Is Sardinia Expensive? – Cost Breakdown of Your Next Holiday

Angela Corrias in Tharros Sardinia

Angela Corrias

There has been a lot of hype about the costs of flight tickets and increased holiday expenses all over the world, including the different Italian regions. So we wonder, is Sardinia expensive? Is a holiday in Sardinia out of most people’s budget reach? Is Sardinia mainly a destination for VIPs and celebrities?

It might surprise you, but Sardinia is less expensive than you think. Of course, you are going to find crazy prices in VIP-packed Costa Smeralda, but if you head to lesser-known beaches, non-touristy towns, and even better, off-season, you will find prices much more reasonable.

Check out our guide to planning your next Sardinia holiday.

Image: View of Cagliari's houses. Is Sardinia expensive to buy a house?

Is Sardinia expensive or affordable to visit? A cost breakdown

Is Sardinia expensive to eat and drink?

The cost of eating and drinking in Sardinia mostly depends on the area you are in and what type of restaurant you opt for. For example, a dinner in a restaurant in the exclusive and VIP-packed Costa Smeralda will definitely be more expensive than a local restaurant in a small village of the hinterland.

The cost of a round pizza on the table in Sardinia ranges between 7€ to 15/18€ depending on the place and on the toppings.

A restaurant meal in Sardinia, wine and drinks included, can cost between 20€ in an average eatery up to 50/70€ per person in a more exclusive restaurant such as Sa Cardiga e Su Schironi near Cagliari.

Not sure where to go? We create tailored Sardinia itineraries to help you plan your trip!

Image: Is Sardinia expensive? Restaurant drinks cost.

Costs breakdown in Sardinia – What things cost

Cost of accommodation in Sardinia

In recent years, hotel rates have soared a bit everywhere, more so in touristy areas and high tourist seasons. Is Sardinia expensive accommodation-wise? Yes and no.

I have looked up some hotel options for myself in Cagliari and I found prices were definitely higher than in other years, especially for options like apartments and B&Bs.

In the low season, you can find an apartment in Cagliari near the historic center for around 45 to 60€ per night and a mid-range hotel for between 70 to 120€ per night. During the high season, however, prices rise and you can expect between 200 to 300€ per night at a hotel and 100 to 130€ at a B&B or apartment.

In Alghero, another popular destination in Sardinia, a mid-range hotel near the city center can cost between 150 to 200€ per night in the high season, while a B&B or apartments in the historic center near the beach can reach up to 250 to 300€ per night. There are also more budget accommodations where you can pay between 50 to 100€ per night.

Image: Guesthouse in Olbia in Sardinia.

This is an average of what things cost in Sardinia, but prices vary consistently depending on the place and the season. In summer, specifically from June 15h to October, but more so in July and August, rates are much higher than any other month of the year, especially for accommodation and tickets to reach Sardinia by ferry and by plane.

Here are some of the prices you can expect when traveling around Sardinia, from restaurant meals to public transport.

Check out our complete guide to getting to Sardinia.

Food and drinks

  • Bottle of water. A half-a-liter bottle of water can cost up to 1€ to 1.50 at a bar. It’s cheaper if you buy it at a grocery store.
  • Beer. The same goes for the beer, at the bar it will be more expensive, but that’s the only place you can get it drafted. You can expect to pay around 4€ for a glass of Ichnusa beer, the most popular in Sardinia as it’s a native one. Always more restaurants are also serving artisan beer and that’s more expensive with prices ranging between 6 to 8€ per glass.
  • Wine. The most affordable option is the house wine (vino della casa) and can cost around 8-10€ per liter, while branded wines range between 15 to 30€ per bottle.
  • Soft drinks. Soft drinks like Coke, Fanta, and similar cost around 2.5€ per can.
  • Coffee. Coffee is cheaper if you have it at the counter as it’s about 1€ or 1.10 fixed price. If you grab a table, they can charge you their own prices, even though bars often keep the same rate.
  • Pizza takeaway. This depends on the toppings, but you can have a slice of pizza takeaway for around 3 to 6€.
  • Pizza at the table. A round pizza goes from 6 to up to 15€, always depending on the toppings and on the location, being the beach resorts and restaurants among the most expensive places, especially in summer.
  • Gelato. The price of gelato depends on the location. Near the beach, you can expect even to pay 3€ for a cone or cup with one scoop only. Inside the city, for around 3€ you get two scoops.
  • Restaurant service. This is around 2€ per person.
  • First courses. Both meat and seafood-based first courses are around 13 to 15€, with some exceptions such as lobster which can cost much more and the price is by hectogram.
  • Main dishes. These are usually more expensive than the first courses and you can find them around 20 to 30€.
Image: Is Sardinia expensive? Restaurant meals.

