Finding good hotels in Cagliari is easy – even more so when you have a local telling you where to stay! The capital of Sardinia is packed with good accommodation options, and even though there aren’t many big hotels, there are plenty of smaller, cozy and stylish boutique hotels, and excellent places to stay for any interest and budget.
Picking The Right Hotels In Cagliari
By now you should know that I grew up in Cagliari. Even though I have lived overseas for ten years, and even now that I am often on the move, this is where my heart is and where I belong. I love wandering the streets, getting lost in the alleys, hiking up the hills, relaxing at the beach. Cagliari simply is a wonderful yet often underrated city.
I have my own small yet sweet place in town, which I share with my beloved cats, but whenever family and friends are visiting and I can’t host them here, I have to search for good hotels in Cagliari to suit their needs and budgets. I have even slept in a few at times, during local work trips (I know, it’s a bit weird to sleep in a hotel when you have your own place to stay).
Anyways, the good news is that whenever people ask me where to stay in Cagliari, I know exactly where to point them to.
In this post, I highlight the nicest hotels in Cagliari, dividing them by areas and interest, and selecting a few for any budget. I have selected the 4 main historical districts, and an outside one. The 4 historical districts correspond to the city center, and they are pleasant places to walk around, and all connected one to the other. The other district is not in the city center, but it’s a beautiful part of town with easy access to natural attractions.
Continue reading to find the best of Cagliari accommodation.
There are some small but great hotels in Cagliari
The Nicest Hotels In Cagliari According To Neighborhood And Interests
Cagliari hotels – overall best picks
Some of my favorite hotels in Cagliari are actually not in the 4 historical districts, or by the beach. They are centrally located and walking distance from all the main attractions and from good restaurants. Some of them are perfect for business travelers, others for couples looking for a romantic getaway, and some for travelers on a budget.
These are my picks for overall nicest hotels in Cagliari:
T Hotel is centrally located, by the Teatro Lirico and in front of Parco della Musica, a lovely small park. It has nice, spacious rooms. Its main perks are a fantastic spa and a lounge bar that makes fabulous cocktails. The reception area often hosts art exhibits. The common areas, including the spa and the lounge bar, are accessible to people who aren’t staying at the hotel – so it often happens that locals also hang out there. It’s perfect for business travelers. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Villa Fanny is close to the University of Cagliari and to attractions such as the Roman Amphitheater and the Botanical Garden. It’s within 10 minutes walk from the heart of Cagliari where you’ll find restaurants, bars and other attractions. This is one of the nicest hotels in Cagliari in terms of style and attention to customers. All rooms are different, and all beautifully decorated. The hotel also has a fantastic gourmet restaurant. It’s perfect for couples who are looking for a romantic getaway in the city. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Hostel Marinais in the heart of Marina district, in an area that is packed with bars and restaurants. This is a good hostel, with both private rooms and dorms, and attracts a younger clientele. The hostel is very active in the social field, so it’s not uncommon to find events and art exhibits there. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Castello has some of the nicest hotels in Cagliari
The nicest hotels in Cagliari – Castello
Perfect for: History lovers
If you like the idea of staying in a place that oozes history and mystery, look no further: Castello is where to stay in Cagliari. This is one of the most photogenic areas in the city, with which writers of the likes of D. H. Lawrence fell in love. It is packed with some of Cagliari unmissable sights such as the Cathedral, the Towers, the Palazzo Viceregio and the Archeology Museum – all fantastic places to learn more about the history of Sardinia.
Castello has a few good restaurants, some of the best bars in town, and though public transportation doesn’t reach it (the streets are too narrow for buses!) and access to non-residents’ cars is limited to a few hours each day, it is within walking distance to a few good bus stops. In Castello, you’re bound to find small guest houses, boutique hotels or good self-catering apartments. This part of the city isn’t suitable for anything larger.
TIP: If you plan to rent a car during your stay in Cagliari, make sure to check out the exact timings for entering the restricted area of Castello. As it is quite a small district, you can also opt to park the car in one of the various parking lots right by the gates and walk to your hotel.
