Driving in Sardinia, Italy | Road Trip, Driving Guide, Driving Tips | wayamaya

Driving in Sardinia, Italy | Road Trip, Driving Guide, Driving Tips | wayamaya
Driving in Sardinia, Italy | Road Trip, Driving Guide, Driving Tips

You won't regret adding Sardinia, Italy to your ultimate travel bucket list, but before you travel to Sardinia for a day, for a week or for holidays, read our driving in Sardinia guide article with useful driving in Sardinia tips and watch our Sardinia driving video.



Also, if you haven't seen them already, check out wayamaya series of travel blog posts about useful Sardinia travel tips, Sardinia travel essentials, where to go in Sardinia, things to do in Sardinia, the best places to visit in Sardinia and the top things to see in Sardinia, Italy:




Sardinia, part 2

Driving in Sardinia | the best way to explore Sardinia island

Winding mountain road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Winding mountain road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily), but getting around Sardinia island is quite easy. The length and width of Sardinia are approximately only 210 km by 110 km (the total coastal length is about 1666 km ).
Sardinia is famous for its gorgeous beaches and sheer, rocky coast with thousands of amazingly beautiful bays. Long winding roads connect one spectacular sight to another. Bend after bend, the views will take your breath away.

Beach and sea view from car, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Beach and sea view from car, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Driving around Sardinia is easy and we highly recommend to rent a car in Sardinia. A car will let you fully explore Sardinia and do it on your own terms. Public transport in Sardinia is fairly good, but it won't take you to some of the most beautiful places on the island. The railways only cover some parts of Sardinia and certain locations are accessible only by car.
Also, there are a lot of hidden Sardinia beaches and many rural areas where only off-road cars will pass.





Exploring Sardinia roads

Beautiful coastal view from car, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Beautiful coastal view from car, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Driving a car in Sardinia is not only very enjoyable but also not too demanding as far as driving skills are concerned. Therefore, the car is the perfect mean to explore the Sardinia island.
Unfortunately, Sardinia roads are not always well-maintained. There are many potholes and uneven paving happens even on roads with high-speed limits. However, there is not much traffic and you will be fine, so long as you drive slowly and keep to your side of the road.



Sardinia driving routes

Main roads map, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Main roads map, driving | Sardinia, Italy

There are no highways in Sardinia, but a few best driving roads in Sardinia are fast enough to connect main cities as seen on the map provided: Cagliari – Oristano – Sassari – Nuoro – Olbia.
Sardinia main roads are a good way to quickly cross the island, but if you think of exploring Sardinia like a local and reaching the most spectacular Sardinia scenery, you will need to use the ordinary provincial roads (strade provinciali), marked as P or SP on maps. Beware though, that some of those roads are only one-lane.
Also, it’s much easier driving through Sardinia north-south than east-west.

View on the steep mountain road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
View on the steep mountain road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Are you thinking of taking your own, unique Sardinia road trip? We highly encourage driving across Sardinia: start from Cagliari, drive to the west side of the island, follow the western coast to Sassari, then northern Sardinia to Olbia, and lastly follow the eastern coast back to Cagliari.
If you have time and you don't care about beach facilities, it's absolutely great to find your own beaches on the island and explore Sardinia's many small, but very charming villages on the way.



Main Sardinia driving laws

Red hill by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Red hill by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

1. Driving is on the right side.
2. At crossings, vehicles approaching from the right have the right of way.
3. Speed limits: on main expressways (SS) - 110 km/h, on secondary expressways 90 km/h and in built-up areas 50 km/h.
4. Headlights are compulsory day and night on all dual carriageways.
5. Sardinia drink driving laws: the blood-alcohol limit in Sardinia is 0.05%.
6. Front and rear seat belts are compulsory in cars. Helmets are compulsory on two-wheeled vehicles.



Tips for driving in Sardinia

Winding road on a mountain slope, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Winding road on a mountain slope, driving | Sardinia, Italy

1. Generally, driving a car in Sardinia is safe. Unfortunately, Italians are not very disciplined drivers so it's best not to rely on locals using indicators or respecting any limits.
2. Watch those curves! Some curves of the main roads can be quite sharp and admiring beautiful Sardinia landscape is enough to pull your eyes away in the most inadequate moment.
3. Stay focused, keep to your side of the road and watch your speed.

Almost night driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Almost night driving | Sardinia, Italy

4. Take extra care, especially when it’s dark or the weather is changing (it does very fast in Sardinia). You never know what might be behind one of those narrow bends.
5. Sardinians know their roads and sometimes push the limits of physics. Just let them overtake you.
6. Driving in Sardinia towns or bigger cities can be a challenge in high season, so drive cautiously and don't get stressed.

