Costa Smeralda – Northeast Sardinia
This 50km stretch of heart-meltingly lovely coast was first developed as a luxury destination for the yacht-andjet-set in the 1960s by none other than the Aga Khan (the man who sent the fictional Marie-Claire a racehorse for Christmas in the Peter Sarstedt song Where Do You Go To My Lovely?). It’s a paradise of pale golden sand, smooth amber rocks, fragrant trees and the astonishing liquid-emerald seawater that gives the coast its name. The contenders for best beach here include: the two at Pevero, 3km south of Porto Cervo – with typically vivid water, soft sand and sumptuous surrounding villas and gardens; the long, dreamy Liscia Ruja beach near Portisco; and the glorious Spiaggia del Principe near Cala di Volpe – which was apparently the Aga Khan’s favourite.
La Pelosa – Northwestern Tip of Sardinia
This staggeringly gorgeous salt-white beach melts into luminous pale turquoise shallows. You can deliriously wade far out, with warm, limpid water lapping your thighs as you admire the sensuous rises of surrounding land and the old round watchtower brooding from one of two nearby islets.
The beach itself is 300m long and 60m wide at its broadest, and such size is useful in July and August when the charm of La Pelosa proves irresistible to large numbers of visitors. Come outside these months if you want more of this exquisite place to yourself. Diving, surfing, canoeing and windsurfing are all catered for in the area, and the charming little town of Stintino is only 2km away.