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Sardinia

Places I've Been

Checking in: Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi

August 4, 2017

On our last two days in Sardinia, we decided to just check into a resort and chill. By that point, we’d already been traveling for two weeks with stops in London, Alghero, Porto Cervo, and San Teodoro. Needless to say, we were pretty tired of constantly exploring new places to go, eat, and swim. We needed to really unwind. While day-drunk in San Teodoro, we toyed with the idea of checking in to a five-star resort but we couldn’t find many that weren’t ridiculously expensive (as in EUR 1.500 per night!). Plus, we didn’t want to drive too long to the airport so it would have to be fairly close to Cagliari. Finally, I found the Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi just outside of Villasimius, just one hour’s drive to the airport.

We set off from San Teodoro at 11 and drove through the narrow roads in the mountains for three hours before finally arriving at Falkensteiner, but not before almost going insane over Apple Maps’ utter incompetence at clearly showing the roads ahead, which resulted in a few detours along the way. Once we arrived, we drove up to the hotel and the valet took our car while we were shown out to the huge terrace overlooking the ocean for complimentary prosecco. A perfect way to be welcomed, if you ask me ūüėČ We sat outside in the sun with our prosecco and admired the view for a while before heading up to our room. And oh, what a room! It felt huge compared to the other places we stayed at, with shades of cobalt blue and white, the most comfortable bed ever, a huge sofa for chilling and of course a huge balcony.

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This picture really has me longing back!

Once in the room, we saw a bottle of prosecco with a letter but I didn’t care about it at that point. I hurried out to the balcony to take in the views when I heard Jacob trying to read Croatian. I looked over at him and saw that he read from the card. It took a while for me to connect things, so I ran over and saw that my lovely cousin, who works for Falkensteiner in Croatia, had sent the bottle over for us! I love (good) surprises and it really made my day that she’d been thinking of us <3

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My <3 on our terrace. We even had a swallows nest there, with adorable baby birds peaking out now and again.

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Bottoms up!

We enjoyed the bottle on our balcony and then went down to the pool for a dip. We soon found that Falkensteiner didn’t have just one pool – there was a private beach, a shallow pool, a normal-depth pool, and two other swimming pools on the premises. Pick and choose! After a bit of sunbathing and dips in the pool, we went up to the bar, ordered drinks and just enjoyed our view.

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The private beach

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Falkensteiner has one buffet restaurant, one a la carte restaurant, one pizzeria, one gelateria and an abundance of pools.

In the evening, there was a huge buffet of food. Now, normally I’m not a huge fan of buffets, other than breakfast buffets, but gave it a shot. We were seated outside, overlooking the sunset. There was a pasta station where you could get delicious pasta and other than that there were all sorts of hot and cold dishes, a whole cheese station with a guy who seemed to absolutely love his job of putting together cheese platters, which looked like works of art rather than cheese platters. Jacob enjoyed the grilled meat while I filled up on a saffron risotto. After dinner, you could choose from a variety of cakes and desserts – or fruit if you’re the healthy type (I’m not – not on vacation anyway!). They even had tofu and vegan options – a first in Sardinia!

The next day was very windy, yet a welcome breeze to the otherwise scorchingly hot Sardinian climate. We went down to the beach and I took a quick dip before we headed up to the pool area.

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This looked way cooler in my head!

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Hi, there!

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Vacationing…

Laying in the shade of palm trees with a glass of ros√© is exactly my idea of a vacation… This was my view:

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Look up!

Later, we headed up to the bar again for drinks and ordered a bottle of prosecco while enjoying the shade.

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A bottle of prosecco never hurt anyone!

A little tipsy, we headed to the spa, which had a welcoming silence about it, perfect for relaxing. We didn’t try any of the treatments but staff was very friendly and we did enjoy the huge Jacuzzi pool.

Breakfast was also one of the best ones I’ve had. They literally had EVERYTHING. Eggs? Sure, boiled, scrambled, poached, sunny side up! Juice? Of course, orange, grape, tomato + 5 more. Freshly baked croissant – plain, butter, marmalade or Nutella (!) filled. Cheeses. Milk – from cow milk to soy or almond. Fresh fruit. Tofu. All kinds of cereal… The worst part about it was that I didn’t know what to choose!

To be honest, this place was the place I felt the most rested at throughout our two-week Sardinia trip. We had no place to be, no place to discover, no taking the car to the beach and finding good sunbeds before everyone else… It was all right there. That said though, I wouldn’t want my travels to consist of going to resorts and staying there for an entire vacation as I do believe that part of traveling is to discover, learn about new cultures, and get lost in the streets, not knowing what you’ll find. But after doing all that for nearly two weeks, being in one place where we had everything we might need and more felt like a welcomed break. Staying here wasn’t exactly cheap but we had saved up and were lucky enough to afford it. In hindsight, it was completely worth it.

What about you? Do you like to check in to resorts and just chill or are you the more adventurous type when you travel?

