Top 10 Cagliari Italy things to do – Welcome to our blog post featuring the top 10 things to do in and around Cagliari, Italy. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, this vibrant city has something for everyone. Join us as we explore the hidden gems and must-visit attractions that make Cagliari a truly unforgettable destination. What activities can you enjoy in Cagliari, Italy? Delve into the charm of this vibrant city in the southern part of Sardinia. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, stunning beaches, and breathtaking sea, the Cagliari area offers a wide range of attractions and experiences. So, ready to explore the top things to do in Cagliari? Let’s dive in and discover the wonders this city has in store for you!
So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into the best experiences this enchanting city has to offer. Cagliari Italy things to do await you!
Table of Contents
Top 10 Cagliari Italy things to do
What to do in Cagliari? Below we bring you the main things to see in Cagliari.
- The Pink Flamingos at the Molentargius Park
- The Poetto beach
- The castle of Cagliari or the San Michele castle, which rises at the top of the hill
- Seafront promenade on Siccu-Molo Ichnusa
- The port area of Cagliari
- Bastion San Remy
- Porta Cristina and Aquilino Cannas square
- Tower of San Pancrazio
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Cagliari
- Sanctuary of Bonaria in Cagliari
- The Elephant Towers
- Mari Pintau beach
- Porto Giunco beach and Stagno di Notteri
- Chia beaches
The Pink Flamingos at the Molentargius Park
Molentargius Park is one of the wealthiest places for the species of birds in Sardinia. In fact, here you can admire the famous pink flamingos and many other species of birds.
The visit to the park is suitable for those who love walking and nature. It includes several nature trails on foot or by bicycle, thanks to the rental service available within the park.
You must rent bicycles at the Sali Scelti building during opening hours. You can see where it is below.
Do I need to visit Molentargius Park to see the Pink Flamingos?
Do I need to visit Molentargius Park to see the Pink Flamingos? No, you can also see them when you pass by car on the road that is between Poetto Beach and the lagoon: Viale Lungomare del Golfo.
You can stop your car along the avenue as soon as you find a safe place to park and you can admire the pink flamingos present at that moment.
Pink flamingos are free-ranging animals; therefore, you may see many as few. In fact, they move between the various ponds in the area. Also, behind the Porto Giunco beach, there is a large lake, a large pond where you often find pink flamingos. However, the Cagliari Pond is a place where pink flamingos use to go, and therefore, there is a high chance for you to see them.
As for passing along Viale Lungomare del Golfo by car, you should take the direction from the outskirts of Cagliari towards the center. This way, you will be on the flamingos’ side proper roadway.
Pink flamingos are truly fascinating animals. They are beautiful to look at while still in the water but even more beautiful to observe when they walk with their long legs in their sinuous movements. It is a fantastic game of coordination between their very long legs and neck. Even more beautiful is when they spread their wings and show you their colors better.
The Poetto beach
Poetto Beach is the city beach of Cagliari. Its most noteworthy feature is its long strip of beach that divides the sea from the lagoon, also called Stagno di Cagliari, where you can admire the beautiful pink flamingos.
You can see Poetto Beach from above in the following video to better understand the length of the beach and where it is located.
Poetto is an equipped beach: there are several restaurants and bathing establishments. The Poetto sea water is clear, and we can say this above all if we consider that it is the beach of a large city like Cagliari where there is also the port. Clearly, the seawater of this beach cannot be as clear as at other beaches in the area which are further away from densely populated centers.
If you are in Cagliari, the Poetto is certainly a good solution if you want to spend a nice day at the beach, but if you want to see some of the best beaches in Sardinia, it is better if you rent a car to move around freely.
Castle of San Michele Cagliari
The San Michele Castle is inside San Michele Park. This park has undergone a notable historical evolution.
San Michele Park is located in the northern part of the city on a hill at 120 meters above sea level. You enter the park via a stone path marked by wooden fences through the hairpin bends surrounded by pine trees. Here the white of the limestone rocks alternates with the green of the agaves and Mediterranean essences.
