Cagliari was rated as Italy’s Capital of Culture back in 2015 for its centuries-spanning art and heritage. A weekend in this Sardinian capital allows you to view remnants of the Carthaginian, Byzantine, Roman and Spanish eras all while enjoying indulgent cuisine and a bustling nightlife. Here’s how to make the most of your 48 hours.
Churches and Museums
One of the best ways to get up close with Cagliari’s diverse history is by visiting its churches. Head to San Saturnino to view architecture spanning back to the 5th century, or the central Duomo di Cagliari for a blend of styles including Roman tombs and a medieval façade. The National Archaeological Museum showcases the island’s ancient history, with a varied collection of fascinating artefacts on display. For fine art, don’t miss a visit to the Municipal Art Gallery or Pinacoteca Nazionale.
Food and Drink
No trip to Sardinia is complete without sampling the island’s delectable cuisine. Pay a visit to the historic Antico Caffe, modelled on the classic cafes in Genoa. Start your day with a cornetto and espresso, or sample the island’s freshest fish by ordering a seafood platter for lunch. Another must-visit site for foodies is the Mercato San Benedetto, a sprawling market where you’ll find handcrafted cheese, pastries and fresh produce. In the evening, stroll to the cafes situated along the city’s ramparts to sip a glass of Sardinian wine or craft beer and people watch as you admire views over the nearby lagoons.
Recreation and Relaxation
Cagliari’s coastal location means you’ll have the opportunity to spend an afternoon on one of its beautiful beaches, like the white sands of Poetto Beach. As an alternative, go see the flamingos living in its lagoons, or spend your time windsurfing just off the shore. Shopping is another prime pastime in fashionable Cagliari. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day inside the multiple floors of department store La Rinascente, taking a break in the top floor’s food hall and bar. In the evening, soak in more culture with a visit to the Teatro Lirico to view an opera or ballet performance.
Cagliari is nestled against the Mediterranean, making it equally easy to arrive by ferry as it is by air. Click here for ferry options if you want to explore from the water or extend your adventure with a spot of island hopping. There are four primary districts making up the city, including Marina, Stampace, Villanova and Castello. Castello is the charming old town where you’ll find most tourist attractions. It’s best explored at your leisure on foot, while the other districts are easily reached by bicycle or public buses.
From saltwater lagoons to Roman architecture, you’ll find an array of activities and sights to enjoy in Sardinia’s capital city. A weekend city break gives you the time to have a wander through its cobbled streets and laze on sandy beaches, for an unforgettable Mediterranean getaway.