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    Car hire in Sardinia – Saving you time and money

    Located in the Mediterranean Sea, just below the French island of Corsica, you’ll come across the breath-taking Italian island of Sardinia. With an extensive and varied history dating back thousands of years, mouth-watering Italian cuisine and a rich cultural heritage that can be found in every museum, art gallery and monument on the island – it is no surprise that Sardinia welcomes millions of tourist yearly. From the inland city of Sassari to the islands capital Cagliari, a car hire in Sardinia is often the best method of getting to see everything easily.

    With more than 60 years global car hire experience, Auto Europe, through its trusted partners is well positioned to provide you great deals, quotations and offers on all your car rental needs. With a large fleet of vehicles to choose from, and convenient pick-up locations across the island – you’re sure to find the right solution for hiring a car in Sardinia. Along with our car hire, we also hire out motorhomes, luxury cars and provide a transfer service. Contact our reservation team today on +44 123 3225 114 to discuss your car hire options for Sardinia.

    How is the traffic in Sardinia?

    The traffic situation in Sardinia is similar to other popular locations. Congestion is normally found in the city centres, especially in the two main cities of Cagliari and Sassari. Traffic is also evident near Olbia and Alghero, in large due to their airports. Other tourist hotspots, such as, Castelsardo, Stintino and Costa Smeralda, can also experience congestion especially during summer peak periods. Traffic increases during morning and late afternoon rush-hours, which in part is made more complicated by the lack of traffic lights. The following basic road rules and regulations should be adhered too during your holiday in Sardinia:

    • You drive on the right and overtake on the left side of the road
    • Seatbelts are compulsory for everyone
    • An appropriate car seat is required for all children
    • Mobile phone usage is prohibited except when using a suitable hands-free kit
    • National motorway speed limit is 55 mph, unless otherwise stated
    • Drink driving is prohibited, with heavy fines and bans imposed – blood alcohol level cannot be higher than 0.5 g /litre
    • On narrow roads, you should beep before entering any blind bends
    • All car documents should be within the vehicle at all times – these are normally located within the vehicles glove compartment.

    If you breakdown make sure you and all passenger put on your Hi-Viz vests and put out the warning triangle. Call the car hire company on your voucher and if required also inform Auto Europe.

    Where can I park my car hire in Sardinia?

    Parking on the island is not overcomplicated, although in the two main cities of Sassari and Cagliari it is slightly harder to find parking in central locations. Car parks and garages do exist and are generally secure and safe to park in. On-street parking is available – white lines indicate a free parking space, whilst blue lines indicate the requirement of payment. Pay-&-Display machines are located in pay areas. Tickets should be displayed clearly on your vehicles dashboard. Hotels, shopping centres and some beaches will provide parking. The old towns of many of the islands cities do not allow for traffic but in this case you can park on the outskirts and walk in, as towns especially aren’t very big.

    Sardinia Airports

    As one of the Mediterranean’s most popular islands, Sardinia is well serviced by three international airports. With links across Europe, airports cater to many low-cost airlines, such as Easyjet and Ryanair - along with Italy’s national airline. Flights increase significantly during the peak summer periods, so expect longer waiting times at the airports. All airports are well located, providing easy access to the local region, which makes them the perfect location to pick-up a car rental in Sardinia. Alghero Airport serves mainly Sassari and the northeast region. Olbia Airport serves the extremely popular Costa Smeralda and the northwest region, whilst Cagliari Airport serves the capital Cagliari and the Southern regions of Sardinia.

    Alghero Airport (AHO)
    Address: Loc S. Maria La Palma 1-07040 Alghero, Italy
    Website: Alghero Sardinia Airport
    Telephone: +39 079 935282

    Olbia Airport (OLB)
    Address: 07026 Olbia Province of Olbia-Tempio, Italy
    Website: Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport
    Telephone: +39 0789 69000

    Cagliari Airport (CAG)
    Address: Via dei Transvolatori, 09030 Elmas Cagliari, Italy
    Website: Cagliari Elmas Airport
    Telephone: +39 070 211211

    What to do in Sardinia

    We recommend you rent a car in Sardinia to explore the island during your visit, from its rugged cliffs to pristine shorlines with crystal celar waters and golden sandy beaches, the island is a paradise right in the heart of the Mediterranean. With all-year round sunshine, Sardinia offers up plenty of water activities and nightlife entertainment. Diving and snorkelling is high on many people’s lists, whilst hiking and bicycling is another popular option amongst visitors. The calm seas also provide excellent opportunities for boating and sailing – with splendid views of the shoreline. We recommend the following things to do during your visit:

    • Grotte di Su Mannau: Regarded as one of the best caves in Europe, it is nevertheless seldom known amongst visitors. This beautiful natural cave will keep you mesmerised and intrigued for ages. Its natural rock formations and geology are simply breath-taking, and well worth a visit. The caves are cool inside, with temperatures rarely reaching higher than 16C even in the summer months. Reaching the grotto can be difficult as access is only through mountain paths, but once there it will more than compensate your effort. Tickets to enter the cave are required, and often a guide will enhance your overall experience. The whole adventure should take around an hour to complete.

    • Boat charter with snorkelling: With its calm coastal waters, consider chartering a sailing boat and heading out into the Mediterranean for some diving or snorkelling. During the summer months, you will find various charters setting off from numerous ports across Sardinia. For example, Stintino is a popular port for chartering a boat. From here you can take the boat to Asinara National Park to explore some local history, and splendid coves with turquoise water.

    • Spiaggia Rena Bianca: Sardinia is full of beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and white sand. The Rena Bianca Beach is such a beach, but we recommend arriving very early due to its popularity amongst locals and tourists. During the months of July and August, beaches across Sardinia get extremely packed. This particular beach provides showers along the beach and a bar at the top of the stairs from the beach front.

