You can stay for free on a Sardinia holiday – here’s how

There are 30 stages to the 311-mile Santa Barbara Mining trail (Getty Images)
There are 30 stages to the 311-mile Santa Barbara Mining trail (Getty Images)

Young travellers can stay in Sardinia for free this autumn as part of an initiative to encourage tourists to ”discover the beauty” of the Santa Barbara Mining trail.

Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara, a 311-mile (500km) Unesco heritage journey across south western Sardinia was formerly a route for miners to transport raw materials in the 19th century.

The enticing ‘Leg’s Go in Cammino’ campaign started in October 2023, but there is still time for avid hikers to experience the mammoth Sardinian hike during the final four months of this year.

Travellers under 35 with a €5 (£4.20) walker’s passport credential provided by the Camino Foundation of Santa Barbara will be eligible for the free accommodation offer.

Those who take up the offer are asked to make an online donation of any amount to support the journey and redeem a voucher for free overnight stays, including breakfast, bed linen and towels at affiliated accommodation spots.

Listed among the participating lodgings are B&Bs, hostels, holiday homes, hotels and farmhouses – some offering shared rooms to hunker down with fellow hikers – and one voucher is equivalent to a night’s stay.

Accommodation vouchers will be suspended for the summer season but are available to book for a maximum of three consecutive nights between 15 September and 15 December.

Donations are non-refundable, so those taking up the initiative are advised to check the availability of the accommodation facilities before they travel.

Without the complimentary overnight stay, travellers could expect to pay €20 for the Posadas del Cammino and an additional €28 a night for private accommodation facilities.

The foundation has proposed six different itineraries for both one and two-night stays and three additional routes for those keen to see Sardinia for one more day.

Named after the patron saint of miners, the signposted route from Iglesias is divided into 30 stages around 10 miles long.

Along the way, hikers can spot coastal views, dramatic caves, pine forests, salt mines and sand dunes with the occasional appearance of deer and wild boars.

The ‘pilgrim’s passport’ has spaces for the stamps that certify walkers have passed through the individual stages of the Camino that starts a 40-minute train away from the Sardinian capital Cagliari.