If you visit Cagliari without a car and want to go to the beach, you have no choice but to resort to the bus. Go to the Via Roma where the buses pass by the middle of the street. You have to catch one going in the opposite direction as the bus station. There will be a sign at the front of the bus saying PQ, PJ or PM/N (I don't remember if it was M or N). The trip is about 15 minutes. After leaving the city, the bus passes in front of a kind of camp site (the rest of the trip will be straight ahead), then you get off 1 or 2 stops later. There's a beachy background. It's not one of the best beaches on the island or anything, but I enjoyed it. It has a nice view, clean water, is quiet, and has a fairly relaxed atmosphere even though there was quite a few people (but if you're accustomed to Malvarrosa, then it won't be that many). I don't think I've ever had a better swim in my life, the water was great!
For me, the interior of the St. Mary and St. Ceclia Cathedral in Cagliari is one of the most amazing places in the entire city. The polychromed marble interior creates some truly beautiful images which evoke the majesty of Siena Cathedral (despite the distance between the two, of course). The interior is shaped like a Latin cross and has three naves and various lateral chapels. At the entrance, there are two wells of holy water dating back to the 17th century. The flooring, re-built in 1956 according to the original 17th-century design, is also made of polychromed marble. The vaults of the main nave have frescos depicting the exaltation of the cross, the history of Christianity’s spread through Sardinia, and the Piety. All were done by artist Filippo Figari (1885-1975).
There are various underground chambers below the cathedral floor, the majority are used as tombs for local archbishops, nobles, viceroys, and saints, and are off-limits to visitors. The most notable part of the underground vaults is the Sanctuary of the Martyrs, conveniently also the only chamber open to the public. It was carved into the bedrock at the orders of the Archbishop Esquivel in the early 17th century and finished in 1618. It contains 179 nooks which hold various relics from the martyred saints buried in the early Christian cemeteries of Cagliari. The sanctuary has three chapels: that of the Virgin of the Martyrs, Lucifer of Cagliari, and St. Saturnine, all done in a mixture of Baroque, Renaissance, and Neo-Classical styles and covered in marble. The chamber also serves as the tomb of certain members of the House of Savoy, rulers of Sardinia from 1730 to 1861. In the cathedral’s interior, you can also see the famous polychromed Baroque altars, funerary monuments to the archbishops and viceroys, the mausoleum of Martino Il Giovane, King of Sicily, and various accessories made of silver.
Possibly the most famous place in Cagliari, the view of the city from up top is impressive and, from below, the views of the bastion are equally as impressive. They say it was built to connect the uptown neighbourhoods with the ones downtown. No wonder because the one thing Cagliari has are ups and downs. I would recommend visiting here just for the views offered, especially on clear days.
The climb to the tower of the elephant is one of the best, if not the best, ways to experience Cagliari. You can't get the 360 degree view of the city from anywhere else, not even from its twin tower of St. Pancrazio because only a third of that tower is accessible. The view is spectacular, and if you are lucky enough to enjoy it alone as we did for a while, it will be one of your best memories of this medieval city. Visiting hours in summer are between 9:00am and 1:00pm and from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. In winter they are only open until 5:00pm. They are closed Mondays. The entrance fee is 4 €.
Almost a year later, the irons are the same. If you arrive at the amphitheatre do not miss out on the front where a little bit above, the convent church of the Capuchins, with the mummified body of the Santo Ignacio of Laconi.
If you’re looking for an event where you can really experience the authentic spirit and traditions of Sardinia, I’d suggest heading to Cagliari at the beginning of May to attend the procession and festival of Sant’Efisio.
The procession starts in Cagliara before heading to Spiaggia di Nora and returning back again, a route which sees the faithful cover a total of over 65 kilometers. During the event, you can see traditional Sardinian costumes, especially on the first morning when the procession goes through the city streets and groups from around the island come in their very best regional attire.
Once the groups make their way to the marina area, they begin the trek to Pula. That’s when the statue of the saint is brought out. All and all, the songs, colors, prayers of the faithful, and beautiful flower petals cast along the route make following the procession of Sant’Efisio a truly remarkable experience.
It’s easy to pass by the entrance to Cagliari’s Citadel of Museums thinking that it’s just another of the impressive stone gates that line the Piazza Aresenale. However, if you head to the right of the plaza hear the port area, you’ll see the large arch of the Porta Cristina, the only entrance to the ancient citadel where you can find various museums and collections.
Lovers or art and archaeology will find, for example, the National Archaeology Museum that outlines the evolution of Sardinian culture over the centuries, or the National Gallery. Another special museum you can visit is the collection of Susini wax models: 23 anatomical models built in wax by Clemente Susini. One warning: the reproductions are beautiful but very, very realistic and not apt for those ve get squeamish easily.
Via Roma is the most important street in Cagliari, and probably the first you will step foot on when entering the city. It's a big avenue that is next to the port, and on one end we found the bus station and the train station, so whether you come by land, sea or air it will be the first thing you see here, as the Airport buses also leave you here. We found the city of Cagliari and many framed buildings and the church of San Francisco de Paula. On the avenue you walk under the arcades where you can find many shops and cafes with terraces that are very lively.
