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Why rent a car in Cagliari?
Cagliari is a great place for renting a car. Having your own ride will let you explore this ancient city that is the capital of Sardinia as well as to travel to nearby towns, nature areas, landmarks, and beaches.
Top ways to enter Cagliari
- Cagliari Airport: Sardinia’s busiest, Cagliari Elmas Airport is located near downtown and is the best way to reach the city.
- Alghero Airport: About two-and-a-half hour drive northwest of Cagliari, flying to Alghero Airport is another great way to reach Sardinia.
- Olbia Airport: About the same distance from Cagliari as Alghero, only northeast, Olbia Airport is served by many low-cost carriers that are especially active during the summer months.
Useful city facts
- Like the rest of the island, Cagliari has two official languages - Italian and native Sardinian. The city’s name in Sardinian is Castaddu.
- Cagliari is a major wine-making region. Some famous local wines that you have to try include Nasco, Monica, and Nuragus. Cagliari’s excellent seafood is not to be missed, either.
- Like the rest of Sardinia, Cagliari’s climate is Mediterranean and warm. The summers are very dry and hot, with temperature quite often topping 40 °C (104 °F), so getting properly hydrated is important.
Top destinations and activities
- Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Cecilia. Built in the 13th century and overlooking much of the rest of the city, this cathedral has been renovated numerous times and features a number of beautiful paintings and sculptures.
- Basilica di San Saturnino. Another great historical building, this basilica is a paleochristian monument first built in the 5th Century. Although it has understandably been rebuilt a number of times, you can still see some of the remains of the original church complex.
- Galleria Comunale d'Arte. Located on the very central Viale San Vincenzo near the opera house to the east and the city botanic gardens to the west, this gallery hosts many important Italian artworks, especially from the 19th and 20th century.
Traffic and parking tips
- The speed limit in cities is 50 km/h, although in certain areas the speed limit may be reduced to 30 km/h.
- Main highways are limited to 130 km/h, non-major highways to 110 km/h, and local roads to 90 km/h. During the rain the limits are respectively lowered to 110 km/h, 100 km/h, and 80 km/h. The general speed limit is lowered to 50 km/h during heavy fog or other cases of bad visibility.
- The best way to see much of the island from the local’s point of view is to leave the main highways and to explore the smaller strade provinciali or regional roads. Many hidden, but awesome beaches and farm-stays are only accessible by them.
- Do watch out for blue notes - they indicate pay-and-display parking spots. The areas with white lines are for free parking and the yellow lines indicate areas only accessible to drivers with special passes.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers. Being over the allowed limit can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment.
- The emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
There are no toll roads in Sardinia - all highways and regional roads can be accessed free of charge. However, there are restricted traffic areas (Le zone a traffico limitato or ZTL), like some city centers, where you are not allowed to drive. These areas can sometimes be poorly marked and you might enter them by accident, so it’s better to look them up in advance on the official European Urban Access Regulations website.
There are numerous toll roads on Mainland Italy. The exact fee depends on the route of your choice and the type of a vehicle. See the official Italian toll road website for more information. Use the website’s toll road calculator to find out exactly how much you’ll have to pay for using the toll roads on your planned route.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Beaches. Many travelers go to Cagliari for its nearby beaches and there’s a very good reason for that. The centrally located Poetto Beach is one of the most famous in the whole of Italy and offers everything from relaxation and swimming to nearby nightclubs, coastside restaurants and opportunities for water sports. Should you ever find Poetto too busy, hop into your rental car and you will soon reach smaller but equally charming beaches like Calamosca, Chia, Solanas, and many others.
- Gennargentu National Park. Famous for its canyons, mountains, and rugged coastline, this beautiful nature area is home to unique wildlife like mouflon, Sardinian wildcat, and the griffon vulture, as well as maritime mammals like monk seal and sperm whale.
- Capoterra. Known for its gardens, beaches, and Monte Arcosu Nature Reserve, the earth’s cape is just a half an hour’s drive away from Cagliari and makes a splendid day-trip destination.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Italy is the Fiat Panda, although travelers also like the Ford Fiesta and the Fiat 500. The most often picked rental car types are economy, mini, and compact.
- North of Sardinia. As beautiful as Cagliari and its surroundings are, it would be a shame not to see the rest of Sardinia once you’ve come here. Drive to Alghero, the island’s own little Barcelona, or to the stunning Costa Smeralda beach area.
- Mainland Italy. From posh Milan to timeless Rome and hospitable south, Italy is as enjoyable a travel destination as you’ll find anywhere. There are many daily flights from Cagliari. You can also take a ferry to Naples, but check with your rental car provider first if they permit bring a rental car on it.
- Sicily. The larger and equally interesting Italian island, Sicily is home to volcanic landscapes, ancient sites, and rich cultural influences. You can either fly or take a ferry to Palermo, but check with your rental car provider first if they permit bring a rental car on it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do many things to get a good rental car deal in Cagliari:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Cagliari is the cheapest in January when renting a car is a whopping 74% cheaper than the yearly average.
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