As one of Italy’s jewels in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is an island that never fails to DAZZLE its visits. From its unspoiled beaches, culturally rich cities and incredible ancient ruins – Sardinia has something to satisfy every traveller. 

The island of Sardinia is one of the strongholds of the ancient Roman Empire and has been an autonomous part of Italy since then. You can sense the strong unity of the community and the fascinating history when you greet the island.  

Sardinia is home to immense natural beauty and history. But it’s also home to some of the oldest and healthiest humans in the world! Discover for yourself the magic of this island that produces so many people who live to the ripe ol’ age of 100. 

Deciding where to stay in Sardinia can be confusing if you’ve never been to the island before. There are many different areas to stay and each offers something unique to its visitors. 

That’s where I come in! I’ve explored this enchanting little island and compiled the best areas to stay depending on your interest and budget. I’ve also included the best places to stay and things to do in each. You’ll be an expert on Sardinia in no time! 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

View over sardinia
Dreamy.

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Where Is the Best Place to Stay in Sardinia?

Sardinia is one of the best places to visit when backpacking Italy for its mix of beautiful beaches, incredible architecture, delicious food and fascinating history. Determining which area of Sardinia is best depends on you and what you enjoy.

In this guide, I’m going to dive into the beach areas. But if you’re short on time, these are my highest recommendations for the best hostels, hostels and Airbnbs in Sardinia.

La Locanda del Conte Mameli | Best Hotel in Sardinia

La Locanda del Conte Mameli

This luxury hotel combines the modern with the traditional in a perfectly balanced way! Located on the east coast of the island of Olbia.

Within walking distance from some of Olbia’s fascinating archaeological sites and museums, you can enjoy proximity to the centre of town without giving up on peace and quiet.

Breakfast is included to feed up the family before exploring Olbia and the restaurant on site serves up some brilliant dishes too! It’s easily one of the hotels in Sardinia Italy.

B&B Casa Devoto | Best Hostel in Sardinia

B&B Casa Devoto

My choice of the best hostel in Sardinia is situated in Cagliari, my best place to stay in Sardinia for the first time! It comes very highly recommended, with a bloody fantastic rating.

It’s only small with a few rooms available but they are well stocked and you’ll be well looked after by the friendly staff here!

Luxurious New Seafront Apartment in Peaceful Location | Best Airbnb in Sardinia

Luxurious New Seafront Apartment in Peaceful Location

This is a beautiful apartment, also near Cagliari. It is contemporary, bright and spacious, with all the modern appliances you need to cook up a storm in the kitchen and enjoy a peaceful night in front of the telly. Who needs luxury hotels when you can have a whole apartment to yourself?!

With a BBQ in the back garden, you can enjoy the evening Sardinian sunshine and a balcony overlooking the sea is the perfect place to enjoy a morning coffee!

Sardinia Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Sardinia

FIRST TIME IN SARDINIA
sardinia - Cagliari
FIRST TIME IN SARDINIA

Cagliari

On the south of the island is the most prominent urban area on the island of Sardinia. Amazing architecture and gorgeous beaches characterise this amazing city, where you can enjoy the amazing natural surroundings whilst also being part of a fun, vibrant atmosphere!

ON A BUDGET
sardinia - Nuoro
ON A BUDGET

Nuoro

In the north of Sardinia, you’ll find the city of Nuoro. It is less visited, but that makes it all the more special. There’s so many hidden treasures in this city and its surrounding areas, not least the Domus de Janas to the east, which will take you back in time by thousands of years!

NIGHTLIFE
sardinia - Sant Antioco
NIGHTLIFE

Sant’ Antioco

Sardinia may be an island in itself, but it has its own surrounding islands too! So you can really embrace island life here!! Sant’ Antioco is a brilliant little community, where you can find out all about Sardinia’s maritime history!

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
sardinia - Sassari
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Sassari

One of the best things about Sardinia is that it still has hidden areas which are brilliant if you’re a traveller who wants to discover new and exciting things! Sassari is a fabulous city in the north with amazing archaeological surroundings.

FOR FAMILIES
sardinia - Olbia
FOR FAMILIES

Olbia

Planning a family holiday can be stressful – there are so many people to entertain! But don’t fret, we’ve done all the hard work for you there and found some great activities and accommodation to suit all the family!

