There are many more things to do in Sardinia than one would expect. It is a real pity that the vast majority of people outside of Europe don’t even have an idea of where Sardinia is, so that when they visit Italy, they limit themselves to the most famous attractions, exploring Rome, Cinque Terre and little else.
Check out my posts A Perfect Italy Itinerary: What To See And Do With 10 Days Or More and 67 Extremely Useful Travel Tips For Italy.
Those who venture to Sardinia do so in the summer months, to discover its amazing beaches, and hardly ever explore all the other beautiful places that the island has to offer. Yet, as a proud local, I won’t ever tire to say that there’s more than beaches in Sardinia. In fact, there are so many things to do here that even those who, like me, have lived here most of their lives, have not done all of them.
Finally, and contrary to what most people think, Sardinia is great to visit any time of year – or else, would we Sardinians stubbornly make it a point of spending our life here? Let me say it loud and clear once again: there are things to do in Sardinia in any season, for any taste and for any budget (and despite the reputation the island has for being an extremely expensive place to travel to).
This post highlights the best activities throughout the year, as locals enjoy them, and gives a few tips to make the most of the island – whatever the season. Keep in mind that for each activity I recommend, the list is absolutely non-exhaustive as there simply are too many options!
A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia
Go to the beach
I know I said that there’s more than beautiful beaches in Sardinia, but why lie? One of the top things to do in Sardinia is – indeed – going to the beach, and sure enough we never miss an opportunity to do so.
In the summer time, you can easily spend spending endless hours laying under the sun, swimming in the clear waters of the Mediterranean, soaking in the marine breeze.
During the off season, we still go to the beach to walk, run, bike or skate. Some enjoying playing beach volley or beach tennis. Whatever the sport, it’s a fact that exercising on the waterfront is what to do in Sardinia to stay fit.
Urban and at times even more remote beaches are used for festivals, concerts and events – large or small. But there’s more. The many kiosks and small restaurants along urban beaches – such as Poetto in Cagliari, the island’s capital – are fantastic places to hang out and meet friends for a quick coffee or lunch break any time the sun is out. Having a break at the beach is one of the things to do in Sardinia.
I have already written a guide on the best beaches in Sardinia and one on the best beaches in Cagliari. Make sure to also read my post A Local’s Guide To Costa Rei, Sardinia.
Check out this guided day tour from Cagliari to Villasimius and Costa Rei beaches.
Sail around the island
With such a beautiful coast and almost persistent winds, it is only obvious that sailing is a favorite. There are several harbors from where to set sail around the island, and various protected bays to spend some relaxing hours. Several companies offer chartered sailboats and personnel to travel around the island. It is the ultimate way to appreciate the amazing sea of Sardinia.
Among the best places in Sardinia for sailing there are the south coast with the tiny bays of Cala Regina, Mari Pintau, Torre delle Stelle all the way to Villasimius and Cala Pira; the North East coast and the Maddalena Archipelago, and the north west coast around Asinara island.
These are some of the best boat tours in Sardinia:
- 7 hour La Maddalena archipelago boat tour
- Full day boat trip to the islands of La Maddalena
- La Maddalena archipelago full day boat tour from Palau
- Cala Goloritze boat tour
Visit the nearby islands
Speaking of other islands, you should explore the smaller islands off the coast of Sardinia. Sant’Antioco can be easily reached from the mainland, to which it is connected via a bridge. This small island is home to the lovely fishing villages of Sant’Antioco and Calasetta, is packed with nice beaches and is connected by ferry to the nearby island of Carloforte.
Off the north east coast of the island, La Maddalena archipelago is one of the best places in Sardinia, with a myriad of stunning beaches. There, Caprera is where the house of Garibaldi, one of the most prominent figures of Italian history, is located.
Asinara island, located on the top north west of Sardinia, can be reached on a short ferry ride from either Porto Torres or Stintino. It used to be a leper colony, and then became a prison colony. In 1997 the prison was closed and the island became a national park. Currently nobody lives there except the park rangers. The island is absolutely gorgeous!
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To The Island Of Asinara, Sardinia.
Visit the beautiful cities
Sardinia is a large island, but few people live there. Thus, there isn’t any really big city. The biggest one is Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia; followed by Sassari, at the top north; and Quartu Sant’Elena, which is right by Cagliari. Oristano and Nuoro are smaller in size, but charming. Alghero is an absolute gem.
