Renting a car in Sardinia
A rental car is important in Sardinia, unless you arrive by ferry and bring your own vehicle. Many places such as various excavation sites or the most beautiful beaches are difficult to reach by public transport. The island invites you to discover; that's best with the car. Public transport is also an alternative. But then you have to be prepared that the system is not as reliable and dense as in some other countries around the world. More about the peculiarities of public transport and road conditions. Here is what needs to be considered when renting a car in Sardinia.
Car rental in Sardinia
Car rental: Where do you rent?
Car hire or car rentals are definitely available at the major airports in Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero. International car rental companies usually have their own building and a large area - there the car is being picked up. When renting you should look carefully, whether the rental actually has a station directly at the airport.
The prices for a rental car vary greatly and depend essentially on the season and - as always - on the vehicle. In the main season, prices generally rise enormously, while a rental car off peak season is quite affordable.
Car rental: Not without credit card and Insurance
In principle, one question is asked again and again: Is it possible to book a rental car without using a credit card? The answer is quite simple: no. This is not possible without a credit card. Since the car rental companies usually reserve a deposit on the credit card, you should furthermore ask your bank whether the credit card limit is sufficient. All too often, there is a nasty surprise at the counter, when the allegedly quite secure rental will not work. Usually Master Card, Visa, American Express and Diners Club are the most common credit cards that will be accepted without any problems by car rentals. JCB and Discover may also work, but they are not much in use around Europe. As you may need the card for other purposes such as paying at gas stations, you might have to take care of a suitable credit card in adavance.
Some things feel like a "rip off", but are quite normal. In particular, if booked through third parties (ie, for example, Internet portals and not through the provider directly), then this third party is often responsible for additional insurances. If the car rental employees check your contract, they will only see a basic insurance package then. The deductible amount or deterrent fee is then demanded as a deposit by the car rental and booked via the credit card. This is normal, don't worry. In case of an accident or theft the third party is responsible for paying the deductible amount.
Don't rent a car without checking your contract in detail before you turn to the desk of your car rental in Sardinia. If you do not exactly know about your insurances: Your rental also does not know in case of a third party being involved. They will then try to sell you additional packages that are not really useful because you already have one. You should take into consideration that you will find unpaved roads on Sardinia. The risk of a damage because of stones or anything else along those streets is therefore enhanced.
Which car is the right one?
Basically you can go for any car you like to have. A 4x4-car or offroad car is not necessary unless you like to drive along really dangerous roads. Roads or streets that really require an offroad vehicle are sometimes being found in order to reach a holiday home (if it is far away from larger streets or main connections or a city/village). In case of doubt, ask your landlord if there will be any problem. But usually it is not.
Some streets in smaller villages - in particular in mountain villages - are really narrow. Hence a smaller car or a medium sized car is the best option for renting a car. Cars usually have an air condition, so that you do not have to ask for that. If you are out to rent a convertible you should take into consideration that the sun is very strong in Sardinia. Unlike some larger touristy spots in Italy, car thefts by the way are not really a problem in Sardinia.
Seatbelt, car seats for infants, speed limits and more
In Italy it is necessary to use a seatbelt when driving. If you have child being younger than 12 years or smaller than 150 cm or 59 inches then you are obligated to make use of a car seat for infants. Outside a village or city you are obligated to turn on the light of your car and making phone calls is only permitted by using a hands-free device. Using the streets in Sardinia does not cost anything.
Speed is being measured in kilometers per hour, your tachometer will use the same measuring unit. Inside cities or villages you should not drive faster than 50 km/h (31 mph), on a motorway the speed limit is 130 km/h (80 mph) and 110 km/h (68 mph) if it is raining. On roads outside settlements the speed limit is 90 km/h (56 mph).
Street signs hinting to motorways or on motorways are green, normal road connecting villages and cities are marked in blue. Street signs for destinations inside a city or village are white. Street signs about places of interest like beaches or churches and excavations sites are brown.
In Italy and Sardinia you drive on right side of the road. Take care if you are for example from the UK. The right-hand traffic usually is not really hard to manage. The most problems arise when no one else is on the street because you might fall back to habits from at home then.