On the first day the rain was simply romantic. On the second day it did not worry us too much, since our little tent stayed dry and warm. On the third day, the little puddles of water that had appeared on the tent floor overnight were starting to make us slightly concerned. On the morning of the fourth day the September rain in Sardinia turned into something that resembled the Southwest Monsoon in India. At its worst.
In Your Bucket Because…
- While Sardinia has a reputation as an expensive destination, camping makes it affordable (and more fun).
- The beaches are gorgeous, the food is delicious, the water is clean and the people are extremely hospitable: What else can you hope for?
- Good for: families, budget travelers, hikers, cyclists, bikers, beach bums, those who like being outdoors but want a hot shower in the evening.
We hid from the torrential rain in the campsite restaurant, drinking one cappuccino after another (possibly the best cappuccino in the world) and eating freshly baked cornetti (the Italian croissant; or, as my Italian friend likes to point out: “the croissant is a poor version of the cornetto”). When we managed to return to our tent, the rain had turned the immediate area around it into a swamp. Had it not been for the sunshine later that day, we might have given up camping altogether after seeing the river that was now running right under the tent. But the Sardinian sun dried away the river and the adjacent small lake of rainwater, and by day five we were sunbathing on the long sandy beach.
Off-Season Sardinia Camping
Camping in Sardinia outside the main summer season has its risks. On the positive side, my friend and I had the Campeggio Nurapolis almost to ourselves. Only a handful of other campers braved the rain, and the few other visitors played it safe and stayed in caravans.
Nurapolis, on Sardinia’s west coast, north of the Sinis peninsula, has everything I love about camping. It is run by a co-operative and many members have been involved with the campsite for decades. If you want swimming pools or golf courses, this is not your place. However, if you want to camp in a pine forest and walk over a small sand dune to get to a six-kilometer-long Mediterranean beach, Nurapolis might be your version of camping nirvana.
In the high season the site is busy with crowds of Europeans; now, outside the peak season, there were a few tourists from Germany and Switzerland, and a couple of Italian visitors from the mainland. On some days we had the six-kilometer-long Mediterranean beach practically to ourselves. There is no unnecessary luxury (we’re camping: it’s meant to be basic), but I loved it that the showers were always hot (because I don’t want it that basic).
The restaurant served coffee and cornetti in the morning, and Italian food including pizza from a wood-burning oven for dinner. It says something about the importance of food in Italy, even when you’re camping, that in the beginning of the three-week trip to Sardinia I spoke less than ten words of Italian, but at the end of the trip I knew at least 50 new words, and all were related to food or coffee.
Practicalities for Camping in Sardinia:
- Camping in the wild is not allowed in Sardinia, so you’ll have to stay at a campsite.
- Many campsites are very popular during the European summer holiday season in July and August, and you may want to book your tent spot in advance. Alternatively, go outside the main tourist season. Prices are much higher in the peak season than outside July and August.
- If you do not have a tent or do not want to stay in a tent, many campsites rent caravans.
- Some campsites (such as the Campeggio Nurapolis) are open around the year, but winters can be rainy and cold.
- You’re in Italy, so the food is always good.