Villasimius is one of the best holiday destinations in Sardinia.
It is a small village on the south-east coast of Sardinia and I’m sure you will enjoy every moment spent there. At the end of an intense day by the beach or visiting the surroundings, (basically you can go to a different beach every day for more than two weeks), you can relax by taking a walk, shopping and a tasty dinner, enjoying seafood specialties and local wines.
In Villasimius there is everything you need for a perfect vacation: beaches, hiking, food, drinks, shopping and much more.
I happen to know this small town very well. You see, I grew up spending my holidays, not only summer but Easter, Christmas and weekend all year round in Costa Rei that is less than twenty minutes frive from Villasimius. Moreover, until about 20 years ago, the only way to get to Costa Rei was through Villasimius. I’ve always gone as I still regularly go to Villasimius – hence you can consider mine to be the tips of a local.
Continue reading this post for everything you need to know about Villasimius.
What To See And Do In Villasimius
Enjoy the gorgeous beaches
The main reason to visit Villasimius is the many incredible beaches. As I have said before, you will have ample choice and can literally pick a different one for every day of your holiday. I have selected my favorite.
Simius is the main beach that gives (half) its name to Villasimius and the ‘town’ beach too, because it is near the city center: it is located immediately south-east of town.
About one kilometer long, it is characterized by fine soft and white sand, enclosed at both ends by a small cliff. On the right side there is the pond of Notteri where you can admire pink flamingos. It is a pleasant place to go for a walk.
The long and wide bay, with the shape of semicircle, is protected from the wind and is bathed by crystal clear and transparent sea, with shades ranging from emerald green to cobalt blue. The shallow water is ideal for children and for refreshing and rejuvenating walks in the sea.
Behind the beach, the Mediterranean maquis is low and shaped by the wind. While in front, in the background, you can see the Spanish Tower of Porto Giunco and the islands of Serpentara and dei Cavoli.
Part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara, recommended activities to do on this beach are diving and snorkeling.
Simius can be quite crowded during the summer months, and in case of strong wind it is not well sheltered.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: On the beach there are several refreshment points and kiosks where to rent umbrellas, deckchairs and sun-beds, boats, pedal boats, canoes and even jet skis. You can take private wind and kite surfing lessons. There also are diving centers and a nine-hole golf course.
How to get to Simius
Reaching Simius is very easy: you just need to walk straight out of the village on Via del Mare, until you find the beach car park. It will take you about 30 minutes to get there, but I don’t recommend walking in the peak summer hours. Alternatively, go there by bike.
This beautiful beach not far from the center of Villasimius owes its name to the donkey (‘su molenti’, as we call it in Sardinian) that was used for the carry the granite of which the area is rich. On the promontory, overlooking the beach, there is what still remains of a Nuraghe. The view from there is breathtaking.
The beach is surrounded by granite rocks up to 15 meters high and all around a luxuriant nature that offers serenity and shelter from the sun. This area has been included in the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara.
The beach of Punta Molentis is divided into several coves. The first, nearest to the parking, has pebbles of medium size. Even if the color of the sea is amazing few people remain here because it’s uncomfortable to walk or lay. The main beach is the most famous: it has an arched shape and is enclosed to the north by a small promontory. Thanks to this particular conformation, it is quite sheltered from the wind.
GOOD TO KNOW: Because of sea storms and the big number of visitors during the summer months, Punta Molentis has suffered a sharp reduction in the available space. So today entrance is allowed up to a maximum of 500 people per day upon payment of a €1 fee, and the access to the beaches is prohibited from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am.
There are two refreshment points on the beach and in one of these it is possible to rent beach umbrellas, deckchairs, sun-beds and other beach equipment.
How to get to Punta Molentis
From Villasimius, follow the panoramic road to Costa Rei passing by the sports fields; take the municipal road Accus is Prezzus. A little further on, at the junction Mare/Villasimius go straight ahead. Once you reach a narrow hairpin bend, turn left on a dirt road, then continue turning right and passing under the road bridge until you reach the parking lot.
The daily rate for the parking area is €10 for cars, €5 for motorbikes and €3 for bikes and pedestrians. There is also an entrance fee of €1 per person; children under six years of age get in for free.
This easily accessible beach is a favorite of families with children. You will find anything you need for your day, including umbrella rentals, SUP and wind surfing classes and expeditions to the nearby beaches and islands including the marine oasis of Capo Carbonara.
Plan to stay in the center of the beach for a less crowded spot – it’s a longer walk from the parking lot, so less people go there.
