Hotel Vecchia Marina, Arbatax ***
The Hotel Vecchia Marina in Arbatax - a recently opened Sardinian hotel, just 300 metres from the superb Porto Frailis Beach and with a host of sporting and leisure facilities. Nearby are two tennis courts, a fitness centre and seven-a-side football pitch. View hotel
Double rooms from €100
Hotel La Bitta, near Nuoro ****
A town that encapsulates the most authentic aspects of Sardinia - even the name Nuoro means home in the ancient dialect of the area. Offering fantastic views from its mountainous position, Nuoro is also a hotbed of culture, and the many poets, writers and thinkers who have hailed from here. View hotel
Double rooms from €50
Hotel Santa Maria,near Nuoro ***
Sardinia's Hotel Santa Maria is on the east coast, in Santa Maria Navarrese, at the southern tip of the coastal national park (Parco Naturale del Golfo di Orosei e dei Gennargentu), close to the harbour and with beautiful sandy beaches within easy reach. View hotel
Double rooms from €49
Arbatax gets a little bit of a raw deal in the 'Rough Guide to Italy', being described as 'little more than a paper factory, a few bars and restaurants and a port'. If Arbatax isn't the most bustling town on Sardinia, it's none the worse for that. A little town at the northern reaches of the Capo Bellavista promontory, Arbatax is striking first for its striking red cliffs, composed of red porphory with granite veins. These contrast dramatically with the lush green of the newly planted coastal pinewoods and the brilliant white of the sandy beaches, themselves lapped by blue Mediterranean waters. In the background we have the mountains, with little villages peppering the hinterland.
Arbatax itself has a harbour with 17th century tower, and caves dug through the red cliffs (the 'rocce rosse') leading through to the beach. You can walk south of here to the tower at San Gemiliano and on to the lighthouse, which offers a beautiful vista onto the Mediterranean. Arbatax is well served for transport, with Tortoli-Arbatax airport, and ferries from Civitavecchia. There is also a good marina, with boats for hire. The 'trenino verde' (green train) tourist line puffs picturesquely up into the mountains. And for lovers of bivalvular seafood, Arbatax is famed for its mussels (and very good for all types of fish and seafood).