Family travel in Sardinia

From kicking back on baby-friendly beaches to exploring meandering caves with teens, Sardinia’s family-friendly options are staggeringly diverse

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Cala Brandinchi beach, Sardinia. Image: Getty

Article by Helen Warwick. Published on 28th February 2019 on National Geographic Traveller Magazine.

Travel with… toddlers
Like any self-respecting Italian region, Sardinia excels when it comes to spot-on kiddie staples. Pizza, pasta and gelato are all on the menu to keep everyone happy at mealtimes. But it’s not just food that will enamour toddlers. Don’t miss a trip on the Trenino Verde: a diesel train that rambles through miles of serene Sardinian countryside. There are six different routes to choose from, depending on how long your little ones will stick it out for, but the Mandas to Seui line is probably your best bet with young ones. Animal-loving tots will also fall head over heels for the island’s agriturismi (farm stays), where they wake to the sound of cockerels, eat freshly picked oranges on shady terraces, and pet farm animals before letting off steam in miles of rural space. Alternatively, decamp to BluFan Aquatic Park with its epic water slides and pools — always a winner with toddlers.
Travel with… babies
There are two universal truths about Sardinia. Firstly, it’s fringed with beaches that look more like the Maldives than the Med. And secondly, Sardinians adore babies. Combine the two and your bambinos will be smitten. Babies love a good beach. And the thing about Sardinia is that many of its curves and coves are spectacularly calm and shallow. Head to Tuerredda on the southern coast to nab a spot on its buttery sand, where little ones can potter under the shade of umbrellas and paddle in gin-clear waters for hours. When your little ones need a snooze, load up the buggy and trundle beyond the beach and along the resort’s promenade: most are incredibly buggy friendly and backed with playgrounds. Many hotels have thought of everything for baby travel, with all the gear on demand — cots, changing mats and baby baths — but anything you’re missing, you can hire from Italian firm MammaMamma.

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Family beach time, Sardinia. Image: Getty

Travel with… teens
Teenagers can be hard to please, but even they can’t ignore the pull of the island’s good-time vibes. The surf scene is cool and friendly and will welcome newbies to the west coast’s pounding waves with a pro lesson. Still in the water, the north coast’s resorts of Palau and Porto Pollo are big on watersports: kitesurfing, diving and windsurfing are all on the bill. A trip to Sardinia’s largest national park, meanwhile, is a must: the Gennargentu National Park is a playground for off-road biking, caving and canyoning, and a chance to discover the island’s craggy beauty. An all-round crowd-pleaser is a horse ride along the beautiful Piscinas Beach on the island’s south-west coast, with its dunes of orange sand and trails lined with fragrant juniper, beach grass and olive trees.
Travel with… tweens
Keep tweens happy with a trip to Laguna di Nora — a fascinating lagoon on the western side of the Nora promontory where pink flamingos stride through the lake’s shallows. Spot these creatures on a canoe trip — don’t forget your camera — and dip into the visitor centre for a wildlife lesson in the area’s aquatic fauna. But to really grab their attention, book a snorkelling tour in the dreamily clear water — a perfect place to introduce novices to the sport. Back on land and out of the blasting sun, Capo Caccia’s Grotta di Nettuno (Neptune’s Grotto) — an enchanting and cavernous cave network — will fire up young imaginations with staggering forests of stalagmites and stalactites. To make them feel like true pioneers, descend into the caves via the Escala del Cabirol — a hair-raising staircase that has around 650 steps — before clambering along narrow walkways and into the darkness.
Travel with… multi-generations
Plot a course to the Capo Carbonara promontory, a protected marine park which will charm your entourage, where sweeping bays sit cheek-by-jowl with dunes and coves. Take it in turns to watch the tots craft sandcastles and pad about, while you dive its knockout waters or wander along the walking trails beneath chalk-white cliffs, or pile the whole family into a boat for a trip along the coast. Away from the water, sensational scenery and wildlife pops up in every direction at La Giara di Gesturi — a high basalt plateau that’s home to Sardinia’s indigenous wild ponies. Walk among its scrubland and ancient woodland, which is smothered in heather and wild orchids come spring, and head towards one of the area’s paulis (pools), where it’s possible to spot the charming ponies pausing for a drink.

