The 8 Best Events and Festivals in Sardinia

January 17, 2024

festivals in sardinia

Sardinia is home to many festivals that are held throughout the island yearly. They provide a great chance to view traditional clothes
and handicrafts, listen to traditional music and sample local delicacies at characteristic
Sardinian food booths.

While most festivals in Sardinia have religious origins, others honor yearly events like the harvest. The Uri
artichoke festival in March and the Nuoro cherry festival in June are among the numerous gastronomy
events celebrating local goods.

1. The Carnival of Mamoiada

The Carnival of Mamoiada is one of the oldest carnivals in Sardinia. It is held in February in the various towns and areas of the island. In Mamoiada, in the province of Nuoro, men in sheepskins, black wooden masks, and a big cluster of cowbells perform an old display based on pre-Christian Sardinian customs and rites. The medieval horse fair, La Sartiglia, is the focal point of Oristano’s carnival celebration. During the Carnival week, Sardinia also organizes several parades in addition to these activities.

2. The Festival of San Simplicio

One of Sardinia’s most important religious celebrations is the Festival of San Simplicio. San Simplicio is Olbia’s patron saint, and this event is in his honor. Unsurprisingly, the event is hosted in Olbia, the northeastern coastal city on this island and the nearest resort to Costa Smeralda. It is primarily recognized for its magnificent medieval San Simplicio church and seafront bordering palm trees. They sincerely want to pay tribute to their patron saint! The second week of May is when the Festival of San Simplicio occurs yearly. Several religious celebrations and rituals, food events, and horseback riding competitions exist. Anticipate vivid fireworks, delectable cuisine, and endless glasses of wine!

3. Music festivals

Multiple music events have taken place in Sardinia since 1980. Jazz music gained popularity in Sardinia due to introducing new initiatives, which led to an increasing number of foreign jazz performers settling in the region. Since 2004, Cagliari has hosted the European Jazz Expo in September. The worldwide jazz festival ‘Time in Jazz’ is held annually in Bercchida, the hometown of famous jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu, during the first part of August. Popular “jazz cities” in Sardinia include Cagliari Bercchida and Alghero, home of the Alghero World Music Festival. Every summer, the province of Oristano hosts the Dromos Worldwide Festival, which attracts worldwide jazz and world music performers to the island to play in various picturesque natural settings. There are free activities at this festival and others that need a ticket. The festival honors Sardinian culture in all its forms, including music, literature, film, and visual arts.

4. Calici di Stelle

This is one of the greatest summer festivals in Sardinia. For almost 40 years, Jerzu, wellknown for producing cannonau wine, has hosted this wine festival. Since Jerzu is conveniently near Sardinia’s eastern coast and nestled in the stunning Ogliastra mountains, you should schedule a few days to see some of the island’s most picturesque beaches before heading further into the interior to attend the festival. In addition to the abundance of wine throughout the festival, there will be dances, horse races, concerts, sports, and guided tours of the surrounding ancient sites.

5. The Cavalcata Sarda

Travel to Sassari, north of Sardinia, in May to see the Cavalcata Sarda, a unique Sardinian festival that honors beauty. Each year, all of the island villages in Sassari unite to celebrate beauty on the second to last Sunday in May, celebrating their distinct cultures and identities. Sardinian groups from all around the world dress traditionally and accessorize with colorful jewelry. This procession is a visual treat! Hundreds of horseback riders and over three thousand individuals are dressed in traditional garb. There are also horseback acrobatics and equestrian races for those seeking a little more excitement. Additionally, there is a ton of live music in the evenings in the downtown area. Traditional songs and dances are performed till late into the night.

6. Settimana Santa

Sardinians are predominantly Roman Catholic; consequently, many celebrations connect to Christian holidays. The most prominent religious celebration in Sardinia is Easter. Various celebrations are held around the island throughout the week of Easter (Settimana Santa), from Holy Thursday to Easter Monday. During Holy Week, visiting Cagliari, Alghero, Oristano, and Castelsardo, in particular, is recommended. Like most other Sardinian celebrations, this week focuses on cuisine, dancing, and music.

7. Girotonno

Girotonno is one of the greatest cuisine festivals in Sardinia. It’s a four-day event that takes place every year at the end of May, just before the summer heat arrives. Off the coast of southeast Sardinia, on the small island of San Pietro, lies the city of Carloforte, where the event occurs.

Girotonno honors anything related to the bluefin tuna. An international competition featuring tuna cuisine is part of the Girotonno program. A technical and popular jury will also be present, making this a genuine blue competition! Meet-and-greet events, music, and live food demonstrations are available. If you like eating delicious cuisine and fish, you should check out Girotonno’s culinary festival!

8. Sagra delle Castagne

Situated around one hour and forty-five minutes by car from Cagliari, Aritzo is a tiny town in the center of Sardinia. It has been the site of the chestnut festival, one of Sardinia’s most delicious (literally) celebrations, every year for the last 49 years. Although this event is technically a part of Barbagia’s Autunno, I think it merits particular attention due to its exceptional quality. Attendees may anticipate consuming an abundance of locally produced foods since the event honors the excellent chestnuts and hazelnuts found in this region of Sardinia.

Additionally, it’s a chance to see a unique exhibit created just for the occasion and discover more about the history and traditions of the area.

Sardinia provides diverse cultural experiences via its lively festivals and events. Every event offers a different chance to experience the local culture, taste delectable regional cuisine, and learn about the island’s rich history.