Top 10 Fantastic Festivals & Events in Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is a smorgasbord of colourful annual festivals that are held high in the mountains or close to the sea. Sardinia will not disappoint those looking for tradition, culture, energy and fantastic feasts.

Sardinia is yours to discover, on your own time and by your own two feet. Just try it and you will see.

Follow me on my voyage to discover and share Sardinia’s most imporant festivals.

Top 10 Fantastic Festivals & Events in Sardinia, Italy

10. Sa Die de Sa Sardigna (Sardinia Day) April 28th in Cagliari – A Sardinian population folk festival in commemoration to a revolt and the release of Sardinia from Piedmont control in 1794. This popular festival has gained momentum in the last few years with festivals being held in most major towns. The festivals recreates the events from 1794 with staged plays, evening concerts and ancient folk tales.

9. Sant Efisio May 1-4 in Cagliari – Is the single most important festival of traditional culture on the island. The celebration is in commemoration of the Saint who rescued the citizens of Cagliari in 1652 from the plague. It is considered the biggest and most colourful religious procession in the world. Over 5000 people participate in this four-day festival of feasts.

8. Cherry Festival in small town Belvi in the province of Nuoro held on the second Sunday in June. Sample the delicious cherries grown in the Gennargentu region of Sardinia and learn how to turn those cherries into locally baked goods at one of the conferences held throughout the day.

7. Sa Sartiglia in Oristano. Held in the middle of February and according to tradition in the town’s piazza the town crier will announce the beginning of this festival for all to hear. A grand display of equestrian knightly tournaments and military practise. Skilled riders joust in the ring as the public eagerly cheers on their hero. Where ancient duals are brought to present day light.

6. L’Ardia di San Costantino. On July 3rd – 5th various Sardinian villages host a ritual horse race dedicated to San Costantino. It’s a fast-paced, heart pounding, dangerous festival held in the streets of in Sedilo. Celebrations continue into the night with local folk music and dancing. This is one event not to miss!

5. Festa della Madonna degli Angeli on the first Sunday in August. This procession winds its way though the small streets of Castlesardo with local dancing, singing and performances by Sardinian poets, writers and singers. Celebrations carry on into the night at many of the restaurants, bars and pubs.

4. Sardinia Reggae Festival is held annually at the beginning of August. This is a super spectacular four-day concert event not to miss! Discover some of Sardinia’s leading Reggae artists and dance the night away on Sardinia’s warm sandy beach.

3. Cavalcata Sarda –  One hundred and twelve years have passed since the first Cavalcata Sarda took place to honor King Umberto 1 and Queen Margherita, who made a visit to Sardegna in 1899. This colourful folk festival is held on the second-last Sunday of May, every year. Traditionally, there was a large horse race throughout town, where thousands of manned horses would speed through the cobblestone streets of Sassari. In the last few years the comune deemed this activity dangerous and moved the horse race to the Ippodromo (Domed stadium) in Sassari.

2. Festa di San Simplicio – an annual event held in Olbia. Attracting thousands of tourists and locals alike. The festival is in honour of the Patron Saint, San Simplicio and is one of the most important religious festivals in Sardinia. This event is spanned over the first two weeks of May. With hundreds of riders from twenty-six towns in the Gallura competing in this stunning equestrian event. Each rider is given three tries to grab the star. They have a maximum of sixteen seconds to complete the track and grab the star. The more stars speared, the better chances of winning the tournament Palio della Stella.

1. Festa della Birra Trinitaiese – held annually during the week of ferragosto (generally the second weekend in August). Traditional folk dance, traditional music, bands, street vendors and traditional Sardinian sweets and drinks. This is a brilliant time in Sardinia. And not to be missed! Take it from me, I live here! (There is no link available for this festival, and there probably won’t be. That’s just how we roll in Sardinia.)

Have you been to any one of these festivals? I would love to hear your tales, tell me below.

16 responses

  1. Hello we are travelling to Italy in September and would like to know if there are any festivals that are family friendly? Thanks

  2. I am going to Sardina in May (first time) and ca’t wait. I’ll be in Alghero on the third Sunday in May and would love to go to the Cavalcata Sarda, can you give some more specific info eg am I better to catch a bus than drive from Alghero? do I need tickets? what about the best vantage points? how early do I need to get there? parking if I do drive? what about at the Hippodromo? tickets? advance? or at the gate?. Many thanks in advance!

    • Ciao Raina,

      You will love the Cavalcata Sarda – it’s Sardinia’s prime festival. Buses to run on the island but they are not that frequent, you may have problems later in the night when you want to return to Alghero. You will need to buy tickets for the Hippodrome which I believe is 25 Euro, you can either buy in advance or at the gate. The Cavalcata Sarda is an all day event – I would suggest arriving to Sassari around mid-morning that way you can spend the day – there are festivals and parades throughout the town. There are many parking garages in Sassari and it’s safe to park your car there. Your hotel will have plenty of information on this festival and maps outlining where everything will be held.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else. Have a great time.

      Jennifer

      • Candelieri is not only a spectacular event… is really the most original, pitoresque and unique event in Sardinia, and all around the world.. All other nice events which take place in the island throughout the year can be found similar in other place or regions in Italy or around Mediterranean Sea. For example, the “Sagra di Sant Efisio” in Cagliari, born long time ago as a religious celebration, and after La Cavalcata Sarda (Sassari in may) turned to be also a tourism parade, by coping and becoming similar to it. So as the Festa del Redentore (Nuoro).
        Candelieri is UNESCO PATRIMONY, and it is really unique. You and all tourist visiting our Island can’t miss to discover it in August the 14th, as it is since 1500 a.c.
        Also don’t miss other original and pitouresque events of “La Sartiglia” (Oristano – February), very ancient, more than 500 y.o. as Candelieri in Sassari. Other very iteresting, is the Barbagia Carnival, or La Corsa degli Scalzi (Cabras), both really very very nice festivals which everybody shouldn’t miss coming in Sardinia Island.

        Have nice time here
        and how we use to say here in Sardinian language “A Kent’Annos”, it is for “I wish You to live 100 years”.

        Greetings from Sardinia
        Roberto
        Director of Tour Operator

      • Pardon, but where You live Milady, In Sardinia? if in Sardinia, where exactly? because I am very surprised, since You don’t mention the Candelieri… This event is the oldest and most important feast in Sardinia, and between the greatest in Italy. It is a UNESCO heritage, as well!! Please, considerate to review your experience with Sardinia Island if You wish to be a Sardinia blogger or something like that,
        To mention the cherry festival, with all the respect to the cherries, and forget the CANDELIERI festival, is very serious!!!

        PS: about cherry festival, be advice that in sardinia we have hundreds of festivals dedicated to the foods, as: artichokes, sea urchins, chestnuts, pig, olives, bread, fishes, watermelon, cheese, wines… for other I invite You to look for them… You will discover more and more!! the list is really long!!!

        Thank You so much
        Roberto Tola
        General Manager of Visit Sardinia Tour Operator
        International registered Trade Mark ®

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