Sardinia vs Sicily – Which Island Should You Visit?

View of Sicily

Sardinia vs Sicily: Which Island Should You Visit?

Known as the best islands in Italy, both Sardinia and Sicily are famous for their stunning beaches, blue waters, ancient history, and delicious food. If you’re looking to venture away from mainland Italy, these two islands with beautiful beaches are both great options. which Italian island is right for you? Let’s compare and contrast these two beautiful Italian islands in the Mediterranean Sea to help you decide.

Sardinia vs Sicily
Incredible rock formations in Sardinia

Sardinia or Sicily: Which Island Is Right for You?

If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach vacation in the Mediterranean Sea, you can’t go wrong with either Sicily or Sardinia. These two Italian islands are both renowned for their historical sites, incredible sandy and rocky beaches, and excellent seafood cuisine. But which one is right for you? Here’s a comparison of Sicily and Sardinia to help you decide:


Both Sardinia and Sicily enjoy lovely weather year-round, with average temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (high 70s Fahrenheit). However, Sardinia is cooler overall, due to its northern location. This makes it a great choice if you’re looking to avoid the intense heat of the Sicilian summer.


Both islands boast some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. If you’re looking for clear waters and soft white sand, you’ll find plenty of options on both Sicily and Sardinia.

beaches Sardinia vs Sicily

However, Sardinia’s beaches tend to be quieter and more secluded than those on Sicily. So if you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation without the crowds, Sardinia is your best bet. But either way, you’ll spend time on some great beaches!

Accommodations in Sardinia vs Sicily

There are great places to stay on both islands, but if you are interested in high end beach holiday hotels near the beach, Sicily is a better choice for you.


When it comes to food, both islands offer visitors delicious seafood dishes and traditional Italian fare. However, each island has its own unique culinary specialties. On Sicily, you’ll find street food like arancini (fried rice balls) and cannoli (fried pastry dough filled with sweet ricotta cheese), while Sardinians specialize in dishes like culurgiones (pasta dumplings filled with potato and pecorino cheese) and porceddu (roasted suckling pig).

a pile of casu marzu cheese in Sardinia Italy

In my opinion, Sicily will offer more food that is iconically Sicilian while Sardinia has excellent food that is probably something new to you, but still great.

History and Culture

Both Sardinia and Sicily will offer fantastic historic and cultural sites like historic churches and ancient ruins alongside their geographical beauty. While Sardinia technically has more ancient ruins, Sicily has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, while Sardinia has just one.

A Breakdown of Sicily vs Sardinia

Sicily – The Best Island in Italy for History Lovers


If you’re looking for an Italian island with loads of history and you’re interested in visiting a UNESCO world heritage site during your trip, Sicily is an excellent choice. With ancient towns, an active volcano (Mount Etna), and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sicily is a history lover’s dream for Italian and international travelers alike.

The Best Time to Go to Sicily

Since Sicily is farther south in the Mediterranean, it’s generally much hotter than Sardinia. So if you choose to go to Sicily vs Sardinia, I’d recommend going sometime between October and April to avoid the intense heat and crowds of the summer. It’s true, you may get more rain, but I think it’s a fair trade-off.

If you really just want to sit at the white sand beaches and swim, while either island will be great for this, Sicily will be nice and toasty!

Top 10 Things to do in Sicily

  1. Visit Mount Etna
  2. Greek Theater of Taormina
  3. Selinunte Archaeological Park
  4. Monreale Cathedral
  5. Villa Romana del Casale
  6. Valley of the Temples
  7. Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel
  8. Zingaro Reserve
  9. Palermo Cathedral
  10. Castello Maniace
  11. San Vito lo Capo
  12. Aeolian Islands
towns in Sicily
Sicily is full of adorable towns like this.

Sicily is full of adorable picturesque towns like this. Beautiful cities, archeological sites, and beautiful cathedrals dot the island.

Downsides to Sicily

While it really is a struggle to find downsides to visiting Sicily, I will say that the extreme summer heat, crowds, and a more touristy vibe definitely make me like Sicily just a tiny bit less than I would otherwise. However, if you choose to visit Sicily in the off season or shoulder season, you’ll be able to avoid these issues.

Sardinia – The Best Island in Italy for Secluded Beaches

Beaches in Sardinia

If you’re looking for an Italian island with beautiful, secluded, and small beaches, you should choose Italy’s second largest island, Sardinia with a day trip to La Maddalena, the smaller island just off the coast with a spectacular view. These islands have some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. This island is very large compared to Sicily, so make sure you’re up for a road trip if you want to see the whole thing.

The Best Time to go to Sardinia

Like Sicily, Sardinia does get hot, but still a few degrees cooler. Since this island is definitely more about beach time than historic sites, I would recommend hitting Sardinia in the warmer months like May-September so that you can take advantage of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer.

Top 9 Things to do in Sardinia

  1. Go to the beach such as Sardinia Beaches
  2. Explore Old Town Cagliari
  3. Take a Food Tour
  4. `National Archaeological Museum
  5. Su Nuraxi di Barumini- Archaeological site
  6. Take a Hike (there are many)
  7. Costa Smeralda
  8. Take a road trip to the north coast
  9. Visit one of the hot springs
town of Sardinia

Downsides to Sardinia

In my opinion, the only real downside to Sardinia is that there is not as much historic and cultural significance compared to Sicily. The treasure of Sardinia lies in its natural beauty and stunning coastline. I would also add that Sardinia is a slightly smaller island, but you can still expect longer drives in the car. Here are my 5 reasons to visit Sardinia.

Sicily vs Sardinia – What to choose?

If you still haven’t made your decision, then I will weigh in here. Both islands are amazing and Sardinian and Sicilian beaches are all gorgeous. You won’t regret going to either one.

Choose Sicily if:

  • You love fascinating history and archaeology (you can find the Valley of the Temples on the west coast)
  • You love adorable old towns
  • You are going off-season, October-April
  • Beaches and swimming aren’t your top priority
  • You prefer less driving

Choose Sardinia if:

  • Beaches and swimming are your top priority (Costa Smeralda)
  • You’re not a city person
  • You are going during warmer months, May-September
  • You are a more relaxed traveler who doesn’t need a lot of sightseeing
  • You don’t mind driving in Italy

Both Sicily and Sardinia offer travelers stunning natural beauty, delicious food, and history. So which island is right for you? I hope discussing Sicily vs Sardinia helps you make the right choice for you. Let me know what you decide!

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