Can You Get Paid To Move To Sardinia? Should You Get a 1 Euro house in Sardinia?

You have likely heard about the 1 euro houses in Sardinia, or about getting paid to move to Sardinia and wonder if it’s real or what to expect. In fact, I get daily questions from my readers about it and even come across influencers’ posts on Instagram that suggest it is a possibility. So, here I will tell you everything you need to know.

Do foreigners really get paid to move to Sardinia? In theory, yes. But to make a long s tory short, no – not really.

Let me explain more. If you are not Italian, you can get paid to move to Sardinia. And in fact, you can even get a 1 euro house in Sardinia too – though the two things aren’t necessarily related.

You may find the offer very tempting, but let me tell you there is a catch – and a pretty big one, indeed.

As a local, I receive regular emails from people who want to move to Sardinia and ask an estate consultancy (which I actually don’t provide). However, there are others who fall for the catchy headlines that suggest you will get paid to move to Sardinia, and that there are €1 houses in Sardinia available to buy.

Since it seems to be a hot topic at the moment, I thought I’d give you the local – and honest – version, the one that foreign media can’t possibly have because they simply don’t live here and don’t know or appreciate the reality of Sardinia outside of tourism.

Continue reading, as I will tell you more about the Sardinia residency grant and the €1 houses in Sardinia.

If after reading this post you still want to move to Sardinia, you need to get in touch with a lawyer, an estate agency or with the government authorities that run the project. I do not offer estate consultancies, and I can’t guide you through the 1 euro houses in Sardinia program.

Aggius get paid to move to Sardinia

Will You Get Paid To Move To Sardinia?

A few months ago, the Government of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia announced that it was setting aside a total of €45 million with a view to subsidizing more than 3,000 grants of €15,000 each to any foreigner interested in moving to Sardinia.

The reason for the grant is to help re-populate the interior areas of Sardinia; the smaller towns and villages from where the younger generations keep on leaving.

Interestingly, the press release is no longer available to read on the official website of the Sardinian government. However, if you read Italian, you can find the text to the regional decree that establishes the grant here.

It seems pretty straightforward, except there are some specific requirements, which would seem fairly reasonable in most places in the world. However, as a Sardinian, allow me to suggest you to lower your expectations, and lower them again.

Here are the basic requirements:

  • Move to a small town with less than 3,000 inhabitants;
  • Use the money from the grant to buy or renovate a house in said village;
  • Live full-time in Sardinia;
  • Become a permanent resident of Sardinia within18 months.

Let me comment on these requirements a bit more in depth now, and explain why the dream to get paid to move in Sardinia may in fact turn into a nightmare.

How to get paid to move to Sardinia and get a 1 euro house in Sardinia

The grant to get paid to move to Sardinia is not necessarily connected to the €1 houses market, which are on sale regardless of the grant. Anyhow, the best place to find a 1 euro house in Sardinia is a small village with less than 3,000 inhabitants – as suggested by the “get paid to move to Sardinia” grant program.

There are plenty of lovely villages with less than 3,000 inhabitants in Sardinia. Some of them are close to larger towns and have many (though not all) of the services you may desire – for example, that’s the case of Serdiana, the village my mom is from and that’s a quick drive from Cagliari, the capital.

However, most towns with less than 3,000 inhabitants where the €1 houses in Sardinia are on sale are quite far from the coast, often in isolated, harder to reach mountainous areas (think winding roads galore).

So forget about getting your dream villa on the coast and having wonderful sea views. On the other hand, if you like hiking and the countryside, you will be rewarded with plenty of choices.

Don’t get me wrong: those villages and their settings are gorgeous. But life there isn’t easy, especially if you are not accustomed to that.

Head over to my post The Nicest Small Towns And Villages In Sardinia.

Finally, here’s the bad news: a mere €15,000 euro will get you (close to) nowhere in terms of renovation.

Burgos Sardinia

Let me explain further.

First of all, as you can surely imagine a 1 euro house in Sardinia (and anywhere in the world) will likely be in dire conditions and in desperate need of renovation. Instead of an actual house, you will actually get the ruins of a house. But renovating such a place comes at a very high price.

Most of the time the €1 houses in Sardinia are historic properties, or they are located in areas that are subjected to landscape restrictions, which means that there are some very strict rules in terms of what you can and cannot do when renovating. Chances are you will have to keep the outer bits in their original state and the structure as it is.

The bureaucracy of getting the necessary permissions for the renovation works of such properties will give you a headache or two, and you even may need to hire a local engineer or architect or even a lawyer to follow all the paperwork – and that obviously comes at a cost.