On top of the San Michele Park hill stands the medieval Castle of San Michele, even if the first plant was of Byzantine origins. The elevated position of the Castle offers a vast and breathtaking view. It goes from the Campidano plain to the Sella del Diavolo.
The Pisans built the Castle of San Michele. Subsequently, it passed to the Catalan, Aragonese, conquerors of the kingdom of Sardinia. It was besieged in the fourteenth century resisting the troops of the Arborea, rulers of the last surviving Sardinian judged.
After becoming the fortified residence of the Carroz family, the Castle offered refuge to dangerous fugitives for a certain period, so much so that the councilors of the Municipality of Cagliari asked the sovereign in vain to requisition it and have it demolished.
In 1652, during a plague epidemic, it was used as a hospital, then went through a phase of decline during the Austrian and Piedmontese periods.
From 1820 to ’48, it became a barracks for the disabled.
In 1895 its new owner, Roberto di San Tommaso, had it restored by the architect Dionigi Scano and surrounded it with the still present pine forest.
From 1929 to 1972, it was a radiotelegraph station of the Navy.
The Castle is currently a modern center of art and culture and hosts exhibitions. The visit inside the Castle is, of course, enjoyable.
Still, if you don’t have enough time for a complete visit coming here to the top of the hill to see the Castle from the outside and admire the vast surrounding panorama is also a good idea.
You need a ticket to visit the castle, but the Castle square with the view is free.
Photo Gallery Castle of San Michele Cagliari
Sardinia Cagliari Italy things to do: visit Cagliari Castle
Seafront seaside walk on Siccu-Molo Ichnusa
The Su Siccu promenade is the promenade on the Cagliaritan seafront, which is located near the port of Cagliari.
The position of this walk allows you to go there even if you don’t have much time available, for example, before going to the historic center for dinner, an aperitif, or even before taking the ship to return home.
Avenue with palm trees
What is appreciated about this seafront is that despite being located next to a main road it is separated from it by a pine forest, partly preserving the quiet of the place. The Su Siccu promenade is a pedestrian area embellished with palm trees.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria
Walking along the seafront in the direction that goes from the port of Cagliari to the Poetto beach, at a certain point you can also admire a large staircase on your left that leads to a large church: it is the sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria, one of the most important Marian buildings in Sardinia built in 1704.
At the end of the promenade of the pedestrian area with palm trees, we find a floating restaurant that offers gourmet pizza. However, the walk does not end here but continues on a pedestrian area that runs alongside the tourist port: the Marina di Bonaria.
In this stretch of the walk there is also an area dedicated to bicycles with two cycle lanes.
Continuing our walk, we see the Canottieri di Cagliari on our right, just after the tourist port. What is very beautiful and particular is that during our walk we see the rowers playing basketball in the sea. Really very interesting and fun to see.
When and with whom to come to the Su Siccu seafront walk?
This whole area is new, and it can be seen that it has recently been redone, but at certain times of the day when people are more likely at the beach or in other areas of the city, it doesn’t seem very busy. It is, therefore, better to come with someone and not alone, even if in itself this doesn’t seem to be a hazardous area as there are some dads with the child who take a walk, someone who runs, but not many people.
However, if you come with friends, it is undoubtedly a nice walk to do to spend half an hour in Cagliari looking at the sea.
As for the time to come, I can tell you that we arrived around 05:30 pm in the afternoon, and nobody was there; Around 6 pm, we began to see more people walking around.
Ancient Amphitheater of Cagliari
The ancient Amphitheater of Cagliari is definitely one of the things to see in Cagliari. Although this archaeological site could be maintained a little better, and the visit lasts only a few minutes, it allows you to immerse yourself in the past of the ancient Romans.
The amphitheater of Cagliari is the most important of the historic and public buildings of Roman Sardinia. It is set in a natural valley on the southern slopes of Viale del Buon Cammino. The builders, perhaps on several occasions between the first and second century AD. they have done an incredible job carving the rock to form these bleachers. In fact, if you look carefully, you can see that this amphitheater was not only built, but it was also carved.
