Travel & drive
Sardegna Turismo (www.sardegnaturismo.it) is the official tourist-board website: here you’ll find activities to do, place to see, culture, itineraries, events and accommodation.
The main airport in Sardinia is Cagliari Elmas, about 80 km far away. International airlines operate year-round flights from cities across Europe including Barcelona, Brussels, Dortmund, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hannover, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Munich, Oslo, Porto, Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Nice, Lourdes, Ibiza, Basel, Crakow, Budapest, Stockard, Innsbruck, Wien, Bratislava, Moscow, Malta, Abu Dhabi and Stockholm, Innsbruck, Vienna, Bratislava, Moscow, Malta, Abu Dhabi, Wroclaw, Karlsruhe, Prague, Lyon, Athens, Bilbao, Deauville, Marseille, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Basel, Geneva, Hamburg, Cologne, Amsterdam, Stuttgart. Domestic flights connect with mainland Italian airports including Rome, Milan, Naples, Bari, Bologna, Turin, Parma, Bergamo, Pescara, Venice, Palermo, Ancona, Catania, Cuneo, Pisa, Treviso, Verona, Trieste e Genova.
Cagliari’s ferry port connects, with year-round services, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo. The main ports in Sardinia are Olbia, Golfo Aranci and Porto Torres, gateway serving Genoa, Livorno, Marseilles, Piombino, Toulon and Barcelona.
The main train service Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) station connects Elmas airport to Carbonia city. From there, you can take a bus to Sant’Antioco. No need to take a ferry, Sant’Antioco Island is linked to Sardinia by a bridge.
Public transport in Sardinia is reasonably priced but it can be difficult and time-consuming in the island’s remoter corners. Services slow to a trickle in the low season, so this is our advice: if you plan to explore, you’ll need your own set of wheels in Sardinia, especially in Sant’Antioco Island. A car is often the only way to access off-the-beaten villages, the mountainous hinterland and uncrowded beaches. It is always cheaper to arrange car hire before you arrive in Sardinia. All the major rental companies are at Cagliari Elmas Airport, and usually low-cost flight companies offer the cheapest hire rate. Highways in Sardinia are free.
Driving in Sardinia is reasonably stress free. Traffic is no really a concern also in high summer, and local drivers are fairly courteous. That’s that, on the countryside the main hazards you’re likely to encounter are flocks of inquisitive sheep and goats in the low season, the stunning scenery always there.
Sardinia is very popular with German and Austrian motorcyclists who enjoy racing around the island’s scenic roads and hairpin bends.
Parking in Sardinian busy cities can be a troubled thing. As a general rule, the easiest time to find street parking is the early afternoon between 1pm and 4pm. But in Sant’Antioco city it is definitely better: also near all the best beaches, blue lines denote pay-and-display parking – buy tickets at the coin-operated meters because traffic police generally don’t turn a blind eye to cars, motorcycles or scooters parked on footpaths and alongside the road.
You will also be surprised by the number of unpaved roads on the island. Many places, prehistoric sites and beaches are only accessible by dirt tracks. Many secondary routes are in poor shape, particularly after bad weather when heavy rain can open axle-busting potholes in the road surfaces.
The best time to visit Sardinia with children is from April to June and in September/October, when the weather is mild, accommodation is plentiful and crowds are fewer. Excellent time for hiking, cycling and climbing and the beaches are less crowded.
Most trips are by motorboats or small ferries, but a handful of sailing vessels are also on hand, sailing from Sant’Antioco or Calasetta port. Boat tours are a popular way of exploring Sant’Antioco and San Pietro Islands’s coastline, particularly in summer. You’ll also need to take a ferry to reach the Isola di San Pietro, by Delcomar ferry company. Note that services are cut back considerably over the winter months, so always check ahead. If taking a car in summer, try to arrive in good time as boats fill up quickly.