How to get to Porto Giunco
You will find shuttles to take you from Villasimius to Porto Giunco. You can also get there by car from town – just follow the signs to Via degli Oleandri, where the tourist harbor is located, and then to Porto Giunco. Once there, there is plenty of parking space.
Nestled on the southern side of the promontory of Capo Carbonara, in the territory of Villasimius, the bay of Cala Caterina consists of two coves that are very similar.
The biggest of the two tiny beaches is a bit more exposed to the winds. The sandy bottom becomes rocky after a few meters: it’s a great place for snorkeling. The smallest one, well sheltered from the mistral, is surrounded by granite rocks on one side and on the other by a cliff. The sand is fine and white and the water a beautiful shade of emerald green.
It’s a great place to catch a magnificent sunset.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: There’s a kiosk on the beach where you can rent umbrellas, deckchairs and sun-beds and get a drink and a bite.
How to get to Cala Caterina
You can easily reach Cala Caterina by car by driving along the road to Spiaggia del Riso, passing the Marina and the Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress). Go straight on, until on the right you will find a crossroads marked by a tourist sign indicating the hotel Cala Caterina. Follow the sign to the hotel and once you park the car, you will reach the beach with a five-minute walk. The beaches are accessed by stairs.
Spiaggia del Riso
Located in the Marine Area of Capo Carbonara, this beach, which can be very crowded in the summer months, takes its name from its sand: tiny white pebbles of granite quartz that look like rice. The sea is crystal clear, of a beautiful emerald green that turns into blue where the water gets deeper. The water is quite shallow, so a great place for children.
It’s a great place to catch sunset.
Unfortunately a mix of coastal storms, strong wind and theft of sand has considerably reduced the size of the beach.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: On the beach you can rent sun-beds, umbrellas, pedal boats and there are several refreshment points.
How to get to Spiaggia del Riso
From Villasimius, drive towards the Marina, along Via degli Oleandri and turn right following the sign for Camping Spiaggia del Riso. Drive all the way until you reach the parking area and from there walk to the beach.
Arriving from the panoramic road that takes you from Cagliari to Villasimius, you can admire the beach of Campus from above. The view is incredible. This long stretch of white, golden and grey sand and transparent water is ideal for families with children.
Behind the beach there is the thick Mediterranean scrub, while in the eastern part there is the mouth of a small river that withdraws during the summer. Two small promontories protect the beach and separate it from Cuccureddus beach, which is a bit harder to reach but a real paradise, and significantly more secluded.
Campus is where Caretta Caretta turtles often lay their eggs – this was the case in 2016.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: This is a well equipped beach where you will be able to rent anything you need for your day, and to engage in activities such as kayaking and windsurfing. It is usually crowded during the summer. Nearby there is a paid parking with disabled access.
How to get to Campus
To reach Campus,from Villasimius, take the Cagliari-Villasimius coastal road (SP 17), turn left at the junction following the signs for Campus. After 300 meters there is a car park, right next to the beach.
Campulongu is one of my favorite beaches in Villasimius and a favorite of locals.
The beach, about half a kilometer long, is, after the Marina, the natural continuation of Spiaggia del Riso. Its white sand is so light and fine as looks like flour. The sea is crystal clear and of beautiful shades of blue and turquoise. As the water is shallow, it’s a great place to play beach games such as matkot. For the same reason it is ideal for families with very young children.
GOOD TO KNOW: Being part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara, this beach is perfect for snorkeling with lots of marine life. Not far from the shore there are several rock formations which are the perfect spot to go look for fish.
Campulongu is rather sheltered from the wind so the sea is generally calm, except when the Mistral blows. When Libeccio blows, on the other hand, it is a great place for kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Campulongu gets very crowded in summer so try to get here early in the morning or at lunch time when families usually go home for lunch. The sunset is amazing here, so my advice is to stay till late.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You will find public toilets on the beach (it costs €0.50 to use them), and you will be able to rent anything you may need for the day. There are several hotels in the area, including Hotel Stella Maris right by the waterfront, and a campsite. Behind the beach there is a pine forest where you can rest in the shadow during the hottest hours of the day.
How to get to Campulongu
From Villasimius take via degli Oleandri and turn right to Via delle Aquile. Then turn left following the sign to Campulongu until you reach the car park. The way to the beach is very easy through comfortable boardwalk that goes through the pine forest.
