If you love traveling, there’s a great chance you’ve heard about my amazing island and are wondering how to get to Sardinia. Don’t worry, I got you covered. As a local I know exactly how to guide you, so read on!
You have two main options for getting to Sardinia:
- FLIGHTS: There are flights to Sardinia, and getting on a plane is fast and relatively cheap.
- FERRY: Taking a ferry from mainland Italy is a great way to get to Sardinia if you wish to travel with your car and enjoy the slow ride.
Getting to Sardinia is one thing, but moving around once you’re on the island is another, so let’s also talk about that. I will tell you everything I know to guide you, including how to get from the airport to the city center, and more.
Read more on the topic:
- How to Move around Sardinia by Public transport
- How To reach The main destinations by car
- The Ultimate Guide to Rent a car in Sardinia
Below is a recap of what I will cover in this article. Click on the topic you want to read to get directly to that chapter
1) Flights to Sardinia
- Major Airports
- Flights To Sardinia from the US
- Direct Flights To Sardinia from the UK
- Getting to Sardinia from Outside Europe
- Cheap Flights to Sardinia
2) Ferry to Sardinia
- How long is a ferry ride to Sardinia?
- Major Sardinia Ports
- Ferry from Italy to Sardinia
- Ferry from Rome to Sardinia
- Ferry from Sicily to Sardinia
3) Getting Around Sardinia FAQs
- Is it worth renting a car in Sardinia?
- Sardinia Public Transport: How to get around the island without a car (by bus and train).
- Is Sardinia easy to get around?
- Can you get around Sardinia without a car?
- How do people get around in Sardinia?
- How long does it take to get around Sardinia?
- What are the roads like in Sardinia?
- Driving in Sardinia: All you need To know
Flights to Sardinia-Italy
With more and more tourists choosing Sardinia as their next summer destination, recent years have been marked by an increasing frequency of flights to Sardinia.
With three major airports, Sardinia is now well connected. Not only are there Rome, Milan, and Naples to Sardinia flights, Sardinia is now easily accessible with flights from many Italian cities and cities from other parts of Europe.
How to Book A flight To Sardinia
SKYSCANNER: Since this is my N.1 choice for 90% of my flights around the world, I highly recommend it. I never had any issues and it saved me hours of research online. It’s easy to use and compares every possible airline for the route you need. It is also convenient if you can’t book a direct flight to Sardinia.
My honest review: I compared the prices when booking with Skyscanner or directly through the airline website, and sometimes you pay a bit more when booking with Skyscanner. This doesn’t apply to all the flights and routes, so if you have time, do some research (especially for direct flights), for non-direct flights It’s better to just go with it, as the research can be exhausting!
Direct Flights To Sardinia From Europe
Yes, Sardinia also has direct flights from Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin, Brussels, Geneva, Budapest, and many more which I’ll talk about below. Let me guide you on a detailed tour of each of Sardinia’s airports and other helpful tips when choosing to fly to Sardinia.
Direct Flights to Sardinia From The UK
Ryanair: Routes covered from Stansted, Luton, and Dublin to Alghero, and from Gatwick to Cagliari.
Local’s tip: check out for additional taxes and fees and restrictions on luggage when booking! Ryan air might be cheap but is not convenient if you stay on the east coast, as the roads from Alghero to Olbia are not easy to figure out. Maybe it’s better to spend a bit more with other companies and travel stress-free!
EasyJet: Gatwick, Luton and Bristol to Olbia and from Stansted to Cagliari.
Tips: I used Easy Jet when I lived in London and they have very convenient prices. In winter they just fly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, whilst from May on they have daily flights. Be careful as the prices are shown don’t include the check-in baggage (around 20 euros for 20kg). They will also ask you to choose your seat, insurance, car, hotels, etc. I usually decline.
British Airways: Heathrow to Olbia and Cagliari.
Tips: The flights to Cagliari are only on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. To Olbia, they only operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The prices are inclusive of taxes, no hidden fees, and are pretty similar to the low costs companies.
Thomson Flights: London Gatwick to Alghero.
Tips: Honestly? I don’t recommend them. They only fly on Saturdays and the prices are VERY expensive. I give you this choice just in case everything else is fully booked and you don’t have a fixed budget. Ps: If you happen to book with them, and you don’t find “Alghero” on the choices is because they put it under “Sardinia- Alghero”.
How to Get to Sardinia From the US
All flights from the United States to Sardinia require a stopover in London or another European city. You can take the Rome to Sardinia flights or another option like Milan before continuing to one of the three airports without a layover.
The airport for Sardinia with the most flight and airline options is Cagliari, which serves the island’s southernmost region.
Which Airlines Fly To Sardinia From the US and Canada
From the US
American Airlines, ITA Airways (Ex Alitalia), and Delta have direct flights to these possible layover airports, not only from New York but also from Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
If you are coming from Canada, you can fly from Toronto or Montreal with Alitalia and AirCanada with one stopover in Europe before a direct flight to Sardinia.
Visa Requirements for Sardinia
As long as you don’t intend to stay for longer than 90 days, US citizens or Canadians can visit Sardinia and mainland Italy as tourists without a visa. However, you must have a passport with at least six months of remaining validity after the date of arrival into the country and enough blank pages for entry stamps.
How to Get To Sardinia from Outside Europe
The same with coming from the United States, there are no direct flights from other countries outside of Europe like North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia to Sardinia, so you will have to fly to other major airports in Italy. Getting to Sardinia from Rome or Milan is your best option.
How to Find Cheap Flights to Sardinia
Are you looking for a cheap flight to Sardinia? (Who isn’t, right?) 🙂
You can find plane tickets from New York for $587 one-way and $1,052 round-trip. You need to reserve at least three weeks before your planned departure to receive a discounted rate, especially if you plan to fly during the summer.
1) Find The Best Time To Travel To Sardinia
The months of September, October, and November are still high/mid-season (price-wise), but from mid-October on, it’s mainly middle to low season, and the prices finally decrease. May is the cheapest month to travel to Sardinia (and one of the most incredible months to do so, not only for the cheap flights!).
2) Fly with Low Cost/Cheap airlines to Sardinia
If you want cheap flights to Sardinia, take advantage of low-cost airlines. To find the cheapest flights to Sardinia, keep an eye out for special offers from budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. During their recurring flight sales, prices frequently drop dramatically. Also, consider traveling to Sardinia during the low season. The benefits will surprise you.
- One word of advice regarding these low-cost companies: The ticket might be cheap, but they try to rip you off by adding surcharges for the luggage and other little things. Careful when you book your flight. If you notice that the final price is much higher than the starting price, you probably left the insurance box or other extras selected. If you genuinely want to stay cheap with them: travel light and never tick any unnecessary boxes 🙂
3) Fly to Sardinia in Off season /winter
Even though there are fewer flights during the off-peak winter months, there are still at least once weekly flights to all of Sardinia’s major airports. Before booking your trip, check out the flights first. Some direct flights are canceled during the off-season.
Airports in Sardinia:
Which Sardinia airport is better? It all depends on where you decide to stay in Sardinia or, at least, where you will start your holiday.
There are three main airports in Sardinia you could fly into:
- Cagliari Elmas Airport, just a few kilometers away from the city of Cagliari – South of Sardinia,
- Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport at the north-eastern part of Sardinia
- Alghero Fertilia Airport in the north-western part.
All three airports are a quick ride from their city center, so no worries, I’ll tell you how to get to the city center from each one below.
Cagliari Elmas Airport
IATA Airport Code: CAG
Cagliari Airport is 7 km northwest of Sardinia Island, nearby Elmas town, thus the name Cagliari Elmas Airport (little curiosity: I live 15 min from the airport, my town is the next one after Elmas, very convenient :).
Cagliari airport is the busiest airport in Sardinia, with 5 million passengers. If you’re spending time in South Sardinia, this is your airport of choice.
Direct Flights To Sardinia -Cagliari Airport
There are direct flights to Cagliari to over 30 cities, and airlines like British Airways, EasyJet, Luxair, Air Berlin, and Ryanair fly to and from Sardinia. Rome to Sardinia flights for Cagliari Airport directly are at 247 flights monthly, followed by direct flights to these cities:
National Flights From Italy To Cagliari
International Flights From Italy To Cagliari
- London Gatwick
- Basel Mulhouse
Cagliari Airport Amenities
This airport in Sardinia is equipped with all essential facilities for your comfort and includes ATMs, business centers, shops, cafes, restaurants, and executive lounges. You can also take advantage of the parking space for long-term and short-term use (click here for the rates). There are rental car service desks at the arrivals area of the airport from companies like Europcar, Hertz, Firefly, and Goldcar.
