Itineraries for two days in Cagliari
Are you about to visit the capital of Sardinia or have you just arrived? Well, two days in Cagliari are enough to get a general idea of one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean. Here is an itinerary for your 48 hours (or more) which you can enjoy at a leisurely pace.
Visit Cagliari through the ages.
Cagliari, an ancient history that begins 2700 years ago: Krly, Calaris, Kalares, Castel di Castro, Callari today Cagliari-Casteddu!
Before giving you any specific itineraries, we would like to show you a historical plan with just a few highly-recommended spots as you may be interested in visiting parts of the city where it is still possible today to revisit the Phoenician period rather than the Catalan era or the nineteenth-century one…
Phoenician-Punic, Roman and Byzantine age:
- Sant’Eulalia Church
- Santo Sepolcro Church
- Santa Restituta Crypt
- San Saturnino Paleochristian Basilica
- Roman amphitheatre
- Tuvixeddu Necropolis
- The Devil’s Saddle promontory
- Sanctuary of Holy Lady of Bonaria
- Cloister of San Domenico
- Church of San Michele
- Church of Saint Efisio
- Cathedral of Santa Maria Sardorum
Age of the Kingdom of Sardinia:
First day in Cagliari
Poetto Beach, Molentargius Saline Natural Park and Devil’s Saddle
Welcome! How are your shoes? We hope they’re comfortable! The beauty of the city has to be explored, so follow us! If you arrived by car you can follow directions to Poetto-Villasimius.
Poetto Beach is the real Cagliari welcome. With its many kiosks, the sands seem endless and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
The lifestyle is slow, relaxed and intimately connected with the sea. Now you’re on holiday, just copy the locals. Give yourself time to enjoy a leisurely coffee and, if the season allows, rent a deckchair and enjoy a swim. What could be more refreshing after your journey?
Just behind you is the Molentargius Saline Natural Park. There you can rent a bike and with the map provided you can immerse yourself in a unique environment right in the middle of the city.
Pink flamingos are everywhere, there is an exceptional view towards the Devil’s Saddle and you’ll be able to hear the lapping sound of the salt water in one of the largest wetlands in Europe.
It’s time to climb up to the Devil’s Saddle! A scary name! But don’t worry, you won’t regret it! Travelling by car, go to Cala Mosca. Travelling by bus, go back towards the city centre and change buses in viale Diaz taking bus number 5/11.
Basically, you go around the Sella del Diavolo promontory. From the terminus or car park it’s an easy 30-minute climb on foot. The path is well signposted and when you get to the top…yes, it’s an awesome view. Look carefully and through the trees you will see the on-going excavations of what was once the temple of Astarte and then the Church of Sant’Elia al Monte.
Cagliari centre: via Roma and then, sunset on the Saint Remy Bastion.
All the buses stop in front of the elegant XIX century buildings on Via Roma. From here the thing to do is to wander through the maze of alleys of the Marina district where the Ca’ del Sol is situated.
Are you looking for a good lunch? Well, you’re in the right place in Cagliari. Here, trattorias, osterias or simply good old cafe‘s with tables under the arches of the “Cagliari living room” are ideal places to relax and enjoy the conviviality of the regular customers.
Where to eat staying for two days in Cagliari?
Need advice on where to go to eat? Well, we can recommend Ci Pensa Cannas, Lillicu, Stella Marina di Montecristo (located in the same building as the Ca del Sol). Try typical fish dishes: orziadas (fried sea anemones), fregula with clams, scabecciu or a good burrida marinade! If you want to experiment with creative cuisine, well you can’t go wrong at Luigi Pomata.
Going uphill it’s an easy walk to Piazza Costituzione dominated by the Bastione of Saint Remy, a bulwark-terrace building of the early XX century, an iconic monument of Cagliari. Go right to the top! Give yourself a challenge by going up the steps…or take the comfortable elevator which is just 50m away in the garden at the back, below the city walls.
What do you think? isn’t the view from the terrace of the bastion superb? Don’t you feel like a young Queen Elena or a moustachioed Vittorio Emanuele III? What a view! Have a look at our photos.
Second day in Cagliari.
Sant’Eulalia and Santo Sepolcro churches.
If you have stayed overnight at Ca del Sol by choosing one of our offers, it means that you really have wanted to immerse yourself in the heart of Cagliari!
Would you like to get a better feel for the history of the city? What better place than inside the church of Sant’Eulalia? It is really in the underground part that the memory of this ancient place is preserved. You can enter the Mutseu and let yourself be transported through the centuries!
About 100m away heading west, you will pass in front of the Church of the Santo Sepolcro, it’s worth visiting: the crypt really is a beautiful sight …so Goth! 😉
Church of Sant’Efisio, Piazza Yenne and the Crypt of Santa Restituta.
You will then arrive in Piazza Yenne. It’s an important Cagliari meeting point and is situated where the Marina district ends and Stampace district begins: it was the place where artisans and artists lived in times gone by.
Above all, it’s the home of Sant’Efisio, Sardinia’s most important martyr (“martire massimo”), and it’s to this saint that the wonderful procession that begins on May 1st and ends on May the 4th has been dedicated for over 360 years. Visit the small church with the Sant’Efisio prison and the crypt of Santa Restituta. They are really fascinating!
