How To Get To Sardinia: 9 Routes From Italy And Europe

Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage. Each year, millions of visitors are drawn to its picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and vibrant local traditions. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, explore ancient ruins, or enjoy delicious Sardinian cuisine, the island offers something for every traveler.

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Getting to Sardinia by Air

Traveling to Sardinia by air is the fastest and most convenient option for most visitors. The island is served by three major airports, each providing easy access to different parts of Sardinia and connecting with various international and domestic destinations.

Major Airports

Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (Northeast Sardinia)

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  • Proximity to Key Tourist Destinations: Olbia airport is strategically located near the famous Costa Smeralda, a luxury tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, upscale resorts, and vibrant nightlife. It is also close to other popular spots like Porto Cervo and the Maddalena Archipelago.
  • Flight Durations from Major Cities:
    • From Rome: Approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes.
    • From London: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Cagliari Elmas Airport (South Sardinia)

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  • Serving the Capital City, Cagliari: As the main airport in the south, Cagliari Elmas Airport serves Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari, a bustling city known for its rich history, cultural sites, and urban amenities.
  • Connectivity to Other Parts of the Island: The airport offers numerous connections to other regions of Sardinia, making it a convenient gateway for exploring the island. From here, travelers can easily reach attractions such as the ancient ruins of Nora, the beautiful beaches of Chia, and the scenic coastal towns along the southern coast.

Alghero-Fertilia Airport (Northwest Sardinia)

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  • Access to the Historic City of Alghero and Surrounding Areas: Alghero-Fertilia Airport provides easy access to Alghero, a charming medieval city known for its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and Catalan influences. The airport also serves the surrounding region, including the beautiful beaches of the northwest coast and natural attractions such as the Neptune Caves and the Porto Conte Regional Natural Park.

Additional Information

  • Airlines Operating Flights: Various airlines, including budget carriers and major international airlines, operate flights to these airports from across Europe. Popular airlines include Alitalia, Ryanair, EasyJet, and Vueling.
  • Tips for Finding Cheap Flights: To find the best deals on flights to Sardinia, it is advisable to book in advance, use flight comparison websites, and consider traveling during the off-peak season.

Getting to Sardinia by Ferry

Traveling to Sardinia by ferry is an excellent option for those who prefer a more leisurely journey and wish to bring their own vehicle. There are several major ferry routes from Italy and other parts of Europe, each offering unique advantages.

Major Ferry Routes from Italy

Civitavecchia to Sardinia (Olbia, Arbatax, Cagliari)

  • Duration and Frequency of Trips: Ferries from Civitavecchia, located near Rome, run year-round with increased frequency during the summer months. The journey typically takes about 7-15 hours depending on the destination port. Most ferries depart in the evening, allowing passengers to travel overnight and arrive refreshed in the morning.
  • Olbia: Approximately 7-8 hours.
  • Arbatax: Approximately 10-12 hours.
  • Cagliari: Approximately 13-15 hours.

Livorno to Olbia or Golfo Aranci

  • Benefits of Taking the Ferry from Livorno: Livorno, near Pisa, offers convenient access to the northern part of Sardinia. The ferry to Olbia or Golfo Aranci takes around 7-9 hours. This route is popular for its scenic views and the option to travel overnight. It is particularly beneficial for travelers coming from central and northern Italy.
  • Olbia: Approximately 7-8 hours.
  • Golfo Aranci: Approximately 9 hours.

Naples to Cagliari

  • Overview of the Route and What to Expect: The ferry from Naples to Cagliari provides a direct link between southern Italy and the capital of Sardinia. The journey takes about 13-15 hours, typically operating overnight. This route is ideal for travelers from southern Italy and those looking to explore southern Sardinia upon arrival.

Genoa to Porto Torres

  • Detailed Information on the Genoa Route: Ferries from Genoa to Porto Torres in northwest Sardinia take approximately 10-12 hours. This route is popular among travelers from northern Italy and offers the convenience of overnight travel. Porto Torres is a gateway to the stunning beaches and historical sites in the northwest region.

Major Ferry Routes from Europe

France (Nice) to Sardinia

  • Routes and Ferry Companies: Ferries from Nice to Sardinia typically connect to ports such as Golfo Aranci or Porto Torres. The journey takes about 10-12 hours. Major ferry operators on this route include Corsica Ferries and Moby Lines, providing comfortable and scenic travel options.

Spain to Sardinia

  • Overview of Available Routes and Ferry Services: There are direct ferry routes from Barcelona to Sardinia, typically arriving at Porto Torres. The journey from Barcelona to Porto Torres takes around 12-15 hours. This route is serviced by ferry companies like Grimaldi Lines, offering a convenient option for travelers from Spain.

Additional Information

  • Ferry Companies: Major ferry operators include Moby Lines, Grimaldi Lines, Tirrenia, Corsica Ferries, and GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci).
  • Booking Tips: It’s recommended to book ferry tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Websites like Direct Ferries and FerryScanner provide schedules, ticket prices, and booking options.

Traveling by ferry allows for a scenic and relaxing journey to Sardinia, with the added convenience of bringing your own vehicle and experiencing the beautiful Mediterranean Sea along the way.

Comparing Air Travel and Ferry Travel to Reach Sardinia


Pros and Cons of Flying


  • Speed and Convenience: Flying is the fastest way to reach Sardinia, with flight durations typically between 1 to 3 hours from major European cities. This is especially convenient for travelers with limited time.
  • Multiple Flight Options: Numerous airlines offer frequent flights to Sardinia’s three major airports, providing flexibility in terms of scheduling and departure locations.


  • Higher Costs Compared to Ferries: Air travel is generally more expensive than taking a ferry, especially if booked last minute or during peak travel seasons. Prices can vary significantly based on the time of year and availability.

Pros and Cons of Taking the Ferry


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Ferries are often more affordable than flights, particularly for families or groups traveling together. Additionally, ferry travel allows for the transportation of vehicles, which can save on car rental costs upon arrival.
  • Scenic and Comfortable: Ferry journeys provide a scenic experience of the Mediterranean Sea, with amenities such as cabins, restaurants, and entertainment on board. This can make the trip more enjoyable, especially for those who appreciate a leisurely pace.


  • Longer Travel Times: Ferry travel takes significantly longer than flying, with durations ranging from 7 to 15 hours depending on the route. This may not be ideal for travelers with time constraints.
  • Overnight Travel: While some may appreciate the ability to sleep overnight on the ferry, others might find the extended travel time less convenient compared to a quick flight.

Conclusion and Final Choice

Both air travel and ferry travel offer unique advantages and disadvantages for reaching Sardinia. Flying is the quickest and most convenient option, making it suitable for those with limited time or who prefer a fast journey. On the other hand, taking a ferry is more cost-effective, especially for families and those traveling with vehicles, and provides a scenic and leisurely travel experience.


  • For Time-Sensitive Travelers: Opt for flying to maximize your time on the island.
  • For Budget-Conscious Travelers: Consider taking the ferry, especially if traveling with a group or bringing a vehicle.
  • For Scenic Travel Enthusiasts: The ferry offers a unique and enjoyable way to experience the Mediterranean Sea.

Additional Tips

Best Times to Travel to Sardinia:

  • Peak Season (June to August): Best for beach activities and vibrant local events but expect higher prices and crowded destinations.
  • Shoulder Season (April to May, September to October): Ideal for pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and lower prices. Great for outdoor activities and exploring the island.
  • Off-Season (November to March): Quiet and relaxed, with cooler temperatures. Some tourist services may be limited, but this is the best time for budget travelers seeking tranquility.

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