Main Airlines flying into Cagliari Airport:
Presently, 20 airlines offer flights to Cagliari (Sardinia). Ryanair, which connects 39 airports to Cagliari (Sardinia), runs most of the flights, with Volotea as the second airline with the most flights. Other airlines flying to Cagliari include EasyJet, Alitalia ( recently rebranded as ITA Airways), Neos, Eurowings, and Wizzair.
How to get from Cagliari Airport to the city center
There are a few ways you can get to the city as soon as you arrive in Sardinia. The choice depends on whether you want to stay comfortable or make one last effort and drag your luggage up and down the bus or train.
It only takes about a 10 to 15- minute and 25 euro (taxi) ride to get to the city center. Consider paying an additional charge for the nighttime service, from 10 pm to 6 am.
Buses depart for the City Center every half-hour; this method is the least expensive mode of transportation. There are two bus terminals at the airport.
The buses that depart from the area directly outside the arrivals area operate between 8.40 am and 11.30 pm, while the buses from the departures area run between 5.20 am and 10.30 pm. You must buy the tickets before boarding at the newsstand in the arrival area and at the McDonald’s in the departure area.
- From Cagliari To The Airport
Suppose you are traveling to the airport from Cagliari. In that case, you must board the buses on platform eight at the ARST bus terminal (located near the train station in Piazza Matteotti) and pay 0.67 euros for a single journey. For inquiries, ARST bus company has toll-free numbers: 800 865042 or 070 4098327 (I doubt they will speak good English, but you can try or ask a local if needed, we are always ready to help if we can!) 🙂
You can also use the train service from the airport from 5:00 am to 11:45 pm, with a 20-minute waiting time before each departure. You will reach the center of Cagliari in 7 minutes at most. Purchase train tickets from the train station or a machine located at the airport’s arrivals area for € 1.30 per way.
You can easily walk to the train station outside the airport’s arrivals. As soon as you get out, head on your left towards the multi-level parking space; you’ll find it there. It takes around 5 to 8 minutes to get there (considering your luggage too).
IATA airport code: AHO
Alghero Airport, also called Alghero Fertilia, 8 km northwest of the city center, is the leading international gateway o Northwest Sardinia.
Direct Flights To Sardinia -Alghero Fertilia
Direct flights are coming from the following cities (helpful in planning your trip if you arrive from the US, another country, or even from Italian towns without direct flights):
National Flights from Italy To Alghero
- Venice Marco Polo
International Flights From Italy To Alghero
- Brussels Charleroi
- London Stansted
- Other Cities with less than ten flights a month
Main Airlines flying into Alghero Airport:
- Wizz Air
- Alitalia ( now Ita Airways)
How to get from Alghero Airport to The city Center
Being Alghero Airport quite close to the city, it’s easy to find the perfect option for your needs; let’s see how:
This airport in Sardinia also uses ARST (Regional Bus Service). Route 9373’s last stop is at Via Catalogna- Alghero. The same bus travels back to the airport and is available every hour from 05:20 am to 11:00 pm. They have a seasonal route to Stintino and Santa Teresa Di Gallura from June to September. Very useful if you decide to stay in one of these lovely locations and don’t want to rent a car in Sardinia.
You can buy the bus tickets for local connections from an automatic vending machine, which is open 24 hours a day at the airport. For more information, you may call (+39) 079 2639200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (again, I can’t guarantee their English is up to your expectations, but you can try)
You can also find taxis immediately outside the airport’s arrivals area. The fare to the city center is around 25 €. (But always ask beforehand to avoid scams)
RENTING A CAR
If you wish to rent a car in Sardinia, you can find companies that offer car rentals, assistance, and information like road conditions and routes. You’ll find their offices inside the terminal right outside the arrivals lounge.
- Local’s Tip: Don’t wait to rent the car upon arrival in Sardinia; likely, you won’t find much availability. I recommend you book in advance using a reputable comparing tool. Then you can go straight to your stand at the airport and show them your booking. No-fuss or extra stress!
IATA airport code: OLB
Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, 5 km from downtown Olbia, is the central hub on the northeast coast of Sardinia.
Olbia is a city in the famous Sardinian region of Gallura. The city, located nearby the Costa Smeralda touristy area, is known for its beaches, historic sites, and year-round mild temperatures (all over Sardinia except for the mountain areas in the hinterland).
The airport has numerous connections to mainland Italy and locations in continental Europe and the UK. For example, there is Rome to Sardinia flights direct to Olbia.
Below is the list of cities with direct flights from Olbia
National Flights from Italy To Olbia
International Flights from Italy To Olbia
- London Gatwick
- London Heathrow
- Basel Mulhouse Freiburg
Main Airlines flying into Olbia Airport:
- Wizz Air
- Alitalia (now ITA Airways)
How to get from Olbia Airport to Olbia city Center
This airport is also well located, and it’s easy (and cheap) to get to the city by public transport
To get to Olbia city center, ride buses n. two and n. ten which will take you into town in around 10 minutes. They depart every 10-20 minutes. You can purchase the tickets for €1.50 at the information desk inside the airport terminal. You will find the bus stop 50 meters away outside the airport near the arrivals area.
Should you decide to take a taxi, you can find them near the arrivals area, just outside the terminal building. The minimum fare is € 3.50; after that, the cost is € 2.60 for the first 5 km and €1.90 per kilometer for the last 35 km. The average fare to the city from Olbia Airport is € 15.00. But, as usual, ask for an approximate price in advance.
RENTING A CAR
You will find car rental agencies, like Dollar, Auto Europa, Europcar, Avis, Budget, and Hertz (to name a few) upon getting to the terminal. Most of them are close to the arrivals area at the Terminal Autonoleggi, while others have nearby depots and will arrange pick-up services for you.
If you want to rent a car for your trip to Sardinia, make your reservations well in advance since there may not be as much of a selection available during major holidays and the summer.
If you can’t find a direct flight to your preferred airport in Sardinia, you can still travel the entire length of the island in three max four hours (depending on the route, traffic, and speed). The scenery along the way is sometimes breathtaking, and it wouldn’t be entirely a disadvantage.
Ferry to Sardinia
What if you wish to take your car with you? After all, having it will give you more freedom to roam around and explore the island without the need to rent a car in Sardinia.
The good news is that Sardinia ferries will take you and your car to the island. However, it is essential to note that the ferry to Sardinia can be more expensive, so you will have to book way in advance if you wish to lower the price.
How long is the ferry ride to Sardinia?
In short, it depends on the port of departure, the route, and the type of ferry: Travel duration is five to 6 hours and a half for day trips. If you travel at night, it can take from 10-12 hrs. Travel time also varies because daytime ferries include fast ferries (more expensive).
If you want to save money, you’d better go for the conventional slower ferry. It may take longer, but you won’t mind too much if you’re in a comfortable cabin or while you’re enjoying the sight of the clear blue waters from the ferry dock.
Sardinia ports cater all year round to ferries going to and from Naples, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Livorno, Piombino, Salerno, and Savona. There are also ferries going to Sardinia from other European locations like Barcelona, France, and Corsica with connecting ports of Toulon, Nice, Ajaccio, Bastia, and Bonifacio. The ferry operation increases in frequency during summer.
Sardinia Major Ports:
There are 5 main ports catering ferries to Sardinia, namely:
- Port of Arbatax – Tortolì
- Port of Cagliari
- Port of Golfo Aranci
- Port of Olbia
- Port of Porto Torres
Sardinia also has other smaller ports, namely:
- Port of Santa Teresa di Gallura
- Port of Stintino
- Port of Alghero
- Port of La Caletta
- Port of La Maddalena
- Port of Palau
- Port of Calasetta
- Port of Carloforte
- Port of Porto Vesme
- Port of Santa Maria Navarrese
Usually, the smaller ports mentioned above serve as private and tourist ports from where the touristic boat tours depart in summer.
- Local’s Tip: The most famous ones are Palau for the trip to Arcipelago della Maddalena boat trip, Santa Maria Navarrese for the Golfo Di Orosei tours (also served by Arbatax Port), Stintino and Porto Torres main Port to reach the Asinara Island, and Porto Vesme, Carloforte and Calasetta to reach the Isola di San Pietro and Carloforte town.
Port of Arbatax – Tortolì
The Port of Arbatax in the municipality of Tortolì is the best choice if you are traveling with a car, camping van, caravan, and trailer and visiting the east coast of Sardinia.
- Civitavecchia – Arbatax
- Genova – Arbatax
Tirrenia company and Grimaldi provide service to the port, with operation from 2:00 pm to 0:00 am, but the frequency of the ferries may vary according to the high and low seasons. Grimaldi Lines runs ferries weekly, Tuesdays and Saturdays, between Civitavecchia and Arbatax. The departures are often in the evening, and the crossing takes about nine hours.
