Undisputed capital of the Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo is a district of Arzachena, a town in the Gallura area, with just a few hundred residents. In the summer, it becomes an extraordinary procession of hundreds of yachts and famous personalities: it is quite likely that you will find yourself in the square, shopping with stars of the cinema and the television. Every day is a continuous stream of engagements with the international jet set: parties, social events, sports events, golf in particular.
The seaside village emerged around a natural cove that resembles a deer. The old port dates back to the 1960s, when Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, captivated by the beauty of this stretch of coastline, had a brilliant idea when he decided to buy the lands of this part of Gallura and, together to the Swiss-French set designer Jacques Couelle, and later assisted by several Italian architects, he brought life to this paradise of international elite tourism. In the 1980s, the work to build the new tourist port began, which is now one of the biggest and best equipped in the Mediterranean (700 boat moorings), headquarters of the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club, organizer glamorous and prestigious regattas. Walking along the docks, you can admire the moored yachts of rich, famous personalities or you can watch them as they leave the port.
The town of Poltu Celvu (in the language of the Gallura area) was built high up on level ground with respect to the port. From Piazzetta delle Chiacchiere to the Sottopiazza there is a series of alleys, windows, balconies, built in typical Costa Smeralda style, as well as shops and boutiques selling prestigious designer items, while, all around, you will find the most prestigious restaurants, luxury hotels, the most fashionable clubs, at the centre of the coast's nightlife, and splendid villas climbing up the surrounding hills, nestled in the Mediterranean scrub. During the design stages, the prince and his collaborators came up with the idea of creating architecture that would maintain continuity with the typical Gallura architecture as much as possible, blending perfectly into the environment: it was the key to success. On the subject of architecture, remember to take a look at the splendid Stella Maris church, the work of architect Michele Busiri Vici, which dominates Porto Cervo Marina.
A few steps from the touristic centre are some breath-taking beaches. The expanse of soft, white sand of the Grande Pevero is lapped by the turquoise, blue and green reflections of the sea, flanked by granite rocks shaped by time, and by Mediterranean scrub. Behind it there are well-kept golf courses hat make the resort a popular destination for golfers. Separated by a promontory, you will find the Piccolo Pevero, a beach that is less than half the size of its 'older sister'. Offshore you can admire the islets of Li Nibani, 'the seagulls'. Two kilometres further south are other wonders: the Romazzino and the Principe beach (in honour of the Aga Khan). On the opposite end of the 'emerald' promontory, you will be entranced by delightful coves, including Cala di Volpe and Liscia Ruja. Further south, don't miss the paradise of Cala Capriccioli, beaches of fine, light-coloured sand, protected by yellow, pink and reddish granite rocks. The name Gallurese means 'goats', and refers to a pair of huge, polished round boulders that form various coves. The beach to the east is ideal for families, while the western side is formed by the beaches of 'Pirata' and 'delle Tartarughe'. The panorama is enhanced by the islands of Soffi and delle Camere and the islet of Mortorio.