Travelling with kids (and babies)
Santa Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, Italy, May
Every morning the sound of the waves would gently wake us up. The smell of coffee would linger in the air as we would slowly enjoy our breakfast on our sun bathed terrace. Our villa was quite basic, more basic than we imagined it after reading all the rave reviews. However, after just a few days, we realised that we picked the right place — there was no other villa on that beach with our view. When inside, we spent most of our time on the terrace, overlooking the sea.
Lunch on our terrace
Our villa was on the St Margherita beach, about 200 meters away from Forte Village, Europe’s leading family resort. Enchanted by the beauty of this beach Forbes magazine named it one of the 25 most beautiful beaches in the world, according to the Forte Village’s website. There are other famous beaches in the vicinity — Chia which is 10 minutes away, but ours was pretty nice and we didn’t feel like venturing out.
Our vacation was end of May, beginning of June. This is quite the low season in Sardinia, and rightfully so, as the water was too cold for our 15 month old daughter, Maria. The benefit of it being the low season, however, is that we had the beach mostly to ourselves.
View from our terrace on the beach of Santa Margherita di Pula
Maria ended up playing in the sand the entire morning. I would put sunscreen on her after breakfast, then dress her in a white shirt and a white hat. She didn’t get burned once, even though she has quite fair skin. We stayed out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, which coincided with windy afternoons on our beach. So we would retreat back to the villa, where we would still enjoy the beach on our big terrace, but in the shade with vino and Italian delicacies. Maria would get tired from all the activity by 11 am, so my husband would put her to sleep by carrying in his arms. She would fall asleep in no time with the sound of the waves, after which we would transfer her to the cot.
Our daughter, Maria, playing in the sand on the beach right in front of our villa
In the evenings we would either stay in and cook and enjoy the terrace till late in the evening, or go out to the city of Pula, which is about 10 minute drive away, for some beautiful Sardinian food. All the restaurants open at 19:30, quite late when one has a toddler. We still managed to get out 3 or 4 times. Most places have outside seating, so Maria would enjoy the food with us, after which she would run after the local cats or entertain the guests. The highlight of our trip was dining at Terme di Nora where we enjoyed the white wine mussels, spaghetti a la bottarga (spaghetti with fish roe) and the olive lemon see bass was to die for. All of their desserts were amazing as well.
Enjoying Spaghetti con Vongole in Rosso at Terme di Nora
On the days when we couldn’t wait till 19:30 for a proper dinner, we would dine at S’Incontru, which was the local pizzeria facing Piazza del Popolo. We would enjoy our Happy Hour drinks and then pizza, while Maria would run around and socialise with the local children in the piazza.
Pula, like any italian village has amazing gelato. Grocery shopping is easy with two shops to choose form.
Where to stay:
This is the place we rented from AirBnb: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/766399
Most of the places when we rented in May didn’t have internet included. We rented a little wireless router from Vodafone for €50.
Where to eat:
Terme di Nora
Pizzeria S’Incontru in Piazza del Popolo
How to get there:
Alitalia or easyJet to Cagliari airport.
Pula is about an hour away from the airport. One can take the bus from the airport to Pula, but as a car is a must for getting around, we opted for renting a car from Hertz, but there are plenty of options at the airport. We also rented the car seat from them.
No buggy necessary as most of the walking around is to be done on the beach, just the carrier for getting to the airport and back.