I’ll admit to be completely biased, but I find Cagliari to be the nicest city in Sardinia. The city where I grew up is one of the most underrated cities in Italy, yet to be discovered by mass tourism. However, it has a lot to offer to those who visit. It is packed with fantastic museums and art galleries; beautiful archaeological sites; lovely squares and splendid churches. There’s many gorgeous cafés and some fabulous restaurants.
Check out my posts A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Cagliari and A Complete Guide To Alghero Sardinia.
Sassari is a bit smaller in size compared to Cagliari, but culturally rich. There is always some event in the massive and gorgeous Piazza Italia; the center has some beautiful churches – the Duomo is just one of them; and there are a few good museums. Hardly known to tourists, Sassari is one of the places to visit in Sardinia.
Oristano reaches its peak during Carnival, thanks to the Sartiglia, which dates back to medieval times. It is a skills tournament during which masked men and women dressed in traditional clothes and riding horses at full speed have to spear a star. Sartiglia is one of the favorite local festivals.
The small Nuoro is located in the heart of Sardinia, surrounded by mountains. Home of Nobel Prize winning writer Grazia Deledda, it also has a fantastic museum of Modern Art – MANN. Paying a visit to MANN is what to do in Sardinia for art lovers.
Alghero is by far one of the best places to visit in Sardinia. This Catalan enclave faces the Mediterranean and is characterized by an well kept bastion; its narrow alleys are perfect for a late afternoon stroll; there’s shops and restaurants galore and the nearby beaches are absolutely gorgeous.
Here are some guided tours of Cagliari:
Cagliari Underground City Tour – I have taken this tour myself and loved it. It visits unusual places in Cagliari, taking you back through its history. You have the option of adding a guided tour of the historic center too.
Cagliari 2 hour sightseeing bike tour – an excellent tour of the historic center, by bike.
Cagliari: the Devil’s Saddle kayak tour – my sister took this tour and loved it. You will think you have landed on paradise!
Cagliari private walking tour with a local guide – a well crafted tour of Cagliari historic center, one of the best things to do in Sardinia.
Explore the quaint villages
Sardinia is packed with beautiful, quaint villages. Needless to say, you should explore them – and the good news is that this can be done in any season.
Among the best places in Sardinia there’s Bosa, a village located on the west coast, north of Oristano and on the banks of the river Temo. Dominated by the Malaspina castle, from where there is a stunning view of the village and of the coast, 3 kms west of it, the village is a series of beautiful alleys and colorful houses, and some antique tanneries, witnessing what once used to be the main economic activity in the area.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Bosa Sardinia.
Castelsardo, on the north of Sardinia, was built around the castle that was erected in the 12th century by the Doria family, and from where there’s a splendid view of the village below and of the coast. It is a maze of narrow alleys and the atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed.
Fonni is the highest village in Sardinia, located at over 1000 meters above sea level. Famous for its murals, much like the nearby Orgosolo and Mamoiada, it’s one of those places that give a totally different perspective on the island, and it gives access to an incredible number of hiking trails in the Gennargentu area. Visiting is what to do in Sardinia when wanting to explore a lesser known part of the island.
Calasetta, on the island of Sant’Antioco, is located off the south western coast of Sardinia. It was founded in 1769 and the main economic activity used to be coral and tuna fishing – tuna is the main ingredient in local cuisine. The entire village is white; a combination of narrow alleys where time seems to have stopped.
Visiting Baunei will allow you to combine the very best of the island: a pretty village from where there are stunning views of the coast; some of the best beaches in Sardinia nearby, and access to some of the most incredible hiking trails on the island.
Last but definitely not least, San Sperate, at a mere 15 minutes drive from Cagliari, is a lovely village with lots of art: murals, sculptures and a quaint environment make it one of the places in Sardinia worth visiting.
Enjoy nature and wildlife
Sardinia hardly comes to mind as a nature and wildlife destination. However, enjoying nature is definitely what to do in Sardinia. The island is very mountainous; the countryside is gorgeous, and it is also home to the highest sand dunes in Europe! (By the way, stealing sand is strictly prohibited, as well as getting on the dunes).
