GlobalEyes reporter, Jamie van Bragt, writes about his family week away in sunny Sardinia, an island off the coast of mainland Italy.

I’m sure like most people, when you think of Italy the image that comes into your head is full of rows of thin cobble streets, separated by historical architecture and friendly family owned restaurants selling nothing but pizza and pasta. After a 10 day trip with my family to Sardinia – an Italian island in the mediterranean sea – I can honestly say, that image can’t be more accurate.

Our first three days were spent in Cagliari, in the south of the island. As soon as we were dropped off in the centre of the chaos I could feel the energy of the place. Waves of Vespas whined past us, adding to the typical image of Italian cities as we located our hotel for the next 2 nights. “It will do” was the general opinion on the rooms we had been given, although we couldn’t have asked for a better place in terms of positioning in the city. The balcony from our room over-looked one of the many characteristic little streets we had the pleasure of experiencing on our trip, and when the locals came out for their afternoon meal as we were heading to bed after our meal tired from a long day, energetic live jazz was played at the restaurant beneath our balcony.

After learning that locals eat later in the evening we decided to adjust our schedules to that of the Italians. The next day we made our way around the vibrant city and up to Torre dell’Elefante (Elephant Tower), built in 1307 as one of the towers in the defence of the city, where we were presented with a complete view of Sardinia’s capital.

After hours of meandering and testing out local cafes we decided in true Italian fashion to go back to the hotel and siesta until we sat down for some late night dinner. After a well needed rest we chose the laziest option of having dinner at the restaurant outside our hotel. For all the time we spent in Sardinia the food every night was worthy of a strong recommendation, apart from one dish that wasn’t a good choice from my brother – the ‘spicy little octopus’ – which was regretted as soon as it reached the table.

The following day was much the same. We spent a few hours exploring more of the narrow streets before heading off to our villa in Torre Delle Stelle, 50 minutes from Cagliari. Our next 7 days were spent lounging around in the pool and snorkelling at the crystal clear beach a few 100 metres from our villa. Some mesmerizing sunsets later it was time to leave and before we knew it we were back to the usual schedule. Well not for me though as I’m still enjoying my extended summer holiday!

I highly recommend Sardinia whether you’re taking a lazy few weeks off or visiting the city for a few days, it’s the perfect mix of both city and beaches.