 

 

Places I've Been

Four Days in San Teodoro, Sardinia

July 27, 2017
La Cinta beach in Sardinia

After staying in family-oriented Alghero and super expensive Porto Cervo, we drove an hour south to San Teodoro. We’d heard great things about this little town, which was said to be livelier than Alghero and less expensive than Porto Cervo. The first day, we just hung out by the pool and went out to eat, to kind of get the vibe of the place. The next day, our hotel had a shuttle bus down to the main beach of La Cinta (pictured above). La Cinta is one of the most famous Italian beaches and it is a very frequented beach. Like most Sardinian beaches, the color of the water is a beautiful turquoise. However, there were just too many people for our liking and a bit too high waves to fully enjoy a good swim. Because of this, the beach is perfect for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and canoeing. Another negative was that there were no bars, restaurants or shops nearby and we hadn’t brought any water or anything. So after lying there for a few hours, we packed up and went back to the hotel pool. We had plans to explore the other beaches around San Teodoro, like Spiaggia Isuledda and Cala Brandinchi, but were just too¬†lazy and decided to stay by the pool the rest of our stay. Very unlike me but there we were close to home, didn’t need to take the car (and thus could have a few drinks during the day), could use the hotel restaurant etc., so it was just very convenient.

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By the pool, with a drink! Standard practice during our San Teodoro visit.

During the evenings, we would go out for dinner and drinks. Thankfully, the nightlife was a bit livelier than elsewhere on the island. In the evening, the bars were full of people and later on some of them moved on to the big nightclubs in San Teodoro, like Amba Night and Luna Glam. We went bar-hopping but felt too tired to go out dancing, so we just went home afterward. San Teodoro is definitely¬†more fun if you like socializing and people-watching! In terms of restaurants, there’s almost only pizza and seafood there, so not much to choose from for us vegetarians. A bit disappointing – but at least the pizza is fantastic.

In terms of restaurants, there’s almost only pizza and seafood there, so not much to choose from for us vegetarians. A bit disappointing – but at least the pizza is fantastic. We had pizza at two places. The first one, Pizzeria San Teodoro, was a fast-food restaurant with self-service and really good pizza. The second one, Ristorante Lu Liciu, was very popular among the Italians, which is always a good sign. Get there late if you want a table though! The worst food experience, not only in San Teodoro but all of Sardinia, was a place called Da Fabio. The food and wine were okay but the service was one of the worst I’ve yet to experience. Without going into details, the servers are far too stressed and not at all service-minded. Combine that with high prices and you’ve turned me off.

All in all, San Teodoro was great to come to, especially after quiet Alghero and expensive Porto Cervo. But at this point, we were a bit sick of all the exploring, driving off to beaches, seeing new things etc. So when it was time to leave, we checked in to a resort to just have the time to be. More on that in my next post!

 

The top photo is of La Cinta beach by Steffen Kamprath used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

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 Caf√©, 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 Am√©lie 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 ūüėČ

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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? ūüėČ

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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 Caf√© 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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Places I've Been

Five days in Alghero, Sardinia

July 9, 2017

Driving to Alghero

After arriving at Cagliari Airport, we got our rental car and drove into the city for a pizza lunch before heading off for Alghero. Luckily, Jacob is the designated driver, always, and I was able to catch some sleep on the 3-hour long ride. We arrived in the afternoon and headed out to the city a bit early. Alghero is located in the North-Western part of Sardinia if you’ve never heard of it. Eager to start our vacation, we went for dinner quite early and later went for a drink at a wine bar. After that, seeing as it was Saturday and all, we had planned to continue on partying but were disappointed to find that the city pretty much falls asleep after 23. Even on a Saturday. What a bummer!

Alghero is packed with people in the high season. There are plenty of small boutiques and shops, gelaterias, cafés, and restaurants in the old town. The old part of town is protected by huge walls, perfect to take a walk on and catch the sunset. Plus, from there, you get a lovely view of the harbor and the ocean.

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View of Alghero from the city walls

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Us <3

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Small alleys everywhere

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Alghero harbor

The beaches of Alghero

The best part about Alghero, though, is the nearby beaches. There are some in the city, but they’re not very charming, so you would need a car to get to the better beaches, which we did every day of our trip. The best one was La Bombarde.

On our last two nights, we went up to a small bar called Buena Vista where one can get a kick-ass mojito and the most beautiful view of the sunset. Everyone gathered there, drink in their hand, and enjoyed the sunset with their loved ones. The waitress is Swedish and very friendly, which always is a plus in my book ūüėČ

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La Bombarde Beach in Alghero

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Look at those cristal clear waters!

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Jacob reading a book with a view

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A beautiful  sunset

 

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Mojito and Caiprinha in the sunset!

Honestly, though…

To be honest, at first, I wasn’t very keen on Alghero. It is filled with families with small children, tourist trap restaurants, and a bit too sleepy for my taste. But once I got past that, got to know the town and took it for what it is, I did end up enjoying our stay, even though it wasn’t what I had in mind.

After 4 days and 5 nights, we packed our bags, checked out, and moved on over to the east coast and Costa Smeralda… but more on that later!

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Yummy pasta! The selection for vegetarians wasn’t the best in Alghero, seeing as most food is fish and seafood. However, I did find pasta here and there…

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Found a little cat-themed shop!

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Flowers galore!

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Alghero by night!