The Costa Smeralda is perhaps one of the most famous destinations in the world in Sardinia, known for its nightlife, emerald-colored sea, colorful squares, and high society life. It is located in the northeast of the island, north of Olbia, in Gallura.
Living the Costa Smeralda
Luxurious hotels and residences, high-end boutiques and ateliers, bars and restaurants for elegant aperitifs and dinners, and Italy’s most dazzling nightlife. The Costa Smeralda is an exclusive place of relaxation and vacation, sought after by travelers from all over the world, and a destination one must visit at least once in a lifetime. Here, a welcoming sight greets you with two granite rocks placed at the beginning and end of the road that leads from Olbia to the most famous coastal destinations. It is a stretch of coastline, 55 kilometers long, extending from Capo Ferro to the Gulf of Cugnana, with its heart in Porto Cervo. Many mistakenly believe that the entire northeastern coast of Sardinia is part of the Costa Smeralda, but that is not the case. The numerous beaches and coves encountered along this coastline are truly unforgettable.
Origins and History of the Costa Smeralda
The territory that encompasses the Costa Smeralda was virtually uninhabited until the middle of the last century. Then its history changed dramatically with the arrival of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the Imam of the Ismaili Nizari Muslims. It is said that in the 1960s, the Ismaili prince arrived almost by chance in the Porto Cervo area and fell in love with that wild place. A true rough diamond set in a fragrant Mediterranean landscape, framed by the sea and mountains. This led to the creation of the Costa Smeralda Consortium in 1962, with Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, Paolo Riccardi, and lawyer André Ardoin at the helm. At that time, the area was known as Monti di Mola, but with the commitment and contributions of architects and entrepreneurs of various kinds, it became the Costa Smeralda. Over the years, it has become the preferred destination for international jet-setters, thanks to its exclusive venues. The beating heart of the Costa Smeralda is unquestionably Porto Cervo, where you can find the main services, shops, and many places for a vacation filled with high society living.
Architecture, Beaches, and Archaeology in the Costa Smeralda
The Costa Smeralda offers visitors good food, shopping, and a carefree lifestyle in the streets of Porto Cervo or on the beaches of Golfo Pevero, Pantogia, and Capriccioli. Its typical architecture is quite similar along the entire coastline, with low white houses, sinuous lines, and a perfect harmony with the surrounding Mediterranean environment. An example of this style can be seen at the Stella Maris Church, designed by architect Michele Busiri Vici. However, the fame of these places is closely tied to the natural beauty along the coast, such as the natural harbor of Cala di Volpe, where some scenes from famous films like “The Spy Who Loved Me” were filmed. Other significant locations include Grande Pevero, Liscia di Vacca, Liscia Ruja, Romazzino, and Pitrizza, places where you can easily lose yourself in the colors of the sea and bays lined with fragrant juniper trees.
The coves are enhanced by the passage of sailboats, offering ever-changing views of beaches and islets, like the Isle of the Capuchins or the Isle of Mortorio. In the Costa Smeralda, you will also find the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, an internationally recognized research center dedicated to studying and safeguarding Mediterranean dolphins.
In the surrounding areas, you can visit interesting archaeological sites such as the necropolis of Li Muri, the nuragic complexes of Malchittu and Albucciu, and the Tomb of the Giants of Coddu Vecchiu, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.
Razza di Giunco Beach
Razza di Giunco, also known as Razza di Juncu, is the gateway to the Costa Smeralda, a particularly wild stretch of coastline that alternates between intense green vegetation and the vivid turquoise of the sea. The name comes from the reeds that occupy large portions of marshy areas near this coastline, located between Portisco and Petra Ruja. It is not just one beach but four, among which small promontories, fjords, and islets create a unique panorama between the rocks and the pink granite of this area. There are stretches of white and golden sandy shores, where the sea reigns supreme with its deep blue and emerald reflections. Since the seabed is shallow and gently sloping, Razza di Giunco is a favorite destination for families, and many snorkeling enthusiasts stop here since you can also admire a wide variety of fish near the shore. Despite being one of the most pristine places on the Costa Smeralda, there are numerous amenities, including parking, rental of sun loungers and umbrellas, windsurfing equipment, and a kiosk where you can purchase drinks and snacks. The coastline is also appreciated by those with four-legged friends, as it is a dog-friendly beach.
Looking out on the horizon, the spectacle is further enhanced by the clear profile of the islet of Portisco, as well as the islands of Soffi and Mortorio.