If you prefer a quiet cove, the sandy bays at Cala Petra Bianca and Poltu li Cogghi, with its shallow, bathwater warm waters, are protected from invasion by a lack of signposting from the road (exit to either
from the SP13 coastal road, with GPS). Or bag a cove to yourself by hiring a boat at Cala Calgone, where a gommone (rigid-inflatable boat) can be yours for the day from £70.
Suitably sun-kissed? It’s time to seek out a Sardinia that’s rarely visited by the superyacht set. Twelve miles inland from Porto Cervo, Arzachena is the putative “capital” of the Costa Smeralda. Originally a shepherding village, today this small comune is the launching point for an exploration of prehistoric Arzachena culture. Chief among these sites is the necropolis of Li Muri, a collection of stone-circle graves characteristic of Sardinia’s Bronze Age civilisation.
For a taste of the region’s living history, head north-west along the coastline through a landscape of wild green macchia (shrubland) to Castelsardo. This pretty old port town is clustered with craft shops selling jewellery, carvings and the broad decorated baskets for which the village is famed.
For a similarly photogenic old Sardinian comune, pick up one of the small ferries that depart several times daily from the port of Palau for the starkly beautiful La Maddalena, the largest island in an archipelago of the same name. The main town is a characterful cluster of sepia shopfronts and alleyways that’s worthy of a half-day’s exploration.
Costa Smeraldan cuisine is a smorgasbord of coastal seafood, new Italian and rustic treats from the mountainous interior. To rub shoulders with the jet-set, book a spot on the bougainvillea-trailed terrace of the Costa Smeralda’s Spinakker restaurant (situated on the road from Porto Cervo to Liscia di Vacca). For a younger yachtie crowd, try Il Pomodoro in Porto Cervo, a stylish pizzeria serving angler-fish risotto with Sardinian saffron and featherlight pizzas topped with local cheese. Intrepid eaters should head inland to Agriturismo Testone, where delicacies on offer inspire “guess-what-I-put-in-my-mouth” anecdotes – from lamb’s blood soup to “lung” ragu and casu marzu, the semi-legal Sardinian cheese that wriggles with live fly larvae.
AT NIGHTFALL THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE VENTURE ONTO DRY LAND FOR THEIR SUNDOWNERS
The best time to explore the Costa’s highlife is nightfall, when the beautiful people venture onto dry land for their sundowners. The Berlusconi set heads to the Aqua Lounge at Porto Cervo, where the lighting is forgiving, the views are panoramic and mojitos are served “spicy hot”. Meanwhile jet-setters congregate at Phi Beach, a glitzy open-air nightclub and restaurant ranged around coastal rock formations on Baia Sardinia. Claim an egg chair, order a negroni and toast your good fortune. Salute!
Call 020 8682 5080 to arrange your tailor-made trip to Sardinia