If you want to discover the island with full freedom, use a car, motorcycle and for the sports driven also a bicycle. You can move around on trains and buses but consider that is might be time consuming and the connections outside the bigger cities might not be the most comfortable.
For the smaller islands
Transfer to the islands of Carloforte and La Maddalena is available by various daily ferries managed by maritime companies or other private operators. Other smaller islands such as Tavolara, Asinara, Cavoli and Mal di Ventre are located within Parks and Marine Protected Areas and can be visited according to the standards of each area: read up on how to access the area and the rules of conduct on the websites of the entities that manage them.
Travelling by campervan
It is useful to remember that free camping in Sardinia is not always possible, but there are authorised stop-over sites that can also be used for the discharge of water and rubbish.
Hire a vehicle
At all airports and in major cities you can rent cars and other vehicles. In the high season it is best to book them in advance. Besides the B license (or equivalent if you are not Italian) you may be required a to provide a credit card in the name of the driver. The car rate might also differ based on wether you prepay for the vechicle or pay at the collection point.
Smaller local car hire might allow you to pick up the car with a cash deposit but it will also come at a higher daily price. Make sure you read all the information when booking because some car hire companies might not let you pick up the car if you cannot a provide a valid credit card issued by a bank.
Reach out to Welcome to Sardinia for a quote. We offer car hire at the three Sardinian airports - Olbia, Cagliari and Alghero as well as ports and most important touristic destinations.
In summer, especially along the coast, the roads are very busy, so please take that into account when planning your journey and remember that, when not signposted, the speed limit is 50 km/h inside built-up areas and 90 km/h for non-urban roads. Remember that it is illegal to drive after taking alcohol or drugs and also to throw rubbish out the window, especially cigarette butts due to the risk of fire. In inland areas of the island pay attention to wild animals that may cross the street.
In case you require assistance, contact your insurance company or car rental agency. The road assistance service is also insured by the ACI and you can call the free number 803 116, or 800 116 800 if calling from abroad.
Travelling by boat
For the recreational tourist Sardinia offers many havens and marinas, where you can also rent dinghies and sailing boats and find out any information on standards and special permissions that may be relevant to some stretches of sea. Please keep in mind that for vessels that are more than 30kw a boat licence is required.
In case of an emergency at sea call the free number 1530 for the Coast Guard.
Even though it can be romantic exploring the coasts on your own we recommend booking a shared or private excursion with captain and a skipper. The professionals will not only show you the hidden gems of the sea and you will not need to worry about navigating an unknown coast.
Getting around with public transport
The railway line connects Cagliari with Sassari, Porto Torres, Golfo Aranci, Iglesias and Carbonia. Buses connect all locations, including the smaller ones. In major cities there are special lines of urban transport. In the case of long journeys you will need to change your means of transport - check the site http://www.sardegnamobilita.it/ for timetables, travel times and connections.
Getting around by car and motorbike
The lack of motorways does not prevent you from easily reaching any destination.
The island can be crossed by the SS 131, a fast dual carriageway that connects Cagliari to Sassari and Porto Torres. From the Abbasanta junction the road forks to Olbia through Nuoro: other fast roads intersect with the 131 connecting other locations. Cagliari is connected with the SS 130 in the south west of the island and with the new SS 125 at the eastern part and up to the north.
Petrol stations are located along the main arterial roads but also in towns crossed by the dense network of secondary roads. You can refill the tank by paying in cash or card just make sure that your card has at least 100 euros on it because the most gas stations momentarily block that amount and charge you for what you actually fill.
Information from Sardegna Turismo.