Admiring wildlife is another nice thing to do. Those who visit may be pleased to know that there are many nature reserves where it is possible to do so. Giara horses are a species that can only be seen in the Giara region of Sardinia; pink flamingoes nest in the lagoon around Cagliari and in other parts of the island (check them out in Molentargius nature park). Dolphins are often spotted along the coast (some of them actually live in Cagliari harbor!).
Here are some good tours to nature reserves:
Is Cannoneris nature reserve walking tour – a fantastic tour in a nature reserve close to Cagliari, perfect for nature lovers.
Electric bike tour of Molentargius Park – one of my favorite parts of Cagliari, the perfect place for birdwatchers or to just go for a relaxing walk. A guided tour will explain a lot of the local wildlife.
Discover unique archaeological sites
Sardinia is home to some of the most unique archaeological sites in the world. Nuraghe date back to the age between 1900 and 730 BCE; they are typical of the island, had defensive functions and villages were built around them. There are many scattered around. The best preserved one is that of Barumini, at about 45 minutes drive from Cagliari and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nora, near the lovely Pula and at around 45 minutes drive from Cagliari, was founded under the Phoenician domination, but it was then conquered by the Romans in 238 BC. It used to be a rich market town and a prominent harbor thanks to the protected bay from which it was possible to sail under any wind. The remains are really well kept, and visiting is what to do in Sardinia to learn more about its Roman past.
Another of the best places in Sardinia to uncover its history is Tharros, a Phoenician site located in the Sinis Peninsula, right on the coast.
Check out my posts A Guide To Nuraghe In Sardinia.
Cagliari itself is home to several interesting sites – first and foremost the beautiful Roman amphitheater which is located in the heart of the city; the necropolis of Tuvixeddu, dating back to Phoenician times. They are some of the most interesting places in Sardinia.
Visit the old mines
There are various mines in the south of the island, in the region of Sulcis. The mines of Buggerru, Nebida and Masua are all stunning. One of the best places in Sardinia is Porto Flavia, built between 1923 and 1924 and which was the harbor that served the mines in the area. The views of it from the sea are stunning. Come to think of it, this area has some of the most spectacular beaches in Sardinia, such as Masua Pan di Zucchero and Cala Domestica.
Make sure to check out this Porto Flavia Tour departing from Cagliari.
And the caves
Scattered around Sardinia there are many caves, all different one from the other. The most famous ones are the Grotte (caves) di Nettuno, a bit outside Alghero. It takes 600 steps downhill to get there, and the same uphill on the way out, but it is well worth the effort. Grotte Is Zuddas, in Santadi (at about 40 minutes drive from Cagliari) is another beautiful cave to explore.
Other caves that make for an interesting visit are the Grotte del Bue Marino, in the area of Golfo di Orosei and which can be visited on a boat trip departing from Cala Gonone, near Dorgali, and the Grotta del Fico, in the same area. Grotta di Janas, near Sadali, was thought to be home of the janas (half fairies, half witches). They are among some of the best places to visit in Sardinia.
Explore the castles
I have already mentioned the castles of Bosa and Castelsardo, but it pays to know that there’s many more on the island. One that I wholeheartedly recommend visiting is Acquafredda castle, in Siliqua, at around 40 minutes drive from Cagliari. It’s undergone renovation works and on a clear day the views expand all the way to Cagliari.
Located on a hill that dominates the city, Castello di San Michele in Cagliari used to have defensive functions. The views of the city from there are stunning, and there’s a beautiful park around it with a nicely kept cat colony. It’s one of the most interesting places in Sardinia, though not many tourists visit it.
Get a glimpse of the many countryside churches
There’s quite a few countryside Romanesque churches scattered around the island. My favorite is Santa Maria di Sibiola, a romanic church dating back to the 11th century AC located in the countryside of Serdiana, at around 20 minutes drive from Cagliari. It’s small, beautiful and it’s where my family members get married (one more reason for me to love it).
Some of the other countryside churches include Santa Maria in Monserrato, not far from Cagliari; Santa Trinità di Saccargia, in Codrongianus (north of Sardinia); San Simplicio, near Olbia; Santa Giusta, which is the main church of the village of Santa Giusta; Sant’Antonio Abate, in the lovely village of Orosei. They are some of the best places in Sardinia for those who want to get out of the typical tourist path.
