If you’re here, you must wondering if Sardinia is expensive. Depending on where you go on the island and what you do, Sardinia can certainly be on the expensive side. If you follow some budget advice (which we’ll get into below) it will be much easier on your wallet. Conversely, if you’re looking for a place to splurge on a luxurious holiday, Sardinia is a great place for that too.
Regardless of how much or little you spend in Sardinia, you will feel like you’re on vacation in Tahiti. Sardinia has stunning beaches with white sand, and clear turquoise water. When you’re in Sardinia, you wonder why the island isn’t more well-known around the world.
As I mentioned, you can fit Sardinia into a trip on a variety of budgets. I travelled on a budget in Sardinia with a kid, and can offer you some good insider tips on saving money.
Why is Sardinia expensive?
Sardinia is expensive for a few reasons: a lot of food inventory is shipped from mainland Italy, so this incurs additional costs associated with it
There are regions in Sardinia that are very popular among celebrities, rich people – and these are the areas you want to avoid if you’re trying to travel to Sardinia on a budget. We’re going to give you an idea of what things cost on average, and how to travel Sardinia affordably.
What things cost in Sardinia
Keep in mind that all of these prices are an average cost. You can find cheaper and more expensive options, but this is a guideline on a rough idea of what you’ll spend for each of these items
|Item||Average cost in Sardinia|
|A whole medium-sized pizza (serving 1-2 people)||€10|
|A glass of wine||€6|
|A rental car for 1 day||€29 per day|
|A bottle of beer||€4|
|An ice cream (or gelato) cone||€2|
|A plate of pasta||€14|
9 Ways to make Sardinia more affordable
Here are some tips that will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your vacation in Sardinia. You can enjoy picturesque views, the local cuisine and feel like you’re in paradise while still staying within a certain budget with these tips.
Sardinia money saving tip # 1: ✅ Fly to Sardinia
The two options for getting to Sardinia include flying there, or taking the ferry. Flying to Sardinia is a bit cheaper than taking the ferry, its also quicker.
If you do decide to take the ferry (from mainland Italy, France or Spain) then bring some of your own food on board for snacks and breakfast. The ferry prices alone aren’t super expensive (only about $80 USD per person ) but they add on for each item, such as a cabin to sleep in, breakfast, dinner, and so on. So the ferry will end up costing you much more once you factor in sleeping and food.
Pro Tip: Use Direct Ferries to view your ferry options and Skyscanner for your flying options. This way you can see all the routes and prices from all the carriers and be able to choose the cheapest one
Sardinia money saving tip # 2: ✅ Consider lesser-visited locations
The West of Sardinia is beautiful, but not nearly as touristy as the east side. If you research West Sardinia, you’ll find beautiful resorts, quaint villages, and gorgeous beaches – they’re just not as visited. You can save a lot of money making the west coast your home base in Sardinia instead of the east coast.
Sardinia money saving tip # 3: ✅ Book somewhere with a kitchen
Booking an accommodation with a kitchen allows you to shop at supermarkets, and prepare some of your own meals which can save hundreds of dollars. Of course you might want to treat yourself to some nice dinners out, but being able to make some of your meals (even just breakfast) during your trip to Sardinia can result in significant savings.
Sardinia money saving tip # 4: ✅ Look for free breakfasts
If you can’t find a place with a kitchen, then having breakfast provided is the next best thing. Breakfast taken care of is a good way to save some money. If you fill up on breakfast, then you can have a lighter lunch, and then only do the big spending (if you desire) when you eat out for dinner.
Sardinia money saving tip # 5: ✅ Consider flying into Alghero or Cagliari
Flying into Alghero or Cagliari is generally a bit cheaper than flying into Olbia. If you’re flying from the UK, it might be hard to find direct flights to anywhere other than Olbia, so this will also depend on your personal preferences. But if you can fly into Alghero or Cagliari, you might save a couple hundred dollars. Be sure to use Skyscanner to check all your options for flights, and check prices for all three airports.
