Traveling by car is by far the best way to explore the island and the most hassle-free option. Although the most expensive, unless you can bring your car across on a ferry. The public transport in Sardinia is cheap, but it is challenging to get off the beaten track and see some of the most beautiful areas of Sardinia. The trains are slow but do connect the major cities of Sardinia. Most of the lines only have one track, which can lead to delays if a train is late coming the opposite way.
Driving in Sardinia
Driving in a car is the best way to travel in Sardinia and allows you to explore the relentless beauty and destinations without the need to rely on public transport that is sparse in some regions. There are no motorways in Sardinia, but A-roads are connecting the major cities together.
The roads are in good condition except in some rural areas and on dirt roads heading out to beaches. The traffic isn’t usually a problem in Sardinia, it can sometimes build up in popular beach resorts during the summer. The driving is less competitive than in Rome, Naples, and Sicily.
The SS 131 road links up all of the main cities, connecting Cagliari to the north and also making Alghero and Olbia easy to reach. To drive from the south to the north of Sardinia takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Renting a car in Sardinia
All three airports in Cagliari, Alghero, and Olbia have a range of car rental services, including internationally recognized brands such as Hertz, Aris, and Europcar.
Hire cars can also be picked up for most of the city centers. To save money, we recommend booking your vehicle before you arrive on the island. During the off-season, the prices are much lower.
Tips for Driving in Sardinia
Driving in Sardinia, on the whole, is hassle-free, local drivers are courteous, traffic is confined only to the significant towns and driving culture isn’t like that which you find in Naples or Rome. However, there are a few key things to take note of when driving in Sardinia to ensure safe and enjoyable driving.
- Drive with confidence
- Be aware of Restricted Traffic Zone in the center of towns
- Road signs are not always accurate, take a map
- Keep a distance from the car in front
- Keep all of your travel documents with you
Traveling by Train in Sardinia
Sardinia’s rail network links up all the main towns. Many train stations are located many kilometers away from the cities they serve. The major lines are operated by Trenitalia while many smaller local routes are run by ARST. Traveling by train is reasonably cheap, the longest journey of 4 hours from Olbia to Cagliari is 18 Euros. There several daily departures heading from the south of Sardinia to the north and vice versa.
Make sure you validate your ticket in a hole punching machine located by the doors to the line platform. Failure to do this may result in a fine during a ticket check. The mainline through Sardinia is Cagliari-Oristano-Porto Torres. When traveling through Sardinia, you can witness spectacular views of the vast landscapes
Traveling by Bus in Sardinia
An extensive network of buses and coaches are run by public and private companies. Bus routes connect every town and most villages in Sardinia. ARST (Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti) is the leading service provider for the island and the most efficient covering local journeys and non-stop journeys across the length of the island. The ARST bus network connects Olbia, Sassari, Alghero, Nuoro, Oristano, and Cagliari among themselves and to neighboring towns and villages. The buses are blue buses with a red strip down the middle, making them hard to miss. There are also shuttle buses from many towns heading to famous beaches during the summer months.
Tickets are sold in newspaper kiosks, tobacconists, and at bus stations (sometimes from local bars) Timetables can be hard to pin down, but will be displayed at bus stops and bus stations. It is a good idea to buy your tickets in advance, if everywhere is closed then you can usually buy tickets on the bus with an added charge.
Cycling in Sardinia
The quiet roads throughout Sardinia make it an ideal place for cycling. In recent years cycling tours have become increasingly popular. The stunning winding roads in the interior countryside and the wondrous coastal roads make Sardinia a perfect location for cycling. You can arrive onto the island by ferry in the north and cycle down to Cagliari. There are many cycle routes in Sardinia, whether you want to take the stepper mountain routes or glide along the coastline.
Walking in Sardinia
The Sardinian landscapes lend itself well to walkers and hikers. The weather is ideal for walking, excluding unconformable the months of July and August with will be too hot for some on longer walks. Walking paths are lined with historical sites, and the micro-climate of Sardinia gives you the choice of walking in the mountains, by the sea or through the hilly inland countryside. The wild parts of Sardinia attract outdoor enthusiasts and climbers. Towns and cities historical centers and points of interest are concentrated and compact making it very enjoyable to explore on foot.