Transportation

  • Train tickets. Trains in Sardinia are not expensive. Here is the price of the most common routes. From Cagliari’s airport Elmas to Cagliari’s main train station the ticket costs €1.30, from the same Elmas airport to Oristano city it’s €6.10, to Sassari is €16.50, while to Olbia it costs 18€. You can book your tickets from Trenitalia’s website or with Omio.
  • Public transport. This is a very affordable way to travel around Sardinia. And also a little hard given the less-than-efficient service. Obviously, the prices vary depending if you are using urban or extra-urban buses. For urban buses, expect the fee to be between €1 to €1.50. For coaches from one city to another, the fees depend on the distance. From Ghilarza, a town in central Sardinia, to Cagliari, a single bus ticket is €9.50, from Cagliari to Sassari is 14€, from Oristano to Cagliari it’s €6.70, from Alghero to Nuoro it’s €9.50, and from Olbia to Nuoro it’s €8.10.
  • Car rental. Renting a car in Sardinia is definitely more expensive than using public transport but your trip will be easier and you will be able to reach more destinations in less time.
  • Taxi. From Cagliari airport to Castello old quarter the fixed fee is 18€, while for other neighborhoods ranges between 17 to 27€ for the Poetto area. A taxi ride between Olbia airport and the city center is around 15€.

Leisure and sightseeing

  • Beach lounge + sunshade. This very much depends on where you are renting the beach equipment. Prices can go from 30 to 40€ for a sunshade + 2 sunbeds to 200€ per day in a mid-range beach in Costa Smeralda to up to 500€ per day in one of the most exclusive beach resorts of the same Costa Smeralda. On the wonderful La Pelosa near Stintino, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia, the cost of sunshade + 2 beach beds is around 40€ per day.
  • Landmarks’ entrance fees. Admission tickets in Sardinia are not expensive. Visiting the wonderful house-museum of writer Grazia Deledda and the Ethnographic Museum in Nuoro is 5€ each per person, admission + guided tour of Barumini nuraghe costs 15€ and includes also the entrance to the Casa Zapata museum in the village and 8€ to visit the dismissed coal mine of Carbonia.
Image: Golfo Aranci view in one of Sardinia's expensive areas.

Is it expensive to live in Sardinia?

Is Sardinia expensive to live in? Cagliari is listed among the cities in Italy to live in, and one of the reasons is that it’s more affordable than many other big Italian hubs. In fact, if we think that Cagliari is one of the most expensive cities on the island, it goes without saying that living in Sardinia is much cheaper than in many other regions of Italy.

In my general roundup of prices and cost of living in Sardinia, I won’t obviously be referring to the deals that some local municipalities offer by selling wrecks for the symbolic amount of 1€ provided that the buyer takes the responsibility to fully renovate it.

Moving to a smaller town in Sardinia will be extensively cheaper than living in larger cities like Olbia and Cagliari.

Image: Street of Bosa in Sardinia.

Average cost of house rentals in Sardinia

As an example, a decent apartment in towns like Sedilo or Ghilarza won’t cost more than 350 to 400€ per month. In Oristano, which is a bigger city than the previous two, renting a 2-bedroom apartment will cost around 550€ per month, while a 4-bedroom around 700€.

If larger cities are your first option, an average rental in Cagliari is priced at around 1500€ per month for a

Average cost of buying a house in Sardinia

Buying a large house in a small village costs about 25.000€, while in larger cities like Cagliari, prices range from 250,000 to anywhere close to 500,000€. The price gets even close to a million euros for villas in the Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s northeastern coast.

To see some long-term rental prices in Sardinia, you can check websites such as Immobiliare.it, Casa.it, Gabetti.it, and Technocasa.it.

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