Tourist Attractions Nearby:
- The most beautiful beaches of Golfo di Orosei and Ogliastra
- Porto Frailis
- Red Rocks celebrated with music festivals
- Bari Sardo
Port of Cagliari
The Port of Cagliari is southern Sardinia’s direct access by sea. You’ll see the city from the ferry, first at a distance, and up-close when your ferry docks. The bus and train station are just 200 meters away from the harbor; you can’t miss them!
If you get slightly confused exiting the pier, head towards Piazza Matteotti, on the left; everything you need is there, from the main bus and train station to an ample parking space.
The Cagliari harbor is one of the most prominent Italian seaports for those traveling with a car, camper, caravan, and trailer. Besides the convenient ferry from Naples to Sardinia, the port also caters to other useful routes.
- Civitavecchia – Cagliari
- Naples – Cagliari
- Palermo – Cagliari
The Grimaldi Lines is currently the only company serving Cagliari port with daily and weekly ferry trips from South Sardinia to Civitavecchia (Rome) and Southern Italy (Naples and Palermo- Sicily). No ferries are traveling to Cagliari from outside Italy.
Tirrenia and Moby Lines are not serving Cagliari port anymore. If you’ve traveled to Sardinia in the past, you know they used to for many years. But you don’t have to worry about these details.
In May 2022, I planned a fantastic trip to Rome and Tuscany by car and quickly booked online my return tickets from and to Sardinia using a useful comparative searching tool. You insert the route/port you need, and it finds you all the ferry companies serving that route so that you can immediately book the best deal!
If you have already decided to take the ferry, my advice is to book your ticket sooner rather than later.
Tourist locations nearby:
- Southern Sardinia Coast:Villasimius, Costa Rei, Pula, Chia, Tuerredda beach
- Sulcis Iglesiente: Porto Flavia, Cala Domestica, Nebida
- Oristano: San Giovanni Di Sinis, Santa Caterina, Tharros, Is Arutas beach and more
Port of Golfo Aranci -Sardinia
Port Golfo Aranci, located merely 20km from Olbia, serves as another gateway to Costa Smeralda and surrounding areas. If you wish to avoid the crowd in the bigger city, this port is a good choice for you.
Tourist locations nearby:
Golfo Aranci Port is a great access point to many breathtaking beaches and tourist attractions, such as:
- Sardinia Northeast: Costa Smeralda, Arzachena, La Maddalena,Sand Santa Teresa Di Gallura
- Sardinia Southeast: San Teodoro / Budoni.
Routes to and from Golfo Aranci:
- Civitavecchia – Golfo Aranci
- Livorno – Golfo Aranci
- Piombino – Golfo Aranci
- Savona – Golfo Aranci
- Ajaccio – Golfo Aranci
- Bastia – Golfo Aranci
- Porto Vecchio (Corsica, France) – Golfo Aranci
- Nizza and Tolone (France) – Golfo Aranci
Port Golfo Aranci is served by Corsica Ferries, which operates a fleet of cozy and up-to-date ships.
Port of Olbia
One of Sardinia’s most prominent ports is Olbia’s port. Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport is a short 4.7 km, 8-minute ride by car from the Port of Olbia.
The port on the island’s northeast coast is the closest one from which you can reach Sardinia by ferry from Italy. The ferries can take you there in less than 5 1/2 hours. There are nine wharves in the Isola Bianca sector of the port of Olbia where fast ferries and passenger ships can dock.
You can quickly get to the central and southern part of Sardinia from the port of Olbia by taking the SS 131 bus to Abbasanta (or renting a car and driving). From there, you can opt to head east or west.
EAST: The SS 125, also known as Orientale Sarda is ideal for traveling to popular coastal tourist destinations, including Olbia, San Teodoro, the Golfo di Orosei, up to Costa Rei, Villasimius and Cagliari.
It takes a little longer but will gift you with breathtaking panoramic views. Probably, for this reason, some tourists renamed it “Sardinian Route 66” 🙂
WEST: Going west means you will be driving along SS131/E25, which has a speed limit of 110 km/h from km 35.000 to km 108.300, the fastest speed limit on the island, so it is also the quickest way to reach your destinations in Sardinia. SS131 (also known as “Carlo Felice”) is considered the island’s main artery and, starting from Olbia, connects the city with Oristano and Cagliari.
The road is ample in some traits and a bit less in others. Currently (update 2022), there are many deviations in the trait close to Nuoro and Oristano due to undergoing structural works, and it can get slow at times. Apply caution when driving, especially at night, and always follow the signs to Cagliari.
- Civitavecchia – Olbia
Tourist locations nearby: (very similar to the ones nearby Golfo Aranci port, they are 20 min away by car)
Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), Tirrenia, Moby Lines, and Grimaldi Lines are the four ferry companies that run the routes to Olbia. Each week, they provide up to 79 ferry and hydrofoil crossings (fast ferries). The duration of the rides might range from 5 to 12 hours, depending on the port of departure.
Port of Porto Torres
Another major port for ferries in Sardinia is the Port of Porto Torres. Located on the Northwest Sardinia coast and easily accessible by plane, car, or train. Many ferries come and go from the mainland towards this port, including international ones, with the following routes:
Porto Torres- Sardinia Routes
- Civitavecchia – Porto Torres
- Livorno – Porto Torres
- Génova – Porto Torres
- Toulon – Porto Torres
- Ajaccio – Porto Torres
- Porto Vecchio – Porto Torres
- Marseille – Porto Torres
- Nizza – Porto Torres
- Barcelona – Porto Torres
Tourist locations nearby:
Some of the best Sardinia places to visit when arriving by Ferry at Porto Torres are:
- Stintino with its famous “La Pelosa Beach,”
- Asinara Island
- Costa Paradiso
- Castel Sardo (to name a few)
Grandi Navi Veloci and Tirrenia are the companies that guarantee the frequency of the routes, with an increased frequency during the peak season and a reduction during the low season. Nevertheless, there is at least one daily connection.
Suppose you intend to remain in northern Sardinia. In that case, Porto Torres is an excellent harbor to dock at because it will be convenient for you to reach the Asinara Archipelago and Alghero/ Stintino and many other lovely Sardinia places.
Ferry from Italy to Sardinia
Up to 133 ferries go to Italy each week, 41 of which depart from Rome (Civitavecchia port) for various ports in Sardinia, making them some of the busiest and most frequently traveling ferries.
You have a wide range of options when choosing your ferry route because there are many other ports in Italy that you can depart from, such as Genoa or Napoli. If you are on an Italy Road Trip) and want to include Sardinia -which you should 🙂 -you’ll have plenty of choices!
Ferry Sicily to Sardinia
Can you get a ferry from Sicily to Sardinia? Yes, you can! (Ferry Sicily to Sardinia has one route, the “Palermo-Cagliari,” with three weekly connections. Palermo to Cagliari is one of the routes Grimaldi Lines runs once daily, while the Tirrenia route to Palermo- Sicily runs twice daily.
- Local’s Tip: You should conduct a live search for crossings from Sicily to Sardinia to acquire the most recent information because the frequency and length of crossings on some routes vary.
Getting Around Sardinia
You have two main options to get around Sardinia:
- By renting a car beforehand and collecting it upon arrival in Sardinia
- By using Sardinia public transport
Each option has pros and cons, which I will cover in a breeze, so stay tuned because being a local, I can give you some helpful tricks and valuable information to decide what’s best for your needs!
Is it worth hiring a car in Sardinia?
The easiest and best way to travel around Sardinia and explore the island is exploring by car, so to be very straightforward, my answer, as a local, is YES, is it worth all the money you spend to hire a car in Sardinia, trust me on that.
Having a car offers a world of possibilities to explore even the most remote places and beaches in Sardinia. Although Sardinia’s public transportation is reasonably priced, it is not, let’s put it this way, “ideal” 🙂
This means it can be difficult or impossible to visit Sardinia’s most picturesque places by going off the major roads. Sardinia’s public transportation system needs a massive “redo” and provides better connections, so your options for travel will understandably be limited.
Sardinia Car Rental:
Car rental service is available as soon as you land at any of the three major airports. But it’s also best to book in advance to save money and, even more importantly, find a car available!
When my friends want to visit Sardinia and are planning to rent a car at the airport, I shiver in horror, knowing that they probably won’t find any availability on short notice.
As with any other place, off-season auto rental in Sardinia costs less than in peak season, and the availability shouldn’t be an issue in this case, but it better be safe than sorry.
Check availability and book your car directly here!
What type of car should you rent:
Are you planning an adventurous trip? Best to rent a small SUV or a 4-wheel drive vehicle because going off the beaten track to explore more rural areas equates to more challenging roads.
