Olbia, Sardinia, Italy

The rugged Italian island of Sardinia is blessed with a rocky coastline interrupted by soft sand beaches and washed by limpid seas. Olbia is a very ancient town. It was founded by Phoenicians, and later occupied by Greeks and Romans in their turns. The church of San Simplicio dates from the 11th or 12th century, and that dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle is medieval. The town’s Museum of Archaeology can help you visualize the timeline. Everything changed dramatically in the 1960s, when the Prince Karim Aga Khan selected a 20-kilometer stretch of the nearby coastline to develop an exclusive resort complex he called the Costa Smeralda. Today this enchanting shoreline is encrusted with jewel-like resorts and hotels, private villas and beach facilities, yacht marinas and heliports. It is reputedly the most expensive real estate per square meter in Europe. Without doubt it is beautiful, and it is not necessarily that expensive to just look.