Sardinia’s public transport system includes buses, trains and metro. The island’s capital, Cagliari, boasts one of the most advanced public transport systems in all of Italy, which has won numerous awards.
Buses in Sardinia
City bus routes
City bus routes in the largest cities of Sardinia – Cagliari, Alghero, Olbia – are operated by CTM. Since the capital of the island and the largest city on it is Cagliari, I will tell you about the cost of travel in it. There are several types of bus tickets to Cagliari. Details are in the table below.
|Ticket name||Ticket price|
|Biglietto ordinario a tempo (90 minutes)||€ 1.20|
|Biglietto integrato a tempo (2 hours)||€ 2|
|Biglietto multiplo da 12 corse (12 rides 90 minutes each on all routes except route 9)||€ 12|
|Biglietto integrato giornaliero (for 1 day – until 00:00, valid on all buses)||€ 3|
When boarding the bus, the ticket must be validated. Children under 6 travel free of charge. The ticket must be kept during the whole trip. As you can see from the table, an additional fee of € 0.5 is charged for buying a ticket directly from the driver.
Tickets are sold at tobacco kiosks, newsagents, CTM points of sale and in the free Busfinder app (available for iOS, Androis and Windows), at vending machines.
I am attaching the city bus route map in Cagliari. The map also shows metro stations, places of transfers from metro to buses, railway stations, bike rental points, terminal stops, parking lots. And besides, hospitals, parks and beaches. As you can see, in addition to buses, Cagliari also has a metro network that is integrated with the routes of city buses and trains. On the map, the two metro lines are marked in red and blue.
Intercity bus routes
Buses run between the major cities of Sardinia, operated by ARST (Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti), Turmo Travel, Sunlines. There are more buses on weekdays than on weekends and holidays. It is necessary to take this into account when planning a trip around the island: it is better to exclude trips to small remote villages on weekends – you simply risk not leaving there. There is not always a bus schedule in small towns, and the maximum you can count on is an approximate bus schedule.
Tickets for intercity buses should always be purchased in advance – at tobacco kiosks or newsagents near the bus stop. On some routes, tickets may be sold by the driver for a small surcharge.
Water transport in Sardinia
The operating season for water tourist transport in Sardinia is late March / early April – October. This mode of transport allows you to comfortably explore the coastal beauty of the island. Some ferries allow you to travel with your rental car.
The most popular sailing routes in Sardinia are:
- 1-From Cala Gonone / Santa Maria Navarrese along the Golfo di Orosei
- 2-From Palau around La Maddalena Islands
- 3-From Olbia: Walk around Tavolara Island; from Alghero: Capo Caccia and Grotta di Nettuno; from the Sinis peninsula: to the Mal di Ventre island
The famous island carrier is Delcomar, on whose website you can check the current prices and timetables.
Water transport from continental Europe to Sardinia
Ferries from ports in Spain, France and Italy run all year round to Sardinia. During the season, the number of their flights increases.
- Ferry arrival stations in the north of the island: Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Santa Teresa Gallura and Porto Torres; in the east: Arbatax, in the south: Cagliari.
- It is better to book tickets in advance – online or at sales offices in Sardinia.
- Useful websites with ferry timetables and routes: aferry.co.uk, traghettiweb.it
- Major sea carriers: Grandi Navi Veloci, Moby Lines, Tirrenia.
Ferries to Sardinia from mainland Italy and from the island of Sicily
You can get to Sardinia by ferry all year round. Most ferries offer both seating and compartments. For clarity, I will indicate the price of travel in class 2 for 1 person on the main routes from Italy to Sardinia by ferry and the travel time.
|Point of departure||Destination||Ticket price||Travel time|
|Genoa||Olbia||€ 61||10.5 hours|
|Livorno||Golfo Aranci||€ 80||10 hours|
|Naples||Cagliari||€ 50||13.5 hours|
|Palermo||Cagliari||€ 50||12 hours|
|Civitavecchia||Cagliari||€ 53||13 hours|
|Civitavecchia||Olbia||€ 49||5.5 hours|
Ferries to Sardinia from Corsica
The main ferry route between the islands of Corsica and Sardinia runs between Bonifacio and Santa Teresa Gallura. In addition, ferries from Corsica to Sardinia leave from the ports of Bastia, Ajaccio and Propriano. Ferries are operated by Corsica Ferries, Sardinia Ferries.
Ferries to Sardinia from mainland France
From the French port of Marseille to the city of Porto Torres in Sardinia (via Corsica) you can take the ferry company La Méridionale. The travel time from the point of departure to the point of destination will be about 10 hours. The fare for a seated seat is around € 44, for a small compartment € 98 in high season.
Ferries to Sardinia from Spain
Ferry services between Barcelona, Spain and Porto Torres are operated by Grimaldi Lines. The fare in a seated place is about € 59, the carriage is € 115. Travel time is about 12 hours. The route is operated from mid-April to October.