The lowest price you pay in Italy to renovate a house is typically around €500 per square meter (and that is considered a real bargain).

The renovation of even the smallest of places (provided it is in good conditions and you don’t have to completely redo the ceiling as is the case for most €1 houses in Sardinia, for example) will cost you as a minimum twice the amount you will be receiving as a grant to move to Sardinia, and that’s if you do the very basic.

Living in a remote village in Sardinia

Once your 1 euro house in Sardinia is nice and ready, you will need to live there full time. Allow me to give you a realistic picture of what it will likely look like.

Language barrier

The first thing you need to consider when you are looking to move to Sardinia is the language barrier. Most people in larger cities and towns and on the coastal areas speak English, but the same can’t be said in the villages.

The more remote the village in the interior of Sardinia, the lower are the chances that people there speak English.

Do you speak Italian fluently or at least enough to communicate on a daily basis? That will be necessary for your regular needs, and even more so if you want to have some sort of social life.

Not to mention, in many of the smaller villages the Sardinian language is what is still used for daily communication.

Social life

While in cities like Cagliari there is a very active social and cultural life, with museums, exhibitions, art galleries, theaters, cinemas, lots of restaurants and bars, events and more, that’s definitely not the case in the smaller villages in Sardinia.

If you move to a village near a larger town or city (though , you may still be able to enjoy an active social life. But those villages don’t have €1 houses for sale, usually.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys a more active cultural and social life you may find living in a remote village in Sardinia a bit more difficult, and will have to look for other forms of entertainment – for example walks in nature or taking care of a vegetable garden.

Or else, you will have to drive to the nearest larger town for a nicer restaurant, for example.

If you are hoping to make local friends, it won’t be that easy either. Provided you can break the language barrier, people in Sardinia are actually extremely reserved.

They will be kind and helpful whenever necessary, but reserved nonetheless and it may take you a long time to establish a closer relationship with them.

Barumini €1 houses in Sardinia

Health care

Health care is generally quite good in Italy, and access to it is free for all. The same can be said for the larger cities in Sardinia where you will find great hospitals and excellent doctors, but it is not quite the same in smaller places.

Smaller villages won’t have a hospital, a clinic or an Emergency Room. They would normally have a general practitioner (GP) or an emergency doctor (called “Guardia Medica” in Italian) but there are a few registered cases of small villages in Sardinia that have no doctor on site at all, and not even a pharmacy.

This means that any time you need to see a doctor or have a specific consultancy, you will have to drive to the nearest largest city. Depending on the village you pick to move to, it will be a quick 20 minutes car ride. In other cases, it may be a matter of more than one hour.

It’s all fine until you don’t need a doctor, not so fine when you do; and something you really want to consider if you are not so young anymore or have a chronic medical condition.


Schools and education in a remote village in Sardinia

If you are thinking to move to Sardinia with your family and have children, chances are your kids will need to enroll in a local school. Education in Italy is compulsory until the age of 16.

All villages should have a public primary school. However some of the smaller ones do not. This means your children would have to travel every day to attend school (and you’d likely have to drive them there).

Likewise, most of the smaller villages don’t have a high school, which again means your kids would have to travel to school every day.

When lucky, there will be a larger nearby town where they can attend school. Other times, they will have to travel further, which means a long bus ride (when available) or you having to drive them to school every day.

Working in Sardinia

In order to get paid to move to Sardina, you will need to establish your residency on the island, full time – meaning you need to live here for more than 180 days in a solar year.

Getting a residency permit typically implies getting a job; but most of the time getting a job implies being a resident. I know, it sounds like a catch-22.

The whole point is that you will need resources to live in Sardinia. Unless you are planning to retire here and you have a nice stash of cash set aside to keep you going, or unless you can work remotely, you will need to make a living. And you will have to pay taxes here (and taxation in Italy is unforgiving and extremely high).

Now let me break the (sad) news.

Getting a job in Sardinia is extremely difficult. Sardinia is the fifth Italian region by unemployment rate.

Getting some sort of stable job with a decent pay here is difficult for locals who know how things work, and who speak the language. It’s so difficult that many leave the island altogether and go work elsewhere in Italy or in Europe.

Getting a decent job is even harder – if not impossible altogether – for those who do not speak the language. You’d really have to think outside the box to make a living.

Or come with the plan (and finances) to open your own business, train and employ locals to work for your newly established company (which would be a welcome idea, actually) and with the mindset of dealing with local laws and bureaucracy, knowing you’d likely not make much for the first few years.