    • San Benedetto Market: If you’re interested in experiencing true Sardinia, its vibrant atmosphere, smells and colours, consider a visit to San Benedetto Market. This market is spread over two levels, with fresh fish located at lower level, and fruit, veg, bread, meats and splendid cheeses found on the upper level. Enjoy a truly Italian marketplace with an energised bustling atmosphere, friendly people and well laid out stalls. This particular market is also popular amongst photographers – with plenty of photographic opportunities that capture the true essence of Sardinian life.

    • Nora Archeological Site: Nora is a splendid Roman ruin located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. A beautiful place, especially during sunset, Nora gives a glimpse into the lives of local inhabitants of that time. Many of the foundations include those of commercial houses, Roman baths and wealthy Roman manor houses – many of which still have their marble columns and impressive mosaic tiles. A serene place, the site also includes a Spanish lighthouse, a coffee shop and gift store.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Sardinia

    Sardinia has an excellent road network that will take you effortlessly to other parts of the Island. The island itself is not very large, which makes for a car hire in Sardinia a good option if wishing to easily explore what this place has to offer. The whole coastal area provides plenty of beautiful beaches, sandy coves and mountain cliff roads with views over the Mediterranean Sea. Inland, you’ll come across plenty of traditional small villages and towns, unspoilt mountain landscapes and authentic Sardinian hospitality. The following road trips are not to be missed:

    Cagliari to Pula or Costa Rei: If Cagliari is your starting point, then you are full of choices as to where you could visit. After having explored everything that this wonderful city has on offer, jump in your hired car and either head west to Pula or east to Costa Rei. Pula is a vibrant coastal resort just over 18 miles away from Cagliari. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the abundance of pristine beaches, together with quaint shops, traditional restaurants and enticing ice cream parlours. The best part of Pula is its proximity to the Roman settlement of Nora – a serene beautiful place with plenty of history. Alternatively, from Cagliari head eastwards towards Costa Rei – in just over an hour you’ll find another tourist hotspot, providing exquisite beaches, restaurants and plenty of entertainment.

    Costa Verde: Heading west from Cagliari you’ll reach Costa Verde in around 50 minutes. This area provides some spectacular scenery and coastal views. Tuerredda Beach is noted as one of the best beaches on the island, so well worth a visit. This unspoilt area is breath-taking and extremely pretty, full of nature and seldom busy beaches. Porto Pino is famous for its wildlife and stunning sand dunes. This road trip is all about connecting with nature, wildlife and disconnecting from city life.

    Sassari, Alghero and Stintino: Head north from Cagliari and in around two hours and a half, you’ll reach Sardinia’s second largest city – Sassari. This beautiful traditional Sardinian city is a great place to explore, with museums, traditional restaurants, bars and quaint coffee houses. From Sassari you can drive up to Stintino in only 35 minutes – a stunning area with turquoise calm Mediterranean waters. Alternatively, head to Alghero on the western coastline and enjoy a unique town with a mixed Catalan and Sardinian culture. Alghero can be reached in around 30 minutes from Sassari and has plenty to see and do, from museums to its splendid city walls and fortress.

    Costa Smeralda: From Alghero drive east along the northern Sardinian coastline – this route will take you along some beautiful coastal roads. Stop off at Castelsardo and enjoy its beautiful 12th Century Castello dei Doria, with amazing views over the town and coast. Continue on your journey until your reach Santa Teresa di Gallura, right on the northern tip of Sardinia. Across the bay you can view French island of Corsica on a clear day. Consider also paying a visit to Aggius or Tempio Pausania during your visit. From here Costa Smeralda is just over an hour away by car. Known for its glamour, this area attracts its fair share of rich and famous visitors. With glitzy clubs and a vibrant nightlife, Costa Smeralda has magnificent beaches, boutique markets and artisan shops.

    How to get around Sardinia

    Sardinia as a relatively large island has many options for getting around. From local buses to a train network and an island wide taxi service – you have plenty of options. Though more remote parts of the island can be harder to get too, generally the inner less touristy areas, the popular hotspots have a much better public transport network. If you’d like the added freedom of going where you want, when you want and spending less, we’d recommend you rent a car in Sardinia during your holiday.


    An extensive bus network will take you across most of the island and although restricted to local timetables, it is often an economical option. The island’s bus company is called Azienda Regionale Sarda Transporti (Arst). Bus tickets must be purchased in advance, and then stamped on-board. Tickets can be bought at main bus stations and at authorised shops.


    Official taxis in Sardinia are white in colour with a taxi sign upon their roof. These taxis are metered but we always advise that you confirm estimated costs to your journey before setting off. Although expensive, taxis are a great way of getting to remote parts of the island and beaches. Taxis can be pre-booked or caught at taxi ranks. Taxi ranks are normally located at all airports, ferry ports, train stations and in central city locations.


    A ferry service is provided on a daily basis to and from the island. Routes include mainland Italy, Spain and France. Ferries run more frequently during the summer peak months, with a lesser service during winter. It is important to note that in general car hire companies do not allow their rental vehicle on ferries. Always check with your car hire supplier and Auto Europe beforehand.


    There are two main train operators on the island – Ferrovie dello Stato and Ferrovie della Sardegna. Together they provide various links across Sardinia; from Cagliari to Isili, Nouro to Macomer, Sassari to Alghero and Nulvi to Sorso. Tickets can be bought at the train stations. The Trenino Verde train is a tourist train that operates from June until September and has limited routes. Catering primary to visitors, these trains take you through the islands scenic routes. Train stock includes 1930s locomotives and 1913 vintage train wagons.

    Useful links

    Official Sardinia Tourism Website