Now this fantastic historical monument is in ruins as large parts of it are missing, but with a lot of imagination, we can take our mind back to the time when the amphitheater was in operation. Our mind takes us back in time to a very different Sardinia and Cagliari.
As mentioned at the beginning, the visit to the amphitheater lasts only a few minutes as you simply go down, thanks to a walkway, to get to the point where you can better admire the remaining part of the amphitheater.
However, visiting this place is an excellent opportunity to remind us of the history of Cagliari and Sardinia and its ancient origins. For this reason, I advise you not to simply and fleetingly look at the amphitheater of Cagliari but to allow yourself a few more moments while you are in front of the monument and try to spur your imagination to take you back through the centuries.
To help your imagination and take your mind back in time, I can tell you that the amphitheater of Cagliari had a monumental facade well over 20 meters high and could hold up to 10,000 people to watch the fights between men and wild beasts, the execution of capital sentences and fights to the death between gladiators.
From the bottom of the arena, there is a corridor still passable 95 meters long, which reaches a large underground cistern. To make everything even more real, there is one early Christian graffiti, probably engraved by an inmate waiting to be killed in the arena games.
So what we see today in ruins was once an integral part of the city’s life, both good and bad.
The walkway that serves for the descent to the amphitheater is well maintained, but other details of this important archaeological site could be improved.
For example, the sign indicating the history of the amphitheater is very damaged, and it is hard even to read what is written. This is unfortunate because the history and information are what make you distinguish between a pile of boulders and ruins from a significant archaeological site. I hope that all this will soon be improved to give the proper importance and prestige that the Cagliari Amphitheater deserves.
The port area of Cagliari
The historic buildings in front of the port characterize the port area of Cagliari. These are buildings with an ancient flavor, and at their base, some arcades house a lively area of the city: here, you can find tobacconists, bars, and restaurants.
The port area is vivacious and busy, especially during the day when the ships arrive, and the passengers disembark and go under the arcades for breakfast, lunch, or a walk before continuing to their final destinations. I myself have followed this “rite” many times when I arrived by ship in Cagliari.
Furthermore, the port area is frequented not only by travelers arriving or departing by ship but also by those who want to spend some pleasant and relaxing moments, perhaps in the evening for an aperitif or to get an ice cream.
The area of the arcades in front of the Port of Cagliari is also located at a maximum of 10 minutes and a quarter of an hour’s walk from Garibaldi Street and the Bastion of Saint Remy. This is another very lively and busy area of Cagliari both during the day and in the evening, especially during the weekend.
Cagliari station is a few steps from the port
A few steps from the port, you will also find the Cagliari railway station. In this way, if you arrive by ship, you can go to the station on foot and reach other places in Sardinia, such as Iglesias, for example.
I mention Iglesias because this is a beautiful area of Sardinia to see. From Iglesias, you can take the shuttle that takes you to the magnificent Porto Flavia. But there are also other destinations reachable from Cagliari by train, such as Olbia.
Cagliari historical centre
Cagliari is the largest city in southern Sardinia and is also the one that has the largest and most fascinating historical center in the area. What can you see in the historic center of Cagliari?
- Christina Gate
- Piazza Aquilino Cannas: Panoramic Viewpoint
- Tower of San Pancrazio
- Palace Square
- Royal Palace
- Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Cecilia
- Bastion San Remy
In the first decades of the 19th century, the fortifications of the Castello district lost their closure towards the city and the need was felt to change some architectural elements of the city, adapting them to the most recent needs.
Work therefore began on the recovery of the ramparts, the embellishment of the entrances and the expansion of a small relief gate with a larger one, which would have allowed the passage from Piazza Arsenale to the hill of Buon Cammino.
The gate was designed in 1825 by Count D. Carlo Boyl of Putifigari and represents the western entrance to the district, while the opposite gate or the “Porta San Pancrazio” constitutes the eastern entrance.
In honor of HM Queen Maria Cristina of Bourbon, wife of King Carlo Felice, it was proposed to call the new gate “Porta della Regina” or “gate of S. Cristina”. The king chose, between the two names, that of “Porta Cristina”.