This is a selection of good hotels in Cagliari, all located in Castello:
La Marina is where to stay in Cagliari if you are looking to join in the night fun!
The nicest hotels in Cagliari – La Marina
Perfect for: Nightlife lovers and gourmets
If you are like the idea of having bars, restaurants, shops and bus stops rights at your door, La Marina is where to stay in Cagliari. This is the most multi-cultural area of town, where the residents are a fun, beautiful mix of ethnicities, languages and cultures. Here you’ll find a good pizzeria, a local trattoria, and a curry shop right on the same street.
La Marina is the heart of nightlife in Cagliari. From Piazza Yenne, a favorite hangout of the locals to the smaller alleys, there’s something for everyone. In La Marina there are some of the best restaurants in town. The area is also very photogenic, with narrow alleys, a couple of pretty churches, and lovely small squares.
Stampace is where to stay in Cagliari for history lovers and gourmets
The nicest hotels in Cagliari – Stampace
Perfect for: History lovers, nightlife lovers and gourmets
If you like the idea of being in a well connected area, with access to bars, restaurants, and with a selection of interesting places to visit, Stampace is where to stay in Cagliari. This used to be Cagliari’s medieval working class district. It’s name comes from the saying “stai in pace” (go in peace) used to farewell those that were thrown out of Castello.
Nowadays, Stampace is a lovely area to walk around, where you can get lost in the narrow alleys with all the colorful houses, and where there is a good mix of ethnicities.
TIP: Keep in mind Stampace where Sant’Efisio parade starts, from the beautiful Sant’Efisio church, every year on May 1st – so if you are coming at that time of year, with the idea of having a vantage point to observe the parade, make sure to book well in advance.
Villanova is where to stay in Cagliari for trendsetters
The nicest hotels in Cagliari – Villanova
Perfect for: Trendsetters
If you are looking for a quiet area, with hardly any noise, where you will still find a good selection of bars and restaurants and that is minutes walk from the main attractions, Villanova is where to stay in Cagliari.
Villanova was founded in the 13th centuries, when peasants from the villages of the countryside around Cagliari started moving here for more business opportunities. The area has several beautiful churches – my favorite one is that of San Giacomo. In recent years it’s undergone lots of renovation works and Villanova has now become one of the trendiest, prettiest areas in Cagliari.
There are some restaurants, a few good bars, and though the main shopping streets (Via Garibaldi, Via Sulis and Via Sonnino) are quite busy, the overall feeling you’ll get is that of being in a nice, quiet village where children still play ball games in the squares.
Access to non-residents’ cars to Villanova is limited, but there are a few large parking spaces right outside.
TIP: Villanova is right by Mercato di San Benedetto, Cagliari’s largest market. This is the perfect place for your grocery shopping!
This is a selection of good hotels in Cagliari, all located in Stampace:
Poetto is where to stay in Cagliari for nature lovers and beach goers
The nicest hotels in Cagliari – Poetto
Perfect for: Nature lovers
If you like the idea to have easy access to the beach, to a nature reserve and to some beautiful urban hikes, Poetto is where to stay in Cagliari.
Far from the city center, but within easy reach by car and even on public transportation, Poetto is the main beach in Cagliari, and a fantastic place to hang out in any season. There is a bike and running lane, plenty of small cafés and restaurants where to stop for a drink, and access to a fantastic lagoon and nature reserve where you can see pink flamingoes and many other birds. It’s no wonder this is one of the best beaches in Sardinia.
Not far from Poetto, you can access Calamosca for more beaches and for some easy yet rewarding hiking trails that will offer you incredible views of the city and of the coast.
TIP: Poetto is perfect in the summer, when all businesses in the area are open. If you plan to stay there in the winter, make sure to check whether at least some the local restaurants and bars will be open daily.
This is a selection of good hotels in Cagliari, all located in Poetto:
There are many more things to do in Cagliari than you’d expect – so many, that even locals hardly get to do them all.
Sardinia is one of the hottest holiday destinations in the summer, with people crowding its gorgeous beaches. What most ignore is that even the cities are beautiful. Cagliari, the capital, is a fantastic place to visit any time of the year, and one of the best places in Sardinia to get a good understanding of the island’s history, culture and spirit.