Church of San Michele and Sperone tower.
The church of San Michele is situated in Stampace. It was built within a military building, initially as a Jesuit novitiate, and it represents a unique example.
The church is baroque but with some peculiarities: four women’s galleries and the awesome furnishings of the sacristy: Don’t miss it!
Outside you will see the impressive Sperone tower, it is one of the first built by the Pisans in 1293, only after this, did they build the fortress of Castel di Castro, hence the present-day name for the Castello district.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Sardorum, Archaeological Museum, Towers of the Elephant and of San Pancrazio.
Then another walk uphill to the Castello district, because: walking in Cagliari means continually going up and down, since the city was built on seven hills.
Leaving the Elephant Tower you absolutely must stop in the cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria of all Sardinians. Built in the13th century, it has spanned the centuries, an extraordinary palimpsest: Pisan Romanesque layout, with transformations in Italian and then Catalan Gothic style, perfectly shown by the two symmetrical chapels, and the crypt of the martyrs in an amazing Baroque: what a beauty!
Continuing to climb through one of the many medieval streets of Castello, you will notice the sumptuousness of the many elegant buildings from which the whole of the island of Sardinia has been ruled for centuries.
Today, all the main museums of Cagliari are to be found on the site of the former arsenal (off Piazza Arsenale), and the most interesting is the archaeological museum. It’s not to be missed! The whole history of Sardinia is represented, in particular the nuraghic period (from 1800 BC).
From here you can comfortably go down to Villanova, walking through the Tower of San Pancrazio: it’s an authentic leap into the Middle Ages! At this point, we definitely recommend a break in the public gardens, where you can also admire the majestic ficus trees, a continual presence here as elsewhere in Cagliari.
San Domenico Cloister, San Benedetto Market and San Saturnino Basilica.
Here we are in Villanova district. How can we describe it to you? Well it’s a little village inside of the city of Cagliari.
Narrow alleys, with flowers and plants gently decorating the way. It was once a place for peasants. Even today, the houses on the inside are like caves. In bygone days they were places for storing tools and foodstuffs.
Don’t miss Piazza San Domenico and, above all, the cloister of the church: an architectural Gothic-Catalan gem of the 15th century!
We are approaching the civic market of San Benedetto! Would you like to taste the culinary products of Sardinia, all in one place? Then this is the market for you! For size it’s in the top five in Europe, with a surface area of no less than 8000 square metres!
Walking back towards the centre of Cagliari, we suggest you stop at the Basilica and archaeological area of San Saturnino, it’s well worth a visit. In the paleo-Christian period, the Roman Caralis cemetery area was to be found here and this splendid church bears witness, being one of the oldest in the Mediterranean region!
Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Bonaria and the port of Su Siccu.
Right over the gulf of Cagliari stands the prodigious cathedral of Nostra Signora di Bonaria, a sanctuary dedicated to the miracle which took place on 25 March 1370 when a large chest, containing the Madonna with the Child and a lighted candle, landed here.
The stretch of water you see from the top of the hill is known as the port of Su Siccu and it is part of the largest port of Cagliari, which is mostly reserved for pleasure boats. Go down the steps and enjoy a refreshing walk on the waterfront, which will lead you back to via Roma and from there to Ca’ del Sol.
Do you still have a third day? …or…half of a day?
Botanical Gardens, Roman Amphitheatre and Tuvixeddu Necropolis.
Does your flight leave in the afternoon or evening of your third day? Or maybe you just like Cagliari so much that …you can’t leave? Oh well, we can understand that! In this case we would recommend a visit to the Botanical Gardens, which are amongst the most important in Italy.
Here you will find plants which typically flourish in desert climates as well as significant archaeological remains including: three Roman fountains, the talc quarry and a very ancient well. It’s also the site of the University’s Faculty of Botany.
You are in the Palabanda Valley, and right above the garden, around the 2nd century AD, the amazing Roman amphitheatre was excavated. Until a few years ago it was still being used for theatrical and musical events! New archaeological excavations are currently taking place. Visits are allowed, entrance is by ticket only.
Strolling in the nearby viale Merello and then in viale Trento, at one time the northern “exit” of the city, you can admire the wonderful art-nouveau-liberty villas with their lush gardens.
It is in this area of Cagliari that you will find the largest Phoenician-Punic (and later Roman) necropolis in the Mediterranean: Tuvixeddu (tuvisceddu). This ancient burial ground was created over the centuries by digging down into the tuff stone (which despite its name is a soft material). Today it’s a lovely park, with a spectacular view of the Santa Gilla lagoon.
Two days in Cagliari without shopping!?! You cannot be serious!
Via Garibaldi, via Manno, Largo Carlo Felice and via Paoli streets.
We’ve prepared a google map for you with all the spots you may interested in:
If you would like to receive any advice or help about this two days in Cagliari itinerary, feel free to write something just below or go to this get in touch form.
We have absolutely to thank our special friend Mr Kieran Lundy for his unconditional and impressive help in this translation and for all the English issues that we frequently bother him with. Ehi Kieran: You rock, man! 😀
Texts and photos: Daniela + Michele
Translation: Kieran Lundy © 2022/2023 CadelSol.net
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