What to visit in Cagliari?
Updated: Apr 21
Come and discover the capital of Sardinia and let yourself be transported back in time to the Middle Ages with its medieval district of Castello. Breathe in the fresh sea air and listen to the lapping of the waves and the cry of the seagulls.
Find out in this guide what to visit during your stay in Cagliari, the best times to go with the events, and how to get there!
What not to miss?
Bastion of Saint Remy
Dating from the 20th century, discover in the historical center of Cagliari this beautiful bastion where you can find exhibitions. If you visit it, you will also have the luck to see a breathtaking view of the sea.
As a small historical point, the building has been used for many different things, as a banqueting hall at the beginning, then during the First World War, as an infirmary, and during WW2 as a refuge for those whose houses had been bombed, and so on…
Sanctuary of Bonaria
The sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria is probably the most important one you can find in Sardinia.
Originally built by order of King Alfonso IV of Aragon to conquer the Castle of Cagliari, a fortress of the Republic of Pisa, it became the residence of the monks, who then built the convent and later the basilica.
While walking in this regional park, you can admire pink flamingos. One of the particularities of this park is that it is divided into two parts, one with salt water and the other with fresh water, with reeds and other species of fauna and flora.
Enjoy a relaxing walk through the park with its impressive landscapes.
What else to visit?
Cathedral of Santa Maria
To continue your religious walk, after the sanctuary, visit the Cathedral of St. Mary, you will not be disappointed by its beauty!
Even though this isn’t in Cagliari, but 1 hour by car from there, this is totally worth it believe us! This is one of the most beautiful places in Sardinia! Between the sea and the mountains, you won't regret it! Dip your feet in the turquoise water, walk on the dunes...
Beach of Poetto
Take a walk on one of the largest beaches on the island, measuring 9km. Soak up the sun, enjoy the view, or go water sports like kitesurfing or windsurfing...
Towers of the Elephant and San Pancrazio
It is the second-highest medieval tower in Cagliari, after the tower of San Pancrazio. As you climb to the top of the tower, you will be treated to a breath-taking panoramic view of Cagliari.
How to get there?
To get to the beautiful Italian island you won't have much choice of transport as it is complicated to drive on water!
There are three airports on the island, including Cagliari's Mario Mameli - Elmas airport, which will allow you to come from Italy as well as from abroad.
You can reach the island by ferry, which leaves from the Italian mainland, France and Spain, arriving in various ports on the island, including Cagliari in the south (leaving for example from Genoa, Naples, and Palermo).
What about the average expenditure in Cagliari?
The average cost of living in the Sardinian capital is around 65 € per day, excluding rent, so less than in other Italian cities, but this of course varies according to individual choices. The hostel remains the cheapest option for tourists, costing from 30 € in shared rooms. If, on the other hand, the hotel room option is chosen, the cost naturally increases, ranging from 30 to 120 € for the multi-star variants. Keep in mind that as the island is a popular summer destination for its crystal-clear sea, prices increase during the summer period due to increased demand.
Getting around and visiting Cagliari is a desire of many visitors, who choose the city not only for its beaches and sea but also for its attractions and places of interest. The city center is easy to visit by foot, thanks to its small size. However, there is no shortage of transport services, from taxis to public transport such as the metro and city buses. A 90-minute public transport ticket costs 1.30 €, which allows you to travel throughout the city.
Finally, the average cost of food also varies according to needs. If you are looking for something quick and cheap, the best alternative are the little supermarkets in the city where you can get a simple sandwich. Otherwise, if you fancy a restaurant, either for eating meat or fresh fish, the price is around 30/35 €. Keep in mind that the portions are large and you definitely will not be hungry!
When to travel there?
The cheapest month to go to Cagliari is February, while July and August are the most expensive.
However, the best compromise is the beginning of autumn and the end of spring (September-October and April-May). In these months, you might find interesting offers and, of course, the prices will not be as high as in the summer season, when Cagliari is taken over by tourists.
What to eat?
Between traditional dishes, recipes handed down through the centuries, Cagliari Street food, desserts, and seafood dishes, Sardinia has a vast culinary tradition, and if you pass through Cagliari, you will have the opportunity to discover it.
First of all, in Cagliari, you can eat excellent, fresh fish. These are served in all sorts of ways in pasta, and risotto, but also as an appetizer, thus to be enjoyed before the main course.
What you should absolutely eat is a Caddozzone sandwich: the street food in Cagliari par excellence is the horse sandwich prepared in the Poetto promenade, precisely at the fourth stop, by the food tracks also called Caddozzoni. You will find a wide choice of sandwiches in order to satisfy everyone.
Even market lovers will not be disappointed: Cagliari has many of them, and in particular, we recommend the San Bendetto market where you can lose yourself among hundreds of stands offering typical and local food.
Instead, the snack par excellence in Cagliari is the Pizzetta sfoglia which can be found everywhere: bars, supermarkets, bakeries, to get at any time of the day. Two sheets of pastry wrapped in fresh tomato sauce and in some cases a caper or an anchovy, the Pizzetta sfoglia is one of the delicious things to taste in Cagliari.
If you would like to know more about typical food here, read our article about the typical food in Sardinia, but you can also read the ones about food in Turin or in Milan, and you should follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot, to be alerted when other articles about food will be published.
The carnival period is much loved by the inhabitants of Cagliari, dominated by people dressed up, food, and traditional music.
Sa die de sa Sardigna
It is the festival of the Sardinian people and is celebrated in Cagliari, and throughout Sardinia, every 28 April.
It commemorates the Sardinian revolt of 1794 against the rulers of Piedmont (who were driven out by Viceroy Balbiano).
Cagliari International Wine & Food Festival
The last weekend of July foreign producers from different parts of Europe and Italy will participate to this event. It is a great opportunity to taste excellent wines and gastronomy, with guided tastings and sensory routes.
Other events to recommend
Festival Internazionale del Folklore di Assemini (July)
Festa di Ferragosto (August)
Sagra del pesce al villaggio pescatori (September)
Here is a short guide for Cagliari, a city enclosed between the blue sea and white rocks. Founded by the Phoenicians, colonized by the Carthaginians, occupied by the Romans, fought over by the Pisans and Spaniards, and long ruled by the Piedmontese, the Sardinian capital still bears the mark of its long and eventful history in its palaces, churches, works of art and language. Never stop exploring beautiful places and check our other articles.
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