The Best Things to Do in Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo is one of the most iconic and glamorous beach towns on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), you’ll have plenty of things to do in Porto Cervo. Founded in the 1960s by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the seaside village has become a mecca for celebrities from around the world. Jet-setters flock to Porto Cervo for its gorgeous beaches, high-end hotels, luxury spas, and VIP nightclubs.
If you’re planning a visit to Porto Cervo, read on for our list of travel tips, must-see places and things to do in Porto Cervo so that you can get the most out of your visit in this magical place.
Where to Stay in Porto Cervo
Getting to Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo is located on the northeastern corner of the island of Sardinia, approximately 30 minutes northeast of the Olbia Airport. Although the city is not accessible from mainland Italy via train or bus, you can fly to Olbia from other Italian cities such as Rome, Naples, Venice, or Milan.
If you don’t mind a slightly longer trip, there are also ferries to Sardinia from mainland Italy. Ferries leave from Livorno (near Pisa), Civitavecchia (just outside of Rome), and several other coastal cities with direct service to Olbia.
When to Visit
When you choose to visit will depend on what you plan to do while in Porto Cervo. If you’re dreaming of basking on the beach by day and dancing among the rich and famous by night, plan to visit in the summer months. The marina fills with yachts and sailboats from visiting celebrities in July and August, so you’ll have the best chances of seeing celebrities during that time.
If you’d rather avoid the summer crowds, the late spring and early fall months are much quieter, and you can experience events such as the Porto Cervo Wine and Food Festival. The weather is a little cooler than in the summer but still pleasant, averaging between 20-25 degrees, and the ocean generally stays warm enough for swimming.
What to See
Whether you’re seeking a premium luxury experience or a more low-key, relaxing getaway, there are plenty of things to do in and around town. Here are our top suggestions for things to do in Porto Cervo.
Piazzetta di Porto Cervo
If you’re hoping to do some stargazing while you’re here, the town square is a great place to find celebrities. The Piazzetta di Porto Cervo is a famous meeting spot for people in town, including visiting VIPs, to gather and grab an aperitivo before dinner or an after dinner cocktail.
Chiesa di Stella Maris
Located high up on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the church of Stella Maris is known not only for its unique architecture, but for its magnificent views of the ocean and marina. Designed by architect Michele Busiri Vici, the church is a popular attraction for tourists and offers classical music concerts during the summer months.
Wine and Food Festival
For some of the best food and wine that Porto Cervo has to offer, you won’t want to miss the town’s annual Wine and Food Festival. In previous years, the festival has been held in May, but the 2020 event was scheduled for September. Restaurants and vineyards bring their offerings to the festival, where international visitors can take classes and workshops, view cooking demonstrations, and attend tastings.
Rally Costa Smeralda
For car-lovers and others who follow motorsports, the Rally Costa Smeralda has been an annual event in Porto Cervo since 1978. Racers drive along winding gravel roads through the countryside, competing for the fastest time. Formerly part of the European Rally Championship, this famous race carries on the tradition and heritage of rallying. The Rally is usually held in May or June.
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Regatta
Another famous sporting event in Porto Cervo is the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Regatta, held every September since 1980. Sailing enthusiasts gather to watch fleets of yachts and boats set sail. The race is an exciting one to watch because of the famously difficult conditions at sea as well as the gorgeous scenery of Costa Smeralda.
Rossana Orlandi Gallery
For a taste of avant-garde design, pay a visit to renowned curator Rossana Orlandi’s gallery. Here, Orlandi showcases her collections of contemporary furniture and other pieces from up-and-coming international designers. The studio is an unconventional combination of a showroom, retail shop, and meeting space all in one.
Another great place you don’t want to miss is the SimonBart Gallery founded in 2013 located in the wonderful Promenade du Port on Via Aga Khan 1. In the gallery you’ll find the artwork of incredible artists that reflect the beautiful colors of the Island. The artwork displayed in the gallery are from artists from all around the world such as Ziv Cooper from Israel, Angelo Accardi from Salerno, Sergi Barnils from Guinea, Gregorie Cachemaille from Switzerland to name a few. During the summer months the gallery is open from 10am to 1pm and from 5pm to midnight.
Rated as one of the top beach bars in the world, Phi Beach is an open-air nightclub and lounge that hosts beach parties, festivals, and music from international DJs. Phi Beach also boasts a Michelin-rated restaurant with fine Italian and Mediterranean cuisine for your culinary enjoyment. Go at sundown to enjoy a spectacular sunset view as it sets over the ocean.
If you are into dancing your night away and wish to spot celebrities from all around the world a place you don’t want to miss is the Billionaire nightclub owned by Flavio Briatore. But be ready to pay big money for the pleasure to be here.
Hotel Cala di Volpe
Fans of classic Bond films should consider stopping by the luxurious Hotel Cala di Volpe. The iconic hotel from The Spy Who Loved Me looks out on a crystal-blue bay flanked by stunning beaches. Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hotel, you can enjoy a drink at the bar or visit the room where James Bond and Anya Amasova stayed.
Pevero Golf Club
Golf lovers will have an unforgettable time hitting the links at the gorgeous Pevero Golf Club. The ocean-view course hosted the 1978 Italian Open and is one of the premier golf spots in Sardinia. While offering plenty of technical challenge even for seasoned players, the stunning beauty of the landscape around you will leave you awestruck.
Beaches in Porto Cervo
For those who adore the sun, the surf, and the sand, Porto Cervo’s famous beaches are a paradise. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving (you can explore the Messerschmitt Me 323 wreck or the little island of Monaci and Mortoriotto located in the Marine Park of La Maddalena). Another great activity at the sea is to go dolphins and whale watching.
Two of the most famous beaches in Porto Cervo are Grande Pevero and Piccolo Pevero. These beaches, located right next to each other, offer beautiful views of the nearby Li Nibani islands, shallow waters for swimming and wading, and soft white sand. Parasols and sun loungers are available for rental, and an on-site snack bar keeps you and your family fueled for long days in the sun. Another wonderful beach is Spiaggia del Principe. Sardinia is called the Caribbean of Italy with white sandy beaches.
Liscia Ruja, the largest beach area on Costa Smeralda, has several private beaches for a luxurious, secluded experience. Nearby Petra Ruja Beach has fewer crowds and a more natural feel than some other beaches in the area.
With its pristine beaches, premium food and wine, elegant hotels, and extravagant clubs, Porto Cervo provides a luxury vacation experience like none other. If you’re looking to live it up for a few days and enjoy the finer things in life, you won’t run out of things to do in Porto Cervo — the town has everything you need and more.