No matter what your tastes in travel are, and regardless of the time of year you visit Cagliari, this city has something for you and you are bound to fall in love with it. The same happened to D. H. Lawrence when arrived here in 1920. He found it to be “…strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy.”
Cagliari, whose name comes from the Punic Karel or Karalis (rocky place), has a long history: founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC, it saw Roman, Punics, Arab, Pisans and Aragonese dominations, among others.
In Sardinian language, however, Cagliari is called Casteddu, which means castle, a name that refers to the walled medieval city where the doors were closed every night. Cagliari is beautiful, and quite unique too. Facing the Mediterranean Sea but with mountains at its back; on the hills yet right by a big plane; mixing a variety of architectural styles and layers and layers of history, this is a city worth discovering.
Cagliari is the perfect destination for a city break, and a great starting point for your Sardinia holidays. In this post, I will highlight some of the many things to do in Cagliari, and will share some tips on how to make the most of my beloved hometown.
These are some of the best guided tours of Cagliari:
A walk around Castello is one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari
30 Fabulous Things To Do In Cagliari, Sardinia
Take a walk around Castello
Walking around Castello is one of the things to do in Cagliari. It’s a beautiful hilltop citadel with domes, towers and palaces that used to be home to the local aristocracy. This is the medieval part of the city – the one that gives it its local name, Casteddu.
Castello is a maze of narrow, cobbled alleys and crumbling buildings – much to the locals dismay. It is packed with interesting places to visit, and several viewpoints to different sides of the city – some perfect for sunset, others for sunrise. There’s also a few interesting cafés and bars where to have a good drink.
TIP: Don’t skip Via Stretta! It’s a narrow alley where residents have placed beautiful flower and plant pots outside of their doors to adorn the street.
These are the best tours of Cagliari that also go to Castello:
O of the nicest things to do in Cagliari to get fantastic views is walking up one or both of the two Pisan towers that dominate the city. Torre dell’Elefante and Torre di San Pancrazio were both built at the beginning of the 14th century by the Aragonese rules, for protective reasons. Walking up is not what to do in Cagliari if you are afraid of heights. If you manage to get over your fears, you’ll be rewarded with splendid views.
It costs €3 to get in each of the towers.
TIP: You may want to opt for the “Biglietto Integrato Beni Culturali Cagliari” which gives you access to one of the towers, the Roman Amphiteather, Santa Restituta Crypt and Villa di Tigellio. This costs €6 for one day, and €8 for seven days.
TRAVEL WARNING: At the time of writing both towers are closed to public for restoration works (you can still walk under them and around them).
The beautiful Cathedral looks even prettier at night
Visit Cattedrale di Santa Maria
One of the unmissable things to do in Cagliari is visiting the beautiful Cathedral, in Piazza Palazzo. It dates back to the 13th century, and its interior is a fantastic example of Baroque style. To the side of the altar there is a beautifully decorated crypt where the tombs of the members of the Savoy royal family are located.
You can also climb up the recently reopened Cathedral tower – it only costs €3, but the views are breathtaking.
The Cathedral is open every day from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.
TIP: One of the nicest sights in Cagliari is that of the Cathedral at night. Make sure to go for a walk around Castello to enjoy it!
Then go to Palazzo Viceregio
Right next to the Cathedral, Palazzo Viceregio is where the headquarters of the provincial assembly are located. It used to be the residence of the Spanish and Savoy viceroys. Exhibits and concerts are often held there, and it’s possible to visit throughout the year. It’s open every day, from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm in the winter months, and from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in the summer months. Guided tours are held each hour, and cost €5 per person.
Visit the Archeology Museum
Since one of the best things to do in Cagliari is learning about the history of Sardinia, make sure to visit the Archeology Museum. It has an incredible exhibit of artifacts displaying millennia of history, with a collection of bronzetti (bronz figurines), providing insights into the nuragic civilization of Sardinia, and a few of Mont’e Prama Giants (the rest are on display in Cabras’ Museo Civico), enormous stone statues that date back to the 8th and 9th century BC.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is located in Piazza dell’Arsenale. It’s open every day (but make sure to check the website for national holidays and days of closure) from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and the ticket costs €7. The combined ticket for the Archeology Museum and the Pinacoteca costs €9.
