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Overlook the Amalfi Coast: Right here’s easy methods to go to Italy’s equally gorgeous Costa Smeralda

The Amalfi Coast has come to represent “la dolce vita,” but it surely’s in no way the one attractive shoreline in Italy. Sardinia — and particularly, the Costa Smeralda — has its personal specific sort of glamor.

In summer time, yachts dot the marina at Cala di Volpe, with millionaires and celebrities approaching shore to savor spaghetti with clams at Lodge Romazzino’s beachfront barbecue or sushi by Nobu Matsuhisa at Lodge Cala di Volpe earlier than partying at unique golf equipment like Billionaire and Phi Seaside. Designer shops by Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Prada line the streets simply off the principle piazza in Porto Cervo.

But the foremost purpose the area retains drawing individuals again is its rugged pure magnificence. As Giorgio Armani himself mentioned in an interview with Costa Smeralda Accommodations Journal about his first go to to the Costa Smeralda, “The lasting reminiscence is the emerald inexperienced of the ocean. I bear in mind considering {that a} identify had by no means been extra of an ideal match for a spot.”

This yr, the Costa Smeralda is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary with a sequence of concert events and occasions, in addition to the discharge of a brand new tome by Assouline. The e-book, merely known as “Costa Smeralda,” tells the story of how Prince Karim Aga Khan IV fell in love with this wild, untamed a part of Sardinia and determined to rework it right into a seaside paradise for jetsetters.

To go to the Costa Smeralda for your self and see why this breathtaking area has captivated vacationers like Aga Khan for many years, here is all it is advisable know.

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Methods to get there

The Olbia Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. EMMANUELE CONTINI/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

The closest airport to the Costa Smeralda is Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB), which is one in all three airports on Sardinia. Sadly, there are not any nonstop flights to Olbia from the U.S., and the flights to Olbia at present price greater than $1,500 spherical journey. Consequently, your greatest guess will seemingly be to fly to a serious metropolis on the mainland like Rome, Milan or Venice after which e-book a separate ticket on board a low-cost service corresponding to EasyJet.

When you arrive at Olbia’s airport, it’s going to take about 35 minutes to drive to Porto Cervo, the principle city on the Costa Smeralda. Technically, the Costa Smeralda covers 34 miles of shoreline between Portisco and Liscia di Vacca, however there are different locations close by which are price visiting, too, together with Palau and the Maddalena Archipelago. If you wish to transfer round rather a lot and discover the world, it’s a good suggestion to lease a automotive, as taxis on this a part of Sardinia are notoriously costly and public transit isn’t very environment friendly.

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What to do

Capriccioli seaside in Arzachena Costa Smeralda. ANDREA BELUSSI/GETTY IMAGES

The primary causes to go to the Costa Smeralda are the seashores and the approach to life. A number of the prime motels within the space have absolutely geared up seashores with solar beds and umbrellas, however there are additionally seaside golf equipment you’ll be able to take a look at.

If you happen to’re on the lookout for a enjoyable but laid-back vibe, Nikki Seaside Costa Smeralda is an efficient alternative. Ebook a seaside mattress and a desk for lunch and a ship will whisk you off from Cala di Volpe to the membership’s location on a secluded strip of sand. At lunchtime, take pleasure in contemporary seafood like grilled lobster or octopus with potatoes whereas a DJ spins tunes. Workers shuttle backwards and forwards between the restaurant and seaside beds, conserving the rosé flowing all day.

There are lots of free seashores the place you’ll be able to merely lay a towel down on the sand and hang around so long as you need. The Spiaggia del Principe in Arzachena was supposedly Aga Khan’s favourite seaside. In the meantime, the Isola dei Gabbiani in Palau is a sizzling spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the mistral wind that blows from southern France into the Mediterranean.

