getting to sardinia

There are two main ways to get to Sardinia by Air or by Sea. Flying is by far the quickest way to reach the island, and much cheaper when compared to any rail to ferry options.

Traveling by ferry is a great way to be introduced to the island on approach, showcasing the dramatic coastline. It’s also a more fuel-efficient option and allows you to bring your vehicle with you.

I

Traveling by Air

In recent years the frequency of flights to Sardinia has increased. Sardinia is connected by International airlines to a host of cities across Europe including London, Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm, Madrid, Munich, Frankfurt, Dublin, Brussels, Oslo, Basel, Berlin, and Amsterdam.

The are plenty of flights from the Italian mainland and Sicily to Sardinia, which connect all of Italy’s main cities to the three airports of Sardinia. Cities including Rome, Milan, Naples, Bari, Bologna, Turin, Venice, Verona, and Parma.

During the summer period there is an increase in flights as many Italians and Tourists alike arrive on the island for holidays, and to visit families.

Each airport is not far from their respective city center, and can easily be reached by taxi, as well as by public transport. I know that Alghero has a bus service traveling to the city center that runs in sync with the arriving flights. During the summer a coach connects Oblia Aiport to a number of towns along the Costa Smeralda.

II

Flying to Sardinia

Flights from the United Kingdom

EasyJet flies from London Gatwick to Olbia all year round. During the summer they also fly from Luton, Manchester and Bristol.  British Airways and Meridiana fly from London Gatwick between April and October.

Ryanair flies from London Gatwick to Cagliari, all year round. EasyJet flies from London Stansted to Cagliari, all year round. British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Cagliari between April and October.

Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Alghero between April and October. Thomson Airways flies from London Gatwick and Manchester between May and October.

Flights from North America

There are no direct flights from North America to Sardinia; the best option is to fly to Rome, Milan, or a major European hub like London or Paris. Alitalia, Delta, and American Airlines connect Rome and Milan to several American cities, New York, Boston, Maimi, LA, and Chicago.

From the East Coast, you can anticipate a journey time of 10 hours to the mainland, then another couple hours to reach Sardinia, depending on the transfer time.

From Canda, there is a daily connection from Toronto to Rome by Alitalia. Also, AirCanada flies from Toronto and Montreal to Rome and Milan.

Flights from Australia and New Zealand

There a no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand into Italy. The quickest and cheapest option may be transferring at Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing or a middle eastern airport hub, to fly to Rome or Milan, for changing again for a regional flight to Sardinia.

III

The Three Airports of Sardinia

Sardinia has three main airports that serve the island with domestic and international flights​, Cagliari Elmas Airport, Aeroport di Olbia Costa Smeralda & Alghero Airport.

​Cagliari Elmas Airport

Cagliari Elmas Airport is the main international gateway to Sardinia, it is connected to most major European destinations. The airport handles 3 million passengers a year. It serves the south of Sardinia and tourist destinations such as Carloforte, Iglèsias, The Costa Verde, Carbonia and Pula.

Getting to the city from the Airport

The quickest way to reach the city centre is to take the train. It takes 5-7 minutes to reach the city centre. A one-way ticket is €1.30, that can be purchased in the arrival hall and at the station, as well as from online ticket merchants. The trains operate from 5 am to 9 pm and one train departs for the city every 20 minutes.

Alternatively, there are taxis. It takes 10-15 minutes to drive into the city centre of Cagliari and the taxi fare is between €15-20.

There is also a bus service to the city centre. The first bus leaves from the airport at 8:40 am and the last bus leaves at 23:30 pm. A single one-way ticket costs €0.67, which you must have before boarding the bus, it can be purchased from the airport terminal or from newsstands. The bus stop is outside the terminal building and can be located by a black and white ARST sign. The bus station in Cagliari is at Piazza Matteotti.

Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport

The Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport links 14 countries to the Island. It’s a great entry point to explore the north of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda and tourist destinations such as Budoni, Golfo Aranci, La Maddalena, Palau, and Santa Teresa di Gallura.

Getting to the town from the Airport

A bus is the best way to reach the city of Olbia. The journey takes 10 minutes; you can buy your tickets on the bus for €1.50 or €1 at the information desk inside the terminal. Bus services numbers 2 & 10 depart to the town every 10-30 minutes. Taxis into the town charge about €15.

Alghero-Fertilia Airport

This Airport is 8km northwest of Alghero, named after the village of Fertilia nearby. It is a small airport that is a gateway to the northwest regions of Sardinia. It is near to Castelsardo, Sassari, Stintino, Bosa, S’Archittu and Porto Torres.

