Eleven things you should never do in Sardinia

If there is one thing that we never get tired of in Sardinia, that is pointing out that our region is fantastic and truly a world apart. Italian by law, Sardinia is and feels different. Italians themselves feel they are in foreign territory when they visit – they can’t quite put their finger on it, but they know there is something unique about Sardinia that makes it feel exotic. It is a gorgeous island, right in the heart of the Mediterranean sea, inhabited by people who can and will give anything they have, without ever expecting anything in return; people who are however very proud and can easily get offended whenever they feel someone is lacking them respect.

Thus, here’s a short list of things that you should never, ever, do in Sardinia. Follow the rules, or take the risk!

Things to do in Sardinia

Sardinian women are strong and proud – visit Sardinia to check

  1. Ask us if Sardinia is near Venice. Or Rome. Or north or south.

We take it for granted that literally everybody should know where our beautiful land is located. Don’t tell us that you drove by it once: it will only lead us to make fun of you (see point 10 below).


That’s where Sardinia is – photo courtesy of http://www.freelargeimages.com/

2. Say Sardinia is gorgeous and you seriously can’t understand why so many Sardinians expatriate.

Or do so, if you want to see our reaction (which may not be as pleasant as you’d expect!). You may face an avalanche of insults for such a question. We get it – most of you come from boring, grey, gloomy cities and you love Sardinia. But this is not the way to get your point across. More than anything, do not underestimate our intelligence (and yours) with such a common sense sentence. And – hint hint – before asking us, do some reading and find out about the financial situation of Sardinia. That may give you a good answer before you make a fool of yourself.

Sardinia best beaches

You can’t beat Sardinia!

  1. Start or finish each sentence with “ajo’” (pronounced ayhoo) or “eja” (pronounced eyah).

You will often hear us Sardinians say ajo, to mean “let’s go”, or eja to mean “yes”. But knowing what those two word mean isn’t in any way indicative that you can actually speak the local language (by the way, it is a language and not a dialect). I can promise you that regularly repeating “ajo’” won’t make you look nicer or cooler to a Sardinian. In fact, you’re more likely to look like somewhat of a fool. If you are really keen on it, use it among yourself. But don’t scream “ajo’” to a Sardinian. Hint: we kind of get tired of it.

  1. Say you’d like to have a small bite, or a snack.

If you your idea of a bite is that of a small, light meal, or at most a sandwich, keep in mind that here in Sardinia it may quickly turn into a full meal that would do best served at a wedding reception. Make sure you never mention that you feel like having a snack to someone from Sardinia, or you may end up having to spend some two hours eating like it is your last day on this beautiful earth. It goes with the Sardinian sense of hospitality. We would not want anyone to leave our home feeling hungry.

@YelpMiami at @SardiniaEnoRest (Aug 6 2013)

I’ll have just a small bite

  1. Say no to a drink.

This rule is particularly valid in the areas of Nuoro and Barbagia. If someone offers you a drink you shall never, ever, for any reason refuse. So, if someone gets you a drink, drink it. And if they keep pouring, drink more. Mirto (traditional myrtle berries liquor)? Fil’e ferru (Sardinian grappa)? A little wine? A beer? As long as you keep drinking. This way, we’re all merrier and become good friends. And, going back to point 4 above, we would not want anybody leaving our home thirsty.


Have that mirto. HAVE. IT.

  1. Say that Ichnusa, the local beer, is tasteless.

If you really care for your life, never dare saying that Ichnusa isn’t the best beer you’ve ever had. If you offend Ichnusa, you are pretty much offending Sardinians. Even if you think it is not really too tasty, it is light, mild, or barely drinkable, never say it out loud. You may have to face the anger of a bunch of Sardinians – young and old, men and women. The lady holding the shot gun in the mural was painted to scare away people saying Sardinian Ichnusa isn’t good. The fact that Ichnusa is actually owned by a foreign company and that the only Sardinian thing in there is the name, is obviously completely irrelevant. (Hint: we do know Ichnusa isn’t the best beer, but we are allowed to say it).

Ichnusa - Chiudo gli occhi e ti penso <3

The best beer in the world

  1. Try to outsmart a Sardinian.

We Sardinians are smart and educated. We read a lot (could be due to the fact that we live on an island and get bored for only being able to drive at most 350 km from bottom west to top east), and we do a lot. Don’t try to teach us a lesson. Even those who look really ignorant to you, will have a sharp tongue which will turn you shy in a second. You have been warned.

  1. Challenge a Sardinian to do anything.

As I have already said, Sardinians are proud. If you dare to challenge any of us Sardinians to do something – dangerous or not – you can rest assured we will. We are on the stubborn side, and we can hardly stand people telling us what to do. You never know what the consequences may be!

  1. Stop the sheep from crossing first.

Sheep outnumbers humans in Sardinia. It does happen to see flocks near the city. In the (actually likely) circumstance that you encounter a flock of sheep, sit and wait till they’re done crossing, even if they seem like a million and you are running late for a date, and by all means do not try to get across the flock with your car, even if you intend to drive really really slow. Shepherds would not appreciate you and you surely would not want to start a fight with them (see points 6 and 7 above). Again, don’t say you haven’t been warned!


