I am Mercè Jiménez, founder of Canine Tourism, and I want to tell you about my two-week adventure through Sardinia. “Was it an adventure going to Sardinia?” you will ask yourself. Well, if you consider that traveling by car and boat with an energetic dog, a three-year-old boy (even more energetic…), and an eleven-month-old baby, while enjoying an unforgettable vacation, is not an adventure… then what? how serious?

First of all, I would like to explain to you why we decided to go to Sardinia. When we were choosing the destination for our next vacation, we wanted to meet three requirements: travel abroad (since we had spent two consecutive summers traveling through Spain), discover a new destination, and not have to drive many kilometers to get there. How could we travel many kilometers without using the car? From Spain, it is not possible to travel by international train with a dog weighing more than 10 kg, so the only viable option was the boat. Fortunately, shipping companies are getting their act together and there are more and more options to take a cruise with furry dogs of any size. For this reason, we chose to travel to Sardinia with Grimaldi Lines. We booked a pet-friendly cabin and took our car on board to then tour the island in total comfort.

Another thing we liked about Sardinia is that we had heard that it is a very dog-friendly region, and we had already verified on previous trips that Italy is a welcoming country for furry dogs. Furthermore, Sardinia offered us the possibility of enjoying very diverse plans at reasonable distances. We decided to base ourselves in three tourist spots on the island: Cagliari, the capital, located in the south; Golfo di Arzachena, on the Costa Emeralda to the northeast; and Alghero, to the northwest.

We made the outward journey from the port of Barcelona; We leave at 11:15 p.m. and arrive in Porto Torres (Sardinia) at 11:45 a.m. The trip from Barcelona always takes place at night (although the schedule changes depending on the day) and you must be there at least 2 hours before the boat departure to check-in.

The first thing we did when we arrived at the port of Barcelona was park the car in the indicated area and go down to check-in at the windows inside the building, which can be accessed with a dog. To do so, they asked us to reserve the ticket, our identity documents (adults and children) and Futt’s pet passport.

Afterwards, Miguel and I split up to board the boat, since, according to regulations, only the driver of the vehicle can go in the car and the companions must do so on foot. To make logistics easier for us, we decided that Futt would go by car with Miguel and I would walk in with the children. However, in retrospect, I think the best thing would have been for Futt to enter on foot and for us to stay last so we could walk around until the last moment and have him relieve himself. Boarding by car is very slow and Futt and Miguel spent too much time in the vehicle. Also, although we entered first, our cabin was not ready yet, so we had to wait a long time on the deck of the boat before we could enter the cabin. Another piece of advice, if you travel with children, I recommend not taking the stroller up, since the elevators are usually collapsed and it is very difficult to get on one.

Once settled in the cabin, we had to go to reception to request the Pet Kit (although sometimes they leave it inside the cabin), which includes a soaker and other canine amenities, such as poop bags and treats. Afterwards, we headed to the deck to go to the “pipican” area, which was not very well indicated or physically delimited as a canine area. It is simply an area marked on the ship’s plan where furry dogs can relieve themselves, located next to the cage room, which is another option where dogs can travel. However, it is not adequately equipped so that dogs can relieve themselves, which is missing.

Otherwise, the atmosphere both inside the boat and on the decks is quite dog friendly. Official regulations indicate that dogs can be walked on a leash and muzzle with their guardians on the external decks of the ship, but they cannot access the common areas, restaurants and rooms dedicated to passengers (some exceptions are only made for small dogs in carrier). Despite these restrictive regulations, the reality we experienced was much more flexible: we were not forced to put a muzzle on Futt (although we had it visible just in case) and we saw many furry animals in some of the interior passage areas of the ship. Where we did see signs prohibiting the entry of dogs was in restaurants and entertainment venues.

Our first stop in Sardinia was Cagliari, the island’s capital, a two and a half hour drive from Porto Torres. We stayed four nights in a small studio with a kitchen at the Hotel Residence Ulivi e Palme, about a 20-minute walk from the center. We took the five days in the city easy (that’s what it’s like to travel with creatures) but we had time to tour the historic center, see flamingos in the Parco Naturale Molentargius-Saline and take a dip on the beach.