Attend a festival
Sardinia is a land of festivals and events. There’s one just about any week, to celebrate pretty much anything. From traditional religious festivals in honor of local saints to music or wine and food festivals, there is something for just about anybody.
The most popular local festival is Sant’Efisio, which has been taking place for over 400 years each 1st of May. The parade sees representatives of a selection of villages of Sardinia, who walk the 50 km from Cagliari to Pula in traditional clothes to celebrate Sant’Efisio, saint patron of the island. Attending is a must to get a glimpse of the beautiful traditional costumes, and listen to traditional music.
The list of religious festivals is huge, and I can’t possibly name all of them but a few. Among the most interesting ones there are I Candelieri, which takes place in Sassari each 14 of August; San Simplicio, taking place each May in Olbia; the Corsa degli Scalzi, taking place each first weekend of September in the Sinis Peninsula.
The list of other (non-religious festivals) is just as long. Autunno in Barbagia is a series of village festivals during which for 28 weekends, starting in September and until mid December, the villages of the Barbagia region celebrate their traditions, culture and food. Autunno in Barbagia is a favorite of Sardinians, and attending is one of the things to do in Sardinia in the fall.
Girotonno takes place every June in San Pietro Island. The whole festival is about the fishing and the eating of tuna, but there’s also lots of music involved.
If you are a jazz lover, you can’t miss Time in Jazz, which takes place each August in Berchidda and the surrounding countryside and villages. It is a full week of open air concerts in a gorgeous setting; the founder of the festival is Paolo Fresu, world famous Sardinia-born trumpet player.
Among the things to in Sardinia for wine lovers there’s going to one of the many wine festivals that regularly take place. One of them is Calici Sotto Le Stelle, happening each year in August in the lovely setting of Jerzu.
Practice all the water sports
The coast of Sardinia is perfect for water sports. One of the top things to do in Sardinia is surfing. Depending on the winds, it is possible to catch waves in various locations around the island. Check my post about the best surfing spots in Sardinia to find out more. Sardinia is also a paradise for windsurf and kite surf, and it regularly hosts kite surfing competitions.
SUP is quickly becoming a favorite of the locals, and you can factually enjoy it throughout the year. Nowadays, some companies even offer SUP expeditions, going along the coast from one beach to the other, enjoying lunch off shore, and appreciating the wonderfully clear waters.
Finally, among the things to do in Sardinia there’s diving. There are several areas in Sardinia that are perfect for that: one is the area around Capo Carbonara, off the coast of Villasimius, which is a protected marine park and where marine life is thriving. Similarly, Carloforte has some very good diving spots. There also are some great shipwreck dives around the island.
And the adventure sports
Sardinia is a paradise for hiking. There are a multitude of trails around the island – coastal trails that go to some of the nicest beaches around the island; mountain trails that take to beautiful waterfalls and springs; trails that go all the way to deep gorges. Hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year – though I do not recommend hiking in the summer.
Among the best hikes in Sardinia, there are the various trails that go to the Gorropu Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in Europe. Some of them depart outside the village of Dorgali, others outside Urzulei, and they have various levels of difficulty. The ultimate coastal trail is Selvaggio Blu. This is a challenging 6 day hike that connects a number of isolated beaches on the east coast of Sardinia. Sentiero Italia can be walked in around 3 weeks and crosses the entire island.
Check out my post Hiking In Sardinia – 14 Incredible Trails.
There are many places in Sardinia to go climbing in Sardinia. Cala Fuili and Cala Goloritzé have incredible climbing walls and to top the already incredible experience, the views of the sea are stunning. The Gorropu Canyon is a must for anybody who enjoys climbing.
One of the best ways to discover Sardinia is on a bike. Mountain biking is becoming more and more popular, and there are several trails. Hop on a bike and go explore the magnificent Asinara island. As nobody lives there, there is virtually no traffic other than the regular bus that connects the main attraction points, making it incredibly pleasant to explore by bike. Several companies organize biking expeditions to Asinara.
Try all the local specialties
Food in Sardinia is simply delicious, and eating is one of the ultimate things to do in Sardinia. Here, all dishes are prepared using strictly fresh and local ingredients. Even burgers are prepared using locally sourced produce, and some pizzerie have now started offering pizza made with a base which uses “su framentu” – natural yeast.
