Sardinia Travel Guide

Italy  #2 in Best Beaches in Italy

Courtesy of lucafabbian/Getty Images

Getting Around Sardinia

The best way to get around Sardinia is by car. It's the easiest way to hit the places on your itinerary, though it's not the cheapest option. Using public transportation will save you some cash, but the trains and buses aren't the most reliable or efficient ways of traveling around the island. And the only way to reach some islands like La Maddalena, for instance, is by hopping aboard a ferry.

To get to Sardinia, most travelers fly from Italian or European cities into one of Sardinia's three main airports, located on the outskirts of Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero. A variety of domestic flights transport visitors between the mainland's airports, including Rome, Milan, Naples, Bari, Bologna, Turin, Venice and Verona. If you'd rather take the ferry, there are several routes available from cities like Naples, Palermo, Genoa, Livorno and Civitavecchia (outside of Rome). There are also ferries from mainland France and Spain to Sardinia, but these sailings can take as long as 12 hours. Grandi Navi Veloci, Moby Lines and Tirrenia are the three principal ferry operators offering regular service between mainland Italy and Sardinia. There are multiple arrival ports in Sardinia, including in the north, along the east coast and in the south.


Renting your own set of wheels means you can explore Sardinia on your own timetable, but that's not to say there won't be a few challenges. First, car rentals are expensive, starting around $150 for a week, but you can find them at each of the island's three main airports. What's more, fuel is pricey in Italy, and finding parking can be challenging too. Still, a car allows you to get where you want to when you want to – just make sure you have a valid driver's license and an international driving permit. And remember: speed limits are listed in kilometers. You'll also want to keep your eyes peeled for motor scooters, which are known to weave in and out of traffic.


Most of Sardinia is connected by an extensive network of bus routes. Still, the bus schedules can be confusing, and most of the bus operators run reduced hours and routes on Sundays, which might be inconvenient or frustrating to some travelers. Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti, or ARST, is the main regional bus company, and it travels local and long-distance routes in Cagliari, Oristano, Sassari, Nuoro and Olbia. Visitors can purchase tickets at bus stations, called autostazione, but they can also buy them at bars and tabacchi (tobacco shops). If travelers are running short on time, they can buy tickets once they've boarded the bus, but ARST will tack on an additional fee. 


Trenitalia operates Sardinia's network of trains, which connect the island's main towns, including Cagliari, Iglesias, Carbonia, Oristano, Sassari, Porto Torres and Olbia. The trains tend to be punctual, and travelers can purchase their tickets easily online, by phone or at the train stations. Visitors can also purchase them on board from the train conductor, though they'll be charged an additional fee for doing so.


The only way to reach islands like La Maddalena or San Pietro is via ferry. Declomar provides ferry service for passengers as well as their vehicles between Palau (on the island's northern tip) and La Maddalena at least once every hour – and more frequently from mid-June to mid-September. Fares will vary by departure and arrival port, but you can expect to pay less than 10 euros (around $12) per adult and 10 to 24 euros more if you're bringing along your vehicle. For a list of routes and timetables, consult the Sardegna booking website.

Explore More of Sardinia


The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019