Sardinia is a beautiful Italian island in the Mediterranean sea. It’s a great holiday destination, with lovely beaches, interesting history, and of course delicious food (think pizza, pasta, gelato, and more).
Sardinia is a great place for a road trip, you can find my detailed one week Sardinia itinerary below.
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One week Sardinia itinerary
A week in Sardinia: map
You can find our one week in Sardinia itinerary in the map below, including the highlights and accommodations we stayed at.
What is the best time of year to go to Sardinia
The best time to visit Sardinia is April – June and September – October. During these months the temperatures are between 18°C and 26°C and while April is too cold to swim, there abundance of beautiful wildflowers more than make up for it.
July and August are very hot and also the busiest months on the island, with high accommodation prices and crowded beaches.
September is when we visited Sardinia and we had beautiful weather and no rain. October usually sees a bit more rainy days, however, the beaches are (almost) empty and there are several festivals during this month.
How to get around Sardinia
Sardinia is a large island and public transport is very limited. That’s why we rented a car (via RentalCars.com) to explore the island. This gave us the freedom to explore the island at our own pace and to visit the places we wanted to see.
We didn’t drive much more than 50 kilometers a day because the roads are not fast, however, the beautiful sights more than makeup for that.
I especially loved the road from Bosa to Alghero, which offered splendid views of the Capo Caccia. Be sure to include this road in your Sardinia trip itinerary!
Let’s get one thing straight: traffic regulations don’t exist on Sardinia. Well, at least they seem to be more of a suggestion than actual rules.
The locals race over the winding roads, while we were keeping the recommended speed, meaning we created more than one traffic jam behind our Lancia Ypsilon.
1 week in Sardinia: 10 things to do
Sardinia should be on any Italy bucket list or Italy itinerary, it’s a beautiful island with a lot of history and beautiful villages. There are so many things to do in Sardinia, a week won’t be enough to explore it all.
The Sardinia attractions in this post are located in the upper half of Sardinia if you also want to explore the south add at least a week to your Sardinia trip.
1. Explore Alghero
Alghero is one of the many beautiful towns on the island and a great place to start your 7 days in Sardinia. With its charming historic city center, narrow cobblestoned streets, boutique stores, and excellent restaurants and bars it’s easy to spend a day in Alghero.
Alghero highlights, besides strolling around the centro storico, are the impressive Sea Walls built in 16th century, La Piazza Civica and of course the Cattedrale di Santa Maria, one of Alghero landmarks.
A trip to the nearby Grotta di Nettuno, located in Capo Caccia, is one of the best things to do in Alghero, though I don’t particularly recommend this tour during summer as it gets very busy.
Outside of peak season, this impressive cave with spectacular stalactites and stalactites and other rock formations is definitely worth a visit!
An excellent evening activity in Alghero is taking a cooking class. A local host will teach you how to prepare a four-course meal with typical Sardinian dishes using local produce. After your hard work, you get to enjoy these dishes accompanied by a glass of local wine, a perfect way to end your Alghero itinerary.
2. Take a swim at Spiaggia della Pelosa near Stintino
La Pelosa is a beautiful beach or Spiaggia as they say in Italian, found in the Northwest of Sardinia. The water has an absolutely stunning blue color and is so clear I didn’t even need a snorkel to see the fish dart around in the water!
We crossed the water to a tiny island about 10 meters of the coast, which had a little beach and just a few people on it. To get to this beach, we picked our way over the slippery rocks with a bag full of valuables, probably not the smartest thing to do without a dry bag, but luckily we got across without falling into the water and drowning all our electronics.
In any case, La Pelosa is a lovely place to spend the afternoon.
3. Hop on a boat trip around La Maddalena Archipelago
Another one of Sardinia tourist attractions is a boat trip around the Maddalena Islands. This archipelago consists of seven larger islands and many small uninhabited ones. The water is unbelievably clear and the beaches are fantastic.
Booking the tour
You can book a boat tour online, which I strongly recommend when traveling in high season (July and August).
If you are traveling outside peak season there is availability on most days. There are several tour operators in the harbor, so it’s usually not a problem to book on the day itself.
Most tours start around 10 am and finish around 6 pm. There are several itineraries but most tours have 3 or 4 stops on the different islands of La Maddalena. We paid €30 each for the tour (mind you, that was in 2014), so €60 in total.
Parking at Palau (departure point of the boat tour)
A little word of advice, reserve enough time to park your car! There is a real problem shortage of parking space and it can be quite expensive the closer you get to the harbor.
We parked a little outside the city center, which was free and just a short walk to the harbor.
4. Wander around Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo is located on the northeast of Sardinia in the area that’s called the Costa Smeralda. This town is one of the most expensive resorts in the world.
We felt a bit out of place amidst the billionaires relaxing on their luxury yachts in their expensive clothing. Still, it’s a nice place for a morning stroll and an (expensive) cup of coffee or a gelato.
5. Hike Tiscali Mountain
On of the most unique places to visit on Sardinia is the Nuragic village of Tiscali, an archaeological site hidden in the mountains. It’s estimated that the ruins here date back to the first millennium BC.
Getting to the village requires a two-hour hike in the beautiful Valle di Lanaittu, be sure to carry plenty of water as you’ll be climbing a lot and a large part of the track is exposed.
6. Visit the ancient Nuraghe Losa
Nuraghi are a strange phenomenon and only found on Sardinia. Basically, they are ancient fortified towers built from large rocks. There are around 1100 spread around Sardinia in various conditions; some are in very good condition while others are almost completely destroyed.
We visited Losa (admission €5 per person), one of the largest and the most complete nuraghe in Sardinia, complete with watchtowers and a spiral staircase inside the main building.
Losa is an impressive structure and I personally find it incredible these massive constructions were built so many years ago without any modern equipment.