TIP: The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is in Castello, so it’s a nice add on to your walk around the area.
And the Pinacoteca Nazionale
The Pinacoteca Nazionale is right next to the Archeology Museum, and has an incredible collection of art dating between the 15th and the 17th century, with works of Catalan and Genoese artists, as well as Sardinian ones. Visiting is one of the things to do in Cagliari for art lovers.
Via Stretta is one of the most iconic alleys in Cagliari
Walk around the Ghetto degli Ebrei
One of the nicest things to do in Cagliari is walking around the Ghetto degli Ebrei, between Via Santa Croce and Via Stretta in Castello. Little remains of the area where the Jewish community lived until it was expelled in 1492. The Santa Croce church in Via Santa Croce has been built on top of a synagogue.
Enjoy sunset from Via Santa Croce
If you are a fan of the golden hour, one of the things to do in Cagliari is heading to the terrace of Via Santa Croce in time for sunset. The view of the roofs of Stampace and that of the coast is breathtaking. There is a very popular bar, called Libarium, that’s also a fantastic place to sit and have a drink.
One of the best things to do in Cagliari is admiring the sunset from Via Santa Croce
Take in the views from Bastione
Speaking of views, one of the best things to do in Cagliari is heading to Bastione di San Remy, which was built between 1899 and 1902 . In the summer months, it is a gathering point as there are a couple of good bars on the terrace. There is a staircase that from Piazza Costituzione takes up to Bastione, but it’s been under renovation for several years now. The best way to get there is thus from Via Università, in Castello.
Visit the Roman Amphitheater
One of the unmissable things to do in Cagliari is visiting the Roman Amphitheater. This is located in Viale Sant’Ignazio, and it dates back to the 2nd century AD. It’s been entirely carved out of rock. At the height of the Roman empire, it would hold up to 10000 people. Until a few years ago it was regularly used for concerts and shows in the summer months.
It’s open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and entry costs €3 – it’s also part of the €6 biglietto integrato circuit.
Not many people know, but the Botanical Gardens in Cagliari are among the most famous in Italy. They were first opened in 1858 and there are more than 3000 species of flora. Going for a walk through these beautiful park is one of the most relaxing things to do in Cagliari. Inside, there also is a Punic cistern and a Roman quarry.
The Botanical Gardens are open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the winter, and from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in the summer. Admission costs €4.
Visit Villa di Tigellio
One of the nicest things to do in Cagliari for lovers of Roman history is visiting Villa di Tigellio, which dates back to the 1st century BC and was the residence of Tigellio Ermogene, famous Sardinian poet and musician. The Villa can be visited every day and admission tickets are €2 – it’s also part of the €6 biglietto integrato as well.
ITINERARY TIP: Walk your way down Viale Sant’Ignazio, and visit the Roman Amphitheater first, then the Botanical Gardens, and lastly Villa di Tigellio.
Visiting the historical cemetery of Bonaria is one of the quirkiest things to do in Cagliari
Visit Basilica di Bonaria and the annexed cemetery
The Basilica di Bonaria is one of the most impressive churches in Cagliari. In the Sanctuary right next to it there is the relics of a wooden statue of Virgin Mary and Christ, which according to legend has saved a 14th century Spanish ship during a terrible storm.
At the base of the church there is a beautiful historical cemetery, no longer used as a burial ground in 1968. It can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, and there occasionally are guided tours which cost €8 and have to be booked in advance. More information can be found on the website of Cagliari Tourism Board. If you are in town on one of the days when tours are organize, I highly recommend it – it’s one of the quirkiest things to do in Cagliari!
Among the things to do in Cagliari, there’s visiting the many churches – this one is San Giacomo
Visit the other beautiful churches
If you have some extra time, one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari is visiting more churches, as they are examples of different architectural and artistic styles and places to admire fine arts. Among the nicest ones there is the Chiesa di San Michele, in rococo style; the nearby Chiesa di Sant’Efisio, which holds the statue of the Saint Patron of Sardinia, and from where the famous Sant’Efisio Parade departs every 1st of May. San Saturnino Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Sardinia, built over a Roman necropolis.