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Kids playing in ball pool, Sardinia. Image: Getty

Ask the experts
I’m travelling alone to Sardinia with my three-year-old. Is it easy to find babysitting services and other solo-parent families?
Many single parents who travel to Sardinia, especially those with small children, opt for family-friendly resorts where the market for single-parent holidays is well developed. You could choose an all-inclusive resort that caters to families, with playgrounds, paddling pools and all sorts of entertainment options for children. Many resorts offer childcare resources too, from playground monitors to babysitters. The family-friendly environment makes it easy to meet other parents and have some time with adults.
Sardinia is incredibly child-friendly; locals dote over children — especially little ones — and welcome them in cafes, restaurants and hotels. One of the best things about Sardinia is its sandy beaches, where children can run and play freely; the area around Alghero, especially, has shallow, clear and calm waters. Car rental companies across the island can provide child seats, opening up more destinations like the wild beaches on the western coast of Sardinia, which stretch for miles — if you decide to go exploring further afield.
Vesna Maric, Lonely Planet writer
Published in the Sardinia 2019 guide, out with the March 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Article by Helen Warwick. Published on 28th February 2019 on National Geographic Traveller Magazine. http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/destinations/europe/italy/sardinia-family-travel/

 

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America’s Cup World Series begins in Sardinia

Cagliari goodfreephotos by
View of Cagliari photo by ajoheyho of goodfreephotos.com

Article first published on Sailingscuttlebutt News online on November 29th, 2018 .
The opportunity for teams campaigning toward the 36th America’s Cup to get a measure of each other will be at the first America’s Cup World Series event which will take place October 2019 in Cagliari, Sardinia.
“The first America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) event is the first opportunity for the Challenger teams and Defender to line up against each other. We are confident that Cagliari will offer excellent racing conditions and that the Sardinian hospitality will make it a very memorable event,” said Laurent Esquier, CEO of the Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup.

As stated in the Protocol, there will be one or two events during the second half of 2019 announced on or before March 31, 2019, and three events in 2020 announced on or before November 30, 2019.

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photo by sailingscuttlebut news online magazine

The overall results from the ACWS will determine the seeding for the Challenger Selection Series which will be used to select the Challenger to face the Defender in the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.

For more info about the event follow the link to the America’s Cup World Series website

https://www.americascup.com/

Article first published on “Sailingscuttlebutt” News online on November 29th, 2018 .

https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2018/11/29/americas-cup-world-series-begins-sardinia/

 

This Tiny Sardinian Island Town Is Doing Nose-to-Tail Tuna

Article by Alecia Wood first appeared in Munchies Magazine part of Vice Media LLC on 14th October 2016

Carloforte is famed for its bluefin tuna, where salted tuna hearts, slow-cooked tripe, dried bottarga, and oil-drenched offcuts are the backbone of its traditional island cuisine.

 

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Owner of Al Tonno di Corsa restaurant, Secondo Borghero, cradling cured tuna roe known as bottarga. All photos by the author. Photo by Alecia Wood

“This town was built on tuna,” fishmonger Daniele tells me, cradling a pair of vacuum-packed fish hearts. His shop sits on one of the hushed streets typical in Carloforte—just off Sardinia’s southwest coast on the tiny island of Isola di San Pietro—stocking the salted and tinned tuna products that hail from the fishing village.
Nobody lived on the island until 1736, when a community of Genoese coral fishers got kicked out of Tabarka in Tunisia, where they’d been sent to work. The then-king of Sardinia gave them refuge on Isola di San Pietro, and they brought their seafaring know-how and tabarkino dialect, still spoken by locals. Typical dishes there echo the settlers’ Italy-via-North Africa route, like cascà alla carlofortina, a couscous dish spiced with clove and cinnamon, topped with eggplant and chickpeas.

But the throngs of Italian tourists in Carloforte’s waterfront cafés are quick to suggest a different local delicacy: tonno rosso. The bluefin tuna is fished off the island every year from May to June using the tonnara, a complex system of anchored nets that channel the fish into an enclosure. “The tuna enter the sea from Gibraltar, arrive to Corsica, and come down here to Sardinia,” Daniele explains, tracing their path on a map of the Mediterranean that hangs on his wall. The historically brief fishing season—now coupled with strict quotas for fishing boats—means fresh tuna has only ever been available on the island for a month afterward. Locals made a habit of using up every part of the tuna, conserving all sorts of cuts and organs under salt or oil to last through the winter.

