Sardinia is one of the hottest destinations in Italy to visit in summers with its gorgeous beaches. Cagliari, the capital, is a beautiful city to explore.
You will fall in love with this city regardless of which season you visit. The city is surrounded by beaches and mountains and holds the culture and history of Sardinia.
In Sardinian language, Cagliari means a Castle. It is supposed to suggest that the city closes for the outside world by the evening. It is a beautifully-architectured city with quite a unique appearance.
Facing the Mediterranean sea with mountains at the back, it is a hilly area right by the big plane. You can roam around the city for hours and get to know about the different perspectives of culture the city showcases in front of you.
If you want a break from the chaos of the world, you can find the peace you are looking for right here. Just breathing in the air in the city will make you feel at home. So let’s take a look at the top things you can see and do in Cagliari.
Take a stroll around Castello
Walking around Castello is the first thing you should do in Cagliari. It is a beautiful neighborhood with palaces, towers, and domes of the local elites. This is an ancient part of the city, which is why it is known as Casteddu by the locals.
Castello is a narrow alleyway surrounded with old buildings and structures. It has a local market and many other places to hang out. If you roam around and look closely, you will be able to spot the different viewpoints of the city. Some are perfect for sunrises and some for the sunset. There are also cafes and bars around.
PS You need to visit a place called Via Stretta. It is a street where beautiful flowers and pots are placed on both sides of the road by locals to enhance the beauty of the alleyway.
Visit Cattedrale di Santa Maria
One of the essential parts of the tour is to visit the Cathedral in Piazza Palazzo. Its interior is a fantastic example of the grotesque style. On the side of altering, there is a beautifully designed Crypt where tombs of all members of the Savoy Family are present.
The Cathedral is open every day from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and in the evening from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
PS The Cathedral at night is the most beautiful site of Cagliari. Make sure you walk around Castello after sunset to take a look at this beautiful piece of the city’s medieval history.
Visit Archeology Museum
One of the best things to do in Cagliari is getting to know about the history of Sardinia. So a visit to the museum is a must. Make sure you drop by the Archeology museum while you’re in town. It has a mesmerizing collection of artifacts from the history of Sardinia.
The museum has a collection of bronze figures called bronzzetis and some Monte Prama Giants (Giant stone statues) which date back to the 8th and 9th century BC. The museum also boasts several amusing and historical artifacts from the different royal families of Sardinia.
The museum is open almost every day between 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. But make sure to check before you go there since it remains closed in case of national holidays.
A trip to the archaeology museum costs 8 USD, while a combined tour of the Archaeology Museum and Pinacoteca costs around 10 USD.
And then the Pinacoteca Nazionale
The Pinacoteca Nazionale is right next to the archaeology museum. It has one of the most amazing collections of art around the world, dating between the 15th and 17th centuries.
It consists of works from Catalan and Genoese artists as well as Sardinian artists. Art lovers should pay a visit to this museum to enjoy the vibrant history of arts. The visiting hours of Pinacoteca are the same as that of the archaeology museum.
Walk Around Ghetto degli Ebrei
One of the most amazing tours in the city is walking around Ghetto Degli Ebrei between Via Santa and Via Cretta in Castello. It houses the remains of the area where the Jewish lived until they were expelled. The Santa Croce church in Via Santa Croce has been built over a synagogue and is a beautiful piece of architecture.
Visit the Roman Amphitheater
Now the place you need to visit even if your trip ends in just one day is the Roman Amphitheatre. Located in Viale Sant’ignazio and dating back to the 2nd century AD, it has been entirely carved out of a rock.
When the Roman empire was at the peak of its glory, the theatre had the capacity to hold nearly 10000 people. The theatre stopped having concerts just a few years back.
It is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day and costs around 4 USD to get an entry.
Explore Via Roma
Via Roma is one of the most beautiful streets of Cagliari. Once you’re on this street, you get a completely different view of the city that’s better than any other place.
Walking along the street, you will find Palazzo Civico, aka the City Hall. This beautiful palace built between 1800 and 1900 now holds extraordinary pieces of art made by Sardinian artists. You can visit on Saturdays.
Visit Botanical Gardens
Most people don’t know this, but Botanical gardens in Cagliari are one of the most famous in Italy. They were opened in the late 1860s and had over 3000 species of fauna.
Going for a walk surrounded by flowers is one of the most relaxing things to do here. You can stroll around for hours and still be able to spot a different type of flower at every turn.
The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM in summer and from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM in winter. The entry fees are 5 USD.