Among the must tries there is fregola con le arselle: it looks like a rough and thicker cous cous, which is slowly simmered with a tomato and clams sauce and a few other ingredients. Bottarga – fish roe – can be eaten by itself (with lemon, olive oil and bread) or sprinkled on pasta and other dishes.
If eating is what to do in Sardinia to fully appreciate its flavor, culurgiones are a must: these are the local version of ravioli, and each village on the island has its own recipe for them.
Another must is malloreddus – a small gnocchi pasta which is traditionally cooked with a (obviously Sardinian) sausage and tomato sauce, and topped with pecorino cheese.
For more Sardinian specialties head over to my post about All The Sardinian Food You Should Try.
To accompany all the amazing food, drinking the local wine and beer is what to do in Sardinia. There are some excellent vineyards around the island, making some fantastic wines. In fact, wine tasting is one of the things to do in Sardinia. Some of the best ones are located in Serdiana, at a mere 20 km from Cagliari: in a village of no more than 2500 souls, there’s a whopping 4 vineyards!
Funny enough though, Sardinians are the largest beer consumers in Italy. The local beer is Ichnusa, which comes plain, unfiltered and raw. It is a plain kind of lager, and though we admit it is not the best beer in the world, we are proud of it and it becomes an easy choice when having a drink. Ordering an Ichnusa is a must! The craft beer market is growing steadily too.
Last but by far not least a local must is Mirto – a thick liquor made with myrtle berries that is typically drunk after meals.
These are some of the best food and wine tours of Sardinia, including some excellent cooking classes:
Fresh handmade pasta cooking class – the best experience to learn the secrets of Sardinia’s malloreddus and culurgiones.
Cheese and wine tasting tour around Cagliari – fantastic tour that visits the wineries and cheese makers of the Parteolla region, near Cagliari.
Wine tour Sardinia – if you enjoy wine, you will love this tour.
Practical Information To Organize Your Trip To Sardinia
When To Visit Sardinia
Any season is good to visit Sardinia. Winter is typically mild on the coast, though it does snow in the mountains. The highest chances of rain are in the late winter months and in November, though it may also rain in April and May. Spring and fall are the best season to enjoy the island if you don’t care to go to the beach. The temperatures rise a lot in the summer, making it perfect to enjoy the amazing beaches.
How To Get To Sardinia
There are 3 airports in Sardinia: Cagliari, Alghero and Olbia. The island is well connected to the rest of Italy via regular and budget airlines. There also are direct budget flights from various European destinations – several cities in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany; France; Poland etc. There also are seasonal direct flights to Israel.
Since one of the best things to do in Sardinia is driving around, catching the ferry from mainland Italy may be a good options it allows visitors to come with their own car. There are regular ferries from Livorno, Genoa and Civitavecchia, as well as from Naples. There are occasional ferries from Barcelona.
Moving Around Sardinia
Public transportation in Sardinia is fairly good and connects all the main cities and villages, as well as some of the main tourist attractions, but it can be painfully slow. I would dare say that one of the necessary things to do in Sardinia is renting a car to reach all the most interesting places to visit around the island and be more independent. Here’s a great company for car rentals.
Best Places To Stay In Sardinia
My recommendation to those visiting Sardinia is to pick one of the main cities as a starting point from where to explore the rest of the island. Cagliari and Alghero are generally the best places to stay in Sardinia (unless on a beach holiday), with lots of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes. There are a few fabulous hotels and resorts around the island that are worth the trip in and of themselves.
If one of the things to do in Sardinia is picking a suitable place to stay, the following list of the best places to stay in Sardinia will be of great help:
Cagliari has some of the best accommodation options in Sardinia. Here’s a small selection of them:
- T Hotel has large comfortable rooms, a fantastic reception area, a bistro and a great cocktail bar. It’s a favorite of locals too. Click here for the latest rates.
- Antico Corso Charme is a fantastic boutique hotel in the heart of the city. Click here for the latest rates.
- Hostel Marina is in the heart of the city and a great option for backpackers. Click here for the latest rates.
Check out my post A Guide To Hotels In Cagliari: Where To Stay In Sardinia’s Capital.