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Cuore di tonno: tuna hearts preserved in salt, on sale from a fishmonger in Carloforte. Photo by Alecia Wood

I head to Al Tonno di Corsa, a restaurant sheltered from the bustle of sightseers in a peaceful, pastel-hued laneway, welcoming punters with a stack of giant cured tuna roe—the bottarga—on the service counter. It opened in the 1980s, hoping to revive the traditional tuna preserves that were then becoming forgotten. “Originally, there were no fridges, so the philosophy of the cuisine of tuna here is very linked with the conservation of the meat. We wanted to make food that was typical to the island, that you find in people’s homes,” says owner Secondo Borghero. “When I was a boy, in every house there were spaces to make these things and pantries to keep the conserved fish ingredients

Lunch kicks off with a starter of their house-made tuna goods: sliced musciame, a prosciutto-like salted fillet; intensely salty shaved heart; and buzzonaglia, a jarred mix of flaky offcuts kept in olive oil. After that, I go for the belu—strips of tuna tripe cooked with tomato, white wine and potato—and cassulli, a pasta similar to gnocchi served with a rich, basil-spiked, tomato-tuna sauce. It’s a house specialty that Borghero invented, as well as a tuna pâté, to use even more of those otherwise undesired cuts.
It’s my first time trying bluefin tuna. As an Aussie, it’s always been synonymous with the demise of ocean ecosystems, and to be avoided. It strikes me as odd that everyone advising a traditional tuna meal in Carloforte hasn’t mentioned the massive issue of sustainability. I ask Borghero what he thinks about the plight of tuna.

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“This town was built on tuna,” says fishmonger Daniele.Photo by Alecia Wood

“It needs to become part of the logic of consumption that tuna has a seasonality. Just like in winter, you shouldn’t be eating peaches. It’s the same with fish.” The raw, prime tuna cuts are on offer during summer—after that, he’ll only serve the preserved items. “We wait for a year to have fresh tuna again. You have to follow the biological cycle. Raw tuna has become fashionable, but fish for us was always cooked or salted. A lot of people ask me for tartare, and I tell them we don’t have it. At first they say, ‘Well, it’s impossible that a tuna restaurant doesn’t have tartare,’ but many are happy because they discover something new.”
He says nothing about just not eating it, though.

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Tonno salato, or salted tuna. Photo by Alecia Wood

Back in the day, embracing the tuna offal and all wasn’t just about being thrifty, but understanding how a cooking style can enhance different cuts. “The tuna is a very big fish, so it’s just like an animal from the land—with a veal, the shank isn’t the same as the fillet. You make the best use of the prime material if you have a recipe that starts with the base, then you know the ingredient more deeply,” says Borghero. He explains the three types of tuna meat: the pink, delicate areas; the brick-red ones; and dark brown parts, where all the capillaries reach. “Those are good for the pâté and the sugo for the pasta. It has a strong flavour and gives the dish structure.”

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A dish of cassulli pasta with a ragù of tuna offcuts at Al Tonno di Corsa restaurant.Photo by Alecia Wood

After leaving picturesque, tranquil Carloforte, I learn the tuna harvest can be a bloody, brutal spectacle. It’s not really clear if that’s in keeping with ancient fishing methods, or if it’s a display for the sake of tourist attention. There’s a murky tension between maintaining culturally significant food traditions and addressing sustainability goals.
The carlofortino custom of embracing secondary—but no less delicious—tuna cuts is certainly no fix for the trouble we’ve put tuna in, but it’s surely a more respectful approach to eating all types of fish. We’ve welcomed crispy pig’s ears, bone broth, and slow-cooked oxtail—why not take a nose-to-tail attitude to the fruits of the sea, too?

Article by Alecia Wood first appeared in Munchies Magazine part of Vice Media LLC on 14th October 2016.

https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/jpkgey/this-tiny-sardinian-island-town-is-doing-nose-to-tail-tuna

 

 

 

 

 

South Sardinia

 

Cala Cipolla II
Cala Cipolla Chia South Sardinia photo by  Stefano C. Sakanatravel

 

Sa Colonia IV
Sa Colonia beach Chia South Sardinia  photo by Stefano C. Sakanatravel

 

Sa Colonia V
Sa Colonia view of the Spanish Tower Chia South Sardinia photo by Stefano C. Sakanatravel

 

Sa Colonia
Sa Colonia Beach beautiful sea Chia South Sardinia photo by Stefano C. Sakantravel

 

Capo Spartivento
Capo Spartivento Il Faro The Lighthouse photo by Stefano C. Sakanatravel

 

Dallo stagno verso monte Cogoni
Chia from the Lagoon towards Mount Cogoni photo by Stefano C. Sakanatravel

 

Su Portu
Su Portu beach Chia South Sardinia photo by Stefano C. Sakanatravel 2017

 

Sa Tunda Teulada Typical Bread A.F.
Sa Tunda Teulada traditional bread South Sardinia photo by A.F. Sakanatravel

 

Su Giudeu beach 4 AF
Su Giudeu Beach Chia photo by A.F. Sakanatravel 2017

 

Su Giudeu beach 5 AF
Su Giudeu Beach Chia South Sardinia photo by A.F. Sakanatravel