Castello di San Michele is an actual castle, from where there are gorgeous views of the city
Go to Castello di San Michele
Visiting Castello di San Michele is one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari. It’s located on top of a hill from where there are beautiful views of the city. It dates back to the 10th century and in the 14th century it became the residence of the Carroz family. Nowadays, it hosts art exhibits. There is a nice park around it.
The castle is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and it costs €3 to get in. To get there, you have to take bus n. 5 to the final stop. Alternatively, you can join this tour.
Villanova is one of the nicest areas in Cagliari
Walk around the historical center
Cagliari historical center is roughly divided into four main areas, and walking around them is one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari. One of them is Castello, which I have already mentioned. Stampace used to be Cagliari’s medieval working class district; Villanova has recently become one of the trendiest areas in Cagliari; and La Marina is the heart of Cagliari nightlife. Each of these quarters hides some of the nicest gems in town. In Stampace, you’lll find Santa Restituta crypt, which has been used since pre-Christian times and became the home of the martyr Restituta in the 5th century.
These are the best tours of Cagliari that also go to the 4 historical districts:
The most beautiful view of Cagliari is the one you’ll get from the ferry either docking or leaving the harbor. Via Roma is one of the nicest streets in town, and walking along is one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari. This is where the Palazzo Civico – aka the City Hall – is located. This beautiful palace built between 1899 and 1913 holds the works of various Sardinian artists. It can be visited on Saturdays, when the on-site guide will take you around, or else you may have to take an appointment.
Explore underground Cagliari
One of the quirkiest things to do in Cagliari is visiting its undergrounds. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the many civilizations that followed one another in ruling the city, and appreciate its complex history. There is no way of doing this independently – you have to source a guide and even then tours are not held regularly. Still, I recommend looking into it if you are a fan of off-beat places.
Admiring every day life in one of the many squares is one of the things to do in Cagliari
Enjoy the airy squares
If you want to catch a bit of local action, spending some time in one of the many, beautiful, airy squares is what to do in Cagliari. Piazza Yenne is possibly the most popular hang out place in town, thanks to the many lovely cafés and bars. Other beautiful squares are Piazza del Carmine and Piazza San Domenico, in Villanova.
Go to the market
Visiting the markets is what to do in Cagliari to learn more about the food culture in Sardinia. The recently renovated Mercato di Santa Chiara is located right behind Piazza Yenne, so it makes for a nice stop for food on your wanders though the city. Mercato di San Benedetto is one of the best fish markets in the Mediterranean. It’s open Mondays to Saturdays, from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.
These are some of the best market tours in Cagliari:
If you happen to be in town on 1st of May, one of the ultimate things to do in Cagliari is following Sant’Efisio Parade. This is a beautiful parade of traditional Sardinian costumes from various villages around the island, in honor of Sant’Efisio, the Saint Patron of Sardinia.
Poetto is one of the beaches in Cagliari – from there, you can see Sella del Diavolo
Go to one of the beaches in Cagliari
Cagliari is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. They can all be easily reached from the center of town and are great places to hang out. Going to the beach certainly is one of the best things to do in Cagliari, and locals love it!
Poetto is the most popular of the urban beaches in Cagliari. It is a long stretch of white sand with clear waters. There is a bike and running lane, and several small cafés and restaurants where you can have lunch or a drink.
Calamosca is smaller, located on the other side of the Sella del Diavolo. It has white sand and clear waters, and there is a small kiosk too.
Cala Fighera is a bit of a hike to get to, but one of the most beautiful, hidden beaches in Cagliari. It’s a famous nudist beach: if you don’t mind that, it’s a lovely place with incredibly clear and clean waters.
