Our family vacation in 2017 was an example of how to travel Sardinia on a budget and still get a taste of pleasure. Here are few steps on how to save money and get an amazing time while traveling Sardinia on a budget.
Budget Flights to Sardinia
We did a research of travel options and prices, six months before our vacation in Sardinia. There were many possibilities to fly to Olbia or Alghero with low-cost companies easyJet, Meridiana and Vueling. We opt for EasyJet. The flight was 70 euros. We did not regret that choice since we were able to sit next to each other without paying an additional price.
Budget Accommodation in Sardinia, Italy
Some Italian travel websites like https://www.homelidays.it offer great budget accommodation options. Prices are twice as cheap as those in global reservation systems like Booking.com. Yet you have to know Italian to make a reservation. We found a great house in Pittulongu/ Bados village. Booking an apartment in Pittulongu was cheaper than getting accommodation in Olbia, San Teodoro or Costa Smeralda.
The accommodation was 400-500 metres from the beach and 10 km from Olbia. In a close vicinity, there were few restaurants Trattoria Pizzeria and a Fish&Grill restaurant.
The property was described as “trilocale”. The 70 sq. m. maisonette consisting of two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious living room with a kitchen cost 770 euros per 9 nights in July. It was 21 euros per person daily – a great deal for a place to stay in Sardinia! The name of the accommodation was Domus di Mare, Bados. We were offered rooms with a sea view. We could use most of the amenities we needed – a washing machine, a stove, coffee maker, TV and linen. The only thing we missed were essentials and toilet paper. Luckily, the biggest shopping mall in the area – Centro Gallura was just one kilometer from the accommodation.
Spending on Food
The restaurants in Sardinia charge a service fee of 2-3 euros per person. These are included in your restaurant bill.
As in mainland, Sardinia’s restaurants are closed from 14:30 to 19:00. They do not offer breakfast nor brunch. That is why most Italians take their own food on the beach. That is also a great option for travelers on a strict budget. We followed the locals’ example and bought from the supermarkets fruits, prosciutto, cheese and bread. Then enjoyed the picnic on the beach.
Restaurants in Olbia
In the evening, we went to Olbia where there were restaurants with an amazing cuisine. Our favourite place to eat was Ristorante Pizzeria Trocadero, which was in the heart of the city, very close to the main cathedral.
The restaurant is set in a little square in old Olbia. A meal with a glass of wine cost 15 euros depending on the type of food. Pizza menu is the cheapest one with prices around 8 euros. The food is good value for money and the service is friendly.
Instead of eating dessert in a restaurant we bought an Italian ice-cream from street vendors. That helped us to reduce our costs.
Restaurants in Pittulongu/Bados
We also explore food options in Pittulongu. Prices were higher than those in Olbia. A portion of mix grill (meat or fish) was 18 euros, spaghetti – 12-14 euros, pizza 8-12 euros. Most places to eat looked more like a take away than a restaurant.
Our first day in Pittulongu/Bados we took a table in Pescheria Il Mare. The waitress was unhappy because we ordered less dishes than she expected. She asked several times if we wanted more main courses. She commented : “You would be hungry”. It was a bit annoying!
Our last day we tried another place – Pizzeria da Poldo. Servise was friendly but slow. Still the food was amazing. Everything we ordered – mix glill, pizza Cinque formaggi, pizza Quattro Formaggi and fried calmares were amazing! Prices are also affordable – as those in Olbia restaurants.
Things to do in Sardinia on a Budget
The breathtaking beauty of Sardinia beaches is the main reason for most of the tourists to travel to the Italian Island. Yet amenities on the beach can be very expensive – renting a set of 2 chairs vary between 30 and 1000 euros per day. Parking cost between 10 to 16 euros per day. Even cantinas and bars are expensive compared to these in towns and villages.
Spending a day on some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia can be cheap if you find a place to park your car for free. Most of the beaches on Maddalena archipelago offer free parking place. Even on Costa Smeralda you can find a free parking close to Liscia Ruja beach. You can also park forfree around Nodu Pianu beach, Cala Banana beach, Bados beach and Pittulongu beach.
Another money saving tip is to take your own umbrella, snacks and drinks on the beach. We did not even had to buy even had to buy an umbrella since we had one in the accommodation we had rented.
Getting Around Sardinia on a Budget
When you are travelling Sardinia, one of the most expensive things is the way you get to the most beautiful beaches on the island. You definitelly need to rent a car.
We booked a car online. We did it before our trip to Italy. We opted for the smallest one and found the best price in ryianair.com website. The rental price for 9 days was 309 euros. Then we saw in kayak.com a better price – 250 euros for the same car and same period of time. As we started to cancel our reservation in ryianair.com, they offered us the same discounted price as in kayak,com. That was how we saved 60 euros.
Fuel prices in Sardinia vary from one filling station to another. An interesting fact was that there were self-service terminals where the fuel was much cheaper – 1.50 euros per littre instead of 1.70 euros per littre. So we preferred the low-cost self-service.
There are a lot of ways to save money in Sardinia. Still for a 9 days vacation you can expect spendind 700 – 800 euros per person including flights, accmmodation, renta-a-car, fuel, food, excursions and beach activities.
A Day in Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo is a Disneyland-like place that attracts VIP and people chasing celebrities. The artificial village boasts the most expensive fashion brands. Still even mid-range tourists can afford having drink at one of charming bars in Porto Cervo. In fact, prices in cafes and bistros are similar to those in less famous resorts in Sardinia.
We sat in a café on a charming piazza and ordered four cocktails. They brought complimentary nuts, olives as well as a portion of cheese, prosciutto and bread. The staff was looking to make us comfortable.
Sardinia Prices 2017
Prices in Supermarket
A bottle of mineral water 2l – 1.20 -1.30 euros
Bananas – 2.89 euros per kg
Italian cheese provolette – 18-20 euros per kg
Italian cheese Gorgonzola – 16 euros per kg
Prosciutto crudo – 16 euros per kg
Boneless salmon trout Fillets – 10 euros per kg
Fresh salmon – 10 euros per kg
Milk – 1.39 per littre
Peach – 0.80 euros per kg
Prices in Restaurants
Green salad – 4 euros
Mix salad – 5 euros
Pizza – 7-12 euros
Lasagna – 10 euros
Spagetti – 12-16 euros
Grilled fish – 18-20 euros
Grilled meat – 16-18 euros
½ little of house wine – 5-6 euros
Prices in Porto Cervo
A cocktail in a bar or cafe – 7-10 euros
Two tastes of ice-cream to take away – 3 euros
Main course in a restaurant – 40-80 euros