Sardinia

Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island on the Mediterranean Sea and is famous for its emerald sea and white beaches. On Ferryhopper, you will find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies, ferries to Sardinia and book your tickets with just a few clicks!

Take a look at our tips for your dreamy vacation in Sardinia and discover useful information about its ports:

The colorful buildings of the port of Cagliari in Sardinia

The colorful port of Cagliari in Sardinia

Vacation in Sardinia

Sardinia has always been one of the most popular holiday destinations in Italy. With 2000km of coastline, this island is a mix of wild beaches, paradisiacal bays and breathtaking nature reserves.

The island of Sardinia is an intense experience of tradition and folklore, among mountain villages, local wines and excellent cuisine. Taking a break from diving in the turquoise waters, you can visit the ancient archaeological sites and discover the biodiversity of its UNESCO nature reserves.

Therefore, Sardinia is a great destination for families, couples or friends as it combines relaxation, adventure and fun. The island also boasts an excellent climate, with mild temperatures during the entire year. So, are you ready to go?

How to get to Sardinia

You can reach Sardinia by ferry or plane. Traveling by ferry may take longer but you can embark your vehicle. Also, you can book a cabin for a comfortable trip while enjoying the fascinating crossing and the breathtaking views from the ferry’s dock. 

The ports of Sardinia connect with Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, Piombino, Livorno and Savona, operating ferry crossings all year round. You can also arrive in Sardinia from the port of Barcelona (Spain), from France and Corsica thanks to the connections with the ports of Nice, Toulon, Bastia, Ajaccio and Bonifacio.

Alternatively, you can reach Sardinia by plane. There are several companies that offer daily flights to the island from both Italy (Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero) and abroad. 

The lighthouse of Olbia with a beautiful sunset over the sea

The lighthouse of Olbia illuminated by the colors of the sunset

What to do in Sardinia

There are plenty of things to do in Sardinia as it is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to pristine beaches and coves, you can visit marvelous cities, medieval villages and breathtaking archaeological sites.

From north to south, Sardinia is an island full of beautiful landscapes, ready to bewitch even the most demanding travelers.

Some of the top places to visit in Sardinia are Cagliari and Alghero, known as "The Barcelona of Sardinia" for its Catalan influences. Also, the coastal city of Olbia surrounded by a stunning palm-lined waterfront is great for 2 days. 

Moreover, the seaside town of Santa Teresa Gallura, the beautiful Strait of Bonifacio and Arbatax located on the slopes of Capo Bellavista are top destinations in Sardinia for any type of traveler.

Sardinia is also a great destination for nature lovers as it is full of greenery and hiking trails. Among breathtaking landscapes, between cliffs and mesmerizing coves, it is a place for relaxation.

Visit the wonderful Asinara National Park, a remote island 16km long in Porto Torres. Its stunning natural beauty includes a pristine coastline and off-shore islets inviting you to immerse yourself into crystal-clear waters.

Among the most particular activities to do in Sardinia, there is also bird watching along the coast of Oristano, famous for its pink flamingos.

From the north of Sardinia, you can reach the Maddalena archipelago. You can hop on a ferry at the port of Palau and depart for a day trip to the island of La Maddalena!

Beaches in Sardinia

Sardinia is an island full of heavenly beaches, ideal for those looking for social life and relaxation.

Here are the best 8 beaches of Sardinia:

  1. Punta Molentis: located in the Capo Carbonara marine protected area, this beach with crystal-clear waters and white sand is one of the most impressive on the island. Nearby, you can see the ruins of a nuraghe, a type of ancient megalithic edifice found in Sardinia. The beach has umbrellas and a restaurant.
  2. Romazzino: among the most beautiful of the Costa Smeralda, it is an expanse of white sand surrounded by granite rocks. It owes its name to the rosemary plants that welcome visitors upon arrival. This beautiful inlet overlooking the island of Mortorio has turquoise waters and shallow waters. The beach offers various services such as umbrellas, sunbeds, a beach bar and a large paid parking lot.
  3. Rena Majori: it’s located 8km from Santa Teresa Gallura. The beach is famous for its fine white sand and the long coastline that is separated by granite rocks. Its emerald green waters are perfect for diving. It is possible to rent umbrellas, deck chairs, pedal boats and canoes. Nearby, there is a campsite and a thick pine forest with a refreshment point.
  4. Pittulongu: it's close to the city of Olbia. It’s also known as Puntale Lungo. It’s a splendid and extensive crescent-shaped beach of white sand and clear, shallow waters. You can also find various hotels, restaurants, pizzerias and mini-markets at close distance.
  5. Lido di Orrì: it’s an almost 16km long beach made up of a series of semi-desert inlets near Arbatax. Considered among the most beautiful coves in Sardinia, it consists of sugary sand and turquoise waters. Strong winds love it and so do the surfers and kitesurfers. There are also umbrellas, sunbeds and a small bar with cool drinks and snacks, ideal after taking a dive.
  6. Is Arenas Biancas: not far from Cagliari, you can find the beautiful cove with white sand dunes and deep blue waters. In the area, there is the pond of Is Brebeis that is home to flamingos during the summer. You can reach the beach by crossing a small canal and walking a short path.
  7. Pelosa: located in the Municipality of Stintino, this almost tropical beach is a marvel of white sand and a turquoise sea. Overlooking the Gulf of Asinara, it is protected by the rocks of Capo Falcone and has always calm waters. On the waterfront, you will find the characteristic Aragonese tower, the symbol of the area.
  8. Cala Goloritzè: it’s situated in a natural inlet of the Gulf of Orosei. The colors of the sea are mesmerizing and the sand is thin. There are no services and during summer the entrance is limited, so you have to pay a ticket. You can reach the beach by sea or by crossing a path. We recommend you rent a boat from the port of Santa Maria Navarrese.

The turquoise waters and the white beach of Cala Goloritzè in the Gulf of Orosei

The heavenly Cala Goloritzè in the Gulf of Orosei

Sightseeing in Sardinia

In addition to dreamy beaches, Sardinia has several historical, artistic and natural beauties. Between millenary nuraghe and UNESCO Heritage Sites, the island offers various activities.

Here are some cultural attractions of Sardinia:

  • The sunny city of Cagliari, with stunning palaces and medieval  castles
  • The city of Oristano, with its elegant shopping streets, ornate piazzas and popular cafes 
  • The ancient village of Bosa, with its colorful houses and its picturesque port
  • The medieval seafront city of Alghero, with its animated historic center and its famous ramparts
  • The picturesque medieval town of Castelsardo, with a museum dedicated to wicker and the art of weaving
  • The Archaeological Museum of Sant’Antioco, with a collection of rare finds
  • The Garibaldi Compendium of Caprera, the farmhouse where Garibaldi spent the last 25 years of his life.
  • Nuoro, the heart of Sardinia, with its narrow streets and its historic buildings
  • The city of Carbonia, home to the famous Coal Museum of the Great Serbariu Mine
  • The village of Orgosolo, with its 150 murals scattered through the streets of the town
  • The Nuraghe Arrubiu, one of the largest nuraghes in Sardinia known for its red color
  • The Archaeological Area of ​​Nora, one of the  most important sites in Sardinia
  • Tharros and its archaeological area, located at the southern end of the Sinis peninsula
  • The Su Nuraxi di Barumini complex, the best-preserved example of the form of the defensive complexes

The remains of the Nuraghe Barumini in Sardinia

The famous archaeological site Su Nuraxi di Barumini

If you are looking for natural parks and breathtaking landscapes, here you can find the most beautiful natural attractions of Sardinia:

  • The Molentargius Natural Park, a beautiful natural oasis in the heart of Cagliari, among salt flats and pink flamingos
  • The Su Marmuri Cave, considered the most impressive in Europe
  • The Rock of Pan di Zucchero, one of the most impressive natural monuments on the island
  • The Caves of Is Zuddas, with crystals called cave flowers and aragonites
  • The Gennargentu National Park, including the magnificent wildlife of the Mediterranean
  • The SP71 panoramic road, situated between Chia and Teulada offering an incredible panoramic view of the south-east coast
  • The Capo Testa peninsula, a stretch of enormous rock formations with spectacular shapes
  • The Caves of Neptune, with an underground saltwater lake
  • The island of Sant'Antioco, connected to the mainland by a bridge
  • The WWF Oasis of Monte Arcosu, the kingdom of the very elegant and rare Sardinian deer
  • The Monte Albo Nature Reserve, with its lunar landscape, made up of breathtaking views and paths
  • The Gorropu Canyon, considered by many to be the most beautiful in Italy
  • The Sa Spendula waterfalls, perfect for trekking lovers or for a family picnic
  • The Asinara National Park, an unspoiled oasis with 90 specimens of wild donkeys

Asinelli in the Asinara National Park in Sardinia

Happy donkeys in the Asinara National Park, in Sardinia

Nightlife in Sardinia

Sardinia has a lively nightlife for every taste. The area of the Costa Smeralda, to the north, is certainly the one that offers more entertainment. The towns of Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo, San Teodoro, Olbia and Palau are famous for their luxurious nightclubs.

Santa Teresa di Gallura is also one of the most popular destinations for the very young, as it hosts some historic clubs in Sardinia.

But the island's nightlife is not far behind in the south either. Here the options are cheaper, but still quality. Don't miss the Poetto seafront in Cagliari and the Quartu area with beach bars by the sea!

For those who do not like busy bars or discos, both Cagliari and Alghero often offer evenings of live music and concerts.

Food in Sardinia

Sardinian cuisine has its roots in the pastoral and peasant tradition, with recipes that have been handed down for generations. The combination of the famous Sardinian cheese with a glass of Cannonau wine is explosive.

Here are some of the most delicious local delicacies to try during your stay in Sardinia:

  • porcetto (roasted suckling piglet)
  • culurgiones (pasta stuffed with potato, pecorino cheese and mint)
  • malloreddus (thin ribbed shell-shaped pasta with sausage and tomato sauce)
  • pane carasau (flatbread with olive oil)
  • casu marzu (sheep milk cheese)
  • pecorino cheese
  • fainè (porridge with chickpea flour, salt and olive oil)
  • pasta with sea urchins
  • fregola con i frutti di mare (handmade couscous with seafood) 
  • bottarga (salted, cured fish roe)
  • biscotti anicini (crunchy biscuits with anise)
  • savoiardi (light, dry sponge biscuits)
  • seadas (fried pasta stuffed with pecorino cheese and covered with honey)

The famous Sardinian sweets seadas

The traditional Sardinian seadas

Tips

Here are 4 tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Sardinia:

  • In Sardinia, it may not always be very hot in summer due to the mistral. So before you go it’s better to grab a sweatshirt and put it in your suitcase!
  • Sardinia could be quite expensive in the high season. By booking well in advance, you can save money and have a wider choice of accommodation.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to take a road trip to Sardinia. Travel by car to the large island of Sardinia and explore its beauty at its fullest. 
  • You can also visit the island during the winter and attend some of its legendary events. Among the most famous are the Carnival of Oristano and the Cortes Apertas in Barbagia (the courtyards of the historic houses are open to the public).

Useful information for Sardinia

Sardinia is a very popular tourist destination, so it offers many services and facilities for its visitors throughout the year. However, most of the tourist activities operate during the summer.

In regards to your accommodation in Sardinia, you should keep in mind that prices can be quite high during the summer. Therefore, we recommend you either book your accommodation well in advance or visit the island off-season.  

The area of Costa Smeralda and the towns of Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo are usually more expensive than the southern part of Sardinia. There you can find a very wide choice of hotels, pensions, guest houses and Bed & Breakfasts.

Also, if you’re looking for a more traditional experience, we recommend you to stay in a farmhouse in the Oristano area.

Sardinia is also an excellent destination for camping lovers. You can find the best campsites in the areas of Alghero, Olbia, Costa Rei and in the province of Ogliastra.

