Classic Sardinia water: clear, with occasional limestone rocks and minimal waves
The coastline of Sardinia, not unlike neighbouring French Corsica, is pocked with gorgeous little white sand bays lapped by crystal turquoise waters, not only the pricey bit of the island, north-east Costa Smeralda.
Recently the Sardinian President prohibited any further building within two kms (1.25m) of the sea, so hopefully this glorious coastline will continue unspoilt for a long time (or at least until a more corrupt politician gets into power).
Spargi Island beach, off the coast, with typically bleached sand, crystal water, tiny waves.
Ideally hire wheels and find your own sandy paradise but here are a few beach recommendations:
North-east: Costa Smeralda is Sardinia's best-known upmarket beach area, sporting sensual wind-sculpted rocks and glittering seas but costly, needless to say. A couple of easy-access beaches there are Cala Liscia Rula and Spiaggia Capriccioli but the know-alls head for the more difficult Spiaggia del Principe. Head for Romazzino but before reaching it turn towards the sea and sniff the air.
North-west: For those on a tighter budget the popular package tourist town and active fishing port of Alghero on Sardinia's west coast is one attractive option with some excellent architecture in and around the old town, plenty of colourful fishing activity and some good beaches nearby, such as Torre del Lazzaretto's shallow waters or S'Abba Druche and it's rocky pools - both family friendly.
North: Alternatively try the turquoise sea, powder sand and sociable, bikini-packed beach of La Pelosa, near Stintino on the northwestern tip of the island, or even better, hire a boat to get to Asinara National Park and share the magnificent beaches with little albino donkeys (Asinara), wild pigs and wild sheep. In short, go wild.
East: Sardinia's east coast is still forested and strangely undeveloped, with dozens of perfect coves and bays lined with curvy cliffs and perfect sand.
Cala Luna is one of the island's best beaches, not only for the quality of the sea and sand but with caves and seals thrown in. Access is a long and tricky walk of 7km (4m) from Cala Gonone, or a short and pleasant boat ride from Cala Gonone.
Just south of Olbia is easy-to-reach Porto Istana beach.
All the way down to the tip of southeast Sardinia undeveloped beaches keep appearing, Cala Pira and it's gorgeous granite-embraced dunes being one of the best and about 800m off the Villasimius-Costa Rei road.
South: the capital of Cágliari has a popular 10km white, stretch of sand called Poetto Beach and some superb stretches of sand off Sardinia's most scenic road heading southwest on the Costa del Sud, past cliffs, coves, ancient watchtowers, dunes and flamingoes. Sa Colonia beach, marked by a 16thC stone tower (Torre di Chia), is particularly attractive.
South-west: Piscinas Beach - just south of Mariana di Arbus and below Oristano - has 3,000 acres of sand dunes known as the 'Sahara of Italy', and naturally spectacular wide-open beaches too. Spiaggia san Nicolo, just north of Buggeru (always wanted to say that in print), is a huge curving slash of golden sand much favoured by surfers and isolation-seeking beach folk.
Kayaking off Cala Luna, Gulf of Orosei
Scuba is a well-established activity here, especially around the Maddalena Islands off the town of Palau in north. Waters are crystal clear, the sun shines a lot, the coast is almost 2,000kms of fish-friendly rocks and the island has a lot of dive centres.
Sardinia is an island surrounded by clear, azur water and welcoming white-sand bays separated by spectacularly jagged rock formations and reliable winds. Sail boat charter, lessons, crewed tours and more are popular so book ahead.