By ferry to Sardinia
Road tripping through Sardinia, how do you do it? Flying and then renting a car or camper is an option, but it’s much more fun to go with your own van or camper, and it’s super easy too. You can simply take the ferry to Sardinia with your little camper, and 8 hours later you’ll already be on this beautiful island.
On Instagram, I saw some envy-inducing pictures of van lifers who had been enjoying themselves with their whole family on Sardinia for a few weeks. With our planned road trip and Sardinia being on our bucket list for years, I decided to find out how they managed it. There’s not much information available online. It turns out you can simply take a ferry to the island. It’s perfect for us since we had Italy and Portugal planned. From Sardinia, there are also ferries directly to Barcelona. This way, we skip a big part.
The cost of the ferry to Sardinia
Okay, let’s talk money, people! Because how much does that little boat to one of the most beautiful islands in Sardinia cost? From Livorno, Italy, you should expect to pay slightly less than 100 euros for 2 people and a small camper. The costs naturally depend on the number of people, mode of transportation, and the period you’re traveling. But this is a rough estimate. The ferry ride from Sardinia to Barcelona takes a bit longer, around 12 hours, and therefore costs a bit more. We paid about 165 euros for this trip. So, a total of 265 euros. Yup, it sounds like a lot of money, but here’s a little calculation.
Our camper’s fuel consumption is at its most efficient, about 1 in 10. Well, old vans also have their disadvantages. The car journey from Livorno to Barcelona is about 1037 km and takes about 10.5 hours by car, but for us, it’s 14 hours, so approximately 3 nights (which adds up to 60 euros for extra accommodations). The gasoline price in Italy is currently €1.60. Just for gasoline, we would spend 166 euros. Add at least 50 euros for tolls and a few extra accommodations, and you’re quickly around 250-300 euros. Additionally, the southern coast of France is not really known as a budget destination. Plus, Sardinia is freaking beautiful and amazing, so just go for it.
Cost of the ferry from Rome to Sardinia
In 2022, we decided to add Sardinia back to our road trip with our new bus, an old 1985 Mercedes 508. This bus is much larger. Additionally, this time we took the ferry from Rome and booked a cabin. This increased the costs a bit. We paid about 200 euros to get to Sardinia.
Don’t forget to bring something warm on the boat, otherwise, you’ll end up wearing your girlfriend’s sweater and look as uber hipster as Leroy with his croptop!
Which ferry should I choose to Sardinia
First of all, don’t search for reviews of the ferry companies. Stop! Don’t do it! Holy crap, the reviews are so bad. We were prepared for the worst of the worst. Like a ferry a la Indonesia. In the end, we chose Grimaldi because they had 0.00001% fewer bad reviews. Once we were on the boat, we couldn’t believe it. Where did that incredibly bad boat go? This seems like a cruise. We’ve taken quite a few ferries, and this one is by far the best so far. The boat has different restaurants, a sports bar, comfortable seats, an outdoor deck, an outdoor bar, and even a swimming pool. Okay, the toilets might be a bit dirty and smelly, but dear people, there’s also something called hanging above a toilet, great for training your hamstrings. Plus, the people from Grimaldi made incredible efforts to keep everything clean. And no, this is not an ad or a sponsored post, we paid the full price. If you want to book your own ticket, it’s best to do it through the Grimaldi website.
Links bar op de boot voor een hapje en een drankje & rechts uitzicht vanaf de boot
The alarm went off extremely early, but we had planned plenty of time to catch the ferry. You’re supposed to arrive 2 hours in advance (which doesn’t make sense because some people seriously show up just 10 minutes before departure). We set the navigation to the port of Livorno, thinking it would be fine. Oops! The harbor is enormous!!!!! If you’re going with Grimaldi, make sure to navigate directly to Grimaldi Harbor. They have a separate section in the port.
For Buddha, it was way too early, and it was quite nerve-wracking to see how closely everyone was parked next to each other!
Booking a cabin, seat, or nothing at all
It’s a bit unclear how and what to book. There are cabins available with simple beds that are nice but also 50 to 80 euros more expensive. Therefore, we decided to book a seat. Partly because we still had the Indonesian ferries in mind and didn’t expect there to be seating available otherwise. Upon arrival, we found out that this section was not accessible for dogs. Haha, 20 euros well spent. Besides, a seat wasn’t necessary at all. There are seats available everywhere on the boat. However, the benches in the restaurant are extremely popular among people who prefer to sleep the whole way under a blanket. So, for the return trip, we decided to bring a blanket and sprint like crazy to grab a bench. Believe me, you won’t regret it, and everyone does it, so there’s no shame!
Only a boat ticket is sufficient. At least during the low season. I can imagine that it can get quite crowded during the high season.
Why a cabin is really nice
In 2022, we returned to Sardinia for the second time, this time via Rome. Because the journey would be a bit longer and we wanted a bit more luxury, we decided to go for a cabin. We paid about 50 euros extra for it, and it was worth every penny. We both had a lot of work to do, and we preferred to do it in peace. The cabin had 2 beds (and possibly 2 bunk beds), a private bathroom, and even a desk. It was truly ideal! Especially the boat trip to Barcelona was quite intense due to a storm at sea. I (Desi) felt really sick because of it, and it was nice to have our own bed to lie down and rest comfortably.
What facilities are available on the ferry to Sardinia
If you take the ferry to Sardinia, chances are you’ll be traveling with Grimaldi Lines. We found the facilities to be really great! Here’s what you can expect:
Cabins: Various types of cabins are available, ranging from standard cabins to luxury suites, all with private bathroom facilities.
Restaurants and Bars: While they may not be high-end restaurants, there are a few places where you can grab a bite to eat or have a drink. We also brought a lot of our own food since the prices are quite high and the food isn’t fantastic. But it’s nice to have different options available. There is also an outdoor bar.
Shops: There is a small onboard shop where you can purchase duty-free items such as perfumes, cosmetics, drinks, sweets, and gifts.
Live music and game halls: We couldn’t get enough of Guitar Hero in the game hall. There is also a swimming pool (although it seems to never be open) and even a kind of karaoke.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is often available on Grimaldi Lines ships, and it was actually pretty good. Of course, you have to pay for it.
Every ferry is different, so it’s a good idea to check in advance.
Taking the ferry to Sardinia with your dog
Our little, loving ball of fur had to come along too! For the second time, we boarded the ferry to visit Sardinia, this time with our dog. Taking your dog on the ferry is absolutely no problem. There are even special cabins available where you can stay together with your dog.
Before boarding, however, there are a few important aspects to consider. Make sure your dog has received the necessary vaccinations for the journey and that you have all the required documents with you, including the European pet passport. Don’t forget to bring enough water and food for your dog, as well as any medications they may need.
It’s important to know that your dog must always be leashed on the ferry. There is the opportunity to take your dog out on the deck. Consider bringing an absorbent mat for your dog’s needs.
Useful tips for the ferry to Sardinia
- Bring your own food and drinks
- Bring a thick sweater and don’t forget your blanket
- Don’t let the Grimaldi staff stress you out when parking your car. They may shout, but they mean well. Just go along with it, and everything will be fine.
- You can stay overnight in the parking lot at both ports. However, we decided to stay at a nearby campsite. This way, we could have a more relaxed morning and quickly freshen up.
- Be mindful of where you park your bus or camper in Livorno. We encountered a van where they had been broken into for the second time in Livorno.
- The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket