Cagliari

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, with approximately 350.000 people including the suburbs (Quartu S. Elena, Pirri, Monserrato, etc.). In recent years the city was discovered as holiday destination considering it has a lot to offer to visitors with plenty of historical sites, museums, events, concerts and beautiful holiday resorts on both sides of its coastline. The city was founded by pre-nuragic civilizations more than 4000 years ago. The Phoenicians contributed to its development over the centuries but the Carthaginians, Romans and the Aragonese after left the most enduring marks. A Spanish fortification (Castello) still dominates the old part of the city.

Cagliari has well preserved good parts of its soaring towers and the impressive walls which once encircled its medieval Castello district. In its centre was recently restored the largest and most important Phoenician necropolis in the Mediterranean, whose finds are on show at the city’s Archaeological Museum at the top of Castello hill (Cittadella dei Musei).

The Botanical Garden, a green oasis in the heart of the old city, has a wide variety of tropical and Mediterranean plants which are in display in a peaceful and quiet area away from the busy roads.

Cagliari and its surroundings not just offer interesting museums and fascinating historical sights but also great beaches and rich wildlife, thousands of pink flamingos and many other bird’s species live beside the city in shallow protected waters. They’re a joy for the birdwatchers thanks to its huge wetland areas of Santa Gilla and Molentargius.

A moment of the "Sa Ramadura" during Sant'Efisio festival
A moment of the “Sa Ramadura” during Sant’Efisio festival

The city’s – and the whole island’s – main historical festival is the Festival of Sant’Efisio, held on 1st of May of each year. The long colourful procession with more than 5000 figurants wearing exquisite traditional costumes from all over Sardinia, on foot and on decorated ox-drawn wooden carts and horseback, walk through the city centre, accompanying the Saint’s statue to its journey to Nora (Pula). According to the tradition, Sant’Efisio saved the city of Cagliari from a terrible plague in 1657. Since then the Cagliaritani honour the Saint with a procession that starts from Cagliari, stops in Nora where he was martyred and return.

Must see in Cagliari. A visit to the old part of the city (Castello), the Roman Amphitheatre, the Necropolis Phoenician-Carthaginian, the San Benedetto market and the Poetto beach are among the many attractions in the city.

Cheese at mercato civico di Santa Chiara
Cheese at mercato civico di Santa Chiara

The Royal Palace, also known as Viceroy, should also be included in this list. It is located in Piazza Palazzo and was the ancient residence of the Viceroy under the rule of the Aragonese, the Spanish and the Savoy family. The building dates back to the fourteenth century and it became the seat of the Viceroy since 1337, on orders of Peter IV of Aragon. Over the centuries, the palace went through several changes and restorations.

The Italian royal family, exiled from Turin, which was occupied by Napoleon, settled there from 1799 to 1815. In 1885, the building became the representative seat of the Province of Cagliari, which immediately began the renovation works. Still today this wonderful building it is the seat of the Prefecture and the Province of Cagliari.

The Viceroy Palace in Cagliari
The Viceroy Palace in Cagliari

Accommodation in this area: Villas in Santa Margherita di Pula, Chia and Quartu S. Elena

Most important attractions in the area are:

Summer entertainment for everyone in Pula
Summer entertainment for everyone in Pula

Pula, Chia, Nora and Teulada (South Western coast). This area offers a combination of wonderful white sandy beaches and many archaeological sites. In particular, the territory around Nora still preserves remains of the Phoenician, Punic and Roman periods. Remains of some patrician villas with their stupendous mosaics and public streets are still visible to visitors. The roman theatre of Nora is even nowadays the cultural centre of this region. It hosts live concerts and events in the summer which provide a magic atmosphere especially during the full moon days.

The Spanish tower of Saint Efisio in the Capo di Pula provides visitors with magnificent views of the bay. Pula and Chia, which both include pristine beaches, are excellent resorts with plenty of hotels and villas perfectly merged with the local Mediterranean vegetation and pine forests. “Su Giudeu” is one of the most popular beaches that look out onto the bay of Chia. The Spiaggie Colonia, Porto Campana and S’Acqua Durci are other unspoiled beaches perfect for sea lovers due to their calm and transparent waters.

Capo Teulada, is another beautiful and unspoiled area of Sardinia. Porto Zafferano, Portu Tramatzu and Tuerredda are definitely a must see beaches in the region. The area was inhabited since ancient times, as demonstrated by the presence of many nuraghi (1800-1000 BC) and also by the numerous Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Roman archaeological findings.

The lovely Tuerredda beach in Teulada
The lovely Tuerredda beach in Teulada

Villasimius and Costa Rei (South Eastern coast).

The village of Villasimius rises at the South Eastern tip of Sardinia, on the western side of the river Rio Foxi, which flows into the sea of ​​the Gulf of Carbonara. It is about 50 Km from Cagliari and can be comfortably reached by a new road from the capital. However, we would recommend to drive along the SP 17 road and enjoy the great views of the coastline.

Notteri beach in Villasimius
Notteri beach in Villasimius

Villasimius was founded in 1812 near the ancient settlement of Carbonara, which inherited the name later changed to Villasimius. Like almost all coastal towns in Sardinia, it initially sprung up as a village of shepherds and fishermen and then turned into a tourist resort making the most of its fantastic coastline. Among the most famous and beautiful beaches are the “Spiaggia del Riso” and Spiaggia di Porto Giunco” which is dominated by the Giunco tower built by the Spanish during the 17th century. The coastline is dotted with small isolated beaches often surrounded by green hills and pine tree forests. The landscape is quite picturesque and ideal place for a relaxing vacation immerged into nature.

Villasimius town offers free entertainment at night during the month of August with plenty of concerts, shows and shopping opportunities.

Costa Rei is a long stretch of coast from Capo Ferrato to Cala Sinzias. It is also characterised by lovely beaches, rocky promontories and unspoiled landscapes. Most beaches of this area provide all facilities including wheelchair access, large car park, hotels, restaurants, etc. Costa Rei also offers opportunities to enjoy the night life with some discos and clubs open till the early hours of the mornings.

Accommodation in this area: Villas in Santa Margherita di Pula, Chia and Quartu S. Elena

StumbleUponEmail