Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy and the second largest island in the Mediterranean, is home to some of the most beautiful and tucked-away beaches in the world. If white sand, turquoise water, verdant backdrops, and active adventure are your thing, we’ve got the spot for you.

At the very south of the island, set aside from the larger beaches, is a 150-meter crescent of perfection — a white-sand beach with a small forest backdrop of pine and juniper trees and aquamarine waters that you’ll never want to leave. Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla (spiaggia means beach), is one of the best snorkeling spots in all of Southern Sardinia. It attracts swimmers, sunbathers, cliff jumpers, and surfers (although it’s a fickle beach break that doesn’t always have perfect surf).

Spiaggia di Su Giudeu, a much larger beach just northeast of Cala Cipolla, is a flamingo breeding ground, but more importantly offers parking, as Cala Cipolla is only accessible by foot. It’s only a 5-minute walk over a foot trail, so nothing to stress about, which also means it can get crowded in high season for those looking for a quainter beach.

This particular stretch of beaches is part of Chia, an ancient coastal village in the municipality of Domus de Maria. Chia has been an important place since Phoenician times. You’ll see seventeenth-century towers built along the coast by the Spanish crown to protect the coast from the Barbary pirates. Today, its a perfect destination for hikers, mountain bikers, families, and beach enthusiasts alike.

How to get there

Located in the deep south of Sardinia Island in the Domus de Maria municipality, the closest town is Chia, which can be reached from the Cagliari along the Highway 195. Park at Parkplatz Chia and walk five minutes to the cove.

What to consider

  • While there are a few juniper and pine trees on the beach that provide some shade, the beach gets crowded and there are no facilities. If you want to be certain to escape the blistering sun, bring your own shade.
  • It’s one of the best snorkeling beaches in South Sardinia, don’t forget your gear.
  • Don’t expect Club Med; this is a rustic version of what some people expect of the Mediterranean. It’s better suited to the self-sufficient crowd.
  • If you go before the height of the summer (May), you are likely to have it to yourself, but while the weather is idyllic, the water will likely be chilly.
  • Parking is 5€, but it gets you close and is totally worth it.