Discover Europe’s hidden jewel and escape to one of Italy’s most captivating islands for a relaxing break enriched with history, nature and, of course, the secret to living a long life.
Simply put, Sardinia is an underrated island; the majority don’t even know where it lies on the map. And yet, as it is being more discovered by us avid explorers of the world, none of its raw, authentic touch is evaporating to quench the thirst of the commercially greedy. In short: you will experience the true Mediterranean way of life.
Let your toes greet every grain of sand whilst you dive deep into a realm of relaxation…if you can keep your eyes away from admiring the sparkling, turquoise sea and your lips greeting the sweet, liquorish taste of Sardinian Mirto. But before we move onto the wining and dining, let me spill more on what Sardinia and Valle dell’Erica will spoil you with.
The Key to Living Longer
Dan Buettner revealed it first: the five areas which are known for being places where people live longer. Sardinia, of course is the Blue Zone where people live the longest, and luckily for our readers, all the secrets were revealed to me during my stay at the Delphina Hotels.
1. Tantalise Your Taste Buds
Step one, as you have probably predicted, is spoiling your taste buds with good food, high in protein and fibre. Diet plays a huge part, and Sardinia has taken some of nature’s greatest assets and worked absolute wonders. From smooth sheep’s cheese (trust me, it’s good!) with olives as a small, delightful aperitif accompanied with a glass of bubbly, all the way to fresh lobster drizzled with tantalising lemon, and obviously, rich, sweet tomatoes blessing platefuls of freshly cooked pasta, there is no doubt that you will eat well and good. Regretfully, I never took this opportunity to learn the art of cooking such scrumptious food at Valle dell’Erica’s traditional cooking lessons, but I guess it gives me a reason (if I ever needed one), to return.
If you are dribbling at the thought (like I most certainly am right now), you may be wondering how something so simple tastes so good. Well, take a short walk around Valle dell’Erica, and not only do you feel like you’re amongst raw nature, but you will smell the herbs caressing the breeze around you, because if it isn’t locally sourced, it is grown right outside your hotel door. Amazing right?
2. Everyday Is Wine Day!
Moving onto step two: what do you need after three platefuls of pasta? Fine wine, which perfectly is another key to long life. One glass a day should keep you going, but Sardianian Cannonau may make keeping to the one glass slightly challenging; perfectly complimenting its food, Cannonau wine contains particular sun-stressed Grenache grape which has between 5 and 10 times more natural antioxidants. You were probably sold as soon as you read ‘wine is a key to longer life’, and you will be happy to know, Delphina stocks crates full of the stuff.
3. Soak in your surroundings
I really wish these photos did justice to how beautiful the landscape in Sardinia is. ‘Captivating’ barely summaries it and we remain grateful that is the case, as it makes it so easy for you to wake up and embrace all nature has blessed us with. Strolling around Valle dell’Erica you are surrounded with flora, fauna and serenity; even during peak times when the resort is fully booked, you could easily mistake that you are the only person admiring Delphina’s botanical gardens on your walk to the beach. If the beach does not offer you the adrenaline rush you desire, take a hike across Valle dell’Erica’s nature trail; it will barely feel like exercise when you have picture perfect scenes to admire.
Embracing nature and indulging in a little exercise goes a long way to ensure you unlock the door to a longer life and it is so much easier when you are out in the open, than trapped in a gym. But, if a treadmill is your thing, fear not; Capo d’Orso, the most romantic resort Delphina offers, has an outdoor gym overlooking the crystal blue sea, where you can watch the sun rise when getting a sweat on. Beats being trapped in four walls, right?
4. Spend time with your loved ones…(and try not to argue!?)
Spending quality time with those close to your heart is the next step to living longer, and there is little explanation needed to why this works. The ones you love keep you happy, and happiness keeps stress at bay and gives you a stronger life purpose. And the perfect thing is, is that Sardinia is anything you want it to be. It is the perfect honeymoon destination, yet also family friendly.
Find a new hobby with your friends: learn to play golf, try windsurfing or delve into the deep blue and make friends in the sea when snorkelling, (which is not as easy as it looks, I’m afraid).
Capo d’Orso boasts romance. With hidden hammocks amongst the trees overlooking the coast, you can sit back and reminisce with your loved one. Spend your evenings at Valle dell’Erica’s night bar, listening to live music and making new friends. And here is the amazing part: your kids can also have their own social life, in safe hands. Valle dell’Erica has a special area dedicated to families and fun for children, including playgrounds and a mini-adventure park, cinema, nap rooms (lucky them!) and creative spaces. For families with very young children there is also a free nursery with a bottle feeding preparation area. It is open until 11pm so you can finally have that extra glass of wine!