Sardinia money saving tip # 6: ✅ Don’t stay in the Costa Smeralda
Costa Smeralda is like the Hamptons of Sardinia – its where everyone goes to spend a lot of money on luxury vacations. Of course, there are beautiful beaches in the Costa Smeralda (its popular and expensive for a reason) but staying overnight anywhere near that area will be significantly more expensive than staying elsewhere.
Tip: If you’d like to visit the beaches in Costa Smeralda, its worth noting that Spaggia del Principe (Prince’s Beach) charges €18 for parking, but Cala Brandinchi (also a very beautiful beach) only charges an average of €2, depending on time of year. So you can save money going to Cala Brandinchi instead.
Sardinia money saving tip # 7: ✅ Don’t spend all your time in Cagliari
Cagliari makes a good day trip, but I don’t recommend spending more than a day there. Its a nice city, with fascinating historical sights and a really cool underground that you can explore. But you can probably see all the sights in a day and find a cheaper place to stay somewhere else.
Sardinia money saving tip # 8: ✅ Enjoy the “free” activities
With an island where so many of the attractions are based around enjoying the outdoors, there are a number of free activities in Sardinia that won’t cost you a dime. Here are a few ideas:
- Hiking. There are some amazing places to hike in Sardinia, with its mountainous range and beautiful rock formations. Click here to see all the different trails.
- Visiting the beach. Keep in mind, some of the Sardinia beaches charge hefty fines for parking (especially if they’re popular.) The ones we know of that are inexpensive are: Spaggia Li Cossi in northern Sardinia is free of charge, and Cala Brandichini in Costa Smeralda only charges an average of €2 depending on the time of year
- Archaeological sights. There are many sights that can be seen and admired from the outside, and some that you can even climb without having to spend any money. An example would be the old towns of Alghero, Olbia and Cagliari which you can walk around for free, or the Bastion St. Remy in Cagliari which you can climb free of charge and get a beautiful view of the city
Sardinia money saving tip # 9: ✅ Stick to locally made beers and wines
Alcohol made locally in Sardinia will undeniably be cheaper than something that had to be imported from elsewhere. The Sardinian local beer is called “Bierra Ichnusa” and it has great reviews. Its brewed in a small town near Cagliari.
For Sardinia-made wines, there are dozens of options. Connonau, Vermentino, Carignano, Monica, and many others. Look for these names on the menus, or in supermarkets.
Budget Accommodations in Sardinia
Chase the deal, not the destination. If you’re flexible about where you go, you are able to choose accommodations that cater to the price point you’re willing to spend. Please note the prices below are approximations and will be based on your exchange rate at the time of booking
- Turismo Rurale Pertunge Stay in your own peaceful farmhouse, with spectacular views and air conditioning, for only €71 per night
- Villagio Camping Calopineta You’ll have a pizzeria, bar and minimart on site, as well as your own outdoor kitchenette to cook your own meals for only €75 per night
- Villagio Camping Tennois Beach Approximately €79 per night. You have access to a beautiful private beach, a minimart on site, and a bus stop 600 m away.
- Via Roma Charming Rooms For around €97 per night, you’ll have a balcony with beautiful mountain views
- Gaias Rooms : Approximately €102 per night. Gaias Rooms accommodations are located located right in the centre of Olbia, for an affordable price. Breakfast is included.
- Casa Stiaccadu For around €136 per night, have a room with a terrace overlooking Olbia, and an Italian breakfast provided each morning
To sum it up: Sardinia DOs and DON’Ts
–Fly into Sardinia, instead of take the ferry (its cheaper.)
-Try to fly into into Alghero or Calighari. More budget airlines fly there, however, the cost difference isn’t too large
-Consider accommodations located a few kilometres inland if you’re looking to save some money. The mountain scenery in Sardinia is beautiful, and you can save hundreds of dollars.
-Consider accommodations with a kitchen that allow you to cook your own meals. Its a great way to try local ingredients
–Consider free activities while you’re in Sardinia, such as beaches and hikes. A big part of Sardinia tourism is about spending time outdoors.
–Fly into Olbia if you’re trying to save money.
-Don’t try to save money by skipping out on the rental car rental in favour of public transit. While Sardinia does have a bus system, it can still be challenging to get around Sardinia without a rental car.