Sardinia Family Holyday: Make sure the car is equipped with a seat for the kids, or bring your own if you can. The cost might be relatively higher for this extra feature.
Car Rental in Sardinia and Insurance:
Like car renting in other places, check the vehicle before hitting the road and don’t hold back spending extra euros for insurance. It’s best to be prepared for any eventuality, especially on vacation. I always choose the one that includes everything and with the possibility of changing the driver.
More about everything you need to know to hire a car in Sardinia in an upcoming article. If you want to know when it’s up, please subscribe to my newsletter (no spam), and you’ll get an email when it’s ready!
Public Transport Sardinia: How To Get Around Without A Car.
Without a car, you can travel around Sardinia by public transport ((by train, bus, or a combination of the two). And if you are more adventurous, you can explore Sardinia by bike.
- SARDINIA BY TRAIN
Trenitalia officially operates trains in Sardinia (we have jokes about this company in terms of being on time, but I digress) 🙂
If you are quite the romantic, you’ll probably imagine an idyllic setting of you relaxing on a train as it creeps along the hinterland, observing the splendid Sardinian view from the window, going from one enchanting village to the other.
The reality is just a bit different 🙂 if you plan to reach multiple destinations, this will not be an easy undertaking.
Sardinia railway network is not as extensive and organized as you would want it to be (alas!). The connections between the east and the west are non-existent, and the railway is missing in most coastline villages and cities.
Sounds adventurous? Perhaps! Practical? Not really, unless you are traveling Sardinia with a backpack and nothing else.
Nevertheless, If you are an adventurous backpacker or want to stay put in one place, then using the train in Sardinia might be an option.
Train routes in Sardinia
The rail network connects all the main towns, with some trains running on more minor local routes. The main line goes through Cagliari-Oristano-Porto Torres and (with a change of trains in Chilivani) To Olbia as well. That’s it.
Train Costs in Sardinia
Several daily departures go from the southern part of Sardinia to the northern region and vice versa. The tickets are cheap, and you can buy them online. The longest route from Olbia to Cagliari can be completed in 4 hours and costs around 18/19 Euros.
Where to buy a Train Ticket
You can buy your Train tickets (to the main cities) directly online at the OMIO website or the official Trenitalia website. I mentioned Omio first because I find it much easier to navigate, it’s more precise on the changes of trains and the times of layovers, plus it gives you the visual route.
- Local’s Tip: Do Not forget to validate the ticket at the train station (insert it into the machine at the beginning of each platform). If you don’t validate the ticket, it is not valid, and you will get a fine. This rule applies to every train in Italy.
- SARDINIA BY BUS
ARST operates the public buses in Sardinia, runs along with the major cities, and stops at the villages and towns on the way. Gladly, given the lack of trains 🙂
- Local’s Tip: There are fewer buses on weekends and during the holidays. So plan if you wish to travel to remote villages during these times, and find another traveling method if you don’t want to get stranded.
Purchase the tickets in advance from tobacco kiosks or at newsagents near the bus stop. You can buy your ticket from the bus driver on some routes but expect a small surcharge.
The official ARST website is complicated to navigate, even for a local, and it doesn’t have an English version. That’s why I’m here. In my following guide on how to get around Sardinia by public transport, I will help you with all the details you might need. Don’t worry 🙂
- SARDINIA BY BIKE
Finally, if you have the strength, stamina, and spirit of adventure, you can bike around the breathtaking places in Sardinia. You can only expect the roads to be busy in the high seasons.
Bike Rentals Sardinia
Bike rentals are available at resorts and in major cities of Olbia, Alghero, Cagliari, Palau, Santa Teresa Gallura, and La Maddalena at € 10 per day. But note that cycling on the main road of the island SS131 is not allowed.
Taking the bike with you in Sardinia: Costs
If you wish to take the bike with you on regional trains, you can purchase a separate ticket good for 24 hours at € 3.5. The ferry charge bikes an additional fee of € 3 to € 10.
Read more (coming soon): Public Transport in Sardinia: How to move around without a car
The Takeaway of Flying To & Getting Around Sardinia
If you have read this far, congratulations! It was quite a long read, I know. I wanted to be as detailed as possible. And if you feel this guide is lacking in some areas, no worries, more detailed, in-depth articles on how to get around Sardinia are coming. I got you covered!
In need of vital information not covered here? Comment below, and I’ll do my best to help you!
Sardinia is not only rich in crystal-clear waters, soft white sand, and delicious food. The island will also seduce you with its people’s innate sense of hospitality (bragging much?? :D).
So you can expect help from the friendly locals when you need it. We, Sardinians, cannot wait to welcome you (the foreigner or “strangiu” in the Sardinian language) to our fabulous island!
PS: Do you know that Sardinian is not an Italian dialect but a different language? My friends from mainland Italy never understand a word when my parents talk with each other 😉
“A Si Biri!” ( See You soon)!
Read My Articles about Sardinia:
- Where To stay in Sardinia for Everyone (Couples included)
- One week in Sardinia: the Best Itinerary For you!
- Best Sardinia Beaches You can’t miss on Your Trip
- Fabulous reason to Visit Sardinia in Low Season
- Amazing Things To Do In Sardinia in Summer
- Unique Things To Discover in Sardinia During Winter
- Best Costa Smeralda Beaches With Map
- Sardinia By Car: The Ultimate Guide on How To Get Around the Island!
- Sardinia Photos: My 15 favorite Instagram Pictures!
- Sardinia Travel Guide: Unmissable Places To See and Things To Do!
- Sardinia Holidays for Families: Where To Stay with your kids!
- Sardinia Solo Travel: A Backpackers guide by a Local!
- Sardinia Camping: Your Guide (By a Local)
- Sardinia Travel Guides
- Sardinia in 2 weeks: Best Itinerary
- Sardinia in 3 weeks: Best Itinerary
Hi clelia I was hoping you could help me – we’re heading to Sardinia in late August flying in and out of Olbia. I was wondering if it’s possible to get a bus from Olbia to Palau, from Palau to Cala Gonone and then Cala Gonone to Olbia. Thanks!
Hey Lauren, sorry for the super delayed response, I’ve been having some IT issues with my website!
So… good question. It is not impossible but tiring and not easy.
The Olbia-Palau is pretty easy using the ARST buses(see timetables and stops in the link)
From Palau to Cala Gonone, there is not a direct bus for sure, and you’ll have to go back to Olbia, change bus to Nuoro and change again from Nuoro to Cala Gonone (and same for the way back). From Olbia to Cala Gonone by bus (via Nuoro) it takes almost 5 hours, but you will have to be extra careful to catch the connecting buses so you might wait for the second one for a while or having to rush depending on the timetable you choose. As you can see it’s not ideal, but if you don’t mind a little adventure, it is possible.
I hope this helps!
Hi Clelia , I’m traveling with wife and two kids one 13 and 5 years old on Aug 2 for 10 day can you please tell me where should be a great fun area for kids to visit and stay , I was planning to rent a car as well to go around island do I need more than 10 days
Sorry for the super late reply but I’m having some IT issues to sort out on my website!
Regarding your question, tricky one as it depends on what your kids love to do the most…I’m guessing that water parks, the miniature of Sardinia, seeing the donkeys and simply enjoying their time on the beach will be great for them. For this reason, I’d recommend the south part of Sardinia, you can base yourself in Cagliari and take day trips to the water park near Pula, the Sardegna in Miniatura (pretty cool for adults as well),and then just visit the awesome beaches around Villasimius on the south east and Chia/Cala Cipolla/Tuerredda Beaches on the south west. You can also ass a boat trip to Porto Flavia ( an old fascinating mine site and see the famous rock and then visit the site itself) by booking a day trip. Possibilities for kids are truly endless. I hope you’ll have a great time!
Hi Clelia, I am considering going to Alghero 23rd May for 8 nights with my Son. Do buses run regularly to the beaches down the coast as want to try and keep the cost down. Regards
Hi Joanna, sorry for the late reply, I hope you will still read it!
As for your question, being Alghero a city where local lives all year round, there are bus services to the main beaches yes. Obviously what I recommend is to rent a car, as you will see a lot more but if you can’t, in between public transport and maybe a tour or two, you might be able to see nice things.
Hello Clelia, we (1 couple, no kids) are planning a week in Sardinia in mid September. Flying into Cagliari, We would like to visit Villasimius, then Gola Su Gorropu, then coastal for a few nights – maybe Cala Gonone or Teodoro, then back to Cagliari for our flight home. All on public transport. I am finding it difficult to find out online if there are public buses up the east coast to do all this. Could you advise? We love snokelling in shallow waters (not strong swimmers) so advise on any other good beaches would also be welcomed….