7. Relax on Spiaggia di Is Arutas
Spiaggia di Is Arutas is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. The beach is made up of tiny quartz fragments, similar to grains of rice, in colors ranging from green to white and delicate pink.
This makes Spiaggia di Is Arutas a unique beach to visit and definitely one I recommend putting on your itinerary for Sardinia.
Note that during the summer months the beach can be packed so it’s best to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Bring a snorkeling mask and explore the underwater world, or go for a swim in the crystal clear blue waters.
8. Explore Oristano
While you’ll be spending most time exploring the sights around Oristano, the village itself is also worth a visit. Wander around the Centro Storico, grab a cup of espresso at one of the cafes, visit the beautiful Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta and snap a picture of the Statua di Eleonora D’Arborea.
9. Visit the ruins of Tharros
Tharros is a historic site where you can explore the ruins of a former Roman town founded in the eighth century BC. The signage around the site is pretty good and you can read about the history of this former capital of the Judicate of Arborea.
At the site, you will find the remains of several temples, Roman baths, an amphitheater, and some other constructions. Allow yourself an hour or two to wander the ruins of Tharros and imagine what life must have been like millennia ago…
10. Stroll around in beautiful Bosa
I loved Bosa, a beautiful village situated on the west coast of Sardinia by the Temo River (the only river on Sardinia). The houses are painted in various bright colors and the narrow streets feel almost like a labyrinth. There are little coffee and gelato bars everywhere and the overall atmosphere is really friendly.
The castle up on the hill is worth a visit, mainly for the spectacular views over the town and the sea.
We were lucky to visit on the last day of the Nostra Signora di Regnos festival. During the festival the village looks even prettier because of all the colorful flags, palm tree leaves and little altars build for the Virgin Mary.
Sardinia road trip budget
For those wondering ‘Is Sardinia expensive to visit‘, here is your answer! I traveled Sardinia on a budget, together with my husband. In total, we spend €1000 for a week, which comes down to an average of €143 per day (all expenses mentioned are for the two of us together).
This includes all expenses (flight, accommodation, transportation, food and activities), check the infographic for the full budget breakdown of the trip.
|Location||Accommodation||Price per night||Book via||Book via|
|Alghero||Alghero 4u Guesthouse||€33,40||Agoda||Booking|
|Isola Rossa||Isola Rossa Appartamenti||€25,60||Agoda|
|Pulau||Costa Serena Village Boschetto Holiday||€34||Agoda||Booking|
|Sos Alinos||Cala Liberotto Hotel Residence||€28||Agoda||Booking|
|Oristano||Sa Domu e Crakeras||€40||Agoda||Booking|
Costs for the car: we paid €215 for a week (€175 for the rental fee and €40 for insurance against damages) and spend €95 on petrol.
Cost for food, drinks and groceries
Italian, coffee, pasta, pizza, gelato… It is all so yummy! In an effort to keep the costs down a bit, we bought breakfast and lunch in a supermarket (bread, tomato, cheese, pepper, and salt, delicious!) or at little bakeries.
For dinner, we mixed up eating out and cooking ourselves. We ‘splurged’ (restaurants on Sardinia are still cheap compared to the Netherlands) on an excellent dinner at this restaurant, worth every euro.
Where to stay on Sardinia
Accommodation in Alghero: Alghero 4u Guesthouse
Max, the host, was very friendly and showed us around the apartment. He also gave us a map of the city and recommended a pizzeria which turned out to be excellent!
Budget accommodation with everything you need and in a good location, 10 min walk to the center of Alghero. It’s a bit noisy, we didn’t mind, but if you are looking for a quiet stay this isn’t for you (you share the kitchen and bathroom with other guests).
Price paid per night: €33,40
Accommodation in Isola Rossa: Isola Rossa Appartamenti
The view from the veranda was beautiful, looking out over the sea and a beautiful sunset. The apartment was quite big, very clean and the bed was comfortable.
Please mind that you have to bring our own bed linen and towels or pay extra for these! Also, there was a kitchen but no soap or sponge to wash the dirty dishes.
Price paid per night: €25,60
Accommodation in Palau: Costa Serena Village Boschetto Holiday
The location of the resort is absolutely stunning, with a beautiful view of the bay. The apartment itself is basic but clean and has good cooking facilities.
The sofa bed is ok but not great, a big bathroom but a tiny shower. Please note that the swimming pool and shop are closed during the low season.
Price paid per night: €34
Accommodation in Sos Alinos: Cala Liberotto Hotel Residence
The absolute best thing about the apartment is the outside kitchen, how cool is that! The rest of the apartment is nice as well, a comfortable bed and a big clean bathroom.
Price paid per night: €28
Accommodation in Nuoro: lovely Airbnb in the historic center
Pasquale is a friendly host and gave us excellent advice about Mastro Pizza (nomnom). The place has a very comfy bed, a fully equipped kitchen, and excellent WiFi. A pleasant stay.
Price paid per night: €29
Accommodation discount: if you have never traveled with Airbnb before you can get €30 of your first Airbnb stay with this link!
Accommodation in Oristano: Sa Domu e Crakeras
Everything about Sa Domu e Crakeras was fantastic, from the warm welcome with local wine and home-made cookies to the location (in the city center of Oristano) to the room itself, excellent!
The room is very clean, the bed really comfy, the bathroom is new with a large shower and the air conditioning is a nice extra. The ‘courtyard’ looks really cute but is also convenient for parking the car. Highly recommended!
Price paid per night: €40
Sardinia road trip itinerary: in conclusion
I hope you have enjoyed this Sardinia travel guide and it has inspired you to road trip Sardinia. If you have any questions, leave a comment below!
This post was updated in July 2020.