With so much history, culture and scenery to enjoy, Sardinia is one of the best places to visit in Italy!

Sardinia’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Sardinia is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe, resting in the Mediterranean Sea to the west of its mother country, Italy. After Sicily, it’s the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, meaning there is plenty to see and do here!

It is one of the oldest parts of the Mediterranean, having been inhabited since the Palaeolithic era. With a population of just over one and a half million, there are some busy, bustling towns and cities on the island for you to explore.

The culture of Sardinia is eclectic and vibrant with great music, festivals and sports. The food here is also delicious, and of course, heavily sea-based and can, of course, be paired with some of Sardinia’s best wines! Sardinia is one of the best Italian Islands.

Getting around this island is also super easy. With an airport at Cagliari, several major roads linking city to city, ports all around the coastline and buses within the cities. There’s also, of course, the chance to hire a car if you want that extra bit of freedom.

Hills and blue waters in Sardinia, Italiy
Get me in that water. ASAP.

Cagliari: One of these busy areas is the place I recommend as the best to visit for your first time in Sardinia: Cagliari. It is a lovely ancient city, with some truly remarkable historical landmarks. It’s the best place to stay in Sardinia if you want to experience a seamless balance of ancient and modern.

Nuoro: Travelling in Italy can be expensive but that’s not to say that if you’re looking to save some cash, it’s not the place for you. Sardinia neighborhoods like Nuoro are perfect for those backpacking in Sardinia on a budget, with lots of opportunities for free outdoor activities.

Sant Antioco: Sardinia has islands of its own surrounding it, such as Sant Antioco, which is the best place to stay for nightlife! Families will find the white sand beaches near the city of Olbia to their best taste – you’ll get the luxury of the coast with the excitement of the city.

Sassari: What more could you want for the perfect trip for you and your family! The north of Sardinia is not as touristy as the south, and this means that many of its treasures are less visited and more hidden. But don’t worry, I’ve done all the hard work for you and found that the coolest place to stay is Sassari.

#1 Cagliari – Where to Stay in Sardinia for Your First Time

On the south of the island is the most prominent urban area on the island of Sardinia. Amazing architecture and famous Sardinia beaches characterise this wonderful city. where you can enjoy the amazing natural surroundings whilst also being part of a fun, vibrant atmosphere!

Building in Cagliari, Sardinia Italy

Cagliari is one of the main towns in Sardinia, and where you want to be at the centre of the action and to learn the most about this ancient island! There are also a heap of amazing restaurants and shops so you don’t have to walk far if you want some tasty Italian food or some supplies for your trip.

Cagliari is home to some of the best tourist places in Sardinia, so it’s ideal for first-time visitors!

T Hotel | Best Hotel in Cagliari

T Hotel Sardinia

This luxury hotel has every facility you could hope for and is situated right in the heart of the city. Within walking distance from the best attractions in Cagliari, like the Archaeological Museum. You’ll be close to some of the best spots in Sardinia

There are complimentary breakfasts, a 24-hour front desk and a hot tub for you to enjoy after a long day of adventures!

Kalie Rooms Guest House | Best Hostel in Cagliari

Kalie Rooms Guest House

This hostel has great, chilled-out vibes as a place where you can relax after a long day of exploration! Just a five-minute walk from the city centre, this hostel is in the best location to give you access to all of Cagliari’s attractions.

If hostels are your jam, Cagliari has many beautiful and affordable hostels.

Lollotà Castello luxury flat | Best Airbnb in Cagliari

Lollotà Castello luxury flat

For something truly unique, look no further than this Italian holiday rental in a historic and recently restored building. It’s located in the heart of Cagliari, is fully equipped for an excellent stay and overlooks a beautiful little square where you can grab breakfast in the morning.

It’s furnished in a modern way and it’s ready to be used by two people. It’s in the perfect place to explore the city and the rest of the island and the owners are happy to give you tours of the local area! It’s also got A/C so you can cool off after a day around town.

