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Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (only Sicily is larger). The most popular tourist beaches are situated along the north and south-coast, but in between there is a lot to explore in Sardinia. Beautiful nature, scenic villages and rough coasts. The island tempts to explore it with a rental car.
Sardinia is a thinly populated island: it has 1.6 million inhabitants on a surface of 25,000 km². The largest population centers are along the coast; only few people live in the interior.
Sardinia is situated south of the French island Corsica and approximately 230 kilometers north of the Tunisian coast. Centrally on the island lies a mountain massif with Punta La Marmora (1,834 m) and the Monte Limbara (1,362 m) as its highest peaks.
Agriculture and stock breeding form an important part of Sardinia's economy. Also many goats and sheep are breaded. The milk is used to make excellent cheese. Furthermore vegetables, citrus fruits and rice are cultivated. The Sardinian wines have an excellent reputation. The fishing industry is not that important, although they do fish for tuna that is mainly exported to Japan. There is also mining industry in Sardinia. Granite, coal, gold and bauxite among others are extracted. Tourism is the most important source of income and employment. Yearly the island attracts about 2.5 million visitors.
Sardinia has three international airports. The airport of Cagliari, Elmas Airport, lies north of the capital, along the main road SS130. The other two airports are mainly used by budget airlines: Alghero in the north-west and Olbia in the north-east (the gateway to the Costa Smeralda).
The public bus transport is good and taken care of by the Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti. All major towns have regular connections; small villages are often operated just once a day. The smallest villages are only reachable by rental car. Furthermore there are trains in Sardinia. In Sassari and Cagliari there are streetcars, partially underground. The Trenino Verde is a very nice small train running on narrow-gage railroad that takes you through the most beautiful areas of Sardinia. There are also ferry connections between the cities Cagliari, Porto Torres, Olbia, Golfo Aranci and Arbatax.
Sardinia is the only region in Italy without highways. The main roads are excellent. These connect all major towns. The secondary roads are often narrow and curvy. There you need to drive carefully and slowly. If you drive your rental car further inland, some roads can be unpaved. So watch out for lose stones. It is best to avoid the city centers and tourist centers. The streets are narrow and sometimes some parts are closed for traffic.
Sardinia has an excellent accommodation offer. Most of them are along the coast and of course in the tourist centers. If you want to discover the real Sardinia, the best thing to do is renting a car and book a room in one of the local hotels in the interior. Reservations are only necessary in the summer months for the accommodations along the coast.
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