Where to Stay in Sardinia
Welcome to Post #2 in our Sardinia Travel Guide for Tourists series. In the last post, you learned how to get to Sardinia by ferry or airplane. Here we’ll cover some general information about Sardinia hotels, agritourismo, hostels, and camping. As always, email me with any questions not covered here. Ok, let’s go.
So you’ve arrived in Sardinia by ferry or airplane, you’ve rented a car or motorbike, and now you need a place to stay. Great. We’ve already said we’re not talking about the Costa Smeralda so go elsewhere if you want to spend tons of money. Really, you’re not wanted here. Tourists and travelers to Sardinia have several options of where to stay depending largely on budget and the sort of experience you’d like to have.
Hotels in Sardinia
Like the rest of Europe, hotels here subscribe to the star system. If you’re looking for a true hotel experience, look for 3 star and above and expect to pay somewhere around €175 per night for a standard double room in the high season (June-August). Your mileage will vary here by region but expect clean rooms, breakfast, and a location reasonably near city centers or the beach. Sardinian hotels are very family oriented and you can expect friendly – probably not prompt or efficient – service.
Some English proficiency can be expected among staff, but it will likely be limited. Bring a phrase book (you are planning to learn some Italian, right?). If you don’t know any Italian and don’t plan to learn, you’re probably better off heading to the Costa Smeralda. Please go away now.
Many hotels use online booking services or negotiate through tourist agencies. If your Italian isn’t so great it’s a good idea to use a reputable service and keep all credit card receipts handy in case of disputes. Disputes do occasionally arise, usually over a quoted rate. As in most countries, hotels are required to honor an agreed (printed) rate so bring your paperwork and stick to your guns in the face of an unscrupulous front desk.
Hostels in Sardinia
Hostels are the way to go for the serious backpacker or budget-minded tourist. In Sardinia, they are mainly clustered around the coast in major cities like Alghero and Cagliari. Filled with international travelers, they offer a cheap and cheerful alternative to hotels. Most hostels will offer mixed or single-sex dorms with 6-10 beds or private rooms with access to shared bathrooms. If you’re looking for a private hostel room, check out pensione prices as well since they will be similar. For a dorm bed, expect to pay around €20.
Cleanliness and privacy will range greatly so be sure to check out any place carefully before booking. You can find traveler ratings online for most places so homework pays here. Most hostels book online but you can easily book over the phone as well. Hostels fill up quickly in the high season, especially around major beaches so book in advance to guarantee yourself a bed.
Pensione in Sardinia
Pensione, I think, offer the sweet spot between pricey hotels and bargain hostels in Sardinia. You’re basically paying for a clean room, usually an ensuite bathroom, and sometimes a small breakfast. Think of them as an Italian B&B. No tv, no room service, and no frills. The ones I’ve stayed at are usually run by a local couple who can be great sources of information and local color.
Online, they can usually be found listed under 1 or 2 star hotels and can vary greatly in price and amenities. Expect to pay around €75-100 during the high season for a standard double room.
Agritourismo in Sardinia
Worthy of an entire post, I’m going to briefly talk about one of the coolest innovations in Sardinian tourism. Agritourismo or agricultural tourism allows you to book a room on a Sardinian farm – think organic farming meets a dude ranch – and offers a fantastic way for tourists to experience life in rural Sardinia.
Most farming in Sardinia is still very small and family oriented. While organic farming hasn’t caught on as a fad, very few farmers employ chemical or factory farming techniques, so you’ll get the organic experience without the hype. Most farms are clustered in the hills and mountains of the island so they will offer a welcome break from the beach crowds. Accommodations in agritourismo farms are usually clean if primitive. You can expect tours of vineyards, orchards, gardens, and sheepfolds, as well as all the rustic Sardinian delicacies you can eat. Highly recommended for anyone that enjoys staying off the beaten track.
Camping in Sardinia
First of all – let’s define camping. Camping for some involves recreational vehicles (RVs) or Winnebagos, while in others it evokes sleeping on the ground. One can do both in Sardinia. Most campgrounds offer a mix of accommodations, from tent pads to water and electrical hookups for RVs. Usually open only in the summer and early fall, it can be a great way to tour the Gennargentu mountains and coastal areas. Beware of camping on private land – tent campers or bike tourists may be able to get away with a furtive night here or there but do so at your own risk. Language barriers and angry dogs might make an epic out of an otherwise idyllic stay.
Got any tips or favorites? Leave a note for other readers in the comments.
Next time, a discussion of the regions of Sardinia and favorite places to visit. Thanks for checking out our series on traveling through Sardinia!