Winter months in Sardinia: what to expect

Winter in Sardinia, Cagliari

Sardinia in winter: The magic of the island in the winter months

Everyone thinks that Sardinia is a summer-only destination, ideal for lazing on its beautiful beaches and great for water sports. This isn’t true, of course: in fact, the island reveals all its splendour in the warm months, when nature offers favourable climatic conditions to enjoy its beauty to the full.

But what about winter months? Winter in Sardinia is very charming and often offers sunny days with quite pleasant temperatures.

What to expect in Sardinia in winter months: from places to visit, activities, tours and weather forecast for your winter holiday in Sardinia.

Temperatures in Sardinia in winter

Sardinia has a Mediterranean climate with mild and quite humid winters. In the plains and on the coast, the average temperature in the winter months between December and February is 10-12 °C

Cold snaps can occur on the island and usually never fall below -2/-3 °C. In the interior, between the mountains of Nuoro, Macomer and Tempio Pausania, snow falls relatively frequently.
In the mountainous areas, the cold increases and it becomes more rainy, so that dense forests can be found there.

At 1,834 metres lies the Gennargentu massif, where it snows often in winter.
In Fonni – a small town at 1,000 metres above sea level – the winter is cold and the temperature drops significantly. In January 1981 there was a record when the temperature dropped to as low as -10 °C.

Mount Bruncu Spina near Fonni is home to Sardinia’s only ski resort.

Rainfall is frequent in autumn and winter, and gradually decreases over the course of spring, reaching a minimum in summer, when in fact it hardly ever rains.

If you come to Sardinia in winter keep in mind that the water temperature is rather cold and hovers around 12-16° when in summer it averages around 24°.

Best time to go

The best time to visit Sardinia is from spring to autumn, usually from April to October. If you fancy beach life and swimming, you should visit Sardinia from late May to mid-October.
In October, the temperatures are still mild, the days are shorter and autumn begins, especially in the second half of the month.

3 reasons to visit Sardinia in winter

  1. Less tourism
  2. Lower prices
  3. Authentic village festivals and celebrations

Sardinia is very popular in the summer months, while in autumn and winter the island almost depopulates, making an ideal destination for those seeking peace and quiet.
If you visit Sardinia in December and January, you’ll find very few people, a sometimes almost surreal environment and – as visiting some village – you’ll feel as if you’re the only inhabitant of the island.

The high prices of the main tourist season drop considerably in the winter months. Flights, accommodation, tours and experiences are half the price.

In winter, there are many festivals and fairs in the villages further inland and away from the coast. A real inland tourism develops, where the islanders devote themselves to discovering their homeland. Artichoke festival, saffron festival, rice festival, mask and folk festival takes places around many villages and the classic big event Autumn in Barbagia, is one of the most interesting until mid-December.

These festivals attract thousands of people and and enliven small towns with local products, good wine and crafts.

What to do in Sardinia in winter

Recommended activities in Sardinia in winter are discovering the inland villages and have fun at the local festivals.

Driving around Sardinia is also a fun activity. You need to find out about the special events that take place in winter, as they attract a lot of people and are full of interesting insights from food to culture. An example is the Autumn in Barbagia, but also other locally organised festivals.

Other things to do are trekking, surfing and riding.

Trekking in winter is recommended if you’re accompanied by experienced guides who organise walks in amazing places suitable for winter trekking. If you choose to trek alone, be careful because the sun sets around 4.30pm, so you shouldn’t venture into inaccessible places before nightfall.

In December, the biggest towns like Cagliari have Christmas markets and events around the Christmas season, creating the typical festive atmosphere.

Where to go in winter in sardinia

We recommend to choose larger and better-connected locations such as Alghero, Olbia or Cagliari as your base for your trip. From here it is easier to move around to explore other villages.

Booking an accommodation in Cagliari for the winter holidays in Sardinia is the best option

How to get around

It is recommended move around by car. Car rental prices in winter are definitely more reasonable and affordable than summer. Buses are fine for moving short distances but not as a main means of transportation. Trains also have few connections and take much longer than buses.

3 Negative aspects of winter in Sardinia

  • Few connections
  • Many closed facilities
  • Little information

The charm of an island and its mystique is deeply felt in winter. Seeking silence and the sounds of nature gives moments of peace and tranquility. Slow tourism-as opposite to the mass tourism of the summer period-allows you to discover more authentic aspects of the island.

However, there are some negative aspects of winter in Sardinia. The first is the absence of flight connections with major European cities. Airlines companies leave Sardinia during the winter months and return for the summer season.

The main connections are only possible with the Cagliari-Olbia-Alghero routes to Milan, Rome, Bologna and a few other cities. Ships connect Italy mainland from the ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples, Livorno and Barcelona and Corsica.

So many facilities and services close in winter precisely because of the lack of tourism. This is a pity because many destinations become almost totally uninhabited and without services. The lack of an integrated tourism organization makes it complicated to find information about an official calendar of events. This could create some confusion in making the best travel arrangements.

But other than that, visiting Sardinia in winter is a must-do experience for those who love nature and the authenticity of a timeless place.

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