Good to know: keep in mind that several ferry companies allow you to embark campers and caravans on ferries to Sardinia, offering discounts and special rates.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Sardinia  

Here are some useful contacts to keep within reach during your trip to Sardinia:

  • Cagliari Port Authority: +3970605171
  • Olbia-Golfo Aranci Port Authority: +390789204179
  • Arbatax Port Authority: +390782667093/667878
  • Porto Torres Port Authority: +39079515151
  • Cagliari Tourist Office: +390706778173
  • "G. Brotzu" Hospital of Cagliari: +390705391
  • ARST urban transport bus: +390784294173
  • European emergency number: 112 

Transportation in Sardinia

Touring Sardinia with your own vehicle is the best choice to be able to move better between one location and another and visit more places.

There are no motorways on the island, but the high-speed roads allow you to reach the main areas. The SS131 route crosses Sardinia from south to north connecting Cagliari to Sassari and Porto Torres, passing through the city of Oristano.

If you prefer to travel by bus, you should know that most of the island’s public network service is operated by the ARST lines. Buses connect tourist resorts and the innermost towns. As for the train, most of the regional connections depart from Cagliari and reach the main cities.

The ARST regional railways also allow you to discover the various places in Sardinia with the Trenino Verde, the Green Train. There are 4 lines that cross both the interior and the coast: Mandas-Arbatax, Mandas-Isili – Sorgono, Macomer – Bosa and Nulvi – Tempio – Palau. 

While in Sardinia, you can also go island hopping. A few kilometers from the Sardinian coast, there are splendid islets to reach by ferry or boat. From the small port of Palau, you can get to the island of La Maddalena. From there, you can hop on to the islands of Santa Maria, Budelli and Spargi. 

Also, from Calasetta and Portovesme you can reach the island of San Pietro with the famous town of Carloforte or go on a day trip to Asinara leaving from the port of Porto Torres.

Sardinia ferry ports

Sardinia is home to several ports and marinas near the tourist resorts of the island. Despite the presence of smaller marinas, the main ports of Sardinia are the ports of Cagliari, Arbatax, Olbia, Golfo d'Aranci, Porto Torres and Santa Teresa Gallura.

The port of Cagliari, in the southern part of Sardinia, is one of the oldest ports in Italy and is situated near the city center. The Sardinian capital is connected throughout the year with the ports of Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo.

The central part of Sardinia is home to the famous port of Arbatax, a very popular destination for summer holidays. However, most ferries arrive all year round from the port of Civitavecchia in Rome.

Going north-east, there is the port of Olbia, one of the most important ports with over 1 million passengers annually. Olbia is connected with the ports of Civitavecchia, Genoa, Livorno and Piombino.

Further north of Olbia is the port of Golfo Aranci, the main access to the famous Costa Smeralda. Ships arrive daily from Livorno, Savona, France (Nice) and Bastia (Corsica).

However, we find the largest port in Sardinia, the port of Porto Torres to the northwest. Thanks to its position, ferries arrive from Italy (Genoa and Civitavecchia), from Spain (Barcelona), from France (Nice and Toulon) and from Ajaccio in Corsica.

At the northern end of Sardinia, there is also the port of Santa Teresa Gallura, in the province of Sassari. Located in a scenic bay, it represents the closest stop for those arriving from Corsica. Santa Teresa di Gallura is connected throughout the year with Bonifacio, a beautiful seaside town in the south of the French island.

Sardinia ferry: schedules and tickets

You can travel by ferry to the ports of Sardinia from Rome (Civitavecchia), Liguria (Genoa and Savona), Tuscany (Livorno and Piombino), Naples and Palermo.

The Italian island is also connected to some ports in France (Nice and Toulon), Corsica (Bastia, Ajaccio and Bonifacio) and Spain (Barcelona).

The ferry companies offering the routes to/from Sardinia are Grimaldi Lines, Moby Lines, Tirrenia, GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci), Corsica Ferries and Ichnusa Lines. Most of the connections include active crossings all year round, but there are also seasonal ferry crossings.