Getting to the town from the Airport

Taking the bus is the best way to reach the city of Alghero. The journey takes 30 minutes. The bus departs once every hour from 5 am to 10:30 pm. You can purchase tickets from one of the machines located in the terminal for €1 or when boarding the bus for €1.50. Taxis into the town center of Alghero cost €20-25

the airports of sardinia, ryanair plane outside alghero airport
IV

Flying Economically 

Many budget airlines connect European cities to Sardinia, airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir, and WizzAir. The most economical flights are from Berlin, London, and Barcelona.

I recommend that you search for flights using aggregator websites such as skyscanner.co.uk, for discounted scheduled flights. Summer is the most expensive time to travel to Sardinia, due to high demand, it also essential to book in advance during these months to ensure a ticket. The Easter holidays & the Christmas period also sees an influx in demand and therefore cost. In the low season, you can find some extraordinarily cheap flights from Europe. Flights are much more infrequent during the off-season.

getting to sardinia by air, budget airline easyjet at olbia airport
V

Traveling by Sea

Numerous ferry routes connect Sardinia to the Italian mainland, Sicily, France, and Spain. The crossing can take up to 16 hours if you are traveling from Naples to Cagliari, for instance. There are some faster, but more expensive ferries able to half the journey time.

During the summer months, the ferries will become crowded as everyone makes their way across to Sardinia.

Sardinia has five ports, Porto Torres, Olbia, Cagliari, Arbatax, and Golfo Aranci.

VI

The Routes from the Mainland

Grimaldi Lines

Livorno to Olbia / Olbia to Livorno 

Journey time: 8 hours,  14 Sailings Weekly

Civitavecchia to Olbia / Olbia to Civitavecchia 

Journey time: 6 hours 30 minutes, 7 Sailings Weekly

Civitavecchia to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Civitavecchia

Journey time: 7 hours 15 minutes, 4 Sailings Weekly

Tirrenia Ferries

Genoa to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Genoa

Journey time: 9 hours 30 minutes, 9 Sailings Weekly

Genoa to Olbia / Olbia to Genoa

Journey time: 10 hours, 5 Sailings Weekly

Cagliari to Naples / Naples to Cagliari

Journey time: 14 hours, 2 Sailings Weekly

Arbatax to Genoa / Genoa to Arbatax

Journey time: 15 hours 30 minutes, 2 Sailings Weekly

Moby Lines

Livorno to Olbia / Olbia to Livorno

Journey time: 6 hours 30 minutes, 14 Sailings Weekly

Genoa to Olbia / Olbia to Genoa

Journey time: 10 hours 30 minutes, 12 Sailings Weekly

Piombino to Olbia / Olbia to Piombina

Journey time: 5 hours, 6 Sailings Weekly

Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV)

Genoa to Olbia / Olbia to Genoa

Journey time: 11 hours 15 minutes, 4 Sailings Weekly

Genoa to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Genoa

Journey time: 11 hours 15 minutes, 4 Sailings Weekly

Corsica Ferries Sardinia Ferries

Livorno to Golfo Aranci / Golfo Aranci to Livorno

Journey time: 6 hours 30 minutes, 19 Sailings Weekly

Piombino to Golfo Aranci / Golfo Aranci to Piombino

Journey time: 5 hours 15 minutes, 1 Sailing Weekly

moby sardinia ferry
VII

Ferries from France & Spain

Grimaldi Lines

Barcelona to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Barcelona

Journey time: 12 hours 15 minutes, 4 Sailings Weekly

Corsica Ferries Sardinia Ferries

Toulon to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Toulon

Journey time: 10 hours, 4 Sailings Weekly

Nice to Golfo Aranci / Golfo Aranci Nice

Journey time: 12 hours 45 minutes, 1 Sailing Weekly

La Méridionale

Marseille to Porto Torres / Porto Torres to Marseille

Journey time: 17 hours, 1 Sailing Weekly

VII

Traveling with a car from the UK

The simplest way to reach Sardinia with a car from the UK is to drive through France, and take the ferry from Marseille. The ferry takes between 11-17 hours, depending on whether it stops at Corsica on the way.

However, the route through France is packed with toll roads. So many opt for a more scenic route traveling through Switzerland before taking a ferry from Genoa, Livorno, or Civitavecchia.

It is also possible to take a short ferry to Corsica, then drive down through the island before hopping across to reach Sardinia. 

If you are able, I recommend splitting the journey from the UK into stages, visiting some of the most beautiful parts of Europe on the way. A short stay in Switzerland or Northern Italy before heading down to a port. It helps remove the stress of trying to make it to the port in time for your ferry.

sardinia ferry