Alghero has some lovely hotels in the heart of the old town. Here are some of them:
- B&B Summer Time has lovely room and is perfectly located in the heart of the city. Click here for the latest rates.
- Le Pavoncelle is a fabulous apartment. Click here for the latest rates.
- Your home in Alghero is another great apartment in the heart of the city. Click here for the latest rates.
Rest of Sardinia
There are some excellent places to stay scattered around Sardinia. Here are some of them:
- Forte Village, in Santa Margherita di Pula, may well be the best resort in Europe. Click here for the latest rate.
- Villas, in Costa Rei, is one of the best resorts on the island. Click here for the latest rates..
- Su Gologone, not far from Oliena, is a fantastic boutique hotel perfect for pampering oneself. Click here for the latest rates.
Other useful information
Remember to always get a good travel insurance for your trips. You can find a good one here.
47 thoughts on “A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia”
Good to know that Sardinia is good to visit all year round! I think I would like to visit Cagliari and try the local cuisine. Nice post 🙂
Then stay tuned because I will be writing about Cagliari soon!!
Looks like a really cool place to visit, Thanks for the list!
never knew Sardinia has so much to offer
Thanks so much for sharing!
Planning a visit to Sardinia in April of this year! Wondering if it will be warm enough to swim? Do you also have a comprehensive food/restaurant guide you could share as well?
Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment. I have seen people swim in April when there’s been a big heat wave, but even then, the water is only 12 to 14 degrees (Celsius) which is really cold. I don’t have a guide on food and restaurants, but it’s in the plans actually. I have posts on the best beaches and on the best surfing spots. Stay tuned as some more is coming up soon!
Great information. I am considering bring my teens (18, 14, and 12) to Sardinia in April. They are adventure junkies – cliffs to climb, cliffs to jump of off, big wave surfing, mountain biking, canyoning; you name it, if it dangerous, they do it. Would enough places be open during April for them to have a good time? They don’t really care how cold the water is. I’d love any specific information you might have on adventuring in Sardinia in April.
thank you for commenting on my post. Sardinia is FABULOUS in April and with a bit of luck you’ll get beach weather as well. If you come towards the end, around Easter time, everything will be open already. Let me know closer to the time, it’d be lovely to meet 🙂
Salve Claudia, grazie molto per lìnformazione! We are going with my wife and our 6 months old son to Sardegna by the end of August beginning of September. As it is seems to be really hard to decide where to book a place, could you advise us on where should we saty for that period in a rather non turistic place, sheltered from the main wind direccion and near or by the sea? We are keen on meeting some locals, enjoy those amazing coves and the cristal clear waters, and explore that beatiful nature.
Thanks in advance.
Hi Ronald, thank you for your comment.
Finding a place that is sheltered from the wind is less than easy – it really depends on the wind and the direction in which it blows. Some places are sheltered from the mistral, others from scirocco, etc etc. The season is still high, so you won’t really find many places that are strictly local. Having said so, I am a huge fan of Costa Rei and there you can find a good mix of locals and tourists. It’s a summer residence, so don’t expect any quaint charm. But – the beach is gorgeous and accessible, and you can explore the many nearby coves (Cala Sinzias, Cala Pira, Punta Molentis, Santa Caterina, Monte Turnu etc etc). Keep in mind it gets crowded in the summer, and I strongly encourage you to book ASAP as by the look of it almost everything is sold out already!
Great site- I’m off to Sardinia next week and looking for some places to visit in the Southeast, can you recommend any?
Hi Phil, thank you for your comment. It really depends what you like doing – hiking, visiting archeological sites, villages? I’d recommend renting a car and spending a day driving along the old SS 125 road, stopping for panoramic views and beautiful beaches. It’s a day trip, but worth it!
We’ll be in Sicily the week of October 6th and were thinking about taking another week or so in Sardinia. First would you recommend flying in or taking a ferry from Sicily? FYI, we would coming in and out of Palermo. Secondly would your hometown of Cagliari be the best place to make it our home base?
Thank you, Doug
Hi Doug, yes and yes. I am not sure we have direct flights from Palermo (you may have to travel all the way to Catania, or have a connection in Rome), but it’s definitely faster than a 13 hours ferry! Also, your base depends on what you like doing. Cagliari is a great city and you can move around quite a bit from there.