Porto Sa Ruxi
Porto Sa Ruxi, like some other beaches of Villasimius, is part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara. It’s a small beach characterized by cream-colored coarse sand mixed with rocks and sand dunes. The sea is transparent, and the water of a color between turquoise and cobalt blue. It’s a great place for snorkeling, and nicely sheltered from the mistral wind. The view of Capo Carbonara and Isola dei Cavoli is amazing in particular at sun rise. It is worth waking up extra early for it!
At Porto Sa Ruxi you can find a kiosk to get a drink or a bite and rent whatever you may need for the day.
Access to the beach is limited to 450 persons per day. All visitors have to pay a €1 fee to access the beach.
GOOD TO KNOW: Another incredible beach which is located just two minutes drive from Porto Sa Ruxi is Is Piscadeddus beach. As there is no direct access from the main street, this beach never gets too crowded.
How to get to Porto Sa Ruxi
From Villasimius take the provincial road SP17 towards Cagliari. After approximately 5-6 km you will reach the resort village with the same name of the beach. Turn left and continue until you reach via Abruzzo, a dirt road, where you can leave your car. A path through the juniper vegetation will lead you from the car park to the beach.
Between Porto Giunco and Simius, there is the beach of Timi Ama, a gorgeous landscape that has been the setting for several commercials and movies. Its name, which means “Shy Love” (Timido Amore, in Italian) comes from an ancient legend according to which the profile of a rock recalls the tail of a mermaid who enchanted fishermen with her singing.
Timi Ama is surmounted by rocks and has very fine white sand crystal clear, shallow water. Behind the Mediterranean scrub, there are luxury villas and a hotel; on the left side, there is the Notteri pond I have already mentioned above.
Much like the rest of the beaches in the area, this beach is quite busy during the summer months.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: This is a fully equipped beach where you can get anything you need for a perfect day. Timi Ama is wheelchair accessible.
How to get to Timi Ama beach
From Villasimius, proceed along Via del Mare towards the Marina. Just before the junction to Cagliari which is on the right, turn left on a dirt road. Follow it all the way to the parking lot. You can also reach Timi Ama from the beaches of Simius or Porto Giunco through a beautiful promenade.
Practice water sports
Villasimius is a great place to have a try at pretty much any water sport and activity you can think of. Stand Up Paddle has become very popular and you can rent a SUP board in almost any kiosks at the beach. If you are a beginner you can easily find a school by the beach.
Depending on the wind, you can try windsurfing and kitesurfing, catamaran hobie-cat. Wave surfing isn’t possible – although Sardinia is a good destination for surfing, Villasimius isn’t a good place for that. But if that is something you like doing, you may want to look for a surfing spot that is close by. Anyway if you are a beginner and you prefer to take it easy you might start in Simius and Porto Giunco where the north-east and eastern wind blows the most or Campulongu for south-east and east wind.
Other water activities that you could try include fun tubing and kayaking. If you don’t have your own, you can rent a kayak in one of the many kiosks along the beach.
GOOD TO KNOW: Fishing is not allowed in the Marine Protected Area.
Diving and snorkeling in the Marine Protected Area are highly recommended. At Isola dei Cavoli you will have the chance to admire the holy Madonna, the suggestive castaway’s statue created by famous Sardinian artist Pinuccio Sciola. The statue in pink trachyte is over 3 meters tall and is located under water at a depth of 11 meters.
Since fishing is prohibited in the Marine Area, you will have a chance to swim with so many different species of fishes: capons, ravens, snappers, shrimps, octopuses, amberjacks, bream, mullets and morays. In the Variglioni of Serpentara you’ll easily come across shoal of barracudas, while in Cala Caterina you’ll meet face to face with huge groupers and sea breams. Dolphins and marine turtles live in the area too.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Diving In Sardinia.
Visit the nearby islands
Isola dei Cavoli
Opposite Capo Carbonara, less than one kilometer away, Isola dei Cavoli stands in the middle of an uncontaminated marine area. This small granite island is immersed in a wild and protected natural environment and is a paradise for sea and nature lovers.
The name of the island, according to some, is due to its conformation that is similar to a crab, ‘cavuru’ in Sardinia; while others believe that it comes from the abundant endemic presence of wild cabbage plants.
The island has an area of just 43 hectares with some incredible flora and fauna. Other than wild cabbage, you can spot ferula and the endemic Dracunculus muscivurus, better known as flycatcher, because for pollination attracts the necrophagous insects that send out a terrible odor.
You will find several small coves and clear, deep waters which are a paradise for dolphins and barracudas. The waters are a perfect environment for lobsters, capons, ravens, snappers, shrimps, giltheads, amberjacks, sea breams and mullets. It’s also a paradise for peregrine falcons, crested cormorants and seagulls.
