This area was developed in the 1960s by the Consorzio Costa Smeralda led by Prince Karim Aga Khan. With white sand beaches, golf clubs, private jet and helicopter services, and exclusive hotels, the area has drawn celebrities, business leaders, and other affluent visitors.
Costa Smeralda in fact is only a 20 km stretch of land in the commune of Arzachena. Tour operators often tend to denote the whole north-eastern coast of Sardinia as Costa Smeralda which isn't quite correct. The nearby villages of Poltu Quatu , Baja Sardinia , Cannigione and Porto Rotondo are sometimes associated with the famous coastal stretch, whilst they are located in the its vicinity, they are a part of it.
The heart of the Costa Smeralda is Porto Cervo (Deer’s Port) where the dolce vita reaches its peaks. The other locations include Romazzino, Capriccioli, Cala di Volpe, Pevero Gulf, Pantogia and Liscia di Vacca.
The nearest airport is in Olbia, Aeroporto Costa Smeralda, (cheap flights from the UK by EasyJet or Ryanair)
Ferries to Olbia from the Italian mainland.
Ferry connects the Porto Cervo with the Marina Nuova across the harbour: every 1/2 hour from 08:30 (Marina) and 9:00 (Porto Cervo). The last ferry from Porto Cervo is at 22:00.
In order to have access to remote (some say the best of the) beaches you will probably need to hire a car (mopeds are not so good on the bumpy tracks down to the beaches). Driving on the coastal roads gives great views over the yacht lined Costa Smeralda coastline (or it's rather better to hire a yacht then?).
You can get up close to the super yachts when they come in to Porto Cervo in the evening.
- 1 Chiesa di Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). The church is a landmark of Porto Cervo, built in the 1960s by the architect Michele Busiri Vici in so-called neo-Sardinian style which was inspired by the Nuragic monuments of Sardinia, the traditional architecture of the Greek islands and the Byzantine architecture of Orthodox Christianity. The church hosts the original of the Mater Dolorosa by El Greco. The church is decorated with sculptures, furniture and the bronze doors with Annunciation bas-reliefs by the sculptor Luciano Minguzzi. An 18th-century pipe organ is in there. The sculptures of St. Joseph and Pope Giovanni Paolo II by Pinuccio Sciola are installed outside. The architectural simplicity of the church contrasts with the luxury of the yacht marina and the jet set life around. The church's location offers panoramic views of the entire bay.
The best of the beaches are Liscia Ruia, Cappriccioli and Romazzino.
If you want to be as stylish as the rich tourists of Costa Smeralda you may go to Porto Cervo for expensive shopping.
Most restaurants on the Costa Smerelda are overpriced. For authentic Sardinian cuisine try the campsite restaurants where all the locals go.
- Billionaire. A nightclub in Porto Cervo.
It can be quite difficult finding accommodation in the Costa Smeralda as the area is mainly serviced by Italian tour operators but some local operators provide detailed accommodation information online. If you don't have your own private yacht to stay on and can't afford the £300 per night prices of the exclusive hotels then you might want to hire a villa through a website. Alternatively you can hire bungalows at a number of the campsites on the coast.
- Residence Bougainvillae Porto Cervo, Via Della Marina, 07021, Porto Cervo (OT), ☎ , fax: . The Bougainvillae is a residence offering one studio, one bedroom apartment and two bedroom apartments. All with private bath, living room, patio or balcony, satellite TV and Wi-Fi connection. Other services include the swimming pool and private parking. Weekly prices.
- Luci di la Muntagna, Porto Cervo, Via Sa Conca 55 - 07021, ☎ , fax: . Hotel rated 4 stars and is renovated in 2012. In front of Yacht-Club Costa Smeralda with panoramic seaview.
- Aldo B&B, Arzachena, Loc.Rena., ☎ . In the heart of the Gallurese countryside, a stone's throw away from the sea of the Costa Smeralda.
You will find Costa Smeralda to be a very safe and friendly place for your vacation, just remember to follow some easy rules.
When you’re going to the beach, you need to bring sun block and possibly to find out what the UV rating is for that day. UV rays are calculated on a 1-15 scale. Higher numbers mean more intense rays and the sun in Sardinia is going to shine every single day.
Keep plenty of water on hand. It's very easy to become dehydrated when you're in the sun all day.
To avoid loss, it's always wise to leave any important documents (like your passport), your credit cards, and most of your money at your hotel.
- Maddalena archipelago -- take a trip from the Sardinian port of Palau. Nice views, great snorkelling.