Sheep have the right of way

  1. Take what a Sardinian says too literally.

We Sardinians have quite a subtle sense of humour. Don’t take what we tell you too seriously (even if we looks serious, and at times even hostile). We’re likely making fun of you. Rather, if you manage, sharpen your tongue and answer appropriately. By all means, do not get offended. In any case, an offer of a drink will settle all matters (see points 4 and 6 above).

  1. Fall in love with Sardinia.

Don’t leave your heart in Sardinia, don’t fall in love with its beaches, its clear waters, its gorgeous nature, its history and culture. It may soon turn into a disease which will be hard to cure. And once Sardinia and Sardinians sneak their way into your heart, it will be hard not to come back.

Have you ever been to Sardinia? Did you find Sardinians to be unique? Discover more things to do in Sardinia on my post “A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia.”



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  • The Guy Who Flies
    20 October 2015 at 2:38

    Great roundup Claudia.

    We visited the beautiful Sardinia in June 2013 for our honeymoon and oh yes, we completely fell in love with it. We were based around the north eastern part, close to Budoni and loved all the beaches, natural beauty and the warm welcome.

    I even developed quite a taste for a local beer too. I can’t remember the name of it but it was different to the one you’ve mentioned in this article.

    We definitely fell in love with the place and would love to go back at some point for an anniversary.

    • Claudia Tavani
      20 October 2015 at 6:15

      You should go back, even in the winter. You now know me, and I can help you plan your next itinerary 🙂

  • Economical Excursionists
    24 October 2015 at 10:14

    While we have traveled all over mainland Italy, we actually haven’t gotten to Sardinia! I know places like that, while still having a flair for their mainland counterparts, often have their complete own identity and culture. Would love to be able to get down there one day!

  • Carol Colborn
    24 October 2015 at 11:02

    What a smart way to get people hooked to read further, especially ending like that! Kudos!

  • Mary
    25 October 2015 at 3:17

    Ha, I live in Hawaii and people say that #2 to us all the time when we talk about leaving. Even paradise can be hard to live in sometimes right?! Great post, funny, and definitely making me want to head over there soon. Where is it again?? Next to Rome?

    • Claudia Tavani
      25 October 2015 at 9:14

      Hahahahahahahahha 🙂 smart girl! Yes, paradise has its flaws too

  • Jen
    25 October 2015 at 11:02

    I think I can do all of these, except possibly #11

  • Maria
    25 October 2015 at 17:54

    In all honesty, any place where it is rude to turn down food or drink already has my heart 🙂

  • Toccara
    26 October 2015 at 3:00

    Good to know! Looks like a lovely place to visit, and now I know what NOT to do! I probably wouldn’t turn down a drink anywhere, though! 🙂

  • Julius from Traveltipy
    27 October 2015 at 11:28

    Unfortunatelly I have never been to Sardinia so far, but I spent 2 months in Sicily and they have the similar rules I suppose 🙂 Anyway, both islands are some of the most beautiful in the world!

    • Claudia Tavani
      28 October 2015 at 8:16

      Haaaa no sorry. Sardinia is by far the best 😉 hehe

  • Jen Joslin
    28 October 2015 at 0:24

    I haven’t been to Italy yet, but Sardinia looks gorgeous! Love a place where there’s no such thing as a “small bite.”

  • Claudia Tavani
    28 October 2015 at 8:17

    Or refusing a drink 😉

  • Traveling Rockhopper
    28 October 2015 at 13:18

    Sardinia is a lovely island, I was hitchhiking there a lot an enjoying beautiful nature and delicious food 🙂
    Arbatax is the best place in Sardinia 🙂

  • Rob
    30 October 2015 at 8:12

    As a “proud” Sardinian I totally agree with your article. You can only fall in love with Sardinia. When we travel the world we always feel like we miss our island and we want to come back. I travelled for one almost a year in Asia and when I had my Seadas in Bali I almost cried from happiness!

    • Claudia Tavani
      30 October 2015 at 9:00

      I bet! I just got back from Indonesia, and the last stop of my trip was Bali. I just could not help compare it to home, and it made me feel so nostalgic. Sardinia is a great place to travel and to live, despite the many difficulties.

  • Alessandra
    14 July 2016 at 5:40

    Some points were a waste of time like #7, #8 and some others. “Don’t try to teach us a lesson. Even those who look really ignorant to you, will have a sharp tongue which will turn you shy in a second. You have been warned.” Just because someone is SardInian does not mean they are the most educated people in the planet but she/he makes it look like that. My boyfriend is Sardinian and I always give him a lesson in many different ways. The author should stop stereotyping.

    • Claudia Tavani
      14 July 2016 at 8:31

      Update –

      12. Have a sense of humor
      Don’t take posts about what not to do in Sardinia seriously… We also have sense of humor!

  • Pasquale
    6 July 2018 at 21:07

    I bet you are from Casteddu… “We read a lot “… yeah right.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      7 July 2018 at 10:01

      You are right: perhaps I should edit it into “I and my circle of family and friends read a lot!” Are you also from Casteddu? 🙂


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Hello, nice to meet you!

Hi, my name is Claudia. One day I packed my life and started traveling... except I packed too much. Follow me as I fill my life with dreams, drop the weight and inspire you to live your dreams. View and download my media kit here (updated June 2018). Learn more about me here...


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