Using public transport in Sardinia is a great choice if you’re looking for a cheap way to travel and you are traveling alone. It’s quite comfortable if you enjoy long bus/train rides and are in no particular rush to get anywhere: despite taking significantly longer than a car drive, you can relax and enjoy the scenery from your window.
I don’t recommend it if you’re on a tight schedule, though: there aren’t many rides per day and delays aren’t uncommon. Use public transport in Sardinia only if you’re okay with unforeseen circumstances, if you want a slow, peaceful trip, or if you don’t feel like driving a car.
Now, let me give you some practical information!
How To Travel By Public Transport In Sardinia
Urban Buses and Timetables
City buses are usually clean and easy to spot and use. The bus stations are well marked, and you will not have any problems finding them. They run reasonably often and the timetables can be found at every bus stop; moreover, the shops selling the tickets will gladly help you with any doubt you might have.
You can also buy the tickets on the automatic machines you’ll find around, or directly on the bus (but paying an extra percentage!).
Every city has a website with thorough explanations and prices, but I’d recommend going to a physical shop because some of these websites don’t have an English version. The qualified shops are usually tobacco/lotto or newspaper shops and have a sign on their windows as proof they will sell bus tickets. Some cities have an online ticketing system as well.
The following are the biggest cities in Sardinia, and the name and website of their bus systems:
Intercity Sardinia Buses and Timetables
Intercity buses in Sardinia are usually bigger than urban ones. They are dark blue with a big, red stripe and the writing “ARST” (the Sardinian public transport company) on them: you can’t possibly miss them!
They share some stops with the urban buses, but it’s easier to take them inside the big stations (if you’re visiting one of the main cities). You will find the timetables posted there and many workers who will help you find the right bus and bus stop.
You can find the timetables on their website as well, but it’s not the most user-friendly website around, so I’d recommend you ask the bus station’s workers or the ticket shops’ owners for help.
You can buy the tickets in the same places and the same ways you buy the urban line’s ones. They are also starting to use an online ticketing system, here: ARST – – Acquista Online.
How to Validate Tickets On Sardinia Buses
Both urban and intercity buses in Sardinia have a validating machine inside, so you can validate your ticket onboard; there also are validating machines inside the intercity bus stations in case you prefer boarding the bus with an already valid ticket. This only applies to intercity rides though.
TIP: If you can, try to avoid riding a bus between 7:30 – 8.30 am and 12:00 – 2:00 pm. Those are the entry and exit time for schools in Italy, which means public buses will be most crowded. Unfortunately the school bus service isn’t widespread except for some private companies. and students prefer using public transport, overcrowding it.
Trains in Sardinia
Trains in Sardinia connect the main parts of the island and stretch to several smaller villages. They run less or more often depending on the ride’s importance and there is usually plenty of seats except for the rush hours (similar to the school ones because of university students).
Taking trains in Sardinia is overall a relaxing experience and allows you to focus on the multiple views the island has to offer.
Where to Find the Timetables and the Tickets for Trains in Sardinia
You can easily find the trains’ timetables on the Italian Railways official website or at the ticket-selling machines. They work in five different languages and are the most common way to buy tickets or just find out about the trains’ schedule: you just have to insert your city of departure and arrival and the machine will show you every option, price and available hours.
This is one of the two main ways to buy a train ticket in Sardinia, the other being buying an electronic one through the train app – you can see it here – which also, of course, shows the full trains’ timetable.
You can also buy tickets in some shops (the same ones that sell bus tickets) but they are slowly stopping to sell them because the machines are more popular and comfortable.
If you can’t buy a ticket (both paper and electronic) for any reason, you can buy one on board by paying an extra price: use this chance only if it’s a real emergency because tickets bought on board are way more expensive!
How to Validate Train Tickets
If you have a paper ticket, you will find several validating machines in every station. If you bought your ticket online, it has a preset date and time and it’s already valid. Don’t erase it or throw it away until you reach your final destination: you will have to show your ticket or its QR code to the ticket inspector once on the train.
Other Useful Tips For Using Public Transport In Sardinia
Although many depict Sardinia as a peaceful Heaven on Earth (and they are right to some extent), there are unpleasant sides and rules everywhere and this island is no exception.
Here are some tips you may find useful when traveling by bus or train in Sardinia:
WATCH OUT FOR YOUR BELONGINGS: Like in many other parts of the world, traveling by public transport isn’t always 100% safe. Be careful about your belongings, try to keep an eye on them, and don’t go around with your bag/pockets/backpack open: you might never know who’s sitting next to you.
RESPECT COMMON ETIQUETTE: Don’t eat food that has a strong odor, don’t occupy three seats all for yourself and your luggage unless it’s necessary, and don’t be overly noisy.
DON’T ALWAYS RELY ON TIMETABLES: Especially paper ones. It’s not uncommon for buses and trains to be delayed or for their schedule to change from summer to winter (and sometimes not to be promptly updated!). if you have been waiting for too long and your bus still didn’t show up, don’t be afraid to ask a local, it may save you some time. Luckily, train stations are a bit better than the bus ones and usually have up-to-date schedules and delay warnings.
MIND THE RULES: Be careful of the single companies’ rules to avoid fines or arguments with the person sitting next to you.
BOOK YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE: If you can, book the tickets in advance through the various apps – for trains, use this one. Beware that some tickets have a preset time and date and you can’t use them whenever you want.
Useful Words and Sentences When Using Public Transport in Sardinia
- Ticket: Biglietto (bee-lyeh-toh)
- Station: Stazione (staa-tzyeoh-neh)
- Bus: Bus (boos)
- Train: Treno (treh-noh)
- Shop: Negozio (neh-gaw-tzyeoh); Ticket shop: Negozio di biglietti (neh-gaw-tzyeoh dee bee-lyeh-tee)
- Excuse me, where is the station?: Mi scusi, dov’è la stazione? (mee scoo-see, daw-veh lah staa-tzyeoh-neh?)
- Excuse me, how do I go to…?: Mi scusi, come arrivo a… (mee scoo-see, caw-meh ah-ree-voh aa…)?
- One ticket to…, please.: Un biglietto per…, per favore. (oon bee-lyeh-toh pehr…, pehr fah-vow-reh)
- How much is it?: Quanto costa? (qwan-toh coh-stah)
- I’m lost.: Mi sono perso. (mee saw-naw pehr-saw)
- Is there a bus/train to…?: C’è un bus/treno per…? (cheh oon boos/treh-noh pehr…)
- Where is the bus/train station?: Dov’è la stazione dei bus/treni? (daw-veh lah stah-tzyeoh-neh day boos/treh-nee)
- Where is the bus stop?: Dov’è la fermata dei bus? (daw-veh lah fehr-mah-tah day boos)
- Thank you!: Grazie! (Grah-tsyeh)
Whatever means of transport you choose for your trip, have a great time in Sardinia!
Make sure to read my other posts:
- Everything You Must Know About Renting A Car In Sardinia
- Is Sardinia Expensive?
- How To Visit Sardinia On A Budget
- A North Sardinia Itinerary
- How To Get To Sardinia
- How To Get From Cagliari To Olbia