Booking.com Presents 72 hours in Sardinia to Celebrate the Release of Disney’s The Little Mermaid
May 26 will see the release of the highly anticipated re-imagination of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid. Starring singer and actor Halle Bailey as Ariel and award-winning actress, producer, and Booking.com’s #1 Travel Fan Melissa McCarthy as the villainous sea witch Ursula, a selection of the movie was filmed along the northern coast of the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. Famed for its white sandy beaches, shimmering clear waters, and a wide array of underwater life, it’s no wonder this island was chosen to mark the meeting spot that inspires the love story between the beautiful Ariel and the dashing Prince Eric. Travelers luckily don’t have to enter dodgy deals with Ursula to explore stunning Sardinia for three magical days. With a third (33%) of global travelers wanting to explore a destination seen in a movie,* Booking.com is sharing a 72-hour guide to ensure travelers bag a happily-ever-after in the scenic destination where the movie was filmed.
Where to Stay
With scenes filmed across various locations in the north of Sardinia, travelers are spoiled for choice in where to stay on the Mediterranean island. For those venturing to the extreme tip of the island, the beautiful Villa Bianca Luxury B&B Experience in the historic town of Santa Teresa di Gallura is the perfect spot. Situated atop a small hill, the B&B boasts exquisite views overlooking the crystal clear waters of Spiaggia Rena Bianca beach and features crisp nautical interiors that will make guests feel at one with the sea and connect with their inner mermaid. Guests can feast on a hearty continental breakfast of fresh fruit and pastries each morning, and there’s a host of restaurants and shops within walking distance.
For travelers who choose the quaint fishing village of Golfo Aranci (Gulf of Oranges) as their base, bed down at S'Abba seafront apartments. These stylish and spacious apartments provide everything guests need, from a terrace and fully-equipped kitchen to a kayak to explore the ocean and board games. There’s a variety of beaches nearby, including the tiny 230 ft (70 meters) Quarta beach and the wider scale Cala Moresca beach, ideal for staying all day in the sun and exploring sea life like the real-life inspirations for Sebastian and Flounder. For the 19% of travelers who like to rent a car to explore on their vacation** discover the beauty of both towns with a Booking.com car rental to maximize the three-day trip.
What to Eat
The rugged Mediterranean island of Sardinia has a cuisine all of its own, that includes fresh seafood, spit-roasted meats, and cheesy pastries, perfect for a banquet fit for a royal prince or princess. Distinct from neighboring Italian cooking, the choice is vast with regional styles that vary by landscape. Along the coast, there’s a celebration of seafood from Aragosta alla Catalana, a chilled salad made with freshly caught lobster to Fregola, a simple pasta dish paired with fresh clams. In the mountains, meals revolve around meat and cheese. Meat lovers can tuck into the lip-smacking Su Porcheddu, a succulent yet crispy slow-roasted pork cooked over a spit, while the staple cheese Pecorino Sardo is best enjoyed over a big bowl of homemade pasta. Blu Restaurant, situated a short drive from S'Abba seafront apartments is highly recommended, and visitors will feast like a king on dishes such as tagliatelle with grated bottarga, a cured mullet fish roe. For a more relaxed affair, dine out at Ristorante Pizzeria Marlin, a few steps from Villa Bianca Luxury B&B Experience for grilled cuttlefish pizza and seafood risotto, all served with an incredible sea view and feel like you're floating in a blue lagoon.
What to See
The island’s landscape of rugged coastlines, pristine nature, and ancient stone structures set against brilliant blue backdrops is a well-established magnet for movie productions. For those feeling inspired to seek out mermaids in honor of the new movie, a walk along the promenade in Golfo Aranci is essential. Home to a bronze mermaid sculpture in the middle of the bay, this striking sea siren rises out of the water and disappears beneath the waves re-emerging twice a day singing a unique Sardinian song. The town of Golfo Aranci is also known for its rich marine biodiversity; visitors can get up close with larger mammals on a sustainable dolphin-watching tour, or venture down under to immerse in a colorful array of sea life. In the bay, there’s even a unique underwater museum with art statues waiting to be discovered by divers and snorkelers. A short drive away, the Ariel and Prince Eric love story is waiting to be replicated on a romantic Sunset Kayaking and Snorkelling Experience. Giving unrivaled views of the protected seascapes of the Tavolara Marina Park, travelers are in with a chance to make new sea friends on this tour with sightings of starfish, flamingos, and seagulls that will remind you of Scuttle and hopefully no scary eels like Flotsam and Jetsam.