5. Anddddddd breathe!
Last, but certainly not least and probably the main reason behind booking a getaway to Sardinia: relaxation!
And boy, you will definitely fly home feeling like a new, calmer person. If enjoying your morning coffee whilst listening to the light brush of waves on the coast, entwined with the harpist softly playing in the background, does not sooth your soul, I am not too sure what will.
The pinnacle of relaxation and self-indulgence lies in the resort’s Thalasso spa, which is set amongst the granite rocks and typical wooded and flowered scents of the Mediterranean. There are treatments to relax and energise you, alongside saunas, seawater pools and treatment rooms.
Thalassotherapy consists of the intelligent and combined use of the many benefits contained in the marine environment; it is by now scientifically proven that as well as being enjoyable and relaxing, Thalasso treatments produce numerous positive side effects for both the mind and the body.
Using essential oils from Sardinian aromatic plants and herbs, the sensuous scent and perfume of these plants, which grow wild in the Valle dell’Erica, enhance every inch of your spa treatment. Collected gifts from the earth for their spa products: myrtle, lemon and Cannonau grapes combined with the salt-laden air and the pure breezes will leave you with a delicious memory and the desire to come back to this enchanting corner of Sardinia. What more could you want? Perhaps a swim-up bar to enjoy a cocktail without leaving the relaxing pool? They got it. I told you, relaxation at its finest.
Step Putting it simply: exquisite food, divine wine, sunshine with added adventure, goes a long way. I do not think I have been as spoilt as I was at Valle dell’Erica. From secluded dinners on the beach, boat trips discovering the clear waters and its inhabitants, all the way to the sun caressing your skin, there truly aren’t enough words that could give this hidden jewel of an island the justice is so strongly deserves.
I stayed at the Valle dell’Erica resort, which is 55km from Olbia airport. Helicopter transfers to the resort are available, as well transfers via car. The resort has a total of 271 rooms, four pools, seven restaurants, a conference centre (with 450 seats and four meeting rooms), an area to play golf and a children’s club. Some rooms offer private pools. Rates per person start from £136 per night on a half board basis. The hotel is open from 20 May to 30 September. For more information, visit www.delphina hotels.co.uk. Be sure to check out the other resorts Delphina offers, as each one is unique. Capo d’Orso, also mentioned in this article, is particularly suitable for couples on their honeymoons, anniversaries or just those looking for a simple romantic escape.
Recently, none other than the famous French brand Chanel was inspired by the Blue Zone and essences of Sardinia. It is no surprise, as the enchanting turquoise water surrounding this island is truly captivating. Waters so clear, you will spot the local jellyfish out on the prole. So I would recommend you take a boat trip to discover the Marine Reserve at Vale dell’Erica to discover how amazing mother Earth is. With Delphina having their own boats for you, you can stop to take a dip in the water to snorkel and dive deeper, or stop to admire how nature can produce the most amazing sights: the crocodile rock!
Nothing beats a secluded evening meal on the beach. Nothing… I dare you to fight me on this. The soft sound of the waves perfectly compliments every bite you take. You will not be disappointed with the succulent taste of fresh lobster whilst sipping on champagne. With the Sardinian diet packed with omega-3, fibre and protein which is step one of ‘living a longer life’, fine dining really does not get any better than this.
If this isn’t your cup of tea (which I highly doubt), Valle dell’Erica is home to seven amazing restaurants, attending to all your culinary desires. For those eager to take the recipe home, the chef will kindly teach you his secret and the hotel offers you the opportunity to take back home-grown saffron and olives with you, to ensure you get that authentic Sardinian taste anywhere.
Every inch of Delphina hotels boasts true Sardinian culture and heritage. From the handmade rugs to the artwork, you will subtly discover this island’s rich history.
Take the famous Elephant Rock that nature herself handmade. Inside, you will stumble on two domus de janas (Sardinian chamber tombs) from the Neolithic period which unveil interesting reliefs and decorative revealing the rich history dating back to 2700 BC.
Ask the staff at your Delphina hotel to take you to any town in Sardinia; you will learn how its history has made the island what it is today.
The picture says it all. With Sardinian dishes being unique from Italy, their aperitifs are fit for the king and queen. Fresh, light and crispy carasau bread, mixed with sheep’s cheese, and home-grown olives, snacking before dinner has never been better.
Thankfully, no matter where you reside, you cannot escape the picturesque view. Located 12 km from St Teresa Gallura surrounded by the two Archipelagos of La Maddalena and Corsica, Valle dell’Erica is in the perfect location. The private park overlooks a long white sandy beach; the luxurious rooms boast panoramic views, even from your shower window! You cannot escape its beauty and why would you want to?