An Underground Tour of Cagliari
One of the most fun things to do in the city is visiting the underground. You can learn about how many civilizations ruled the town and how that changed culture and civilization from time to time. But there is no way you can do this solo. You need to have a local guide by your side to show you around.
If you’re a traveler interested in doing something different than what everybody else is, Underground Cagliari is the place for you.
Visit Castello di San Michele
Located on top of a hill, Castello di San Michele holds one of the most amazing views of the city. It dated back in 10th Century, and in the 14th Century, it became the residence of one of the elites of Cagliari. Now it holds a fantastic Art Exhibit which displays pieces from Sardinian artists. The castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The entry fees here are nearly 4 USD to get inside.
Explore Villa di Tigellio
This is a prime destination for people who love Roman history. Villa di Tigellio dates back to the 1st century BC and is the residence of Tigellio Ermogene – a famous Sardinian poet and musician. He lived in the house for quite an extended period. The castle can be visited every day. And the entry fees are 3 USD approx.
Visit one of the beaches in Cagliari
Cagliari is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. They all can be easily reached from the center of town. Some of the most famous are Poetto, Calamosca, Cala Fighera, and many more. Just keep in mind that you don’t miss the chance to go to a beach if you’re in Cagliari.
What’s more relaxing than just submerging your feet in the cold water of the sea on a sunny day? These beaches are certainly the most favorite hangout spot of locals.
Go to Sant’Efisio Parade
If by any chance, you happen to be in Cagliari on the 1st of May, this parade is a must-visit. Being one of the most important festivals of Sardinia. Sardinian people wear traditional costumes and come out of the house to celebrate the Sant’Efisio parade in honor of Sant’Efisio the patron saint of Sardinia. All kinds of traditions from every corner of Sardinia can be seen here.
Try Local food of Cagliari
If you’re in the mood for trying something local, you’re definitely at the right place. You’ll find a variety of items in Cagliari that you probably won’t find anywhere else in Italy.
One of the specialties is Pizzetta Sfoglia, which you can find in any coffee shop here. It’s like pizza in a basket or a pastry and consists of cheese, oregano, and tomato sauce.
Enjoy airy squares
If you’d like to get to know about the local culture more closely, you need to hang out at the hottest spots in the city. Piazza Yenne is one of the most popular hangout destinations thanks to several lovely coffee shops and bars.
There are many more spots in the city where you can spend time with the local people. You can understand a lot about this place by just being around them.
Enjoy Sunset from Via Santa Croce
If you’re a fan of the rising and setting sun, this place is probably made in heaven for you. So try to get on the roof of Via Santa Croce at the time of sunset. The view from here is just mesmerizing.
You can even take a look at the roofs of all buildings around the city getting vanished in depth. You certainly need to experience the quiet and peace that cannot be expressed in words. If you ever go to Cagliari, don’t forget to crash this place.
Jump into the local nightlife
Cagliari becomes alive in the night when locals get out to have drinks. There are lots of Jazz clubs and small bars in the neighborhood where you can spend your night.
The nightlife of Cagliari is the one thing you must explore and experience, so do take time out of your schedule to visit a bar at night.
So this was all about the places you can visit while you are traveling to Cagliari. Now let’s take a look at the important aspects of the trip.
How to reach the city?
Cagliari is connected via its shore to Civitavecchia, Naples, and Palermo. Cagliari also has an airport with a regular domestic schedule. So reaching the city isn’t a big problem.
After you get down to the airport, going to the city isn’t a big task either. You can travel via train, taxi, or private transfer. Commuting by train is cheaper than any other transport. And it only takes a few minutes to reach the city from here, thereby saving you lots of money while traveling around Cagliari.
How to move around Cagliari?
Public transport here works quite well too and is a very efficient way to roam around. Again, you can certainly travel with your private vehicle. But if you’re going for the first time, I recommend that you have a local tour guide who’ll guide you through the city. This won’t cost you much, and your tour will be quite enjoyable and fantastic.
When to Visit?
There isn’t any good or bad time to visit this place. You can go whenever you want. At any time of the year and Cagliari wouldn’t disappoint. One thing to note is that there’s a considerable amount of rainfall during the start of the fall. But the rain can look beautiful and is quite a sight in this city.
In conclusion, Cagliari is a great place to visit if you want a pocket-friendly tour. The trip to Cagliari can be really on a budget. You need to possess enough knowledge on how to move around the city. So are you ready to pack your bags?