What to Do
On day two, head to Palau, a short drive from both Santa Teresa di Gallura and Golfo Aranci for a Full-day Guided Maddalena Archipelago Boating Tour to roam the islands between Corsica (in France) and Sardinia. There’s no promise of finding a mermaid along this small cluster of islands, but there is the guarantee of azure waters, blissful swimming, and breathtaking views. During this 72-hour whirlwind trip, travelers must visit the bright and breezy Santa Teresa di Gallura, a soulful and colorful village that occupies a prime seafront position. Its main Rena Bianca beach is spectacular and a walk along the street from the eastern tip past granite formations is sure to fire the imagination with their incredible shapes. On its soft white sand, there are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas, with pedal boats and canoes available to rent and a bar to chill out in. For a culture fix, head to Longonsardo Tower, just five minutes walk from the main piazza in town. Built in the 16th century, it’s the largest tower in northern Sardinia and offers stunning panoramas across the Strait of Bonifacio. Travelers can experience the vibrant bars in town where there are plenty of places for dancing the night away.
“The Little Mermaid”
“The Little Mermaid,” visionary filmmaker Rob Marshall’s live-action reimagining of the studio’s Oscar®-winning animated musical classic, opens exclusively in theaters nationwide May 26, 2023. “The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy. The film stars singer and actress Halle Bailey (“grown-ish”) as Ariel; Jonah Hauer-King (“A Dog’s Way Home”) as Eric; Tony Award® winner Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton,” “Snowpiercer”) as the voice of Sebastian; Awkwafina (“Raya and the Last Dragon”) as the voice of Scuttle; Jacob Tremblay (“Luca,” “Room”) as the voice of Flounder; Noma Dumezweni (“Mary Poppins Returns”) as The Queen; Art Malik (“Homeland”) as Sir Grimsby; with Oscar® winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Being the Ricardos”) as King Triton; and two-time Academy Award® nominee Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” “Bridesmaids”) as Ursula.
“The Little Mermaid” is directed by Oscar® nominee Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Mary Poppins Returns”) with a screenplay by two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (“Life of Pi,” “Finding Neverland”). The songs feature music from multiple Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”) and lyrics by Howard Ashman, and new lyrics by three-time Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film is produced by two-time Emmy® winner Marc Platt (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” “Grease Live!”), Miranda, two-time Emmy winner John DeLuca (“Tony Bennett: An American Classic”), and Rob Marshall, with Jeffrey Silver (“The Lion King”) serving as executive producer.
About the research:
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 42,513 respondents across 33 markets (2,000 from the USA, 1,008 from Canada, 2,000 from Mexico, 1,000 from Colombia, 2,000 from Brazil, 1,000 from Argentina, 2,000 from Australia, 1,000 from New Zealand, 2,000 from Spain, 2,000 from Italy, 2,000 from France, 2,000 from UK, 2,000 from Germany, 1,000 from Netherlands, 1,000 from Denmark, 1,000 from Sweden, 1,000 from Croatia, 1,000 from Switzerland, 1,000 from Belgium, 1,000 from Ireland, 1,000 from Portugal, 1,000 from Israel, 2,000 from India, 1,000 from China, 1,005 from Hong Kong, 1,000 from Thailand, 1,000 from Singapore, 1,000 from Taiwan, 1,000 from Vietnam, 1,000 from South Korea, 1,000 from Japan, 500 from UAE). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2023 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January and February 2023.
**Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,179 respondents across 32 countries and territories were polled (including 1014 from Argentina, 1006 from Australia, 505 from Austria, 504 from Belgium, 1009 from Brazil, 503 from Canada, 1009 from China, 1010 from Colombia, 505 from Croatia, 505 from Denmark, 1010 from France, 1001 from Germany, 500 from Hong Kong, 1005 from India, 504 from Ireland, 504 from Israel, 1008 from Italy, 1003 from Japan, 504 from Mexico, 502 from The Netherlands, 1007 from New Zealand, 1009 from Portugal, 507 from Singapore, 1008 from South Korea, 1001 from Spain, 505 from Sweden, 508 from Switzerland, 500 from Taiwan, 504 from Thailand, 1006 from the UK, 1009 from the US and 504 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2022.