In fact, a visit to the Costa Smeralda wouldn’t be full with out a boating tour. Ebook a full-day outing with Benefit from the Island and one of many skippers will take you across the Maddalena Archipelago, which was dwelling to a U.S. naval base till 2008. Alongside the best way, you will cease at secluded coves the place you’ll be able to dive into the azure sea to swim and snorkel. The boat docks at Maddalena island for a lunch break, providing you with the possibility to seize a chunk on this charming island — the biggest within the archipelago — earlier than persevering with on to extra stunning bays on this gorgeous nationwide park shielded from improvement.

Associated: What it is advisable learn about European seaside etiquette

The place to remain

Aga Khan’s improvement plan within the Nineteen Sixties included 4 luxurious motels, all of which are actually managed by Marriott. Crucially, the motels have been designed to mix into the panorama, spreading out horizontally quite than vertically to protect the views and borrowing inspiration from the native vernacular, in addition to components from Mediterranean international locations together with Greece, Spain and Morocco. As such, the properties are gorgeous and are nonetheless the perfect locations to remain on the Costa Smeralda.

Lodge Cala di Volpe

HOTEL CALA DI VOLPE/MARRIOTT

Lodge Cala di Volpe is probably the most iconic of the 4, with a sinuous architectural type designed by Jacques Coüelle, a buddy of Picasso and Dalí who referred to himself as an architect-sculptor. Moving into the foyer with its tall archways and views of the Mediterranean, you’ll be able to really feel the sense of grandeur.

A part of Marriott’s Luxurious Assortment, the resort is contemporary off a four-year renovation that preserved Coüelle’s design, together with particulars like colourful stained-glass home windows and stairs painted a rainbow of pastel colours. The refurbishment additionally introduced new eating places like Le Grand, Beefbar and Matsuhisa to the property. A scene within the 1977 James Bond movie “The Spy Who Cherished Me” was filmed right here, so do not be shocked in case you really feel like a dashing spy whereas driving the resort’s Riva yacht.

Charges begin at $523 or 98,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors per evening.

Lodge Pitrizza

One other member of The Luxurious Assortment, Lodge Pitrizza is extra of a tucked-away refuge with stone cottages impressed by historical nuraghe buildings discovered within the space. It’s additionally dwelling to what could be the world’s first infinity pool, which seems out over the Mediterranean Sea, and gently sloping paths lead right down to a non-public seaside.

Anticipate to pay at the very least $513 or 98,000 factors per evening to remain right here.

Lodge Romazzino

HOTEL ROMAZZINO/FACEBOOK

At Lodge Romazzino, you will discover the identical whitewashed stucco structure generally related to Greece, however the particulars (embroidered cushions and painted by hand wall decorations) are pure Sardinian.

This Luxurious Assortment property is on one of many longest and most stunning seashores within the space, the place you’ll be able to lounge on plush solar beds all day. When starvation strikes, merely stroll as much as the open-air barbecue restaurant for a lunch of spaghetti with clams or grilled seafood. The bar additionally makes a wonderful Bellini.

Nightly charges begin at $485 or 98,000 factors.

Cervo Lodge

A Sheraton-affiliated property, Cervo Lodge is probably the most centrally positioned of the 4 motels. It sits proper on the principle piazza of Porto Cervo, so if you wish to be in the course of the motion, that is the place to remain.

The resort is surrounded by designer shops, stylish eating places and a summertime pop-up known as the Waterfront, a form of boardwalk lined with artwork galleries, bars and eating places, together with an outpost of Nikki Seaside.

Moreover, it is probably the most inexpensive resort of the bunch, with charges beginning at $266 or 70,000 factors per evening.

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Backside line

The Costa Smeralda is a good various to the Amalfi Coast. Although it primarily attracts a jet-setting crowd, there are many attractive free seashores budget-savvy vacationers can get pleasure from.

What the area lacks in fairly pastel buildings clinging to dramatic cliffs it makes up for in sheer pure magnificence, with sandy seashores, wild landscapes filled with Mediterranean scrub and a sea that shimmers in a thousand shades of blue, turquoise and inexperienced.

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