Thank you for your quick reply. I’m still working on the itinerary as I’m thinking that instead of going back to Sicily after Sardinia going directly to Naples for the return flight back to the states.
If you don’t mind, can I reach back out to you for additional info, i.e. VRBO or Hotel during the visit to Cagliari? As well as other plans.
We like to travel the local scene Vs. touristy places.
Hi again! I actually have another post on Cagliari, and a full guide on the best areas to stay in Cagliari so those should be your first reference 🙂 Anything else, feel free to get in touch!
Hi! Great advice for Sardinia!
I’m coming along with my wife on our “mini-moon” at the start of September for about 10 days (land and leave from Olbia Airport). Could you recommend an itinerary that we could potentially follow?
Any help/advice would be great!
Hi Vic, thank you for your comment. A potential itinerary totally depends on your budget and interests. If I were you, I wouldn’t want to move around too much and try to base myself in the region, to explore Costa Smeralda, La Maddalena archipelago and Gallura.
Ah thank you! As we’re on mini-moon mode, we’re not really restricting ourselves to a budget…want to really enjoy it and do Sardinia justice. We are planning on hiring a car too so we can get around easier.
Anything a must do seeing that we will have a car and 10 days?
Definitely hit all the beaches of Costa Smeralda (Capriccioli, Grande Pevero, etc) and go on a boat trip around La Maddalena archipelago. I have a post on the best beaches in Sardinia you can check for inspiration. I don’t want you to move around too much, it becomes tiring, so I am only recommending you stay in the region to explore the beaches, villages etc. I recommend Santa Teresa and Tempio, and if you want to go a bit further you can go to Castelsardo, drive along Costa Paradiso, and perhaps go as far as Alghero and the lovely Bosa. I’d also suggest a boat trip along Golfo di Orosei but it departs from Cala Gonone which isn’t the easiest to reach from Olbia.
Hello, me and my wife are thinking of a motorbike tour from the ALGARVE (Portugal) to the island in October, do you have any tips?
Can you be more specific? What kind of tips are you looking for?
In 1983 I was privileged to visit Sardinia for about a week. Though I managed to miss most of the places the virtues of which you extoll, I do remember having an enjoyable time riding the narrow-gauge train through the interior of the island, from Cagliari to Porto Torres I think it was – does this train still operate?
My ancestry on my father’s side is from Olbia (my grandfather left there as a small boy in 1912 I think it was). Have you encountered many visitors – especially non-italian-speaking Americans – having success with genealogical research on that part of the island?
Are there any italian-language schools you can recommend in or near Olbia?
Lastly (and I ask strictly because of my last name), can you recommend the Hotel Sa Pischedda on the Bosa Peninsula, I think it is?
Hi Ed, lovely to read your comment. Your surname is very common here – so much so that I actually don’t know of the hotel, there are so many Pischedda around! I am not from Olbia, so I can’t really recommend a language school there. My tip would be to enquire at English language schools: they are bound to know where you should look!
I’m traveling solo to Sardinia for 10days for the first time in late Sep.
I’m so grateful to have come across your page to help me map out my plan early on.
I like the nature, history & culture and has been so intrigued by Sardinia since it’s also less touristic like Amalfi (which I haven’t been but would certainly consider Sardinia over)
You mentioned that it’s best to rent a car, but do you think it’s as convenient if I were to depend on the public transport solely as I don’t drive.
Thanks so much for your time!
If you don’t drive, you can rely on public transportation for the long distances and do guided day trips to reach places that are harder to get to!
Your site is wonderful – I wanted to ask if you have any recommendations for day trips or half day trips from the Porto Cervo area? I would love to go to Alghero but it may be too far for my friends. Would you say Alghero is the best if we are willing to travel 2 hours?
Do you have recommendations for places that might be about an hour away from the Porto Cervo area where there would be more of a range of Sardinian life and experiences? I did see your response to Vic as I am also arriving at OLB airport. But if there was one-two things you might recommend – I would appreciate it.