-Spend more than a day in Cagliari
-Spend the whole time in Costa Smeralda, because this is the most touristy, expensive area
–Look for hotels with ocean views; these will be much more expensive, and the hotels in-land with mountain views are gorgeous as well
-Be afraid to go off the beaten path. There are some incredible villages and beaches in the less-touristy parts of Sardinia that are cheaper because they aren’t ‘discovered’ yet. For example, check out Spiaggia di San Nicolo and its nearby village, Portixeddu in southwestern Sardinia
Is Sardinia Expensive? FAQ
Here are the most commonly asked questions about Sardinia, and how much you can expect to spend in Sardinia on holiday
How much does a beer cost in Sardinia?
A bottle of beer in Sardinia costs around 4 euro ( dollars.) It could be as low as 3 but upwards of 5. Keep in mind, you can buy beer in Sardinia much cheaper if you get it in the supermarket.
How much does a week in Sardinia cost?
If you average around €120 per night for a place to stay, plus an extra €100 euro per person for food, activities and transportation per day, then a week in Sardinia will likely cost around €1540 per person. Of course, it could be more or less than this, depending on the type of accommodation you select and how much you spend on food – cooking and supermarket vs. eating out.
Is Sardinia more expensive than Greece?
Sardinia will usually be more expensive than Greece. Greece is a large, diverse country and there are some cheap areas where you can go. The same can be said about Sardinia, but its a much smaller island on its own, whereas Greece is attached to mainland Europe. So assuming you’re comparing Sardinia to mainland Greece, then Sardinia is likely a bit more expensive.
Is Sardinia safe?
Yes, Sardinia is relatively safe. Like with any large cities, there are some neighbourhoods in the capital of Cagliari that should be avoided, especially at night. As a tourist however, you’re not likely to spend time in these areas.
Is it hard to get around Sardinia without a car?
Sardinia has a bus system and taxis, but it is challenging to get around the whole island as a foreigner without a car.
Is it customary to tip in Sardinia?
Tipping is not an expectation in Sardinia, nor is it in mainland Italy. Feel free to add a tip if you feel the service has gone above and beyond; otherwise, its not considered rude to not leave a tip.
What is the most expensive part of Sardinia?
The most expensive part of Sardinia is by far, the Costa Smeralda, which is the northeastern part of the island (which incudes Olbia, Porto Cervo, La Maddelena and Santa Teresa.) Its home to some spectacular beaches and stunning views, and world-class resorts. However, be prepared to spend top dollar should you choose to stay here. To save money in the Costa Smeralda, then avoid ocean-view hotels as these are the most expensive. If you’re keen to do Sardinia as cheeply as possible, then its best to avoid staying in Costa Smeralda at all.
Is Sardinia expensive for tourists?
Sardinia can be expensive for tourists, depending on how you plan your vacation. If you avoid staying in Costa Smeralda, or booking a hotel with an oceanview room, then you can saving hundreds to thousands of dollars on your trip to Sardinia. (But don’t worry – accommodations located a few kilometres in-land can have some gorgeous, serene views as well of the mountains)
How many days in Sardinia is enough?
You’ll need a minimum of 3 nights in order to really enjoy your trip and see some of the highlights. In order to see everything around the island, I would recommend 5-7 days in Sardinia.
Is Sardinia or Sicily more expensive?
Sicily is a little bit cheaper than Sardinia. Both of them are beautiful, with stunning beaches and water and rich history, but Sicily is much closer to mainland Italy, and more affordable overall.
Is Sardinia Expensive? Final Thoughts
I recommend a trip to Sardinia, because it was the most beautiful, unique place I have ever seen in Italy. Originally, I only went there to scuba dive , but the natural beauty of this island really captivated me. If you’re looking for a place to be mesmerized by the beauty and feel like you’re on a true holiday, then Sardinia is an excellent choice.
Despite being in Sardinia for a scuba diving experience, I was a single mom and not looking to go overboard on spending. This is a big reason why I want to helps others experience Sardinia without blowing their savings. I believe that with planning, Sardinia can be much more affordable than more popular places in Italy, such as Venice, Rome and Florence. I hope that this guide has been helpful for you in determining how to fit Sardinia into your budget.