Does It Snow In Sardinia?

You probably would not imagine that, but it does snow in Sardinia!

Many people assume that because Sardinia is an island at the heart of the Mediterranean, just North of Africa, it is blessed with sun and warm weather year round – much as if it were a tropical island. Of course, Sardinia is famous for its gorgeous beaches and clear waters. But there are mountains too, and while temperatures remain mostly mild along the coast, with just the occasional cold front and a more or less high rainfall, winter is actually quite harsh in the mountains. So: yes – it does snow in Sardinia.

Of course, some years it snows more than others. 1985 is notoriously the year Sardinia got the highest amount of snow. I was a child then, and I remember waking up to see a blanket of snow covering my hometown Cagliari. We spent two full days playing outside, and it was quite impressive to see a thick layer of snow at Poetto Beach.

Are you curious to find out more? Continue reading!

snow in Sardinia
Winter is usually a great time to go hiking in Sardinia – and you can ski when it snows!

Where Does It Snow In Sardinia?

Snow in Sardinia falls regularly in areas that are located at 500 meters above sea level or more. Of course, with higher elevation the chances of snow increase, and there are some regions in Sardinia – such as the mountains of Gennargentu – that get snow throughout the winter and not just once or twice a year. In fact, at times there are snow storms so strong that literally everything has to stop – roads, schools etc.

I remember back in April 2008 my sister got caught in a snow storm when she was visiting her friends in Fonni – Sardinia’s highest town, at 1000 meters above sea level. She ended up having to spend a few days there, as all roads were blocked, and she almost missed her flight back to Dublin.

The end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 also brought significantly more snow than in previous winters. This video dates back to December 2020:

Ski Resorts In Sardinia

Although I have never skied in Sardinia, I am happy to report that there are four ski resorts – Bruncu Spina, Monte Spada, Separadorgiu and S’Arena – where you can practice winter sports such as skiing.

As there are no glaciers on the island and no perennial snow, and there are no snow cannons, the opening of ski lifts pretty much depends on the amount of snow received. Although snow comes every year in the mountain, predicting when and how much is pretty much impossible. So, if your idea of a winter trip includes skiing and snowboarding, you are probably better off going somewhere else in Italy.

On the other hand, if you happen to be here during the winter and snow falls abundantly while you are here, you can decide to make a beeline to the ski resorts and enjoy one or more days in the snow.

Of the ones I have mentioned, the best ski resort is by far Bruncu Spina, near Fonni. There you will find a total of 3.3 km of slopes, of which a short one (400 meters) is classified as easy; the longest one (1.9 km) as intermediate; and a 900 meters slope is classified as difficult. There are two ski lifts: a 735-meter chairlift that carries two passengers at a time and has an hourly capacity of 1200 people; and a 926-meter j-bar lift with an hourly capacity of 800 people. The lifts take people to an altitude of 1820 meters above sea level.

A one-day ski-pass in Bruncu Spina costs €15.

snow in Cagliari 1985
With my dad, my sister and some friends in Cagliari on January 9, 1985. Can you spot me?

Does It Snow In Cagliari?

Snow in Cagliari is much more of a seldom occurrence – so much so that locals remember the dates as proper historical facts.

As I have said at the beginning of this post, it did snow a lot all over the island in January 1985, and that included Cagliari. The photo above was taken on January 9, 1985 – the man at the center is my dad, posing with my sister, some of our friends and me after having engaged in a snow-balls battle.

snow in Cagliari
With my sister and a friend in January 1993

It also snowed a bit (not as heavily) on January 3, 1993. I was already a teenager then, but nevertheless I enjoyed playing with my friends.

It has snowed in town on other occasions, the latter one on New Year’s in 2015 – but back then I was actually on holidays in Cancun, Mexico.

If you have experienced snow during your trip to Sardinia, I’d love to read about your experience. Let me know in the comments below!

Further readings

Make sure to check out my other posts about Sardinia:

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