Hey Amy, thank you for your lovely comment. First of all, let me tell you that I am not too familiar with the area of Olbia. It’s probably the part of Sardinia that I know the less 🙁 Having said that, Alghero is a 2 hours drive, as you rightly say. I’d honestly recommend that you go there for a few days to enjoy the atmosphere, the nightlife etc. Depending on when you are visiting, Berchidda is a great place to go. They have a jazz festival in the summer, but it usually is around this time of year. Another nice place is Santa Teresa di Gallura. Palau is a shorter distance and from there you can go on a boat trip around La Maddalena – which is absolutely incredible. If you want to see more of Sardinian traditions, the area around Nuoro is great and if you visit in September you’ll be able to attend Autunno in Barbagia in one of the villages.
Hi there Claudia,
Thank you for a thorough post. I was thinking about visiting Sardinia in mid September, with a camper. Less crowds, lower prices, all sounds well. Yet I am still a little concerned about the weather. Is it normally still warm in September with a chance for beach time?
Thank you for so much information in your post.
I am looking at visiting Sardinia in June 2020 with my partner and was wondering if you could recommend any self-catering rentals slightly north of Cagliari. We will be renting a car, so no worries about getting around.
I don’t have specific places to recommend really – what area are you looking into? I have a post for places to stay in Cagliari (city)
I am heading to Cagliari this weekend for a quick trip. We are now living in Pozzuoli and want to go back next spring or summer. However, for this trip, I am renting a car and am wondering if there is plenty to do in Cagliari for 3 days or would you recommend driving to some specific places in the south. We are looking for some historical sites, as well as good food. I am looking at your places to stay in Cagliari next.
Hi Steve! I suppose you have missed it in this looong post, as I do certainly mention Barumini – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s about 45 minutes drive from Cagliari. Make sure to also go to Nora – again, mentioned in this post but looks like you’ve missed it! And if you want a wine tour, go to Serdiana (Argiolas does daily wine tasting tours). All of them are within easy reach from Cagliari. Make sure to check out my posts on things to do in Cagliari and on where to stay in Cagliari for more guidance 🙂 Have fun!
Great information. Thank you. Will bars and restaruants be closed in early March on Poetto beach?
Some are open throughout the year 🙂
I’m visiting the island for 5 days 3 not counting traveling days, I’m going mostly because of the beaches, I’m planning on renting a car to go to different beaches which cities are best to spend the night and if you don’t mind, which ones are the MUST see beaches?
Hi Erick, thanks for your comment. Feel free to browse my blog for a wealth of posts about Sardinia – on the best beaches in Sardinia; best beaches near Cagliari, and single city guides. Have fun!
Sardinia sounds remarkably lovely, diverse and completely enthralling. I hope to visit in the next year. Here’s a reason to fly again! Thank you.
And when you visit, let me know and we’ll go for a glass of Cannonau wine 🙂
I’m thrilled to stumble onto your site and have some questions:
1. We’re thinking of flying from Paris to Sardinia for a week in the third week of October 2023. I’ve seen conflicting reports on the weather that time of year. I know you can’t guarantee anything but typically what should we expect. Would there be a reason to move it to earlier in October?
2. You recommend visiting a lot of places and I just did a google map and saw that you can drive to Cagliari to the most important city in the north in 2.5 hours. Does that suggest we could make our permanent base in Cagliari and see many of the most attractive places without having to find hotel rooms elsewhere?
3. How difficult will it be to book a car rental that time of year, and would you recommend which rental agency to go with?
4. My partner is a big afraid of heights, is driving particularly terrifying? (I remember white-knuckling it through the Pyrenees and never want to do that again!!!!) I realize your mountains aren’t that high, but some of these islands may have scary narrow roads on sides of cliffs!
I hope we can buy you a glass of wine or lunch when we get there!
Peter, you are in luck! I actually run the site Strictly Sardinia and there you can find answers to all of your questions – renting a car in Sardinia, visiting Sardinia in October, driving in Sardinia, places to visit, itinerary ideas etc. Just one thing: I don’t recommend visiting the north as a day trip from Cagliari.
Hi, how about if we are only there for one day? Best sights/ light hiking ok but not 600 steps. Thanks
I simply do not recommend to visit Sardinia for just one day. It’s a island. If you fly, that’ll be at least 4 hours of travel time there and back (that’s with having to be at the airport in advance etc). Simply visit some other time, when you have at least a week.