Cagliari in summer is quite hot, but it is possible to combine a walk through the center with technical stops in the city parks to take shelter under the shade of the trees. We did a walking route in which we visited the Porta Cristina, the Piazzeta Mercede Mundula (a beautiful viewpoint of the city), the Torre dell’Elefante, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria and the Bastione of Saint Remy. At the beginning of the walk we had to stop at the Giardini Pubblici, at the foot of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari, which was a success because it has spectacular views, a giant tree where the kids had a great time, and the coolest fountains of the whole city, where we took the opportunity to drink, fill our canteens and refresh Futt.

Another of the parks that we loved in Cagliari, and which we went to on several occasions, was the Parco della Musica. Of course, we warn you that in the mornings it is full of ducks resting on the grass, so be careful if your dog is going to want to chase them.

And one of the plans we enjoyed the most during the route was eating ice cream at the Bobocono ice cream parlor (21 Via Oristano), where they had ice cream for dogs! The place is very small, so we sat on the benches in a small square nearby to enjoy them. They were delicious and Futt loved his.

Another plan that caught our attention was to visit the Parco Naturale Regionale Molentargius-Saline, famous for having both fresh and salt water reservoirs and being an ideal area to observe flamingos. This excursion was ruined because it was very hot, there was no shade, and Futt was not having a good time. So I recommend doing it at another time of year and/or opting for the guided tour on a little train with a roof, in which muzzled dogs can ride.

One of the attractions of Cagliari is the Piaggia (beach) of Poetto, it extends along eight kilometers of coastline, from the Sella del Diavolo to the Quartu Sant’Elena coastline. You can only go to this beach with a dog outside of bathing hours (at the end of the article I share the regulations), so we went to the Bau Beach (dog beach) Di Quartu in Quartu Sant’Elena to take a dip. It is located at the end of the Piaggia del Poetto, on the Margine Rosso, and delimited with ropes.

The second stop on our trip was Golfo di Arzachena, where we spent five nights at the Villaggio Camping Golfo di Arzachena, located between Cannigione and Arzachena. We stayed on the ground floor of one of the houses, which was a small studio with a kitchen and an outside porch. We highly recommend it because dogs can be in practically all areas of the campsite and, although they are not allowed in the pool, they can be in one of the areas with sun loungers.

We take these days very calmly, although we also take the opportunity to get to know the nearby towns and visit a dog beach. We dedicated one day to exploring Arzachena, a small town whose main attractions are the colorful stairs (the Scalinata di Santa Lucia), which lead to the church of the same name, and a large mushroom-shaped rock (Roccia del Fungo) from which There are stunning views of the gulf. We ate delicious pasta at a trattoria that is now closed (but it is not difficult to find dog-friendly restaurants) and delicious ice cream at Gelateria Bosisio (Via S. Padre Pio).

Another day, we went to Cannigionne to walk around the port and ended up having dinner at Lu Cannisgioni (Via Marco Polo, 7). On La Sciumara beach you can go with a dog, but we read that it is a fishing area and there are usually many hooks. For this reason, we ruled out the bathroom there and preferred to go to the Spiaggia La Pitrizza di Lu Postu. The dog beach is narrow and somewhat wild but it is clean and has a parking area nearby, so it is easy to get to.

And we arrive at the end of our trip, where we find the perfect combo between accommodation and destination. We spent seven nights in a pet-friendly bungalow at Camping Village Laguna Blu, a ten-minute drive from the center of Alghero. The campsite facilities were incredible, and the dogs were allowed in all areas except the pool. The best of all? Which has a dog beach right at the entrance! In reality, the area allowed for dogs is inside the private beach of the campsite (which is paid and has hammocks), but they told us that we could place ourselves right on the edge with the towels, and that is what we did.

We fell in love with Alghero. As we walked along the walls watching the sunset, I felt like we were in one of the most beautiful places we had ever been. It is well worth walking through the streets of the historic center and visiting the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Immacolata (from the outside or taking turns) and the port. To eat, we always opt for the terrace, but in general there are no impediments to entering the restaurants with the furry ones.

One day we took a boat trip to the Grotte di Nettuno (Neptune’s Grotto), an impressive natural cave full of large stalactites and stalagmites and where dogs are welcome! We contracted the trip with the company Navisarda; The journey takes about 45 minutes (plus the return trip), adults pay €16 and dogs travel for free.

What did you think of Sardinia? Are you considering it as your next dog holiday destination?