Hiking is one of the nicest things to do in Cagliari, and what makes me truly love my hometown. I love the fact that I don’t have to go far to get that refreshing out of town feeling. The best urban hike is that to Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Saddle), one of the local landmarks, from where there is an incredible view of Poetto beach and Molentargius Lagoon. It’s a nice and easy hike, lots of people go there regularly to train, or for trail running. You can access the trail from Calamosca beach.
Another easy walk that starts more or less in the same area is that to the Fortino di Sant’Ignazio, a fort that dates back to 1792. Close by there also is a lighthouse and a watchtower, from where you’ll get yet another incredible view.
If hiking is not your thing, and you are more for water sports (did you know Sardinia is great for surfing and windsurfing?) you can even kayak around Sella del Diavolo. You can even book a kayak and trekking tour at Devil’s Saddle.
Hiking up Sella del Diavolo and Fortino di Sant’Ignazio is what to do in Cagliari to get an out of town feeling
Go to one of the many city parks
Cagliari is packed with beautiful parks. The most unique one is the necropolis of Tuvixeddu, which is the largest of its kind in the Mediterranean basin. Other nice parks are Monte Urpinu, a beautiful pine grove with a small pond and several animals; Terramaini, one of the newest ones and a favorite of locals; Monte Claro, located on a beautiful hill from where there are nice views of the city, and often used for concerts and events; and Parco della Musica, a smaller park in the center of town.
Admire pink flamingoes in Molentargius Nature Reserve
Cagliari and the surroundings are nesting spot for pink flamingoes and other species of birds. Going to Molentargius Nature Reserve is what to do in Cagliari for great chances to see flamingoes from a close distance. The best access point to Molentargius is Poetto beach. The park is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm in the summer, and from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm in the winter. Admission is free but you may want to rent a bike to explore it.
There even are guided tours that to all the way to Molentargius. Here are some of them:
Cagliari has a thriving cultural life. If you are a fan of art, one of the things to do in Cagliari is heading to either Ex Ma, the former abattoir, which often hosts exhibits and cultural events. Another place is the Lazzaretto. This is in Sant’Elia, in a lovely location overlooking the sea and in a beautifully restored building that used to be a leper hospital.
Go to a soccer game
One of the most fun things to do in Cagliari is going to a soccer game to support the local team, which plays in Serie A. It’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours and to mingle with the locals. You can buy tickets in advance online, or directly at the kiosk. You need to bring your ID card.
You can go on an easy day trip out of Cagliari to explore the gorgeous beaches
Get out of town
The surroundings of Cagliari are beautiful, and getting out of town is what to do in Cagliari if you want to explore a bit more of the region. You have several options. Lovers of wine should head to Serdiana and Dolianova, two lovely villages around 20 minutes drive from Cagliari where there are several incredible wineries.
These are the best wine tours departing from Cagliari.
The surroundings of Cagliari have several unique archeological sites. Nora is home to a gorgeous Roman site; whereas the Nuraxi di Barumini is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sardinia. Both of them can be visited as day trips. Another option is to visit the beautiful mines of the area of Sulcis.
These tours all depart from Cagliari and go to the nicest archeological sites in the area:
Food in Cagliari is fantastic, and you’ll find some specialties that you won’t see in the rest of Italy. The first one that comes to my mind is pizzetta sfoglia, which you’ll find in any good coffee shop and bakery and is a common thing to have for breakfast. It’s a pastry (similar to filo) filled with tomato sauce, oregano, capers and at times also anchovies. A food tour is what to do in Cagliari to discover the local specialties, and if you want to go a step further, you can even opt for a cooking glass.
These are the best food tours and cooking classes in Cagliari:
Cagliari comes to life at night, when the locals head out for a drink – it’s one of the fun things to do in Cagliari.My favorite places are Vinvoglio, a tiny jazz club in Via Lamarmora, in Castello, with regular live music. Muzak, also in Castello in the narrow Via Stretta, is a small, quirky bar.
Florio is in Villanova, and attracts a good crowd all week long. Babeuf is a nice wine bar, also in Villanova. B Flat is not in the the city center, in Via del Pozzetto. They have live music every weekend. Reservations are encouraged.