Local road in rural area, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Local road in rural area, driving | Sardinia, Italy

7. It's very likely that you will face cows or flocks of sheep and goats on local Sardinia roads. Never beep on goats! They could get mad and attack your car! Stay calm, be patient, relax and just let the animals pass.
8. Always have enough fuel if you are going through Sardinia mountains. There are many filling stations, but some of them close between about 1 PM and 4 PM (siesta) and on Sundays. Diesel fuel is gasolio in Italian and unleaded fuel is benzina senza piombo in Italian. Don't mix them!



Sardinia car rental tips

Sports car and the goats, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Sports car and the goats, driving | Sardinia, Italy

It's perfectly possible to travel to Sardinia in your own car but the distance from Italy to Sardinia is 357 km. Therefore, renting a car in Sardinia is a much better option. There are just a few things to remember before car hire:
1. It’s much cheaper to hire a car before you visit Sardinia and major car rental companies are located at airports.

Sardinian houses near the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Sardinian houses near the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

2. You might consider hiring a car with more horsepower to avoid difficulties with very steep Sardinia mountainous roads.
3. Sardinia roads are often narrow, uneven and full of gravel (and goats!) that can damage tires, windows and side mirrors so full car insurance is a must!

Beautiful coastal view, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Beautiful coastal view, driving | Sardinia, Italy

4. Always check the hired car for damage before driving from the car rental area to avoid being charged for pre-existing damage. Pay attention to any damage that hasn't been marked on the car rental agreement. Make a video or take pictures of every damage the vehicle already has (outside and inside). Ask someone from the car rental company to indicate unmarked damage in the car rental agreement.
5. Take some time to get to know the car's essential features.



Sardinia viewpoints and sightseeing spots

Viewpoint by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Viewpoint by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia road trip will amaze you with truly spectacular scenery because Sardinia roads are perfectly prepared for car driving tourists.
There is absolutely no need for you to bring action cameras with you to take photos while driving or to stop in illegal and risky places.
Travel tip: there are a hundred picturesque viewpoints and sightseeing spots on Sardinia roads so you can safely park your car and take your time while enjoying wonderful Sardinia sights.



Parking in Sardinia and traffic restrictions

Roads signs to nearest beaches, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Roads signs to nearest beaches, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Parking in larger Sardinia cities and at popular Sardinia resorts can be tricky, especially in the summer. It's best to leave your car on a guarded car parking, but be warned that you will sometimes be asked to leave your car keys. In such a case, remember to take all of your belongings with you and note your car km counter. Unfortunately, we had a bad experience with car parking caretakers who searched our car and even reparked it without our permission.

Street in Cagliari, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Street in Cagliari, driving | Sardinia, Italy

A few Sardinia parking rules and traffic restrictions:
1. Blue lines are for paid parking, white lines are for free parking and yellow lines are for drivers with specific passes.
2. You need to buy a ticket at the coin-operated meters, from tobacconists or sometimes from parking assistants.
3. Sardinia car parking prices vary but are usually about €1 per hour from 8 AM to 1 PM and from 4 PM to 8 PM.
4. Most historic centers in larger Sardinia cities like Cagliari, Nuoro, Alghero, Sassari and Oristano are limited traffic zones during certain hours (ZTL zona a traffico limitato).
5. Don't think that you can leave your car just for a minute to take a photo and avoid fines as a tourist. The police won't be kind.



Sardinia driving distances

Beautiful coastal landscape, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Beautiful coastal landscape, driving | Sardinia, Italy

Which part of Sardinia is the nicest? Sardinia north or south? Sardinia east or west coast? Which Sardinia airport? If you rent a car in Sardinia, you won't have to choose which area to stay.
Driving from Cagliari to Olbia takes less than 3 hours (273 km), driving from Cagliari to Alghero takes around 2,5 hours (248 km) and driving from Alghero to Olbia takes 1:40 min (138 km). 

Flamingos by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy | wayamaya
Flamingos by the road, driving | Sardinia, Italy

We highly recommend picking more than one Sardinia resort to stay and change them during your visit. It's a perfect way to get access to the most spectacular Sardinia beaches, beautiful small towns, charming seaside villages and many archaeological sites.
When to visit Sardinia to get the best driving in Sardinia experience? We recommend visiting Sardinia in late April or May when nature is in the full bloom, the weather is already warm, there are not many tourists and Sardinia beaches are almost empty.




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Driving in Sardinia, Italy | Road Trip, Driving Guide, Driving Tips

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