Perched on top of the island you will find a scenic lighthouse that was built in the 19th century, it incorporated an old Spanish tower dating back to 1591. Its workers once lived on the island but, after the automation of its operation, the island is uninhabited.
Isola dei Cavoli is where you will find the statue of the Virgin of the Sea that I have mentioned above.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You can reach Isola dei Cavoli by boat from Villasimius or Costa Rei. There are regular boat tours departing from either places. The price varies depending on the duration; but a half day tour is in the range of €35 to €40.
From Punta Molentis and the panoramic road from Villasimius to Costa Rei you can spot the beautiful island of Serpentara, called like that because its shape reminds you of a snake.
This small island of granite rocks is less than a kilometer long and is part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara. It is uninhabited but populated by wild rabbits and a place to spot herons, Corsican seagulls, cormorants and tufty gulls, which nest here. Near its coasts it is not rare to come across dolphins.
In the northern part there are three large granite rocks, known as Variglioni, which form amazing natural pools in the sea in which you can dive or snorkel. You will be able to see the remains of a Roman galley; an Aragonese sailing ship dating to the 15th century; and the Egle steamship which drowned in 1943; and the Elba Ferry.
On the highest point of the island stands the tower of San Luigi, built during the Spanish domination to sight Saracen ships. The view from there is stunning but since Serpentara is part of the Marine Protected Area you can’t dock and disembark.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You can reach Serpentara by private boat or organized tours from Villasimius but navigation, fishing and diving are regulated by the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara.
Walking and hiking
My favorite hike in the area of Villasimius starts from Porto Giunco: the path will take you to the top of the promontory where an Aragonese tower stands. The view will leave you speechless: the sea on one side, the pond of Notteri and the beach of Porto Giunco on the other, and divided only by a strip of sand.
If you are visiting in the fall or spring, you can also go for a hike in the Sette Fratelli mountain range which can be accessed from the nearby Castiadas. There are various trails in the park.
Among the many activities that Villasimius offers, I highly recommend horse riding: you will have the opportunity to admire the countryside and the beaches at sunrise or sunset. The riding school based in Tanka Village resort can organize an excursions year round.
Enjoy archaeology and art
The old fortress, located right by the sea, dates back to the 16th century and was initially used to shelter boats and catch. Later its role became increasingly important, as it was used for guarding and defending the area. It was restored several times until 1847 when the last captain was dismissed and the old fortress was abandoned to be restored again only in 1968.
The area of Villasimius, like the whole Sardinia, is dotted with defensive towers called Nuraghe that have a strong historical interest. The Nuragic culture developed on the island between 1600 and 535 BC.
If you are interested in history and archeology you can visit what remains of many nuraghe in the area: Giardone nuraghe in the area of Campus, but also the ones in Cuccureddus, Campulongu, IsTraias, Porto Giunco and the Manunzas and Baccu’eGattus nuraghe.
Domus De Janas near Spiaggia Del Riso
Domus de Janas means “fairy house,” and it actually is a tomb carved into the rock. There are several throughout the island.
You will find a Domus de Janas near Spiaggia del Riso, which dates back to 3500 to 2700 BC. Once there was a real necropolis in the area, but only one tomb, which can still be visited today, has remained intact. There is a quadrangular opening carved into a massive granite on the outside and with a first internal room that leads directly to a tiny burial chamber. On the outside, two boulders act as a corridor leading to the tomb.
Attend the festivals
Depending on when you are visiting Villasimius, you will be able to attend one of the festivals. They are a good opportunity to learn more about the local traditions, history and to get a bit of local action.
Virgin of the Sea
In July 1979, Pinuccio Sciola’s statue of the Virgin of the Sea was placed at the depth of 11 meters in the waters around Isola dei Cavoli.
Since then, every third Sunday of July, after the celebration of a special mass there is an evocative procession to the sea in memory of the unfortunate sailors who died in the area. From the port the procession continues in the sea on boats covered with flowers heading to Isola dei Cavoli. The priest of Villasimius, with a team of divers, dives at the feet of the Virgin, recites the ritual prayer, heard, through loudspeakers, by the devotees on the boats. As a sign of greeting the boats sound the sirens and throw into the water colorful flowers.
Another important celebration held in Villasimius is the one in honor of Santa Maria. The festival takes place each year on the 7th and 8th of September, but you’ll be able to breathe the festive atmosphere throughout the week, after the conclusion of the religious rituals. It is considered one of the oldest and most heartfelt by its inhabitants.