De Candia and Caffè degli Spiriti are both on Bastione and they are great places to have a drink. The best cocktails in town are at Libarium, in Via Santa Croce in Castello, and at Biffi American Bar, a rather retro place in Via San Giovanni, Villanova.
Practical Tips For Your Trip To Cagliari
Where to stay in Cagliari, Sardinia
Cagliari has a very good selection of places to stay, scattered around town, for any budget and any taste. This is just a selection:
One of the nicest things to do in Cagliari is eating. My go to places are all in the city center.
Framento makes the best pizza: only local ingredients, incredibly fragrant dough made with natural yeast. Reservations are recommended.
Grains is another excellent pizzeria: the staff is incredibly caring, pizza delicious and they have a fabulous selection of beers.
The best gelato is at Cremoso, right off Largo Carlo Felice and at Gocce di Gelato e Cioccolato, in Piazza del Carmine.
The best seafood places are all in La Marina. La Stella Marina di Montecristo is a good local eatery where for a reasonable price you’ll get a full meal – it’s delicious, but nothing fancy. You have to reserve in advance. Ristorante Italia is one of the best known restaurants in Cagliari. Sabores is a great place if you want to try local cheeses and cold cuts, accompanied by great wines.
For amazing burgers prepared with strictly local ingredients go to Bombas in Via Università.
For something unique, make sure to go to Osteria Kobuta – it’s a fusion between Sardinian and Japanese food, which may sound weird. But I promise you it’s fabulous.
Stay tuned as I will be writing more about the best restaurants in Cagliari.
The view of Poetto and Molentargius Nature Park from Sella del Diavolo is simply stunning
How to get to Cagliari, Sardinia
Cagliari is well connected via ferry, with rides from and to Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo (all of them take around 13 hours), and it is also a cruise port.
Cagliari also has an airport. There are regular and budget airlines flights to Cagliari from various cities in Italy and Europe.
Reaching the city center from the airport is easy.
It only takes 7 minutes to get from the airport to the center of Cagliari by train.
You’ll find plenty of taxis outside the arrivals terminal. A ride to the city center should cost between €17 and €20, depending on the time of day.
By private transfer
Another option is to book a private transfer which for the same price of a taxi ride will take you anywhere you want. You can book it here.
How to move around Cagliari
Public transportation works quite well. If you are staying in the city center, one of the best things to do in Cagliari is walking, anyways. If you are planning to use Cagliari as a base to visit other places in Sardinia, you may opt for guided tours or prefer to rent a car. You can get a quote for car rental here.
When to visit Cagliari, Sardinia
Any time is good to visit Cagliari. Winter is usually mild. Fall, winter and early spring are the rainiest times of the year, but also the best times to experience Sardinian culture and festivals. Summer is hot and it can get very busy but you can go to the beach to cool down!
The length of your stay in Cagliari is a matter of choice. With all the things to do in Cagliari, I think you should spend a minimum of 4 days here – longer if you want to get truly acquainted with the local spirit and explore more in depth!
Things to do in Sardinia: admiring a pink flamingo eating in the Stagno di Molentargius
Basilica di Bonaria
What to see in Cagliari:
If you are thinking of where to go in Sardinia, think Cagliari. Not only it is a great place to begin your visit, but also a perfect starting point for many more things to do in Sardinia. Once here, if you took the ferry you will land directly at the harbour near Via Roma, which is the main centre of town. If you took one of the cheap flights to Sardinia, catch the train to the city centre (Piazza Matteotti)– it takes no longer than 7 minutes. You can then reach Via Roma and start a walk that will take you through the picturesque neighborhood of La Marina, and then eventually lead you to the Bastione di S. Remy.
Visiting Cagliari is one of the things to do in Sardinia: here, Bastione di San Remy
It is a bastion, a fort built at the end of the 19th century on the old walls of the city (dating the beginning of the 14th century), in order to link the neighborhoods of La Marina and Villanova with the one of Castello, above. Walking up the stairs of the Bastione, take a look at the spectacular view over the Golfo degli Angeli. Right in front of you, you will see the Sella del Diavolo, a cape at the south of the city that separates the beaches of Poetto and Calamosca. The legend says that demons, headed by Lucifer, were impressed by the beauty of the gulf and attempted to conquer it.
