Sardinia's capital, Cagliari, is best admired from the ocean, with the exquisite facades of hilltop castles and domed ancient cathedrals coming into plain sight, set against a backdrop of azure waters and white sand. Although flying is probably not the best way to initially soak up the untouched beauty of Cagliari, the journey will take less than three hours from the UK. Booking a holiday to Cagliari will give you a deep insight into the Sardinian way of life. Islanders in this municipality are typically Italian and will welcome you with open arms.
A number of architectural highlights can be found around the capital city, where a medieval walled quarter stands high above the town itself. Even if you’re not really into history, a holiday in Cagliari is guaranteed to bring out the historian within. In addition to its time-worn appeal, this Sardinian city is drenched in sunshine for most of the year. Whether you intend on enjoying a lazy day at the beach, or an afternoon strolling along charming streets and feasting on Italian delicacies, this mesmerising metropolis has it all.
One of Italy's most astonishing historical structures and archaeological sites is located in Cagliari – the Roman Amphitheatre of Cagliari. Visit this Roman monument or drive further down the coast to wander ancient Roman and pre-Roman ruins at the Area Archeologica di Nora. You’re sure to have learnt something new at the many museums around the urban paradise when on on holiday in Cagliari. Examples of the most frequently visited museums in the area include Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Cittadella dei Musei, and Galleria Comunale D'Arte Moderna.
Housed inside the 13th century Cagliari Cathedral are royal tombs. If the old facade doesn't amaze you, the 12th-century art concealed within its walls sure will. Churches, museums and Roman ruins aside, Cagliari inspires visitors with its unique culture, food, music, and beaches. Let's not forget about the public parks where flamingos roam freely, either.
From the moment you arrive in Cagliari, you’ll know that you are in for a gastronomic adventure. Italy produces some of the most delicious food in the world, including a variety of pasta and seafood dishes. The most commonly used staple ingredient is fish, which goes on a journey directly from the ocean, to the kitchen, to the plate. However, local restaurants offer a broad spectrum of delectable dishes to satisfy all palates.
Cannonau is a type of potent wine produced around Sardinia from the Grenache grape. Order a glass and raise a toast inside a quiet and casual eatery, like Antica Cagliari. For a taste of culture, reserve a table and relish the Art Deco design at Antico Caffè 1855. Alternatively, relax on elegant furnishings and notice the attention to detail on your plate at Dal Corsaro.
Booking a holiday to Cagliari with the family just before May means that you can join in with the most important festivity in the region – Sagra di Sant’Efisio. The religious celebration begins on 1st May and it’s a four-day event featuring music, dance and wind instrument performances from locals wearing traditional Sardinian clothing.
Should you be heading to Cagliari during a different month, simply enjoy days at the beach, dolphin-spotting boat trips, cave exploring and wildlife excursions. Older children and teenagers will love the water sports options, whereas the younger kids will be smiling throughout the duration of a countryside train ride.
Action & Adventure
Sailing adventures around the coast of Cagliari will open your eyes to this Italian jewel from a different perspective. Passengers are allowed to jump into the ocean from the vessel on most boat tours, so pack your swimsuit. A jeep safari in the southern region of Sardinia or a bike tour will expose you to unblemished landscapes around Cagliari.
Put on your hiking gear for a nature trek around Parco Naturale Regionale Molentargius Saline to capture awe-inspiring scenes of pink flamingos wandering the protected environment. Another hiking option is ‘The Devil’s Saddle’, or what the locals call ‘Sella del Diavolo’.
Sardinia is described as ‘bellissima’, or beautiful, by many people and when you see the turquoise waters at the island’s beaches, you’ll understand why. The island's white-sand beaches are frequented by both locals and tourists. During your holiday in Cagliari, swim with the kids at Chia beach or paddle in the lagoon. For tranquility, pack a bag and head to Spiaggia di Piscinas, where the dunes rise up 60 metres. Natural rock formations, rocky coves and shallow waters are what makes Spiaggia Rena Bianca beach so special.
Late-night cocktails, pints of beer, and a tempting selection of wines are poured at a handful of bars around Cagliari. In the old Castello quarter you’ll find Caffè Libarium Nostrum. Overlooking the glittering ocean, it’s a place to socialise by night with an alcoholic beverage, or by day with a coffee.
Caffè degli Spiriti is another nightlife spot to raise a glass inside during your holiday in Cagliari. DJs and musicians can regularly be seen playing live music at this venue, which closes at 3am between May and October.
A free summer music festival known as Mondo Ichnusa kicks off every summer in Cagliari, so why not join 100,000 partygoers at the two-night concert with your partner? If you’re not a fan of festivals, not to worry because there are numerous things for couples to do when on holiday in Cagliari.
Meet fellow couples and learn how to converse with the locals at the Cagliari Language Network, which is a free event. Alternatively, look down onto the cityscape spread beneath you from the highest part of Cagliari – Casteddu de susu in Sardo. Enjoy a romantic moment at sunset, as you take in views of the Cathedral of Santa Maria and Viceroy Palace from a height.
Every visitor should know a few things about the Italian culture before they pack up and jet off to the sun-soaked city of Sardinia. Greetings are especially important and therefore to avoid unintentionally offending the locals, try not to use the word ‘ciao’ with strangers. You can greet them with a handshake instead. When you have become great friends with an Italian, only then will you plant a kiss on both cheeks.
Be respectful of local customs when sightseeing by covering your bare shoulders before going inside a place of religious importance.