HI Maeve, Ahi ahi public transport in Sardinia! 🙂 You can certainly do some of the activities and visit some of the places but the best parts will be out of reach. Still, you can take the bus from Cagliari to reach Villasimius quite easily, but be aware that depending on the company they might leave you at a stop in the main road and you’ll have to walk. The main company servicing this route is ARST . Unfortunately, the website is just in Italian and even for Italian people is super disorganized if you ask me. You can’t book online anyway so you’ll have to go from the airport to Cagliari Piazza Matteotti (don’t worry, every bus/train from the airport stops in there as it is the main hub for train and buses) and from there, there is the ARST station on the right of the train station. You go there and buy your ticket, not sure if they will understand English, it really depends on who is doing the shift that day 🙂 Ask if the bus stops in Villasimius center or not.
For Cala Gonone… unfortunately you are not in luck. It’s not impossible to get there but not easy either. No way you can catch a bus from Villasimius to Cala Gonone, so far there are no buses that connect the two villages. You’ll have to go back to Cagliari and take either the train passing via Oristano, then stop and take another train or bus and finally a taxi that will cost you a fortune for a total of God only knows how many hours on the road.
A Better Option would be to Go directly to San Teodoro bu Bus. I used it a couple of times with a private company called Turmo Travel. Usually it stopped in the center of San Teodoro but I was having a look at their website now and it says that the stop is on the main road. Weird. I should call them and ask 🙂 But yet again you can ask them prior to purchasing the ticket. You can find them in the same bus station as ARST.
For Su Gorropu, bad to say it like that but if you are not in the Golfo di Orosei area, forget about it as even the organized tours only depart from the nearby villages.
You found it difficult to find buses on the east coast because… after Villasimius/Costa Rei there are very few options. As I told you, public transport in Sardinia is somehow embarrassing so my suggestion is to rent a car if you can or to just chose one place (either Villasimius or San Teodoro) and stay there, they are the best options and bets connected villages on the east coast with the possibility of booking day excursions so that you don’t have to stay stuck in the same beach for the whole trip.
Sorry to give you so many bad news but it’s our reality, unfortunately!
Clelia, thank you so much for your precise and prompt reply!! Unfortunately it is not what I wanted to hear :-). I will look at rental cars so……I do want to see as much as possible of your beautiful island….
I know… I feel bad when I have to give “bad news” and it truly drives me crazy that in an Island like Sardinia, the connections to the best places are that bad. It’s not good for the tourists but especially for the locals who have to move and don’t have a car.
I hope you’ll find a good deal and will enjoy my Island as much as you can!
Hy which is the best way to travel in sardinia bus or train? We are coming in August and we are havbing kids with us
Thanks for stopping by! It all depends on your Itinerary really. I usually don’t recommend public transport, to be honest. Especially if you have kids, it is only good for solo adventure travelers with a backpack or 1 piece of luggage as, unfortunately, we don’t have the greatest public transport network. If you still can’t rent a car, then you will have to carefully plan your itinerary and only choose locations that are well served by buses (like Villasimius, San Teodoro, Santa Teresa di Gallura).
By Train in even more trickier as we have a direct train from Cagliari to Oristano and then if you want to go all the way up north you have to change trains in Chilivani, not exactly ideal as you will have to stay with their timeline (not exactly ideal), sometimes waiting hours for the next train, and sometimes they even suspend the trains and put you on a random bus instead. That’s why I discourage people to use this method if they are traveling with kids and more than one piece of luggage.
I hope I could be of help.Let me know if you need more info.
What a page you have created! It’s just fantastic
My boyfriend and I are coming to Sardinia for the last week of September. Our intention is to fly into Olbia and stay one night then travel by train to Cagliari for 2 nights then back to Olbia for 4 nights.
Our plan was to stay in Cagliari and visit Villasimius for the day. Then return to Olbia, by train and spend time visiting La Maddalena, San Teodoro, Costa Smeldarada taking day trips from the centre of Olbia. I have noticed in your other responses to people that you don’t advise staying in Olbia. We are having a couple of nights at the end of our trip staying just outside Olbia at the Hotel Luna Lughente.
Given your comments on public transport do you think our itinerary is achievable? And if the city centres are not ideal where (town) would you advise we are best staying given we are reliant on public transport.
I shall look forward to reading your reply.
Hi Jane, sorry! I just saw your comment now (IT issues with the comment section!) I hope you had a great stay in Sardinia!
Natalie, Fantastic website, so full of information that I feel I can trust your advice. We are coming to Sardinia for two weeks in September. Where should we stay? We are happy to spend a week in one area and a week in another. Overlooking a harbour would be good as would a village with several eateries. We will hire a car.
Requirements include; local culture, history, walking distance to several bar/cafes. Village squares are great, we travel for food. NOT required are beaches, swimming pools, Irish pubs, bingo, night clubs. Thanks in anticipation IanNatalie, sito web fantastico, così pieno di informazioni che ritengo posso fidarmi del tuo consiglio. Stiamo venendo in Sardegna per due settimane in settembre. Dove dovremmo rimanere? Siamo felici di trascorrere una settimana in un’area e una settimana in un’altra. Affacciato su un porto sarebbe bello come un villaggio con diversi ristoranti. Noleggieremo un’auto.
I requisiti includono; Cultura locale, storia, a pochi passi da diversi bar / caffetterie. Le piazze del villaggio sono ottime, viaggiamo per il cibo. NON sono richieste spiagge, piscine, pub irlandesi, bingo, night club. Grazie in anticipo Ian
Sorry for the late reply, just trying to catch up with the several comments, emails and private messages about Sardinia! Difficult to answer your question without having a budget first, but I don’t know if you had the time to read my other article with 9 ideas for itineraries in Sardinia (even if it says in one week you can obviously adjust it to your needs and combine 2 itineraries together as many people in the comments did).
However, if you are traveling for the food and culture, my best bet would be the Golfo di Orosei Area including also the inland small villages that will provide you with an authentic cultural experience and great nature. If you have time you can spend one week in there and the second week nearby Oristano/Tharros (to visit the ruins) with a day trip to the Barumini Nuragic complex, which is by far the best historical/cultural site in Sardinia and has been added to the Unesco heritage site official website.
Hope it helps!
V. much looking forward to Sardinia. Budget was not an issue. What was important was Sardinia and somewhere in walking distance of an evening. Beaches were not needed, local food was very important.
Have booked self-catering.
Winrent car at Olbia airport.
One night in Olbia (late arrival.)
5 nights Alghero
5 nights Cagliari
5 nights San Pantaleo
I love your useful comments. My boyfriend and I are visiting Sardinia for 10 days. We are flying in to Cagliari and leaving from Olbia. What is the best itinerary for our stay? Where would you recommend we could go explore without needing a car? We would like to rent bikes and visit nice beaches and enjoy some nice mountain views too.
Hey Dahlia, thanks for your comment! You didn’t tell me when you are going to visit Sardinia, so it is not easy for me to give you specific advice. What I know is that if you want to have a fulfilling ecperience, you will need to rent a car. My brother is passionate about biking and even him uses the car to reach certain destinations in Sardinia, he brings the bike with him in the car and then starts exploring the nearby areas. Biking all around Sardinia is quite impossible, given the luggage, you’ll have to take with you etc. Areas you can explore without needing a car? Not many… I don’t know how many kilometers you can bike, but if you’re talking about places where you can reach the mountains and the beach in 10 minutes… I’d only say San Teodoro, Santa Teresa di Gallura and Villasimius for the beaches. For the mountains is a bit trickier as you should base yourself in Cala Gonone/Dorgali/baunei but biking in there would take some more effort than just an easy stroll.
Sorry for the bad news, but I don’t want to give false expectations to the people who wish to visit Sardinia!
Hi Clelia! I love your website and your name! 🙂 I just booked a bargain easyjet flight for me andmy partner into Oblia on 30th sept, return on 7th October so will have 7 days to explore the island! I’m going to book an air b and b and a car but I wondered if you could tell me if there will be any way to get to Maddelena at this time of year? The tour I saw that takes you around the Maddelena archipelago only runs until September. Is there any boats that still go there in October?? I would be very sad to miss out on seeing the island but will have fun touring and exploring coves of Sardinia if it’s not possible. Will we be able to hire our own boat and discover the coves ourselves in October? Thank you for your website!
Hey Julie, it’s hard to say really. It all depends on the weather. If the companies see that the weather is still good in October, some of them might be able to still be taking you for the boat trip. September is more predictable, October becomes tricky for the boats because of the sea, so you can only wait and see if you’re lucky! Regarding renting your own boat, if you have the skills and don’t need anyone to guide you, it might be an alternative solution but yet again, if the weather is not favorable I would not recommend it. Some year people still go to the beach in Sardinia until mid-October, other years at the end of September is already a bit cold with showers here and there. Good luck!!! 🙂
Thank you for this amazing blog! Best quality I’ve ever seen!
