Do you have 10 days or more to spare and are looking for a complete Sardinia itinerary? I got you covered!
A trip to Sardinia is always a great experience, no matter where you go. From beaches to ancient ruins, from museums to typical restaurants, the island really has a lot to offer, in any season. You just have to pick an area, book your hotels and flights, and plan your itinerary accordingly.
You might want to pick a different area to focus on depending on the season, or on the number of people coming with you. A summer trip would make little sense if you didn’t spend time at the beach – after all, they are the most beautiful in the world. But also, you can’t come to Sardinia and not visit one of its main cities or ignore the incredible ruins left by the local prehistoric civilizations.
And what about food? You absolutely need to try some local dishes, but again, the North, center, and South of the island have very different traditions, not to mention the wines and other liquors.
But what happens when you don’t know which part of Sardinia to pick? Since I understand how hard it can be to your Sardinia itinerary, I decided to put together a simple but comprehensive one that will guide you through the major attractions of Sardinia in the span of ten days.
I have tested this itinerary myself (hotels included and even the ones in Cagliari, where I actually live!) last October, when my friend Chrisoula visited, and it is completely doable and while you will be on your feet quite a bit, you will not feel rushed at all.
A Complete 10 Days In Sardinia Itinerary
The itinerary is supposed to take ten days, but nothing stops you from taking it easy and exploring for longer. Following this exact Sardinia itinerary in less time, however is nearly impossible, as this is quite packed already.
The trip will start from Cagliari and go around Sardinia anti-clockwise. It’s meant to be a good itinerary to follow between mid September and mid October, and depending on the weather you can easily enjoy some beach time (unfortunately, when my friend and I did it in October, it was already too cold or too windy to enjoy a proper day at the beach).
Anyhow, this Sardinia itinerary includes beaches, hikes, historical sights, abandoned villages, small towns and food and wine tasting experiences so that you don’t miss anything. Take this itinerary as a sample of Sardinia and, once you have seen what the island has to offer, come back and plan a trip focused on a specific area!
The best way to get around Sardinia is by car. This itinerary is literally impossible to follow if you plan to travel by public transportation – at least, if you plan on spending just 10 days in Sardinia! Public transportation is scarce and often unreliable on the island, sometimes with huge issues such as delays and cars breaking down. Bring your car via ferry, or rent one at Cagliari airport: it will make your experience a lot more enjoyable, and you will not be tied to timetables and such.
Days 1 and 2: Cagliari
Your complete Sardinia itinerary will start from Cagliari. Once you have left the airport, find your way towards the city center – if you’re driving, it takes about seven minutes. If you’re relying on public transportation and plan on picking your car only once you leave Cagliari, Elmas airport has a train station linked to the city’s central terminal.
For a guided tour of the historic districts of Cagliari, click here.
The second day can be spent in the outer areas of the city, with a short trip to Cagliari’s beach (Poetto), trekking in Sella del Diavolo and/or Colle di Sant’Elia, where you will find important ruins such as the Fortino di Sant’Ignazio, an old fort that has been used for both military needs and as a hospital.
For a guided hike to the Sella del Diavolo, click here.
You can also spend half a day in Molentargius, a nearby natural park that’s a safe haven for several protected and rare birds, such as the pink flamingoes.
For a guided tour of Molentargius Nature Reserve, click here.
Where to stay in Cagliari
A luxury hotel just a few minutes from Cagliari’s Stampace district, Villa Fanny is the ideal place to rest, immersed in a beautiful garden. The rooms are comfortable, spacious and cozy, and the staff takes care of every little detail. The property features free WiFi, an airport shuttle service, and a delicious continental breakfast. There is a gourmet restaurant on site.
La Dolce Cagliari
La Dolce Cagliari is a lovely guesthouse in an excellent area of the city – Stampace. Every room features a private bathroom and is bright and spacious. Free WiFi is available inside all the properties and all the main attractions are within walking distance.
For more accommodation options, read my post Where To Stay In Cagliari.
