Sardinia is one of those destinations I deliberately visited in the off-season, knowing how popular it is with Italian and German tourists in July and August. The beaches were still quite busy in September but the island was definitely starting to shut down with restaurants closing and tour companies packing up.
You can read about the best beaches in Sardinia in our comprehensive travel guide.
Swimming with Dolphins in Orosei, Sardinia
What was still going strong was the huge Marina Resort in Orosei. It’s one of those outrageously expensive, all-inclusive resort hotels with massive swimming pools, tennis courts and a private beach. The kind of place people go just to sit around and do nothing, except sunbathing and watching the kids play, never even leaving the resort, before flying home two weeks later. Pretty much the exact place I would never normally step foot in.
But somehow I found myself there, walking around the facilities, feeling like the intruder I was. I was looking for the beach but you couldn’t seem to be able to get there without passing through the resort. There were people everywhere, kids screaming, toys scattered around. It was my idea of hell.
Trying to escape as quickly as possible I headed to the beach, a beach normally teeming with tourists but completely empty at this time thanks to the rain. That didn’t stop me, it was only really drizzling and it was still warm out.
A few hundred metres along and I couldn’t believe what an incredible place I found myself, purely by chance, without another person in sight. I didn’t have my bathers but jumped in the water in my underwear. The air was still, the water so perfectly calm and unbelievably warm.
I wanted to stay there all day but reluctantly got out to give my clothes a chance to dry. Thinking I was alone, I was startled by the loud splash behind me. I couldn’t believe I was seeing two dolphins playing in the water, jumping and splashing around a couple of metres away. They hung around for a few minutes, basically at my feet, before swimming off along the shoreline, chasing a fish by the look of it.
I loved this place more than anywhere in Sardinia, knowing I would never have an experience like it again, alone with the dolphins at one of the most touristy beaches on the island.