Scenic Roads in Sardinia

Public transport and other services

Public transport and trains in Sardinia work year round, and not just during the peak tourist season. City buses work really well in larger cities like Cagliari and Sassari, and even in Olbia and Alghero, and there are regional buses (and trains) that connect larger cities and towns to the smaller villages.

However, that doesn’t mean that regional public transport is efficient – some villages only get a daily bus – and that you can get by without a car, especially if you move to one of the most remote villages.

Make sure to also read my post How To Travel By Public Transport In Sardinia and What It’s Like To Travel By Train In Sardinia.

Smaller villages also have minimal services. In some cases, a bank or a post office serves a number of villages in an area: not all villages have a bank, post office, pharmacy and other basic shops, which means having to drive whenever you need an errand in case the village you move to doesn’t offer what you need.

from Amsterdam to Sardinia airports in Sardinia from Sicily to Sardinia

Traveling to and from Sardinia

There are 3 airports in Sardinia – one in Cagliari, one in Alghero and one in Olbia. Each airport has connections to various cities in mainland Italy and to other places in Europe via a number of regular and budget flights.

You should also read my post How To Get To Sardinia.

Residents of Sardinia (which you’d be if you do decide to move to Sardinia) enjoy the benefits of the “continuità territoriale” – territorial continuity, in English.

In other words, we can get regular airline (not budget) flights to some cities in mainland Italy (usually Rome and Milan) for a flat rate that doesn’t change throughout the course of the year. It’s typically around €160 for a round-trip ticket.

But the program doesn’t come without issues.

In fact, the Sardinian government has to regularly put out a call for tenders for airlines to offer flights and give benefits to the airlines that do, so there is a whole procedure to apply – which starts with a public call for tenders – and to get approved to run the service.

Normally, the airline that gets approved for the program agrees to offer the service for a period of 18 months or 2 years, but at times they only agree to do so for 6 months. The government of Sardinia has then to start a new call for tenders, with all the uncertainties that this implies.

There are times during which we literally don’t know if we will be able to fly out of Sardinia the following week, until an airline that has applied to the call for tenders gets approved. Everything gets solved, eventually, but it can be stressful if you are planning a trip for whatever reason.

Photo by Elisa Locci @shutterstock

So, Will You Get Paid To Move To Sardinia?

Hopefully this post has given you a more realistic picture of what it would be like to move to Sardinia. While it may seem so, you won’t actually get paid to move to Sardinia. You will at most get a very small incentive.

Life in Sardinia – much like in the rest of Italy – isn’t a fairytale.

Yes, we have it better than in most places. We enjoy the sun, we have great food and wine, our cities are gorgeous and we have incredible natural and archeological sites. Yes, we are happier than most countries. Yes, we are home to one of the very few blue zones in the world and on average we live longer than the rest of the world.

You should also read my post Sardinia Blue Zone: What Makes The Island So Longevous?

But living here doesn’t come without headaches. Contrary to what many movies suggest, we don’t spend our lives sitting at a café sipping espresso and reading the newspaper, and we don’t enjoy endless meals on a daily basis.

Unless you come here with big load of cash and have a solid business plan, the reality of getting a 1 euro house in Sardinia and living in a remote village on the island is far from the “Dolce Vita” dream.

You can still do it – and you are welcome to – but please come knowing what to expect!

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13 thoughts on “Can You Get Paid To Move To Sardinia? Should You Get a 1 Euro house in Sardinia?”

  1. Thanks for the detailed account of affairs related to these offers. I have been enjoying reading your posts very much and dream of visiting one day soon.

  2. Thanks for a very sensible and useful article on the practical side of moving to Sardinia.
    I have been following your articles for the past three months and have read them with interest. The result, you may wish to know, is that my wife and I are in Sardinia (Galtelli) as we speak, and are enjoying the mountain views from Castello Malicas. We are retired, have a very little Italian, but have thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful and well maintained town of 2,500. If I were younger and adventurous, this town would certainly qualify for a move.
    We plan to travel to Nuoro, Cagliari, Orestano and Alghero before heading back to Ajaccio and our return flight to Toronto, Canada. Thanks for your great articles and blog.

  3. Can you post how to apply to be considered to relocate to Sardinia under the Programmazione, Bilancio,
    Credito e Assetto del Territorio?

  4. I can’t. As explained in the post, I am not able (nor willing) to provide guidance on this as it is totally outside of my field of expertise.

  5. Hi Claudia,
    V interesting. Are you able to provide any link to Sardinian real estate websites listing such cheap houses?

  6. No, sorry. As explained in the post, I am unable to provide any further guidance than what’s already in the post. I am a travel blogger, not an estate agent!

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