How to get to Cagliari
There are two ways to get to Cagliari: by ferry, or by plane.
Several companies (regular and budget ones) operate the flights to and from Cagliari, somehow regularly and increasing their frequency during the summer months. The flights from mainland Italy take from 45 minutes to 1.30 hours, depending on the place of departure. Cagliari is also connected to various European cities via direct budget flights.
Check the price of flights to Cagliari here.
Getting to Cagliari by boat takes more time, about 8 to 12 hours depending on the departure harbor and sea conditions, but it’s more comfortable if you want to bring your own car to the island.
For the price and schedule of ferries to Sardinia, click here.
Days 3 and 4: Ogliastra
On day 3, leave your hotel nice and early early and drive alongside State Road SS 125 Orientale Sarda, with destination Tortolì. Make a quick stop in Gairo Vecchia, an abandoned yet beautiful village that was partly destroyed by a flood; maybe have a picnic around there, the area isn’t short of pretty places where to sit and enjoy a sandwich.
After lunch, get back on your car and find a beach to relax and sunbathe at – if the season and the weather allow it. There are plenty of nice places around Tortolì, such as Porto Frailis, Musculedda, and San Gemiliano beaches to just name a few.
Day 4 would start with another early alarm clock, but very worth it. Ogliastra is the best place for panoramic hikes: you should try the hike to either Cala Goloritzé or Cala Sisine. Climbing your way up and down the Ogliastra mountains will grant you some of the most breathtaking views of your life. The scenery is nothing but mesmerizing. Keep in mind Cala Goloritzé is protected so only a limited number of visitors are allowed each day. You will have to book your visit via an app.
Where to sleep in Tortolì
Located in Arbatax – Tortolì’s marine district – La Bitta is a luxury hotel equipped with every comfort. You could literally never leave the property and still enjoy a fabulous holiday, thanks to their pool, excellent restaurant, and top-quality rooms. Of course, Free Wifi and free parking are available together with all the other features.
La Tortorella is a more budget-friendly place, with great rooms, private bathrooms and free toiletries, free WiFi, and parking on site. The breakfast is particularly good and features both sweet and savory food. The location is also excellent, close to any important attraction.
Day 5: on the way to Olbia
The fifth day will be spent heading towards Olbia. You can stop and visit some unique villages along the way: first on the list is Orgosolo, in the heart of Barbagia, famous for its amazing street art; its murals are well worth some of your time – and so is the local food.
To make the most of street art in Orgosolo, consider hiring an audio-guide. You can do that here.
Make sure to read my post The Ultimate Guide To Orgosolo.
The second stop would be Lollove, another abandoned village – even if, to be fair, it still counts about 15 inhabitants – that is nothing but pretty, almost stuck in time. And the same goes for Posada, another medieval gem with a beautiful castle on top of the hill where it’s built: this would be your third stop of the day before reaching Olbia and exploring a little of the city before heading to sleep.
Where to sleep in Olbia
An excellent boutique hotel closer to the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, the Jazz Hotel features a swimming pool and lots of comforts. Of course, WiFi and parking are free and included. The food at the on-site restaurant is delicious too.
La Casa del Pittore
A more budget-friendly option located in the historic center of Olbia, La Casa del Pittore features beautiful rooms with private bathrooms and everything you might need during your stay. Free WiFi is included.
Days 6-8: Alghero
Dedicate a full three days to explore Alghero and its area, you won’t regret it. On the first day, while you are driving there, I recommend stopping in Castelsardo (a beautiful village, with a strong Genoese soul, built on a hill overlooking the sea) and visiting a nuraghe, one of the ruins left by the local prehistoric populations – Nuraghe Palmavera is perfect and easy to reach. Your first day is complete – but before going to sleep, be sure to have a walk on Alghero’s bastions for the sunset, and explore the city center!
