Costa Smeralda - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Costa Smeralda

Costa Smeralda

The jet-set strip of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda is a six-mile (10km) stretch of coastline between the gulfs of Cugnana and Arzachena on the island's northeast coast, which has become a developer's paradise and extremely popular with holidaymakers. Legend has it that a fabulously wealthy consortium of businessmen first exploited this beautiful wild coastal strip in the 1960s, backed by the Aga Khan. Today the local villages and towns around Costa Smeralda have become discreet up-market resorts crammed with private villas, luxurious holiday villages, contrived Mediterranean-style shopping malls, low-rise high-priced hotels and huge yachting marinas packed with gleaming yachts. The main town of the area is Porto Cervo, a crime and litter-free playground of the rich with its ranks of pale pink and red villas climbing the hill from the busy marina. The other favourite retreat for celebrities is the town of Porto Rotondo, situated on a natural cove about 10 miles (16km) from Olbia, site of the international airport. The town offers a wealth of beaches, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, most clustered around its Piazza San Marco, and the marina. The main attractions of the Costa Smeralda are the numerous sequestered beaches, none signposted, which can be discovered simply by following a dirt track down towards the sea. Among the most scenic are Cappriccioli, Rena Bianca and Liscia Ruja, all south of Porto Cervo.

Information & Facts

The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

Famous revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi lived the last third of his life on the woody, undeveloped island of Caprera, a short ferry-ride from Palau on Sardinia. The trip to view Garibaldi's house and museum is very popular in season, with visitors queuing to catch one of the regular ferries to Caprera. Garibaldi came to live in Caprera in 1855 after a 20-year exile from Italy. He famously led 1,000 Red Shirts on his campaign to conquer Sicily and Naples from here in 1861. The elegant homestead has been preserved as he left it. Tours of the property end with his tomb in the garden.

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