I understand that it is an absolutely “must” to rent a car, so could you please recommend any car rental company? We are looking for a company that offers full insurance (no excess) for a reasonable price and if possible admits payment in cash, as I would like to avoid freezing 2,000EUR on my credit card that I may never see back (we travelers all know bad practices of car rental companies…)
Thank you very much for all the information you shared with us!
Hey Caroline, I get where you are coming from! Renting a car is almost like playing the lottery, there are several car rentals that provide good services but I can not tell you a specific one at the moment. The times I have rented a car I always checked Rentalcars (which is on the sidebar of my blogs about Sardinia). In there you can check out and compare several car companies and please also check out their individual policies. I think the best practice is to either contact them or give them a call asking for details (I prefer the email so that I have a record of what has been said should I need to contest something with the company later on).
I hope you will have a great time in Sardinia!
Hello! Thank you so much for producing this website, it is incredible. I was wondering if you could provide me with a little more specific advice? My friend and I are both 22 and we will be in Sardinia from the 4th of July for 10 days. We are flying into Olbia and out of Cagliari. Could you suggest the best places to visit within this time frame? I have looked into car hire and I think it is too expensive for our budget, so we will have to rely on public transport. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you
Hey Rebecca, sorry for the late reply but as usual I’ve been overwhelmed by requests! Since you don’t want to rent a car I would suggest you base your holiday in Sardinia either in Villasimius or San Teodoro as they are the best-connected places by bus and have a local beach usually at walking distance from your hotel/apartment. Or you can rent a bike and it’s still doable. Also, they have local buses that will take you to the closest destinations and beaches and plenty of night life if you want to have a bit of fun. I did both when I was penniless in my twenties and had an absolute blast!
First of all thank you for this super informative blog! We are three university students who would like to visit Sardinia for nearly 4 days between June 3-7. We haven’t booked our flights yet as they don’t really differ much in terms of price and times. So we can fly to Alghero, Cagliari or Olbia and are hoping that you can help us figure out which region would suit us the best.
We are into cultural sightseeing and devouring copious amounts of delicious local food, but I think beautiful beaches with calm waters(swimming is the absolute priority when visiting the beaches) are also a must in Sardinia. We can’t drive, so renting a car is out of question and we are limited to public transport. Which region would be the better option for us?
We would appreciate your help very much, thank you!
Sorry guys, I just saw the message 🙁
I hope you had an amazing time in Sardinia
we are going to Sardinia for only two days in June. If you only had two days there what would you do and where would you stay?
if you only have 2 days (I’m guessing you will fly to Sardinia), your best options are to stay near the airport, so:
Cagliari: discover the beaches of Villasimius and Chia/Tuerredda by renting a car, check out the lovely old town, the view from the Bastione di San Remi’ and have a walk / hike to La Sella del Diavolo to admire Cagliari from the top!
Olbia: You can book a place nearby (I wouldn’t suggest Olbia town as it’s not the best), I’d rather stay in San Teodoro or Palau/Arzachena and rent a car to visit Cala Brandinchi and possibly a day trip to Tavolara. If you can hike, there is an incredible trek to the top. The village of San Teodoro has everything you need to enjoy your 2 days (bars, restaurants)
Alghero: Visit the beautiful “La Pelosa beach” during a day trip in Stintino, enjoy the beautiful sunsets over the coast and visit the Nettuno Grotto, either by boat or walking tour.
There are a few articles where I go into details for these 3 cities:
1) Top 10 Sardinia beaches (check out San Teodoro)
2) Sardinia for couples: For Alghero and Cagliari
3) Sardinia in one week: Again for San Teodoro (in here some details are still missing but there are many information that can be useful for you
Hope it helps!
I’m really surprised with your website. I love it. We´re a couple who wants to visit the island and enjoy its beaches, gastronomy and customs. We don´t like the crowds but not staying in an isolated place. We want to go 15 days in July (6 to 20). In what areas do you advise us to stay in order to know the island well?
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Hey Martin! Ahhh what a question you asked me! July is the high season so it’s nearly impossible to avoid the crowds I’m afraid! As I always say when I get to a place and it’s full of other people I have the mindset that I AM PART OF THE CROWD too! So where you should go? The places that are slightly (and I repeat… slightly!!) less crowded during high season are on the west coast, so everywhere near Oristano (San Giovanni di Sinis and Tharros ruins to name the most popular ones), going further south in the “Iglesiente” (near Iglesias town), you can see the beautiful Masua and Pan di Zucchero, experiencing the local Sardinian vibe of a small village called Nebida. Not much is in there but it is still an experience for itself.
Another place that is “slightly” less crowded is Costa Paradiso and Budoni beach. I’m not a super huge fan of that beach because I’m very spoiled, but it’s a nice big beach with a quiet village (I used to go to the beach by bike).
Last but not least, another option is a village that I truly loved, Baunei in the Golfo di Orosei area. It’s not on the sea but has beautiful views and the traditional Sardinia vibe. If you have a car you can explore super interesting areas, the villages of Dorgali, Orosei and Cala Gonone, each for a day trip, and Baunei is a perfect place for hiking to the marvelous Cala Goloritze which is a must in my opinion, especially if you go there super early in the morning. The area will be obviously more crowded than it is now in July but at least it will be 10000% worth it, I can guarantee you!
The rest of Sardinia, at least where the sea is involved, is pretty much packed with tourists, nothing we can do about it, everyone wants a little piece of paradise for themselves, right? 🙂
I hope it helps!
I am traveling to Sardinia near the middle of May through a cruise. From what I understand is the port is in Cagliari. What types of transport is available to travel from there to Cala Mariola, or Cala Goloritze beach?
If you are in Cagliari, and on a Cruise, it’s basically impossible to get to Cala Mariolu and Cala Goloritze in a day. You would need AT LEAST one night and 2 days, even better if you have 2 nights near Baunei,where you can trek down to Cala Goloritze. So from Cagliari: Car—-> Baunei—–> Trek to Cala Goloritze (I wouldn’t recommend the bus for this, it would take forever)
For Cala Mariolu, the only way to reach the beach is by boat, so from Cagliari: car or bus to Arbatax Pier (which is the nearest to Cagliari)—-> boat trip to Cala Mariolu.
As you can see, it’s quite a trip, Sardinia is way bigger than people imagine. Why don’t you take the time you have to visit the Sputhern nearby beaches? Villasimius or Chia/Tuerredda area are also very good choices and can both be reached by bus, with Villasimius being a lot better because of the proximity of the Village to the beaches, while in Chia you would have to walk quite a lot to get there if you only use the bus.
Hope it helps
I was more than happy to discover this great site. I
want to to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!!
I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have
you book-marked to see new things in your site.
Thanks so much lulur! I’m so overwhelmed by comments and requests via email and it’s refreshing to see that all the work and passion I’m putting into helping people with their Sardinian holidays is appreciated 🙂
Thank you for your excellent blog. My wife and I are thinking of spending 2 weeks in Sardinia from November 28 to December 11. However, it seems that is not advisable as many hotels and restaurants are closed, and many towns empty out. What do you think? And what places would you recommend for a December trip?
Thank you so much for your help.
Hi Ernie! Thanks for stopping by!In December the main touristic villages are a bit dead of course but you can still enjoy the beauty of Sardinia! I’d say to make the most of it you would need to base yourself in the bigger cities where the local usually live (hey we go to restaurants in December!) 🙂
Cagliari could be the perfect starting point for your holiday, everything will be full functioning, you might even be lucky and have a few sunny days, and even if it’s relatively cold you can stll enjoy walking on the beaches nearby with the bonus that they will be completely deserted.
Cagliari also has a lot to offer in terms of History, traditions and lovely spots like the old city center, the bastione with its spectacular view and much more.
If two weeks in there seem too much and you want to change a bit, I recommend you go to either Oristano or Alghero. Both big cities, so everything will be functioning and so much to discover in the surroundings.
Anyway, my main suggestion is: stick with big cities and rent a car to discover the surrounding villages/beaches and historical/cultural sites. Sardinia is beautiful all year round!
Pingback: Top 10 Sardinia Beaches & Hotels for Cheap Holidays! - KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL
Hello Clelia, We will be coming to your island for just a short trip of three nights in May. We will be on our Honeymoon! What we have planned is to fly into Olbia an renting a car an driving to Cala Gonone for a few nights. The plan is to rent a boat on go to some of the beaches like Cala Luna. Do you have any tip or ideas we should know?
Hi Keith, sorry I’ve just seen your comment now! If you are still in time, you can have a look at my huge guide on Sardinia for couples where I give away all the necessary tips for Cala Gonone!
