One day the Prince Karim the 4th, heir of Mohamed and Aga Khan of the Ishmaelites, during a cruise discovered the northeastern coast of Sardinia and observing it aboard the yacht, he saw a shore with gulfs, islands and creeks still deserted and wild. He was absolutely fascinated by the vibrant colours of the sea and the bizarre shape of the wind-sculpted granite rocks. The headlands had emerald green slopes and scented “macchia” was in full bloom with rosemary, thyme and other fragrant Mediterranean vegetation. In the early sixties a Consortium headed by the Aga Khan was founded and it was named Costa Smeralda, The Emerald Coast, which soon became the site of an ambitious new holiday venue in the Mediterranean Sea. The project transformed a coastline that is forty-three kilometres long with a surface of about five thousand hectares, into a paradise haven for the jet society. The whole Costa Smeralda area is one of the best-loved places for international tourists during summertime vacations, but also in spring and autumn because of its exceptionally mild climate. Famous architect from France like Jacques Couelle contributed in the creation of a unique and new architectural style that recalls certain rustic old houses of Sardinia with faded colours or white washed walls reinterpreting the Moorish architecture. Porto Cervo was created as a comfortable and safe anchor place with magnificent harbours, where yachts and sailing boats gather in summertime or during the low season to see some of the most popular regattas in the Mediterranean. Among the most suggestive and picturesque resorts of Costa Smeralda we find Romazzino (meaning rosemary in Gallurese dialect), Liscia di Vacca, Poltu Quatu and Pevero. This glorious coast is equipped with elegant hotels, luxurious villas and with all sorts of facilities, sophisticated restaurants and very expensive and glamorous boutiques. Many private villas, belonging to famous personalities of the international world like financers, politicians, actors and aristocrats, are hidden in the green “macchia” and rocky outcrops to escape Paparazzi flashes.Nature has still preserved its original fascination with large areas still untouched and wild. Strict restrictions were applied by the architects, who also banned the use of imported trees such as pine, eucalyptus so that only the indigenous spontaneous scented vegetation thrive unhindered as nature intended.
Near Punta di Volpe a group of tourist landing places was also created around the gulf of Cugnana, Gulf of Marinella and Golfo Aranci with other luxurious resorts such as Porto Rotondo. On the edge of the Costa Smeralda, centred around a delightful golden beach we find another elegant and comfortable resort called Baja Sardinia, where in high season boutiques, restaurants and cafes bustle with life. For the funky and groovy lovers here are some of the most exclusive discotheques such as The Ritual, with dance floors made out of the granite rocks of the hill. The surrounding coastline is dotted with sheltered, sandy coves, easily reached by car. Nestled in the sheltered Gulf of Arzachena is Cannigione a bustling little town that boasts good restaurants, excellent other facilities and a family-friendly atmosphere. The little port and the beach are within walking distance from the little town.