The beautiful island of Sardinia welcomes millions of tourists to its shores year after year. Being the second largest island in Italy, it has grown in popularity as more people discover the beauty of this foreign land. It’s no surprise people are intrigued to visit Sardinia after being labeled as a ‘blue zone’. This label signifies that this region is home to people who live longer and healthier lives, compared to other areas of the world. Experience the culture for yourself by discovering the top 8 things you need to know before visiting this beautiful island of Sardinia with the help of our trusty guide.
Table of Contents:
Where is Sardinia?
Sardinia is located in the middle of the Mediterranean. Lying 200 km from the mainland of Italy, travelling from Rome, would take you around five hours by ferry or 55 minutes if landing in Olbia, north-east of the island. Reaching the island for an Italian holiday is possible from France, as it is located immediately south of Corsica, 12 km to be precise. However you decide to land your feet on the second largest Italian island, there are some fundamental elements you may want to consider first.
Top 8 Things to Know Before Travelling to Sardinia
- Currency of Sardinia
- Sardinia’s Airport
- Typical Weather Forecast
- Beaches to Explore
- Power & Travel Adaptors
- Transport Around Sardinia
- Top Attractions to Experience
- Native Food & Delicacies
Currency of Sardinia
The currency in Sardinia is the Euro. Prior to flying to your holiday destination, exchange some of your spending money to avoid wasting hours finding a local bank, and having lower exchange rates. If you are in need of a local bank while you are abroad, the majority open in the morning, giving you plenty of time to explore the island throughout the day.
Top tip: Most major banks allow you to use your credit or debit card abroad, but contact them first to avoid wrongly mistaken fraudulent activity. Alternatively, you can use a pre-paid travel card to avoid carrying a lot of cash.
Flying into Sardinia’s Airport
Sardinia is well connected with direct flights to Italy from the U.K. scheduled daily. Sardinia has 3 main airports:
- Alghero Airport (iata code AHO) – located on the West Coast.
- Olbia Airport (iata code OLB) – located on the East Coast.
- Cagliari Airport (iata code CAG) – located South on the island.
Cagliari Airport is the main airport used for international travellers as it can see as many as 3 million passengers each year. Direct flights to this Sardinian airport come from: Brussels, London, Zurich, Amsterdam, Geneva and Berne. If you are travelling to Sardinia from France, you can find direct flights from Paris, Nice, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse and Nantes.
You can travel from Cagliari airport to the city centre by:
- Train – 7 minutes to the city centre and leaves every 20 minutes from 5.00am to 9.00pm.
- Bus – Catch the 501 or 747 during the day (very few rides) or 160 at 11.45pm once the trains have stopped running.
- Taxi – Takes between 10-15 minutes to drive to the city centre and there are an abundance of taxis outside the airport.
Alghero Airport is located in the northwest of Sardinia. Direct flights to this Sardinian airport come from: Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Brussels and Geneva. Unfortunately there are no direct flights from France, but if you are travelling from Germany you can reach the island from the cities of Frankfurt, Berlin and Menninger. Italy provide direct flights from: Naples, Palermo, Pescara and Pisa.
To travel to the city centre from Alghero you can go by:
- Bus – Operating between 5.00am and 10.00pm it takes around 30 minutes to reach the centre.
- Taxi – There are plenty of Taxis outside the airport and the journey will take around 15 minutes.
Olbia Airport is perfect when you want to visit northeast locations such as: San Teodoro, Costa Smeralda and Santa Teresa di Gallura. Direct flights to this Sardinia airport is possible from: London, Manchester, Zurich, Brussels and Amsterdam. France, Italy and Germany can all provide direct flights – an selection include: Paris, Milan and Berlin.
Reaching the city centre is easy by taking the following modes of transport:
- Bus – Look for buses 2 and 10 as they depart for the city centre every 10-20 minutes. The journey should take around 10 minutes.
- Taxi – Taxis are available outside the airport and to reach the centre should cost you around 15 EUR.