Things to See and Do in Cagliari:

Beautiful old architecture in Cagliari, Sardinia
Not bad Cagliari, not bad at all.
  1. In the city, the Roman Amphitheatre is a spectacular structure half built into a mountain. It’s so impressive and a great way to see the ancient architecture of the landscape!
  2. Sit back, relax and soak in the Italian sun on some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia.
  3. For a bit of medieval history, head to the 12th-century fortified castle of San Michele. It’s been refurbished to become the City’s centre for Arts and Culture too!
  4. For a breath of fresh air to get out of the city bustle, head to the Parco di Monte Urpinu. Enjoy the playground, avenues and ponds.
  5. Learn all about the amazing archaeological surroundings at the Museum of Archaeology based in the centre of the city.
  6. Head to Bastione Saint Remy. It is a gorgeous limestone structure with arches, pillars and a promenade. Depending on what time of year you go, there might even be a festival and market.
  7. Join a stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling tour and explore Cagliari’s secret caves and beautiful beaches.
  8. Pack a beach bag and explore the nearby beaches, such as Poetto Beach, for a day in the sun.
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#2 Nuoro – Where to Stay in Sardinia on a Budget

In the north of Sardinia, you’ll find the city of Nuoro. It is less visited, but that makes it all the more special. There are so many hidden treasures in this city and its surrounding areas, not least the Domus de Janas to the east, which will take you back in time by thousands of years.

View over Nuoro town surrounded by mountains in Sardinia, italy
Just a town nestled into nature.

There are some great opportunities to get out into nature, as well as an amazing selection of museums. You can do all kinds of activities, without breaking the bank. It’s one of the best places to visit in Sardinia Italy for those backpacking Sardinia on a budget.

Hotel Sandalia | Best Hotel in Nuoro

Hotel Sandalia

This hotel is right in the heart of Nuoro, meaning you have easy access to all of Nuoro’s attractions listed above. There is a 24-hour business centre, a friendly front desk and a complimentary breakfast, making this hotel super convenient.

B&B Pascal House Nuoro | Best B&B in Nuoro

B&B Pascal House Nuoro

A beautiful fresh breakfast, the perfect location and a wonderful host – what more could you ask for? This B&B is the home away from home that you need in Nuoro. It’s kind to the budget and the soul.

Small and Intimate City Center | Best Airbnb in Nuoro

Small and Intimate City Center

This gorgeous apartment is ideal for small families, solo travellers and couples heading to Nuoro. With a double bedroom and a small single, you’ll be able to squeeze an extra in.

The space in this apartment has been thought through with love. Full of colour and cosy feelings, you’ll have a comfy living room, cheerful kitchen and even a small veranda to enjoy.

Things to See and Do in Nuoro:

View over Nuoro town surrounded by mountains and clouds in Sardinia, italy
  1. Head out east to the Domus de Janas, which translates as ‘House of the Fairies’. They’re a special kind of tomb which resembles houses. It’s one of the great day trips in Sardinia.
  2. For the chance to see some amazing traditional clothes, head to the Museo del Costume Nuoro.Perfect if you love all things fashion.
  3. Head to the Pineta di Ugolio where you’ll find, not only a gorgeous park but also Nuraghe Ugolio, an ancient historical landmark.
  4. Join a trek to Gorropu and experience the panoramic views
  5. If you love hiking, then head to the Supramonte. It might be a bit of a challenge so might only be best for you experienced walkers. But it will be worth it for the views.
  6. If you don’t want a heavy walk uphill then just some strolls around the Gennargentu National Park are still beautiful. One of Italy’s gorgeous national parks.
  7. Head for a day trip to the East Coast and enjoy the beautiful Spiaggia Cala Gonone coast.

#3 Sant’ Antioco – Where to stay in Sardinia for nightlife

Sardinia may be an island in itself, but it has its own surrounding islands too; Sant’ Antioco being one of its finest! You can really embrace island life here off the south coast of Sardinia. Sant’ Antioco is a brilliant little community, where you can find out all about Sardinia’s maritime history.

View over the sea toward Sant Antioco, Sardinia Italy

i recommend this as the best place to stay in Sardinia for nightlife. There are some exciting bars and restaurants overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As well as some brilliant nightclubs which will guarantee you a great night! Better still, there’s easy access to that beautiful blue sea the morning after.

Luci Del Faro | Best Hotel in Sant’ Antioco

Luci Del Faro

This gorgeous hotel and luxury resort has so many things to offer, that it’s hard to know where to begin. With a 24-hour front desk, laundry services and an airport shuttle, all the faff is taken care of and you can just crack on with your stay.

There’s a swimming pool for you to enjoy outside and a complimentary breakfast to help cure your hangovers from a night out on the town.

