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Capriccioli beach

Places I've Been

An Honest Account of Porto Cervo, Sardinia

July 13, 2017

I’m sitting at the pool restaurant, with just half a glass of wine left. It’s hot and the sun is slowly creeping up on the small spot of shadow that I’d managed to find. A few days ago we left Porto Cervo, and that’s the place I’m writing about today. Porto Cervo is the capital of the Costa Smeralda, and I have so many complicated feelings towards it, which I will take you through in this post.

After a bit of an underwhelming experience in Alghero, we were glad to move on to something a bit different. The drive to Porto Cervo from Alghero took around 2 hours and we stopped in Sassari for lunch. Sassari is not a coastal town and I’d not even heard of it while doing my research on Sardinia, but we were pleasantly surprised during our short stop there. The town is quite big, buzzing with restaurants, beautiful parks and loads of locals. There was even a vegan restaurant there, while we struggled to find even vegetarian food in Alghero. Either way, we had lunch at a cozy little place called Pan Café, which I highly recommend. They had vegan croissants, vegan chocolate, lots of fantastic sandwiches and food, and of course something for the meat-eaters of the world as well. The waitress, who reminded me of Amélie from Montmartre, with her quirky smile and short black hair, was the kind of person you wish you’d become friends with; smiling a genuine smile, happy to make you something off-menu if you’d prefer.

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Porto Cervo is dubbed the billionaires’ paradise and you can’t fail to see why, once you get there. The city was built in the 1960’s by Prince Aga Khan IV and it is just strikingly beautiful – a true feast for the eye, for lovers of architecture. It’s a small town with close-to-none locals, beautiful small houses, and 5-star hotels. It has a yacht marina and you’ll find the top designer stores here – Gucci, Louis Vuitton, MiuMiu, Valentino, and Bvlgari grace the small city center and you will not find an H&M anywhere near here. Not even a convenience store because, apparently, the rich don’t need convenience stores, and this town is made up entirely for them.

The big, beautiful yachts line the marina and a glass of plain white wine will set you back 25 euros, should you want one. Luckily, we only spent 3 days here, or we would have no money left 😉

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We stayed in a hotel close to the town center and with free parking just outside. During the day, we drove off to the beautiful beach close by called Liscia Ruja, with crystal clear, turquoise waters. One of the days we tried going to another popular beach in the area called Capriccioli, but I really can’t recommend it. While the waters are as beautiful as the rest of the Smeralda Costa, it is a very small beach, and completely packed with people. So we left for Liscia Ruja, where we stayed for both days of our Porto Cervo stay. Liscia Ruja is also called Long Beach. Here, you can either bring your own sun chairs or towels or rent a sunbed at ridiculous prices. Two sunbeds and one umbrella cost 50 euros – for the rows in the back. Should you want close proximity to the water, it will cost you up to 80-90 euros…. And that is not even including the parking at 2,50 euros per hour. But what’s all that money for the clientele here, really? 😉

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The best part about Porto Cervo is that there are some really good restaurants there. The worst part about Porto Cervo is that it is ridiculously expensive and only has two types of people: the super-rich, and the not-that-rich who are curious about this little town and the lifestyle it hosts. If one is up for partying, there’s plenty of partying to do here and you might just spot a celebrity or two while you’re there. However, if you don’t have the money that comes with the lifestyle, chances are that you will be ignored in many of the bigger clubs. In Porto Cervo, money talks louder than anything else, which is what I didn’t like about it.

With that being said though, Porto Cervo is stunningly beautiful. Like something out of a fantasy or a fairy-tale, with every inch of the city perfectly planned out and thought of.

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Delicious Cacio e Pepe at Elite Promenade

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A Moscow Mule at Zamira Lounge

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And a vodka sour with passion fruit! So yummy!

If you have money to spend and want to spend it with other people who also have money, Porto Cervo is a town for you. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are experiencing the real, true Italy because there’s no genuine Italian spirit here whatsoever. Italy isn’t this perfect and this adapted to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It isn’t a planned-out town built entirely for the billionaires to play in. But if that’s not what you’re expecting, and you want a bit of the glitz and glam then Porto Cervo is the place to be in.

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One handsome Dane!

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Truffle pasta (my favorite!) at Madai Restaurant.

Recommended:
Beach: Liscia Ruja was great, but we didn’t visit that many others…
For food: Elit Promenade Café has the most delicious pasta on the island and at “bargain” prices as well!
For drinks: Zamira Lounge has delicious drinks, lovely staff and is reasonably priced.

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