The statue of the Madonna is carried on a decorated cart pulled by oxen (we call it ‘traccas’ here in Sardinia), while people pray for the rain to come in order to get abundant crops and harvest. At the end of the second day, once the Madonna is returned to the church, fireworks start. For the whole week tourists will have the opportunity to attend folklore shows, craft exhibitions, culinary competitions.
Other Useful Information To Organize Your Trip To Villasimius
Where to stay in Villasimius
You will find a good range of accommodation options in Villasimius, from camping sites to luxury resorts. Local estate agencies can help you find a holiday home. Alternatively, Booking.com usually has some great deals. Just take a look here:
Villaggio Camping Spiaggia del Riso is located on Spiaggia del Riso beach and has pitches for tents and caravans or private bungalows. You will find a restaurant, a grocery store, a newsagent and a wide range of activities for adults and children aline. If you are looking for a camping site, this might be a good option. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Arega B&B is in the heart of Villasimius which is perfect if you want to enjoy a bit of action at night. Unfortunately finding a parking spot might be difficult at certain times of day. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Hotel Sa Suergia has a beautiful garden and is decorated in a rustic style, with tiled floors and dark-wood furniture. There’s a free parking and an airport shuttle service. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
VOI Tanka Village is the most famous resort in Villasimius. It offers all the services you may need, including a private beach, 2 swimming pools, sports facilities including 6 tennis courts, a golf course and a riding school, a SPA and wellness center, 5 restaurants and much more. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Where to eat in Villasimius
Like in Costa Rei, eating options don’t nearly match the beauty of Villasimius and its surroundings. In other words, good restaurants are hard to find. The ones I usually go to are the following.
Mesa de Janas – their ‘fritto misto’ is superbe.
Baccusardus – I love going to Bassucardus for happy hour: spritz is delicious and they have a good list of wines and beers. Their ‘taglieri’ with local cheeses, olives, sausages, cold cuts and much more are delicious.
Il Miraggio – This restaurant is set in a spectacular location: tables are on the sand, a few meters from the sea. Isn’t romantic? Fish is fresh and good but not cheap.
Pizzeria Acquarius – For pizza lovers!
La Chiccheria – Right on the main square there’s what I deem the best gelateria in Sardinia. Try the pistacchio and nocciola flavors but also their typical Sardinian flavors such as ‘torta sarda’!
Local services and shops
Villasimius is a small village but you will be able to find anything you need throughout the year: several supermarkets and grocery stores, ATMs, doctors and vets, pharmacies, hairdressers and even some lovely boutiques. There are several clubs and nightclubs where you can have a drink while listening to some music and a disco. Live entertainment is common throughout the summer.
How to get to Villasimius
You can reach Villasimius from Cagliari by bus or car.
Buses leave from Cagliari central bus station at regular intervals. The ride lasts about 2 hours along a panoramic road and you will have incredible views of the coast. You may want to get some motion sickness pills, as the road is very windy.
Some hotels provide a shuttle service for their guests.
If you are driving, you have to take SS 554 and follow the signs to Muravera, then take SS125. Finally, take the first exit to Costa Rei, follow the sign to Costa Rei and turn right at the only traffic-light you will encounter. It will take you about one hour to get there, depending on traffic.
How to move around Villasimius
You will need a car, scooter or bike for your trip to Villasimius, so that you can explore the many beaches and the surroundings.
When to visit Villasimius
I am a fan of Villasimius is June: days are long and I can enjoy more hours of sun, the beaches are not so crowded, I can easily find a place where to eat without having to make reservations, and I can hike as it is not boiling hot yet. Unfortunately the sea is still not very warm so not the best to swim.
September and October are also very good, as most tourists leave and the sea is much warmer then.
Anyway any time is good to go to Villasimius. You can hike throughout the year; you can have lovely walks when almost nobody is around, light your fireplace and enjoy it while reading a book, eating chestnuts while having a glass of red wine. It really depends on what you prefer.
Further readings about Sardinia
Are you planning to visit Sardinia? These posts will come in handy!
- What You Should Know Before Traveling To Sardinia
- 10 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Sardinia
- The 15 Best Beaches In Sardinia
- The Most Incredible Day Trips From Cagliari
- A Guide To Sardinian Wines
- The Most Delicious Sardinian Food: Everything You Must Try
- A Complete Guide To Costa Smeralda
- The Nicest Small Towns And Cities In Sardinia
- A Guide To Nuraghe In Sardinia
- The Most Beautiful Beach Resorts In Sardinia
This post was written by Strictly Sardinia contributor Elisabetta Tavani.
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