOR LIFE-CHANGING SPRITZ
The aperitif/cocktail hour. My favourite time of day. When ordering cocktails in the Amalfi, you'll find that your drinks will always be accompanied by a complimentary snack. Crystal Bar, a local favourite on the water's edge, quickly became our go-to spot for a cheeky spritz (or three) before heading to dinner. Two aperol spritz's (the size of your head), mini pizzas, olives & a selection of small savoury biscuits for €9? Do you really need further convincing? 



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© By Nicole Cooper

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