Tower of San Pancrazio
Seeing it live, it is not surprising to know that the terrace of this tower is the highest point in the whole city. In fact, the tower is already located at the top of the city of Calgliari and the height of the tower is also 37 meters. In total the terrace is 130 meters above sea level.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Cecilia
The cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Cecilia is located in Piazza Palazzo and is an elegant cathedral from the 1200s.
Bastion San Remy
The San Remy bastion at the end of the 19th century was monumentally transformed into a stairway.
The upper part of the bastion is an excellent point to relax on a bench, listen to music or admire the spectacle that can be seen from here: during the day you can see the sea while in the evening you can see Cagliari all lit up.
Best Nightlife in Cagliari
Cagliari, the vibrant capital of Sardinia, boasts an exciting nightlife that caters to all tastes. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with a plethora of options for a memorable evening. Take a leisurely stroll through the city’s historic center, where charming cobblestone streets are lined with lively bars and cozy cafes. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed nightcap or a night of dancing, Cagliari has something to offer for everyone seeking to experience the best of its nightlife. Interested in exploring more? Head over to our dedicated web page to uncover further details. Discover a plethora of captivating experiences and activities to indulge in while in Cagliari, Italy. Don’t miss out on the incredible things to do in this enchanting destination!
Things to do near Cagliari Sardinia
Discover the hidden gems near Cagliari, Sardinia and embark on an unforgettable adventure. From the breathtaking beaches of Poetto and Calamosca to the historic charm of the Castello district, there is something for everyone. Indulge in the local cuisine at traditional trattorias, explore the ancient ruins of Nora, or simply relax and soak up the sun in the picturesque town of Villasimius. Let your curiosity guide you as you uncover the best things to do near Cagliari, Sardinia.
Mari Pintau beach
Mari Pintau is a beautiful beach set between the blue colors of the sea and the Sardinian mountains. As we can see, even near the city of Cagliari we find magnificent beaches and Mari Pintau Beach is a great example!
Porto Giunco beach and Stagno di Notteri
Porto Giunco beach is located near Villasimius, on the southeastern tip of Sardinia.
Porto Giunco beach is a beautiful beach washed by a crystalline sea and it is possible to walk safely in the water as the seabed is shallow near the beach.
The main feature of Porto Giunco beach is that the beach acts as a dividing line between the sea and the Stagno di Notteri. This division has not always existed. In more ancient times, in fact, the sea reached inside the pond allowing this area to become a Phoenician port as has emerged from the studies conducted in the area.
The division created over time makes this place unique: on one side the transparent sea of Sardinia and on the other a pond that hosts flamingos.
Those who come to this beach, therefore, have 2 options: a nice refreshing bath or a nice walk along the pond for a more naturalistic observation.
You can see the beach in the following video:
Porto Giunco beach is a very long beach with several accesses. On the main access road to the beach, you will find several ways to turn to access the various car parks. This video was recorded in the final part of the beach but you can also park towards the beginning of the beach very well.
Text of the video:
We are in Porto Giunco!
Hi Everybody! From the parking lot, we walk a short distance and in front of us, we find the beautiful Porto Giunco beach, in the south Sardinia, near Villasimius.
Porto Giunco is not only one of the most famous beaches of Villasimius but also on the whole island. What are the characteristics that make it so famous?
A transparent sea washes the white beach. The shallow and sandy seabed makes it an ideal destination for families with children.
Being a known beach is very busy, maybe not the favorite for those who love peace and tranquility, but the beach is long and wide, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a place to lie down.
Porto Giunco beach is not only known for its beautiful sea. It’s particular because enclosed between a lagoon and the sea.
You can drive along the pond for a while, passing through Via Dei Ginepri.
However, you can get to the pond also directly from the beach. Let’s go to explore!
The Pond of Notteri has no connection with the sea and is shallow: thus it favors the presence of pink flamingos. Here you can admire both pink flamingos and other migratory birds.
After this walk, we relax and enjoy this beautiful sea. Bye and see you on the next adventure!
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