This is the Tower of the Elephant's twin. The two together are one of the city's most iconic views. Located more in the north than its twin, it stands as the citadel's highest point. It allowed control of the whole territory around the city. From the 17th century to the late 19th century, it was used as a prison. One side overlooks the Piazza del Arsenale, and the other side, the Piaza Mafalda of Savoy. In summer, you can visit from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 19:30. In winter, only until 17:00. It's closed on Mondays. Unlike its twin, you can only climb up to a third part of the tower. The elephant has an excellent vantage point from above.
Cagliari Elmas Airport is, like the island itself, not very big. It has two floors: departures upstairs, arrivals downstairs. On the ground floor you'll also find the offices of the Polizia di Frontiera (customs police) and a machine issuing bus tickets to Cagliari for two euros each way. There is a sign explaining the bus schedule (they depart about every thirty minutes). When you leave you will see the taxis, and on the left a sign pointing to the Autonoleggio, a small separate building where you will find several car rental companies. A taxi to downtown - about 6 km - costs about 22 euros.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is located in the northern part of the small Piazza del Arsenale. It has the most important collection of archaeological findings on Sardinia, with pieces ranging from prehistoric to Byzantine times. In particular, you can see Mother Goddess figurines, Nuragic bronzes, jewelry (including the famous glass necklace found in Olbia) and a collection of lead ingots from the Roman era.
What makes this marsh so unique is that it’s so close to the city of Cagliari that you can practically see the city reflected in the waters. The wetlands are free and open to the public and you can see a variety of water birds that gather there particularly in the fall and spring migratory seasons.
From the Monte Urpino viewpoint, you can see the entire wetlands but it’s best to go with binoculars or telescopes. It’s also a great place to see nesting colonies of flamingos which flock there in massive numbers to mate. In fact, in May it seems like the whole area is covered in a pink cloud.
I’d suggest checking out the Molentargius both with binoculars and during a walk through the area. You can see species like herons, kingfishers, gulls, and various other species of birds.
If you want a touristic walk without getting tired, you have the option to view the most important landmark of Cagliari in 45 minutes. Make a stop near the Cathedral where you can catch the next train to spend about an hour on the trip. Every day in summer it starts at 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18h. In winter it is closed on Mondays. Free for children under 3 years old. For the rest it costs € 7.
Piazza del Arsenale is located on the castle grounds within one of the most important of the four historic districts of Cagliari. The square leads to the Citadel of Museums, a modern museum complex built in a former military barracks. You can also see the majestic Tower of San Pancrazio here, and the National Archaeological Museum and the National Gallery of Cagliari. The square began to assume its present form in the early twentieth century. Until that time it was used only by the military.
The Cagliari Railway Station is located opposite the bus station on Via Roma and next to the city hall. Lines run to Iglesias and Carbonia in one direction and Olbia and Sassari in the other. The train can be a good way to get from the north to the south of the island, and to travel between different towns, as the trains run more frequently than the buses.
Piazza Yenne is a square the heart of Stampace where you'll find the Bastione di Santa Croce. The square is named after the viceroy Savoyard Yenne and is surrounded by nineteenth-century mansions. There is also a stone column that marks the beginning of the road from Cagliari to Sassari and a monument to the country. It's located at the end of Carlo Forte Avenue.
The Chiesa San Michele is one of the finest examples of Spanish Baroque architecture on Sardinia. Originally built by the Jesuits in the sixteenth century, the church is currently home to the Military Hospital. A portico of three arches leads to the atrium, where you can see the pulpit of Charles V; here the emperor attended religious ceremonies held in 1535 before departing on his expedition to Tunisia. The octagonal interior is topped by an impressive dome.
If you're traveling to the capital of Sardinia know that besides the beaches there are many places to visit in Cagliari -- but of course the beaches are some of the main attractions of the city. With over 10 kilometers of sand, Poetto is one of the most popular things to see in Cagliari. This part of the coast is full of bars and services that make you feel at home as you indulge in some fun in the sun Cagliari activities!
But as already mentioned, there's more to Sardinia than sun and sand. The city has an important historical legacy. The Roman amphitheater is one of the most interesting historical Cagliari attractions. If you are lucky and a show takes place while you are in the city, don't miss it!
The Castle of San Michelle is another of the unmissable attractions in Cagliari. Located on a hill, it can be seen from anywhere in the municipality. Today it also houses an interesting cultural center, so be sure to add it to your list of stuff to do in Cagliari.
If you want to see the city from above, you can visit one of the towers. The Tower of the Elephant is the most popular of these things to do in Cagliari, with nice views of the city. It is also one of the entrances to the old historical town. If you're tired of the beach and are wondering what to do in Cagliari, the city center is a great place to go. You'll find buildings, museums, galleries ... but there is one thing that stands out among all of them and this is the cathedral. After a long day at the beach or sightseeing, there's nothing better to do in Cagliari than watching the sunset in the Bastion of Saint Remy and enjoying dinner or drinks in the bars of the area.
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