Bicycles in Sardinia
The island of Sardinia is a great place for cycling. Roads are rarely busy, except in the high season in summer, and the scenery is simply magical. However, stock up on your strength: cycling through mountainous terrain by bike is not easy for everyone.
The bike can be rented in any major resort or city: Alghero, Cagliari, Santa Teresa Gallura, La Maddalena, Palau, Olbia. Rental price: from € 10 per day. It is forbidden to ride a bike on the main road of the island SS131. The bike can be transported on regional trains by purchasing a separate ticket for 24 hours for € 3.5. In addition, you can take your bike with you on the ferry for an additional charge of € 3 to € 10
Train connections in Sardinia
The island of Sardinia is served by 3 rail carriers:
1. Trenitalia (“Rete RFI” on the map) serves the main routes – from Cagliari to Olbia and Golfo Aranci, to Sassari and Porto Torres. Don’t forget that when you buy train tickets on the Trenitalia website in advance, you will get a good discount. Distances between main served stations along the route:
- 1-Cagliari – Golfo Aranci: 306 km;
- 2-Cagliari – Porto Torres: 273 km;
- 3-Cagliari – Iglesias: 55 km;
- 4-Cagliari – Carbonia: 68 km.
2. ARST (“Rete ARST-TPL” on the map) runs on short-range routes, for example, Alghero – Sassari.
- 1.-Monserrato – Izili: 71.11 km;
- 2-Macomer – Nuoro: 59.31 km;
- 3-Sassari – Alghero: 30.11 km;
- 4-Sassari – Sorso: 9.97 km;
- 5-Sassari – Nulvi: 34.70 km.
3. Trenino Verde (“Rete ARST-Turistica” on the map) – trains serving tourist routes in spring and summer.
Car rental in Sardinia
If you want to visit secret beaches and remote corners of the island, renting a car is ideal. Drivers in Sardinia drive carefully, and only the island’s largest cities – Cagliari, Sassari and Olbia – are busy during the summer season. When traveling on rural roads, only flocks of sheep can hinder you. To explore the hidden beauty of the island, take the roads marked on the maps with the letters P or SP. They, at times, are very narrow, but they pass through places with beautiful landscapes and close to small towns and villages.
When renting a car in Sardinia, consider the following:
- Smaller gas stations close between 13:00 and 15:30 and on Sunday afternoons.
- Many gas stations offer 24/7 self-service.
- Unleaded gasoline in Italian “benzina senza piombo”, diesel – “gasolio”.
- Average prices for gasoline: € 1.6 per liter, diesel – € 1.5 per liter.
- Parking rules: blue line – paid parking at a price of € 1 per hour, white line – free parking, yellow line – parking only with a pass.
- The historic centers of the cities of Alghero, Cagliari, Sassari, Oristano and Nuoro are partially closed to traffic during certain hours.
Traffic features in Sardinia:
- The main transport artery of the island is the SS131 (Carlo Felice) highway, which runs from Cagliari in the south to Porto Torres in the north through the cities of Oristano, Macomer and Sassari.
- This route, as well as most of the roads in the tourist coastal areas, is in good condition. Some roads are represented by narrow serpentines.
- In the summertime, it is advisable to avoid high traffic areas – especially the road between Olbia and Santa Teresa Gallura.
- Inside the island, there are many rough roads without asphalt. Many farm hotels (agritourism), ancient sites and beaches are often only accessible by dirt roads.
- The permitted level of alcohol in the driver’s blood is 0.05%.
- The following speed limits apply on the roads of Sardinia: 110 km / h on highways, 90 km / h on minor roads and 50 km / h in cities.
Rent in Advance
Renting a car in advance means good savings and discounts. All major rental offices are located at the airports, where you can pick up your car immediately upon arrival and then drop it off at the end of your stay in Sardinia. Rental offices of international companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz, Italy by Car) can be found in major cities and coastal resorts. To rent a car you will need an international driver’s license, age 21+, credit card deposit.
You can rent a car to travel around Sardinia at Rentalcars. The site cooperates with trusted rental offices around the world and offers you the best car options depending on your needs. A week of car rental Opel Corsa in Sardinia through this website will cost you only € 138 with early booking. During the season, cars with good characteristics are not enough for all tourists, so we advise you to book a car in advance and save money.
Taxi in Sardinia
Taxi cars in Sardinia are white. The fare is paid on the basis of the meter readings – make sure that the driver turns it on, otherwise you risk running into trouble. Taxis here, as in all of Italy, are not cheap, so be prepared to pay. Or rent a car and visit the most interesting places on the island on your own or on a guided tour.
If you are afraid that you will not find free taxi cars during the season, we recommend ordering a taxi transfer in advance to the door of your apartment or hotel. By ordering a taxi online, you can quickly and securely get to the airport and not miss your flight.