On day two (day 7 of this complete Sardinia itinerary), head to Anghelu Ruju Necropolis (make sure to buy the combined Palmavera + Anghelu Ruju Necropolis ticket), a stunning prehistoric burial site, and visit Cantine Sella e Mosca, a local winery that’s just at a stone’s throw from the necropolis. Be sure to book a wine tasting experience there: they will make you try some of the best wines in Sardinia.
If you wish to visit a lesser known winery near Alghero, you may want to go to Ledà d’Ittiri. You can book your visit here.
In the afternoon, depending on the season, you can either opt for some relaxing time at the beach (Le Bombarde is the most famous one in the area) or visit Capo Caccia cliffs – stunning views! – and Neptune’s Caves – some of the most beautiful and complex caves in Sardinia. If you wish to visit the caves, make sure to book your visit in advance.
For practical information on visiting Neptune’s Caves, click here.
On the third day, you can plan a day trip to Bosa, a pretty village on the Temo river, famous for its colorful houses, and visit one of the beaches in the area. My recommendation is Cani Malu, which is actually more of a swimming hole. In Bosa, try joining a mini-cruise on the river, it’s a fun experience!
For a guided cruise in Bosa, click here.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Bosa.
Where to sleep in Alghero
Located in one of the best areas of town, close to both the beaches and the main roads, this hotel is equipped with every comfort. The rooms are bright and cozy, the staff very attentive, free wifi and parking are included.
Musica Guest House
This is a lovely guest house located in a nice area of Alghero at easy walking distance from the town center. The rooms all have private bathrooms, there is free WiFi and free parking close to the property, which is just ten minutes drive from the beaches.
Make sure to also read my post The Best Hotels In Alghero.
Day 9 – Laconi
Sadly, after spending some nice time in Alghero, you will have to drive back towards Cagliari. Despite the road being longer, it’s actually faster if you go back to Sassari and follow State Road SS 131. Choosing the shorter road will surely grant you some mountain views, but the reduced number of kilometers makes for a larger amount of driving time since you’d be going through the island’s hinterland.
You can definitely head directly to Cagliari, but I recommend making a stop midway, in Laconi, for the night. There are actually quite a few sites to visit along the way too. Fordongianus, with its Roman thermal bats (they still work and are a SPA location!) is a great option, or you can choose to see another excellently preserved Nuraghe, the Santu Antine one. If you leave nice and early, you can be in Laconi by lunch time and have the entire afternoon to explore.
Don’t miss Aymerich Park, a botanical garden designed by one of the local noblemen some centuries ago and filled with all kinds of plants, and the castle – owned by the same Aymerich family, it’s now in ruins but there’s still something interesting left to see.
There is also an interesting walking route to follow in the village, based on the patron Saint, Sant’Ignazio. You can visit its house, the church where he went to pray to every day, and the museum that was curated in his honor. Moreover, you can join some wine and truffle tasting tours. There really is something for anybody, despite the village being so small!
Make sure to read my post What To See And Do In Laconi.
If you happen to have time to spare, you can also hike to Sa Stiddiosa waterfall the day after – it’s beautiful! If your flight schedule is too tight, the only thing left to do is drive back to Cagliari, putting an end to this complete Sardinia itinerary.
Where to sleep in Laconi
A luxury Bed and Breakfast with a swimming pool, beautiful rooms, and everything you might need. Free wifi and many other features are included. The property is located in a great area, immersed in nature, close to hiking and cycling routes.
Another great B&B in a great location, De’ Ajala is more budget-friendly but doesn’t miss anything. The rooms are bright and spacious, breakfast is delicious and the location is excellent and right in the heart of the village.
Day 10: back to Cagliari
From Laconi, the drive back to Cagliari will take you roughly 1.30 hours so depending on what time your flight is you may enjoy some attractions along the way such as Su Nuraxi, Sardinia’s most famous nuraghe in Barumini.
10 days are really not enough to appreciate everything Sardinia has to offer, no matter the season of your trip. Most people who visit once realize that Sardinia is Italy’s hidden gem and end up falling in love with it and visiting many times. I truly hope you do the same!