There are several ferry crossings from the Italian peninsula to the island of Sardinia. Here you can find more information about the ferry routes and schedules to Sardinia:

  • Civitavecchia - Cagliari ferry: the connection from Civitavecchia to Cagliari is served with 3 weekly crossings all year round. The crossings can last between 13 and 15 hours, depending on the ferry operator.
  • Civitavecchia - Olbia ferry: the route from Civitavecchia to Olbia is active all year round with several daily connections. The crossings can last from 6 to 9 hours, depending on the ferry operator.
  • Civitavecchia - Arbatax ferry: the ferry crossing from Civitavecchia to Arbatax runs all year round, with 2 connections per week. The crossings usually take about 9 hours.
  • Civitavecchia - Porto Torres ferry: the Civitavecchia - Porto Torres ferry route is usually operated once a week and the journey takes about 7 hours.
  • Genoa - Olbia ferry: the connection from Genoa to Olbia is seasonal, with 1-2 daily ferry routes. The crossing can last between 10 and 12 hours.
  • Genoa - Porto Torres ferry: you can travel from Genoa to Porto Torres throughout the year. However, ferry routes are more frequent during the summer. The crossing can take from 10 to 12 hours, depending on the ferry company.
  • Savona - Golfo Aranci ferry: the connection from Savona to Golfo Aranci is seasonal and includes 3 weekly ferry trips. The crossing takes around 15 hours
  • Livorno - Olbia ferry: the crossings from Livorno to Olbia are active all year round with 4 daily connections. The ferry trip can last between 7 and 10 hours, depending on the vessel and the ferry company.
  • Livorno - Golfo Aranci ferry: the ferry route from Livorno to Golfo Aranci runs all year round with more than 2 daily connections. The ferry trip can take between 7 and 10 hours, depending on the type of vessel.
  • Piombino - Olbia ferry: the Piombino - Olbia route is seasonal including 1 daily connection taking about 5 hours.
  • Naples - Cagliari ferry: the connection from Naples to Cagliari is active all year round with 3 weekly crossings of about 15 hours.
  • Palermo - Cagliari ferry: the ferry route from Palermo to Cagliari operates once a week (on Sundays) all year round. The Palermo - Cagliari crossing usually lasts 12 hours.

There are also many ferry crossings from France to Sardinia. Here you can find more information about the ferry routes and schedules from the ports of Nice and Toulon:

  • Nice - Golfo Aranci ferry: the connection from Nice to Golfo Aranci is occasional and ships usually operate once or twice a week. The crossing takes between 16 and 18 hours, depending on the type of vessel.
  • Nice - Porto Torres ferry: you can travel from Nice to Porto Torres only in summer. The route is mostly occasional and involves 10-hour crossings.
  • Toulon - Porto Torres ferry: the connection from Toulon to Porto Torres is annual but its frequency depends on the season. In high season, there are up to 4 daily ferry trips which can last from 8 to 12 hours, depending on the ferry operator.

As for the crossings from Corsica to Sardinia, you can see here all the information about the ferry routes and schedules from the ports of Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Bastia:

  • Bonifacio - Santa Teresa Gallura ferry: the itinerary from the port of Bonifacio to Santa Teresa Gallura is active all year round and includes more than 7 daily connections. Ships take about 1 hour to reach the Sardinian port depending on the operator chosen. Also, take a look at the Santa Teresa Gallura - Bonifacio route to find out how to get to Corsica from Sardinia!
  • Ajaccio - Porto Torres ferry: the route from the port of Ajaccio to Porto Torres is active all year round. There are 1-2 connections a week and the crossings usually last 4 hours.
  • Bastia - Golfo Aranci ferry: the connection from Bastia to Golfo Aranci is seasonal. There are usually 2 weekly crossings taking about 5 hours

You can also reach Porto Torres by ferry departing from the port of Barcelona in Spain. It is one of the most popular ferry routes with 4 weekly connections. The journey takes approximately 12 hours.

Take a look at our Map of ferries with all the connections to the ports of Sardinia and start planning your trip right away!

Where to book ferry tickets to Sardinia online?

On Ferryhopper, you can find all connections to Sardinia, compare prices and companies, departure times and book your ferry tickets online with ease. Get ready to discover this Mediterranean paradise far and wide and experience your dreamy vacation!

Sardinia ferry timetable

View the complete ferry schedule from and to Sardinia for the upcoming week. Find up-to-date trip information, including departure and arrival dates and times, ferry operators and ticket prices.

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