A city blended and created by many different cultures. Cagliari is a buzzing Italian city filled with old architecture, flamingos and a buzzing tree-lined marina.
A long weekend is enough time to absorb all that this island capital has to offer, before you set sail or embark on your drive round the rest of the Sardinian coast.
Day One in Cagliari
Start your visit with a coffee and gelato alongside the marina road, I would wholly recommend Gelateria PeterPan is the place you choose to fix your ice-cream cravings. It was never not full of locals and tourists when we walked past to our hotel just round the corner, and open until almost midnight. We definitely gave it our custom more than once a day (especially on our way back after a few Aperol Spritz). They do a big range of flavours, including dairy free and vegan varieties.
From here, walk along the bustling marina until you hit the Largo Carlo Felice, the big main road up the hill into the hub of the city and towards the distance Castello.
On your way, don’t miss the excavations beneath under the church of Sant’Eulalia where you can see an old Roman paved road, and a sacred temple remains.
I would recommend taking the route around the left of the city, dipping in and out of the backstreets where possible to get a little more authentic and crowd-free view of the pastel coloured city. This way also takes you past the botanical gardens, and the Roman Amphitheatre. Look out for listings of upcoming outdoor concerts that take place here during the summer. We unfortunately missed any showings but they are apparently fantastic.
Spend a few hours wandering around the above, and end your uphill hike by taking in the views from the Cagliari Castello District. There is a great terrace up here where you can reward your long hike with a drink from one of the outdoor bars.
Have a little rest back at your hotel, before heading out in the evening for seafood and plenty of late night live music.
Take the bus to Il Poetto Beach. You will need to buy your tickets from a local newsagent before boarding, and all day passes are super reasonable (under three euros when we visited). It takes around twenty minutes to get there, and you’ll be rewarded by eight kilometres of sandy coastline lined with busy beach bars and plenty of watersport opportunities.
It is not Sardinian’s most beautiful beach, but it is really easy to get to, and a full day can easily be filled here.
Take a change of clothes with you, to dance the night away on one of the beach bar terraces which turn into luxury bars and nightclubs in the evening.
Day Three – Cagliari at Sea
The best way to experience Sardinia isn’t from the land, but on the sea. Plan to get offshore and set sail around the southern coast, taking in the turquoise waters, quiet bays which can’t be accessed by road, and enjoying seafood on deck.
Sardinia is best seen, experienced and explored from the sea.
We booked our yacht day through AirBnB with Sardinian Yacht Charters. This trip gave you a chance to learn some of the key sailing skills and get involved with the journey, as well as including a delicious multi-course lunch and free flowing bar.
Whether by kayak, yacht or pedalo, experience the best of this Italian island from the water.
Good Places To Eat
We really enjoyed eating at Nui Cagliari, where even your beer came in an ice bucket to keep it cool, and Antica Cagliari for delicious seafood. The mussels are incredible.
Public transport is really easy to get around by, however hiring a car gives you the opportunity to see more of the island without spending hours on local buses.
Taxi’s at the airport are cheaper than pre-booked private transfers. Just check your agreed rate before getting in.
As always with Italy, eating off the main squares and streets means much better quality food, and also more economical prices.