Muma Hostel | Best Hostel in Sant’ Antioco

Muma Hostel

This hostel has direct access to the Maritime Museum mentioned above, so it’s perfect if you want to get to know the island better, this is the best place to stay.

There’s free self-parking, no curfew for you late-night owls and it has lovely views of the sea.

Cozy house with all the comforts | Best Airbnb in Sant’ Antioco

Cozy house with all the comforts

If you want to be in the heart of the historic centre of Sant’Antioco, you can’t get much better than this. A beautifully designed home with everything you need for a comfy stay. You’ll have two floors to enjoy and a lovely courtyard with a BBQ and chairs for some alfresco dining! You’ll be living the Italian dream.

Things to See and Do in Sant’ Antioco:

Crystal blue waters at a beach in Sant' Antioco, Sardinia
Brb. Just packing my snorkel.
  1. Visit the fabulous museum all about the sea! Right next to the marina, there’s a great opportunity to learn all about the history of the seafaring lives of people from Sardinia.
  2. If you want to cure your hangover, the best way to do it is to head to the Saint Catherine pond and salt farm nature walk.
  3. For a replication of what life on this stunning island used to be like, head to the Villaggio Ipogeo.
  4. For a beautiful swim in clear, glistening waters, head to the Cala Grotta.
  5. The nightlife in Sant’ Antioco is just as lively as the day! The Aquarium Discoteca is a favourite among locals and La Favola is a huge, exciting club with outdoor areas and amazing garden spaces.
  6. Why not jump on a boat trip to the neighboring island of Isola di San Pietro? You can visit the gorgeous port town of Carloforte and up the east coast with some picturesque beaches.
  7. Head out for a day on the water, adventure style by joining a sea kayak tour of St’Antioco Island.
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#4 Sassari – Coolest Place to Stay in Sardinia

One of the best things about Sardinia is that it still has hidden areas. If you’re a traveller who wants to discover new and exciting things, Sassari is the best place to go in Sardinia.

Sassari is a fabulous city near the west coast in the north with amazing archaeological surroundings.

Top of an old church in Sassari, Sardinia

With some incredible architecture and fantastic scenery – this is the coolest place to stay in Sardinia if you’re interested in more than sitting on the beautiful sandy beaches and stuffing your face with pasta, though, you can still do that too!

Hotel Carlo Felice | Best Hotel in Sassari

Hotel Carlo Felice

This hotel is very popular with visitors all year round as it offers a simple, yet comfortable stay with all the amenities you could need. There are complimentary breakfasts, a lovely restaurant and a terrace for you to enjoy a drink on in the evening!

Piazza Azuni 18 Guest House | Best Guest House in Sassari

Piazza Azuni 18 Guest House

This guest house is located smack bang in the middle of one of the most beautiful squares in Sassari. You can’t beat the location. The spacious rooms are more like little apartments because they are absolutely huge. With a kitchen and bathroom attached to each, they are all you need for a comfy stay close to the action.

Casa Canopolo | Best Airbnb in Sassari

Casa Canopolo

Want to stay in a rustic Italian building in the heart of a beautiful Sardinian city? Then this apartment is the best place to stay for you! Owned by an incredible host, you’ll have all your needs catered for with a gorgeously modernised flat.

Situated on one of the liveliest squares in the city, you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from some great restaurants, bars and markets! Plus attractions such as Piazza d ‘Italia, Piazza Tola, Duomo, Palazzo Ducale.

Things to See and Do in Sassari:

Old town buildings and cobbled stones in Sassaari, Sardinia
  1. Visit Porto Torres, a beautiful town with all sorts of sights including the Basilica of San Gavino, the Catacombs of Tanca Borgona and the remains of an ancient Roman bridge.
  2. Head east for a real spectacle: the largest Romanesque church in Sardinia and it’s on a mountaintop! It’s called the Sat’Antioco di Bisarcio and it’s truly stunning.
  3. The buzzing central town square of Sassari is the Piazza d’Italia, where you’ll find shops, restaurants and some brilliant Italian architecture.
  4. Head to nearby, Alghero for a guided quad-bike tour of the coastal roads.
  5. For some archaeological education, head to the Museo Nazionale ‘Giovanni Antonio Sanna’, where you’ll find some fascinating collections of historical artefacts.
  6. For a bit of fresh air away from the bustling streets, why not take a stroll around the Giardini Pubblici? It has some lovely green spaces, as well as fountains and walkways!
  7. Visit the beautiful church of Holy Trinity tucked away in the stunning Sardinian countryside.

