Sardinian Island Hopping on a Budget

Last week Thursday I got back from one of my favorite places in the world. I know I say that every time, but truly Sardinia is a place to behold. It is the epitome of what a dream European summer should be. It has mountains, cliffs, crystal clear waters and small towns that look like they have jumped out of a vintage travel magazine.

A little background information to those who otherwise wouldn’t know; I’ve never liked the beach. I enjoyed sitting on the sand, and maybe walking ankle deep in the water, but when it came to full blown swimming, count me out. This all changed about 2 years ago, when we ventured to Croatia for the first time. The water was so clear, it almost seemed like you could drink it. I was flipped, I almost stayed in the water for the full two weeks that we were there. I was that in love with the water in Croatia, you can only imagine my excitement with our second European summer; Sardinia. I thought I was in love with the ocean before, but… MY MIND HAS BEEN BLOWN. We’ve been back two years in a row now!

Last year we stayed on the main island in a town called San Teodoro. We stayed there for our entire holiday, and ventured every day to a new beach. This year we visited multiple islands; La Maddalena and Caprera as well as San Teodoro. By far, our favorite island was La Maddalena, which reminded me so much of the island of Ischia with its pastel coloured streets. (Read about our trip to Ischia here)

As a little history side-note; La Maddalena has had many different names in the past when it was once under Roman rule. It was also completely abandoned until the 12th century, when it was chosen by Benedictine monks who formed small colonies there. It also happened to be a short term home to Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1793, as part of the French expedition to try and occupy the island, he was unsuccessful. La Maddalena, or rather Sardinia in general, is also famous for its wild goats. Sounds crazy, but they are all around there, and goat cheese is everywhere!

Of course, like the majority of our trips, this one was done on a strict budget. We planned out our meals, and even stayed overnight on a ferry, we slept on a sofa inside a restaurant after it had closed. I’ve written up a couple of ways that we saved money on this trip, as well as some cheap local places to eat at, see and visit.

Although a flight from Milan, to Sardinia costs more or less the same price as taking a car, traveling on the island is much easier with a car. Last year we rented a scooter, but we couldn’t visit nearly as many beaches as we had hoped to. If you do chose to take a car, you’ll need to catch the ferry, or you could rent one on the island of course. This was our first big money save. As a side note, petrol and diesel is not expensive on the island so that isn’t a problem. You’re also then able to save money on accommodation, because you don’t need to get a place close to the beach.

La Maddalena
La Maddalena Centro

Taking the ferry from Genova to Olbia, costs about 200 Euros in total (for two people and a car). You have the choice of a cabin, which is an extra 90 Euros, or to sleep wherever you can on the boat. We chose the latter. Here’s a couple of things you need to know if you’re going to be sleeping on the ferry; come prepared. You’re going to need to GO EARLY as well as some warm clothes, a pillow, and a blanket. You can also take a blow up mattress, or something to actually sleep on, we were lucky enough to get ourselves a couch.

Cala Gonone

Another way to save money is to take all of your own supplies.

  • Prepare a lunch for the beach everyday; we end up saving so much money by preparing our own lunches everyday. We don’t usually eat breakfast and then we only have to buy one meal a day.
  • Plenty of sunscreen
  • Aftersun (you’re going to need it)
  • A cooler bag
  • Beach shoes, as well as hiking shoes (most of the time I wore closed shoes)
  • Backpacks

As I mentioned before, we spent most of our time on the amazing island of La Maddalena. I have already written a post about San Teodoro, which you can read here.

After you’ve reached Olbia, you then have to take the journey to La Maddalena, which again is another ferry. Shorter, only 20 minutes, and it costs about 24 Euros (for 2 people and a car). It takes you right into the center of town. We arrived at about midday, and we heading straight to the beach. One of the more popular, and well known beaches, Baia Della Trinita.

In general, Sardinia is not as expensive as you would otherwise imagine a European beach holiday to be, and we pay the same prices that we would in Milan. That is why we go so often, it has the same atmosphere as a small surfer town, with the prices to match, so jump on the ferry before it becomes the next big thing and the crowds gather! This is what makes it such an attractive spot, as well as the beaches, most of which are usually hidden by a hike (so make sure that you take your hiking shoes) , so if you get there early enough you beat the crowds and can get a nice spot.

I’m thinking of writing another blog post in which I name all of our favorite beaches, seeing as we visited so many more this time around. Let me know in the comments what you think?

Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media also: Instagram, Facebook or Youtube. (There will be a vlog about our trip coming up soon!)

EDITED: As promised, here is the Youtube video of our trip, enjoy!


San Teodoro


  1. laura
    August 1, 2019 / 7:59 pm


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