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For sea-and-sun relaxation with a big dash of Italian chic, you can’t beat this alluring island. Its hundreds of pristine beaches range from buzzy, glamorous ones where you can watch bronzed signorinas, to quiet coves pocked with rock pools where you can devour your holiday paperback in peace.

Costa Smeralda
One of the Med’s glitziest stretches of coast. You can brush past the sleek mahogany tans of Europe’s glitterati, and give your plastic a thrashing (while star-spotting) in the aptly named Billionaire Club.

Quiet charm
Wander through Porto Cervo’s maze of alleyways or Porto Rafael’s sleepy piazzas. Climb one of the old Spanish watchtowers dotting the coastline and clock the views across to the Maddelena islands, or head for the diving mecca of Cannigione; a great place for a bike ride.

Mountain views
Drive to the top of Monte Mora, where the views stretch to the islands of Tavolara and Caprera. Trek or ride in the Nuoro mountains, discover inland gorges and valleys, or cycle across plains of wildflower and maquis.

Cultural sights
Linger in white-walled Alghero, with its medieval citadel and imposing Catalan-Gothic cathedral with an octagonal bell tower. Visit the remarkable sea caves by boat before whiling away an evening in one of the quayside bars.

Visit the floodlit medieval citadel above the bay, a magical Castello and a grand town hall complete with Pisan towers, not to mention cobbled streets with wrought-iron balconies trailing flowers.

Sombre processions through Olbia, and some not so sombre celebrations, honour the Feast of Saint Paul's Conversion.

Landlubbers can get a feel for the ocean waves at Arzachena's sailing carnival.

Share a messy seades, the island’s signature dessert of pastry filled with melted pecorino and smothered in melted honey, at a harbourside café.

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