#5 Olbia – Where to Stay in Sardinia for Families

Planning beach holidays in Sardinia can be stressful – there are so many people to entertain! But don’t fret, I’ve done all the hard work for you there and found some great activities and accommodations to suit all the family.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing family holiday on the lovely sandy beaches, an education getaway or a trip of a lifetime filled with adventures, Olbia has all of this to offer and more! It’s one of the best places in Sardinia to visit.

white sand beach in olbia, sardinia
Look at that sand!!

Located on the northeast coast of Sardinia, this area of the island is more suited to a relaxing beach holiday (if that’s your kind of thing). But don’t worry, it’s easy to travel to other areas of Sardinia if you want a day in the city.

La Locanda del Conte Mameli | Best Hotel in Olbia

La Locanda del Conte Mameli

This hotel combines the modern with the traditional in a perfectly balanced way! Within walking distance from some of Olbia’s fascinating archaeological sites and museums, you can enjoy proximity to the centre of town without giving up on peace and quiet!

Breakfast is included to feed up the family before exploring Olbia and the restaurant on site serves up some brilliant dishes too!

Ciro’s House | Best Budget Hostel in Olbia

Ciro’s House

Who doesn’t want to stay in a bright pink house? This lovely villa is just a short walk from the centre of Olbia and is elegantly furnished to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

There’s a lovely garden where you can sit back and relax with a drink, and you can access free Wi-Fi for the duration of your stay!

Residenza da Mario | Best Airbnb in Olbia

Residenza da Mario

This stunning, contemporary apartment is perfect for all the family. Elegant, spacious and bright, you’ll enjoy every minute you’re staying here, from breakfast in the large kitchen/diner to snuggling up in the cosy, spacious rooms.

Sparkling clean and one of a kind, this is the best place to stay in Olbia!

Things to See and Do in Olbia:

Two women making pasta and italian food in Rome, Italy.
Teach me your ways!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
  1. Head to the Giant’s grave of Coddu Vecchiu. It’s an ancient archaeological site dating back to the Bronze Age.
  2. Just a walk along the seafront is fascinating enough in this beautiful Mediterranean town. There’s a marina, a port and a few beaches dotted around too.
  3. As a break for mum and dad and the chance to let the kids run wild, head to the Parco Fausto Noce. It’s a lovely city-centre park with an amphitheatre, fields and ponds.
  4. Why not jump on the Unsula Felix, which offers you a Gulf of Olbia boat trip? Perfect for all the family, as long as you’ve got good sea legs!
  5. A spectacular building lies in the shipyard at Olbia – it’s an Archaeological museum! There are plenty of these to be found in Sardinia but this one specialises in all things to do with the sea, with Roman boats on display.
  6. Join a Sardinian pasta workshop, Wine Tasting, & Local Meal
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FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Sardinia

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Sardinia and where to stay.

What To Pack For Sardinia

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Make Some New Buddies…

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Sardinia

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you least expect it. This is why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to Sardinia.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Sardinia

With outstanding scenery, visible history and surrounded by the turquoise Mediterranean – it comes as no surprise that Sardinia is the perfect place to visit for all ages, styles and budgets!

Cagliari is the best place to stay in Sardinia for your first time. As the main city on the island, it’s the best place to truly understand its history and culture! It’s easy to navigate the whole island from here so you can still take advantage of the beaches and stunning landscapes whilst being close to amenities.

If you’re still feeling unsure as to where to stay in Sardinia, I’d recommend locking in my favourite hotel: La Locanda del Conte Mameli. It offers luxury and comfort like nowhere else on the island. Plus you’ll be staying in a great location in the heart of Olbia.

If you are travelling on a budget, then the best place to stay in Sardinia is B&B Casa Devoto. It still offers excellent service and comfort in a homely environment.

Whether decide to stay in north or south Sardinia (or anywhere in between!), I know you’ll be in for an incredible trip. Saluti to you and your Italian escapades!

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below! Otherwise, enjoy your travels.

Looking for more info on travelling to Sardinia and Italy?
Pasta with tomato, basil and cheese in Italy. Amazing Italian food.
Take me to the land of pasta!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short