Are you thinking of renting a car in Olbia? Great idea!
Olbia is among the most visited and busy cities in Sardinia, for a ton of different reasons. First of all, it’s the getaway to Costa Smeralda, the luxury beach paradise where VIPs and rich people from all around Europe and beyond gather during the summer.
Secondly, Olbia is just some kilometers shy of many great attractions, historical sites, natural parks, and other stunning beaches that aren’t part of Costa Smeralda. Last but not least, the city itself is definitely more than meets the eye and while it appears rough around the edges, it is actually filled with gems: Olbia deserves a visit, I am sure it won’t disappoint.
Of course, like every holiday destination, getting around Olbia will need appropriate means of transportation. The urban bus line is pretty decent, but relying solely on public transportation ties you to schedules and timetables. Plus, it would be a pity if you only spent your time inside the city, without hitting the breathtaking beaches.
Renting a car in Olbia and driving around the area is definitely the best option. Continue reading and I will tell you everything you should know before renting a car in Olbia, and share some tips for a smooth experience.
Make sure to also read my post A Guide To Renting A Car In Sardinia.
Should You Be Renting A Car In Olbia?
While not many tourists in the past picked Olbia as their base to explore the beaches of Costa Smeralda and those near San Teodoro, more and more today look to stay there as there is a great choice of accommodation options and restaurants and it is significantly more budget friendly than the nearby beach hamlets.
Olbia has a good public transportation system – which is however mostly limited to urban lines. Getting out of the city might turn into a tiring adventure, and getting to all the nearby beaches will be more of a hassle than a pleasure. Moreover, relying on buses and trains greatly limits your freedom.
If you are planning to visit more places than just Olbia – and you should! – and prefer having as much freedom as possible when exploring the area, you should rent a car.
Having a car won’t just give you freedom from schedules and departure times, but also extra help with luggage and mobility. If you have lots of luggage, it’s infinitely easier to put it in your trunk rather than hopping on and off buses. Besides, if you go around by public transport, you will be forced to leave the bus at pre-determined stops; whereas with a car, you can (hopefully) park close to your accommodation or final destination.
Finally, don’t forget that Sardinia is an excellent destination for road trips! Driving along the coast – or in the mountains – will give you some of the best views of your life.
Have I convinced you? Go ahead and check the prices of car rental in Olbia here.
What You Must Know When Renting A Car In Olbia
The Best Car Rental In Olbia
You will find all major international and Italian car rental companies in Olbia – Herzt, Locauto, Sicily by Car, Maggiore and more all have offices at the airport, along with some lesser known companies such as Noleggiare, Autonoleggio Sardinya, Only Sardinia Autonoleggio and others.
I know what you are thinking: you can’s possibly check out the prices of car rental on each and every of these companies. So here’s a tip: for the best deals on car rental, consider using a comparison app. My favorite one is Discover Cars – that’s where I normally find the best deals.
Check the prices of car rental in Olbia on Discover Cars here.
The best pick up location for renting a car in Olbia
Savvy budget travelers will suggest that the best car rental in Olbia is not in the airport. They will tell you to go to down, or even to one of the nearby villages. But is this really the best option? I don’t think so. The hassle of getting around with luggage and after a long trip; the money spent on getting there (if you decide to use private transport) are all factors you should consider.
I am all for comfort and making things easy, so let me say it: the best place to rent a car in Olbia is Olbia – Costa Smeralda Airport. All the car rental offices are outside the airport, barely 50 meters away from the arrivals terminal, easily reachable on foot. You can also pick up your car at the airport and give it back to another location, as long it’s from the same chain: pick up and drop off aren’t mandatorily in the same place.
Picking up your car at the airport is the best option, as you will find yourself with the freedom to drive around right from the beginning of your travel.
With this in mind, there are some tips you should keep in mind when renting a car.
Be sure to book your car in advance: this will ensure better rates and guarantee you have the car that best fits your needs. Don’t expect to land in Olbia and rent a car right on the spot, especially during the busiest months. Best of outcomes, you’ll end up spending a lot of money and/or having to drive a car that you don’t like; worst case scenario – but not unlikely to happen – there won’t be any car left for you. Keep in mind there is a shortage of car rentals in Sardinia!
Check the prices of car rental in Olbia here.
When you pick your car up, check it thoroughly with one of the employees. Look for scratches and bumps and point them out, making sure they see the damage was already there. This will avoid unpleasant surprises at drop-off: sometimes companies try to make customers pay for damage that they didn’t do. Otherwise, just buy an insurance that covers literally everything and you won’t have to worry.
Check the prices of car rental in Olbia here.
Which car should you rent?
Which car you rent for your Olbia trip greatly depends on your needs. A smaller car would do if you are traveling solo or with your partner, but it surely won’t be enough if you are bringing family or friends with you. If you are planning to stay inside the city, again, a small car is better, easier to drive (especially in the historical center where the streets are narrow) and park. You might even consider an electric car. There often are reserved spaces for those, and almost every parking lot has some recharging stations.
If you think you’ll be driving outside Olbia, beach hopping or having some day trips, a bigger car is more comfortable. It will fit all your luggage and it’s best suited for out-of-city activities.
Pick the best car for your trip to Olbia and Costa Smeralda here.
Make sure to read my post A Short Guide To Olbia.
Driving to and from the airport
Driving to and from Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport isn’t exactly a long journey – quite the opposite indeed. The airport is barely 4 km (2.5 miles) away from the city, and there are plenty of signals pointing in the right direction. My main tip is to drive slowly as it can be confusing in some areas.
Check out my post How To Get From Olbia Airport To The City Center.
Where to park your car in Olbia
One of the biggest hassles of driving inside any city in the world is finding a parking spot, and the same goes for Olbia. Free parking might be sometimes difficult to find, so make sure to ask your hotel if they have a recommended parking space, or if they can suggest where to park.
You will find a free, large parking lot almost in front of the Grand Hotel President Olbia, and by the Molo Brin. Not far from there, you will have the Parcheggio Isola Bianca that also has plenty of space. Parcheggio Piramidi is closer to the historic center, but can get full easily.
In Olbia, there are lots of parking lots where you can pay an hourly fee and leave your car. Pay attention to the parking lines on the road pavement: white lines indicate free parking, and blue lines are for the paid ones. If you see any parking marked with yellow lines, don’t leave your car there. It’s a spot reserved for disabled people and you can be fined if you park there (and of course also stared at).
Useful things to know about driving in Olbia
Driving inside Olbia isn’t always going to be pleasant. The city is small but it can get very busy, especially when ferries dock and everyone gets off. The traffic is sometimes unbearable and there are lots of roundabouts and traffic lights to challenge your patience.
One thing you should be aware of is ZTL: they are limited traffic zones, usually set in the historical center and in some crowded areas and promenades, to make pedestrians safe and reduce air pollution. This is another reason why, if you are planning to stay in the city, you could consider renting an electric car: they are allowed in ZTLs!
Another thing you must be aware of is speed cameras. Many parts of the city have a speed limit of 30 km/hour, and there are lots of speed traps hidden everywhere. Be careful not to be fined!