However, God sent its army, under the lead of archangel Michael, in order to fight Lucifer. In the battle, Lucifer was unsaddled and lost his saddle which landed on the water and turned into stone, thus giving the cape its saddle shape. Another legend says that Lucifer, during the fight, fell on the cape giving it its shape. Right next to the Sella del Diavolo there is Sant’Elia Stadium, historic stadium of Cagliari Football Club and currently being renovated. On the left, you can see Molentargius pond which is a colony for pink flamingos. If you want to take a look from above, go to Monte Urpinu. Otherwise, take a walk in the Parco di Molentargius to see them up close.
Going up some more stairs from the Bastione, you can enter the neighborhood of Castello, and see the Cathedral and the Palazzo Vice Regio, till you reach the San Pancrazio Tower, built during the Pisan domination of the island. The view from up there is spectacular. You can then visit the nearby Museo Archeologico di Cagliari and, exiting Castello, go towards the Roman anfitheatre, of imperial times, which could host up to 10000 spectators and were the main shows were those of gladiators. Going back, walk along the Ghetto degli Ebrei admiring the view of the roofs of Stampace and the Elephants’ Tower.
Other sites of interest include the Basilica di Bonaria, the lighthouse of Sant’Elia (which you can reach through a free hike offering an incredible view over the Poetto beach), the necropolis of Tuvixeddu and the Castle of San Michele.
If you would like taking part in a guided walking tour of Cagliari, Musement has day and night tours in English, French, German and Spanish and takes you to some of the most important attractions. It also organises guided treks and kayak tours to the Devils’ Saddle.
Cagliari is a good starting point for many more things to do in Sardinia. One excursion could be that to the Castle of Siniscola. If you are interested in a unique archeological site (a must see when you visit Sardinia) go to the nuraxis village of Barumini, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of Nora, near Pula, are impressive. Other day trips could be to the beautiful beaches of Santa Margherita, Chia, Tuerredda and Cala Cipolla. If you would like a wine tasting experience, go to Cantine Argiolas in Serdiana, where you can also visit the Romanic 11th century church of Santa Maria di Sibiola, fully immersed in the countryside. There are more Romanic countryside churches near Monastir and near Sestu.
Where to stay, eat and have a drink:
For a relaxing walk and an aperitif right before sunset, walk along the Poetto beach. It is easily reached by bus and there are many bars where you can have a drink and enjoy the cool breeze coming from the sea. If you can afford a taxi, go to La Paillote, at the top of Calamosca beach: it is a beautiful lounge bar with a view over a tiny beach and the harbour.
Poetto beach Cagliari: sunset view
There are restaurants and accommodation for all budgets and taste. Fussy travellers can opt for the modern and comfortable T Hotel, which also has a good restaurant and is right in front of the beautiful Parco della Musica. For something in between, there are many bed and breakfast in the city centre. If you are on a budget, opt for Hostel Marina, beds in dorm of 4 to 6 beds are €22 per night: it is right in the heart of the city and near all attractions, restaurants and bars.
Craving seafood at lunchtime? Go to the fish market (Mercato di San Benedetto, in Piazza San Benedetto) and have freshly fried calamari, fish and shrimps for a few euros. For an excellent pizza (and pasta, meat and desserts!) go to L’Oca Bianca. Nearby, La Stella Marina di Montecristo in via Sardegna 140 offers an excellent seafood menu for no more than € 22 per person – including appetizers, pasta, seafood, fruit, dessert and wine and spirits. It is very popular among the locals, including Gigi Riva (former player of Cagliari who led the team to win the championship). If you can, book in advance. In the streets of the city centre you can also find many kebab places, pizzerias, and ice cream parlours.
Nightlife is lively – but locals tend to go out no earlier than 10 pm. The heart of the movida is around Largo Carlo Felice. Libarium, in Castello, has a great terrace and view of the city; Caffè degli Spiriti or De Candia in the Bastione are lovely. A cocktail normally costs between € 7 and 9, wine and beer are cheaper (around 4 or 5 euros).
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