Hi from Sydney, Australia! My partner and I have only 4 nights – any suggestions on where we should base ourselves in Sardinia? We are arriving from Milan and need to fly to Rome after our stay, any recommendations on flights/ferries would also be very useful!
We have quite a jam-packed month in Europe, so these 4 nights will be our downtime – looking for beautiful swimming beaches, restaurants with atmosphere and perhaps a bit of nightlife as well. Planning to hire a car to see as much as possible.
Any suggestions at all would be much appreciated!
Thank you, Lara
Hi Lara, sorry just saw your comment! when are you coming to Sardinia? Did you also check out my article Sardinia for couples? In there I give a lot of useful tips for different locations and you could choose one from there. From what you say, I think either San Teodoro or Cala Gonone would be great choices! Cheers
i am going to sardinia from the 6 to the 9 of october 2015
i am arriving from corsica so the only port available during that time period is santa teresa
i wanted to stay in Olbia near a beach do you have any recommendations?
also i wanted to know how i could get around from santa teresa port to Olbia near a beach
thank you for your help
Hi Stephanie, to be honest I think that sicne you are arriving in Santa Teresa di Gallura, that could also be a great base for you, without the need of going to Olbia, where there are no great beaches (I’m talking in the immediate surroundings of the city).
i I were you i’d check out Rena Bianca beach, which is the main one in Santa Teresa and from there go by bus to the nearby Palau area. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that there will still be boats to the Arcipelago della Maddalena in October (it all depends on the weather). If they are still available, I highly recommend the trip, if not you can just relax at the beach. The public transports to the beaches in low season are not ideal but if you ask the local tourism office they will give you some information about which beaches are reachable by bus from Santa Teresa.
I wouldn’t count on trains to be honest,the buses are usually more and cover more routes!
AWESOME BLOG! I LOVE IT … SUPER USEFUL! IM FROM VENEZUELA AND I HOPE SOME DAY HAVE THE TIME TO DO THE SAME WITH MY COUNTRY …
WELL, IM PLANNING TO VISIT SARDINIA WITH MY BOYFRIEND AT THE END OF AUG FOR ONLY 5 DAYS. WE LIVE IN LONDON AND WE HAVE OPTION TO TRAVEL TO ALL THE AIRPORTS IN THE ISLAND. HOWEVER, AS WE ONLY HAVE FEW DAYS, I WOULD LIKE TO FOCUS IN JUST ONE AREA…. WHICH AREA WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ? AND WHICH AIRPORT WE SHOULD ARRIVE?
THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR US IS THE BEACH AS SUCH… CLEAR WATER AND WHITE SAND…. ROMANTIC BUT NOT SUPER QUITE…. AND OF COURSE GOOD FOOD / RESTAURANTS…
PLEASE, HELP ME…. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! XX
Hi Catherine, sorry I’ve missed your comment! I hope you had a great stay! 🙂 Note for the other people commenting: If you don’t receive a reply within 7 days, feel free to add an extra comment with a reminder as I’m literally overwhelmed!
Thank you 🙂
No sobs needed, boyfriend has decided to spend holiday apart from me 2 days before I arrive , fri 24th, at elmas, cagliari airport. I am determined to go for a shorter version of about 5 days. Want to stay somewhere easy to get to, preferably family, run, friendly b&b or hotel so I have someone to talk to AND where I can go to beaches- I need a rest. I do not want to drive. I speak good italian, tho’ not your dialect ( yet!)
Ps I am a young 52, I work with children so have a mental age of about half that, and am sporty – could hire a bike?!
Sardinia by yourself can also be a very rewarding experience if you speak a bit of Italian (don’t worry Sardinian people speak Italian not just our language)!
If I were you I’d go to places like Costa Rei or Villasimius where you can easily rent a bike and have a chance to talk to the locals and visit the nearby beaches. I don’t suggest other nice areas as they would be difficult to visit without the car!
There are plenty of B&B and small hotels everywhere in Sardinia (unfortunately I don’t know them all). All I can say it’s that the beaches easy to reach by bike are also the more touristy so you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of traditional vibe. To get that you’ll have to go inland or to places like Dorgali, Baunei or Orosei, but I honestly don’t recommend using the bike there if you don’t know the road…
Hope it helps (even if you’re leaving tomorrow) sorry but I’ve been overwhelmed with work these days and I’m just catching up with all the messages now!
Hi! Me and my family are visiting Sardinia for 2 weeks in august. I’m trying to figure out how long it’ll take to drive from Olbia to Sant’Antioco? Many thanks and kind regards, Boel
Hey Boel, thanks for stopping by! Going from Olbia to Sant’Antioco is a hell of a ride 🙂 (about 3-4 hours). You’ll have to drive to Nuoro first then head towards Oristano and from there follow the indications to Carbonia. If you have a GPS it will be much easier to plan your itinerary in advance and don’t get lost!
You really have a great website with a lot of helpful information :).
We (2 p) are flying into Alghero end of July and we have approx. 11 days. We are planning on retning a car but not sure where to stay? Maybe 2-3 different places? As we are a bit late many places seem fully booked and i am having some problems finding priceworthy accomodation, do you have any tips?
Thank you in advance!! Regards, Natalie
Hi Natalie, Thanks for your message!
I know, now the best places are clearly fully booked but you can still try and find some last minute offers. What I noticed is that when I use booking.com for my trips (and also to check the availability for people who use my consultancy services), they usually have discounted prices for good places when there are some last minute cancellation and the hotel/resort wants to fill in the spot.
As per the itinerary, with 10/11 days I’d stay in 2 places max for a relaxing holiday where you can actually see more of a place and 3 places if you want to discover more about Sardinia.
Since you are flying into Alghero I’d recommend the northern part. My favorite places in the North are Stintino, San Teodoro, Santa Teresa di Gallura and Golfo di Orosei. For Stintino and San Teodoro you can even stop for just 1 day on the way, visit La Pelosa (stintino) and Cala Brandinchi beach (San Teodoro) and then stay put in the other locations. The must is the boat trip in Cala Gonone, everyone knows that I’m obsessed with that and you can’t leave Sardinia without this experience!
As for the Accommodation, you can try and check if they have special offers in here (I always look at the reviews to choose my place!)
Hope it helps!
My husband and I are going to Sardinia on July 4 for 10 days. This is our second trip. Three years ago we were in Costa Esmeralda and loved it. This time we are going to stay in San Teodoro because we saw the La Cinta beach and decided that we must visit it.
We are renting a car to visit some nearby places and beaches, any special must see nearby? And what about restaurants near San Teodoro? Can you recomend us some reasonable ones, preferable where the locals eat? We spent a lot of money eating in Porto Cervo the last time, and we do not intend to spend that much this time.
Is San Teodoro as nice and fun as they describe it? I am a regular contributer to Tripadvisor and I like your website. It comes from local with plenty of knowledge that I feel I can trust,
A bit delayed with my reply, but here I am 🙂
I bet you spent a lot eating in Costa Smeralda as it’s the most expensive part of Sardinia! San Teodoro is definitely cheaper and you can find good resturants serving local dishes for a decent price like in here and here.
San Teodoro, together with Villasimius is one of the best places for its nightlife, I’ve been there on holidays a few times and loved it. La Cinta and Cala Brandinchi are very nice even if during peak season can get quite crowded so my advice here is to go early in the morning and use a car to move away from La Cinta (visit Capo Coda Cavallo, Lu Impostu, Budoni) as La Cinta is a place where people without a car tend to stay and even if it’s quite big it fills up with tourist pretty quickly during the day.
I still love it, but some people expect to find it deserted and quiet during the summer month, so their expectations can be totally wrong. I know Sardinia and I also know that to find a beautiful beach not crowded in peak season is almost impossible (not to mention the weekends), so I just deal with it and still enjoy the beauty of the beach even if I have to share it with other people 🙂
I think it’s quite important to point this out so that people know what to expect..
I hope you’ll have a great time here!
I would like to say the site is amazing.
I am due to fly this saturday to Olbia and we are looking to stay in near Pittulongu Beach & Pellicano Beach – After looking at your guide I was little worried that I will miss out on the best beaches you have outlined. This is my second visit and we stayed on algero – I must say the beaches we visited were amazing. I cant remember the exact name of them.
I am trying to create an itenaray and will be staying for 6 nights. I dont really want to drive but I was trying to understand a fairly central location on the east cost so we not to far from olbia but not miles away from the south. Can you please advise. or make any suggesstions.
I am looking for a nice clean beach holiday, golden sands, to relax. I assume the beaches above will do this?
Im i positioning myself in terms of location to go to the your no1 choice in your best beaches section? if not what would you suggest?
would you stay around olbia?
are you aware of any boat trips from the beaches outlined above or nearby?