Reaching the island by plane is by far the easiest, as many European cities offer direct flights throughout the year. Similarly to reaching the Greek islands by direct flights from London, Sardinia is just a short 2 hours and 30 minutes journey from the capital’s airports. You can book direct flights from the following airports in the UK:
- Birmingham (BHX)
- Bristol (BRS)
- Manchester (MAN)
- London Gatwick (LGW)
- London Heathrow (LHR)
- London Luton (LTN)
- London Stansted (STN)
Typical Weather Forecast
One of the most beautiful things about Sardinia and the hidden Italian islands, is that they boast a warm Mediterranean climate throughout the year. Their long, hot summers can see temperatures average at 28.5℃ in July and August, giving you plenty of time to soak up the sun. Even if you travel out of peak time, because of the renowned six month summer, sea shores could still be warm enough to swim in come October! So whether you stay in a 5* hotel, or rent your own private villa, you could experience the divine sunshine whatever your travel accommodation.
Beaches to Explore
Idyllic landscapes, crystal clear waters and sandy beaches are a perfect combination which makes Sardinia one of the best Italian islands for families. From hidden coves, to picturesque views, there are a variety of beaches to explore, which people of all ages can enjoy! Sardinia has been celebrated for hosting some of the most rewarding coastlines within the Mediterranean. With this achievement to boast of, it is no surprise that Italy was named one of the top holiday destinations in 2019. Be sure to find your perfect holiday accommodation early, to ensure you are can access these wonderful beaches easily each day!
A few of our favourite Sardinian beaches include:
- Cala Brandinchi (Also known as Little Tahiti)
- Spaggia Capriccioli – A perfect beach for snorkelling
- Spiaggia di Liscia Ruja – Home to the softest sand
Power & Travel Adaptors
Outside of your home country, you may need to invest in travel adaptors in order to charge electrical items such as your phone and laptop. Throughout Italy they use a three round pin style adaptor plug, but this is not the same for all European countries.
Currently there are 15 different socket types globally, of which 12 of them are considered to be common types. For Sardinia you will need a three round pin style, which may also be called a ‘type C’ plug.
Transport Around Sardinia
Public transport can be a great way to explore Sardinia, while reducing emissions along the way. It is not uncommon for the public transport to be delayed in Sardinia, which is why locals may tell you to not use it if you are in a rush! But if you are new to the island and want to soak up the culture and scenery, all from the comfort of a bus window, public transport is the way forward.
Urban buses are commonly found and easy to spot in Sardinia. You will often find the bus stops are well marked and they run reasonably often. The timetables can be found at every bus stop but if in doubt, local shopkeepers who also sell tickets would be able to point you in the right direction.
The main cities and their bus station websites are:
- Cagliari – CTM
- Olbia – ASPO Trasporto Pubblico Olbia
- Sassari – ATP Linee – Azienda Transporti Pubblici
- Oristano – ARST – TPL
- Nuoro – A.T.P. – Azienda Trasporti Pubblici Nuoro
Top Attractions to Experience
Once you have gotten settled in your holiday accommodation of a luxury Italian villa or hotel, you can start to plan your daily sightseeing adventures. Sardinia has so much to offer its guests, from the beautiful beaches and food, to the architecture that takes your breath away. Some ideas to get you started include:
- San Benedetto Market – An open air food market, which incorporates lots of colour, but be prepared for it to be busy!
- Capo Caccia Vertical Cliffs – Hike to the top of the vertical cliffs and experience the enchanting views from the peak. You can also walk down the 654 stairs to reach the historic caves.
- Lu Impostu Beach – Relax on the sandy white beach and soak up the sun, while taking a dip in the crystal clear water. Our advice is to arrive before 9.30am to secure the best spot!
Native Food & Delicacies
Italian food is some of the most eaten cuisines worldwide. The must try dishes for while your in Sardinia include:
- Seafood Fregola with Saffron – Fregola, which means breadcrumbs, is a typical Sardinian pasta dish made with semolina, clams, prawns and served with crusty bread.
- Seadas – Seadas or seada, is a traditional Sardinian dessert. The flavours found in this dish include: lemon-scented cheese, piped into fried pastry, topped with warm honey or sugar.
- Culurgiones – Derived from the wildest past of Sardinia, culurgiones are a dumpling pasta stuffed with a mint flavoured potato cream. To serve they are traditionally covered with a fresh tomato sauce and basil, or sage and butter.
We hope you learnt something new ready for your travels to the island of Sardinia. Our guide induces the essential 8 things to know before you go, but the island has so much beauty to offer its visitors. To stay up to date with the latest posts from Virtual Wanderlust, you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.