Sardinia: Rolex Farr 40 World Championships and The Maddalena Islands

From one of the world’s most prestigious yachting enclaves, to sparsely-inhabited island retreats, take a summer break in style in stunning Sardinia.


This July the exquisite Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s north east coast will host the Farr 40 World Championships, where the very best yachts in class – and some of the world’s finest sailors – will compete for the top prize at one of Europe’s most beautiful marinas in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo. With a stunning coastline to rival any to be found on Italy’s mainland (or further afield), crystal-clear waters and some excellent food and wine will provide a wonderful escape whether you fancy joining the sailing crowd or not.


Enjoy Sardinia on board your own yacht


Situated at the north eastern tip of Sardinia, big boats have, for the last 50 years, come to define the coast of the Gallura region – once the Aga Khan discovered this idyll and decided it deserved some attention in the 60s.


Since then things have certainly continued in the way you would expect with many a spot to enjoy a cooling cocktail among a cool crowd looking for a level of luxury to match the views.


A suite at the Hotel Cala Di Volpe, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda


One of the world’s most famous hotels could be your base, and at Hotel Cala Di Volpe expect nothing but the best. This ultra-luxe hotel, set as a perfectly-formed fishing village, offers suites that draw royals, Hollywood stars and those who just know how to holiday well. For the finest of experiences try to secure the Presidential Suite, featuring three bedrooms, two lounges, a steam bath, a private heated swimming pool and – of course – stunning views of the emerald bay.


The beach at the Hotel Cala Di Volpe, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda


There are of course a number of fine restaurants and bars to fill your break with too. A wonderful choice is La Gritta, where Roberto Pierro’s fabulous dishes certainly match the glorious setting.


If the buzz of the international jet set proves too much, head north to the Maddalena archipelago. You will hardly know that just a few miles away where the well heeled are partying – and racing – you can find hidden beaches and coves to explore, and quaint trattorias for a bite. Away from the main La Maddalena Island discover one of Europe’s best nature reserves, spread over the archipelago, in sparsely-inhabited isles and islets like Caprera and Santa Maria, and get up close to nature as it thrives in its carefully-protected habitat.


Enjoy the crystal clear waters of Sardinia


But back to the action on the Emerald coast, and from July 13-16 all eyes will be on the magnificent boats. It may be the third time the world championships have come to Sardinia, but Yacht Club Costa Smeralda has hosted more than 15 international regattas for the Farr 40 class, and the club will be sure to make a splash this year as it also marks its 50th anniversary. It is also just one of the many yachting events the club will host running through the summer – so either way some breathtaking racing (and vessels) will be hard to miss.


The Louise Alexander Gallery in Porto Cervo


After the thrill of the championships art lovers should be sure to make a visit to Louise Alexander Gallery on Via Aga Khan, where the exclusive representatives for The Guy Bourdin Estate can show you their collection, and perhaps help you add to yours.


Guy Bourdin, French Vogue, August 1975, Fujiflex Crystal Archive print.


On the brilliant blue waters of Sardinia’s coast, some of the world’s fastest yachts will be gathering this summer. Be sure to join them for the race, taking the chance to see what this enchanting coast, and its neighbouring islands, has had to offer even before the big boats decided to dock.


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Hotel Cala Di Volpe, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda images courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Louise Alexander Gallery and Guy Bourdin images courtesy of the Louise Alexander Gallery