Thank you so much
Glad you liked my website 🙂 Unfortunately, I’ll have to rush all the requests these days as I’m traveling and the internet is not very good, so I’d say my n.1 choice is Golfo di Orosei without any doubt. But for white sand beaches the ones around Olbia /Costa Smeralda are awesome. I also created another great guide with all the info on some more beaches (it’s a guide for couples but you can get A LOT of info even if you are not going for a romantic Holiday), check it our as it’s basically a book of the best places in Sardinia, How to get there, boat trips and more!
Near Olbia there is the Boat trip to Arcipelago della Maddalena and I talk about that one too on my new guide 🙂
Hope this helps!
We are thinking to come to Sardegna, we shall stop in Cagliari I am lookng for somewhere relaxing but at the same time not isolated and happy not to be too far away from centre etc. Where is best to stay? I would like a nice resort, yet as I said before don’t want to be isolated
Hey Stephanie! Sorry, I’ve been incredibly busy these weeks as I’m traveling non stop until the end of June! You can check out my new guide (it’s for couples but I go into great detail for the Cagliari area with advice on EVERYTHING!), it took me one month to put it together and I’m sure you will find the help you need in there! If not, write a comment below the guide and I’ll try to help 🙂
I just stumbled across your site and this is VERY short notice but I am flying into Olbia tomorrow late afternoon and have 6 nights on the Island ( travelling solo) and wanted to mix up some time on the coast visiting some nice beaches if it’s warm enough, with some hiking nothing too far inland. Would you recommend I base myself somewhere for the entire 6 nights or perhaps split it between two towns say, and if so, where would you recommend that’s no more than 1-1.5 hrs from Olbio airport? Thanks so much and I appreciate your help at such short notice. Sally
I guess this was bad timing as I couldn’t reply to any message for the past few days as I was traveling too! I hope you have a great time in Sardinia! 🙂
First congrats to the amazing website super useful!!
i am going there 10 days beginning of august with my best friend (2 girls 30 years old)
We have many questions such as:
– how much does it cost to rent a car for 10 days (all included insurance and whatever hidden costs?)
– is it worth renting a car or is it easy to move around?
– there is so much to see, is 10 days sufficient to see most of the island?
– or shall we plan to only stay in 1 area for 10 days (north OR south?)
– would you find it useful to stay 5 days north and 5 days south?
– how long does it take from north to south in car?
thanks so much
Hey Julie, Thanks for your message!
I’m writing a short note to all of you who asked me for some tailored itineraries to let you know that I’ll be replying to everyone in 3-4 days as tomorrow I’ll be heading to Rimini to speak at a conference, so no time to work o the blog, but stay tuned! 🙂
Hi Julie! Thanks for your message!
I loved it as it reminded me of the times I spent driving around Sardinia with my best friends! such good times!!
Ok, straight to your questions! 🙂
-how much does it cost to rent a car for 10 days (all included insurance and whatever hidden costs?)
Since I never rented a car in Sardinia (I have my own), I’m still studying the best options for my readers and at the moment my best advice would be, check it online, there are a few very good websites for renting cars and they offer you the major companies which are in my opinion also the most reliable. What I usually do when I try something new is google the name of the company adding “reviews” or “scams”, this way you’ll see immediately if the company has some major issue. Obviously I’d expect every company to have a few complaints here and there, but the majority of the reviews have to be good to convince me!
– is it worth renting a car or is it easy to move around?
Straight answer: YES! it’s definitely worth it. Public transport in Sardinia is not ideal and not easy to understand (even for the locals!). Don’t get me wrong, when I was younger I traveled around Sardinia by bus and trains so it’s doable but it’s not the best way, also considering that the best beaches are usually only reachable by car, so you’re going to miss out if you don’t rent a car!
– there is so much to see, is 10 days sufficient to see most of the island?
I know, right!? Unfortunately, Sardinia is not a small island (some people tend to think that you can see everything in one week…I wish!!), so 10 days are good enough to see 2 max 3 places without rushing too much
– or shall we plan to only stay in 1 area for 10 days (north OR south?)
If you want an absolutely relaxing vacation or want to discover a specific area more, be social and meet new people, then this is a great option. I stayed even 2 weeks in the same place and I had the opportunity to really discover the surrounding areas and meet some great people! If you wish to see more than one place, 10 days are Ok, which leads to the next question!
– would you find it useful to stay 5 days north and 5 days south?
In my opinion, yes it could certainly be done, but if I had to follow my preferences, I’d stay in 2 places that are relatively close to each other and possibly on the same coast. I usually recommend to check out the Golfo di Orosei area for the boat trips (awesome) and then head up north to Cannigione/Arzachena for the other smashingly beautiful boat trip to the Arcipelago della maddalena.
If you want to have a bit more of social life, San Teodoro is also a good choice, but it can be very crowded in peak season, so it depends on what you want to get from your holiday. For relaxing times, maybe San Teodoro is not the right choice, for fun times, definitely yes!
Visiting the North and the south is also possible in 10 days (splitting the holiday in 2) but it’s more stressful and I’d recommend only 2 places as a base so you can actually see something. A possible itinerary including North and South could be :
1) Palau Area and Villasimius (located on the same coast)
2) Stintino/Alghero and Chia/Tuerredda beach
3)Santa Teresa Di Gallura and Costa Rei
There are so many combinations really, but I particularly like these ones to get to see some of the best beaches around
– how long does it take from north to south in car?
From Alghero (west coast) to Cagliari is 3 hours max (going slow and including a few stops)
from Olbia (east coast) to Cagliari is also around 3 hours if you take the main road 131 passing through Oristano, and this is also the easiest and fastest way, but if you want to stop to check out some nice spots, there is the coastal road passing through San Teodoro, Nuoro and then the Muravera/Costa Rei and Villasimius areas.
This route is longer and you can choose it only if you plan to stop for a day or 2 in one of these places, and it’s also a bit wilder and panoramic in some places, but there are more turns and it’s more stressful (but I love to drive and stop in random wild places, so I prefer this route actually).
If you don’t want to be too adventurous, just go for the main road and you’ll cross Sardinia in 3 hours max.
hope this helps!
I came across your website and decided to book a week in Sardinia in end of July for me and my family.
Do you have any recommendations for good restaurants?
We are staying in Stintino, Alghero and La Maddalena.
Btw, we love your tips on beaches, hopefully we can visit a few of them.
Have a nice day !
I’m just about to finish a massive guide which will cover some restaurants in Alghero and some other places. MY recommendations for restaurant is to always ask around when you’re there, that’s because sometimes they might have changed the management over time so the locals know the new trends and the best places to eat out!
Usually, the Hotels and resorts are the best places to ask, but if you are able to communicate with the locals is obviously even better! I always found the best places by chatting with people.
But still, stay tuned as In one day (hopefully) I’ll be publishing the new guide whit tons of new info. It was meant to be addressed to couples, but it’s so detailed that it can be easily used by anyone!
My husband and I weren’t really sure where to go this year on holiday, but after coming across your website and the Best Sardinian Beaches page, it made our mind up!
Anyway, we have booked to go to San Teodoro. The picture of the beach just won us over! But I wonder if you can help us with one little thing? We have booked flights and a hotel but now need to arrange our transfers from Oblia airport to the hotel. We’ve looked on line and it looks as though this is an hours drive but the companies are charging around £150 return. Is that about the going rate or would we be better to jump in a taxi when we get there (around 8pm on a Saturday night)?
Many thanks for your help
Hey Claire, glad I “convinced” you to visit my island! 🙂
As for the transport, which companies did you check out? as 150£ is way too much to get to San Teodoro from Olbia! Did you check ARST website? It’s the most popular bus transport in the Island and the prices are not that high! I checked out for you as their website is not only just in Italian, but even Italian people find it hard to understand it.
So there is a bus departing from Olbia Airport at 9:50pm and arriving at S. Teodoro at 22: 26 PM.
A single ticket for that distance (a little more than 30 km) doesn’t cost more than 5 euros (and it’s an inflated fare if you buy the ticket directly on the bus).
This bus is available from mid-June until mid-September. Paying 150£ is getting scammed!!!
Hope it helps! 🙂
I love the site. Great info. I am looking to visit Sardinia in july. Family of 3. 1 Adult and two children. Where would you recommend
Thanks in advance
it all depends on what you want to do, how long you want to stay and what you’d like to see the most. I suggest you to check out my other articles (and replies on the first one as they are very detailed, depending on the needs):
Top Sardinia Beaches
Sardinia for Families (This one gives you general info and I’m going to add more info in the next few weeks!)
Hope it helps!
Ps: A reminder for everyone leaving a comment: the more specific you are, the better is for me to give you a helpful answer as people have different needs and Sardinia has so much to offer!
Thank you 🙂