Getting to and from Cagliari
The choice between ferry and airplane is a personal one, depending on time and availability.
The Elmas airport, which is about ten minutes from the center of town, is served by several airlines offering daily flights to the mainland, other island locations, and international airports. Depending on the time of year, flights might be direct or with a stopover in Rome or Milan. Information about direct charter flights to Sardinia can be obtained from travel agents.
Daily ferries operated by the Tirrenia company link Cagliari directly to Civitavecchia, with less frequent connections during the week to and from Arbatax, Naples, Palermo, Trapani and Tunisia. The ports of Olbia and Porto Torres can be reached from Genoa. It is very important to make reservations early, especially if you are planning to travel in the summer or other periods of heavy traffic, or are traveling with a car.
For tourists already in Sardinia, Cagliari can be reached by train or bus. There are two railway networks: the Ferrovíe dello Stato (National Railway), with a station in Piazza Matteotti near the port, and the Ferrovie della Sardegna (Sardinian Railway), whose station is in Piazza Repubblica. The main lines are: Oristano - Macomer - Porto Torres - Sassari - Olbia and Iglesias - Decimo - Siliqua - Carbonia. The public bus station (ARST) is in Piazza Matteotti, near the train station. There are also dependable private bus companies.
There are no superhighways for motorists who wish to travel to Cagliari from other island locations, but there is a network of provincial and state roads of varying degrees of efficiency. Most similar to a superhighway is the SS131, also called the Carlo Felice (after the Savoy king who promoted its construction). It connects Sassari and Porto Torres to the capital, with exits in Nuoro, Iglesias, and Olbia.
Cagliari Tourist Attractions
The Cathedral, restored in the 1930s turning the former Baroque façade into a Medieval Pisan-style façade, it is now more akin to the original appearance of the church.
The Palace of the Provincial Government (the palace of Sardinia's Governor before 1900).
The Sardinian Archaeological Museum is the biggest and most important focusing on the prehistoric Nuragic civilisation of Sardinia.
The Basilica of San Saturnino is one of the most important Palaeo-Christian monuments in Sardinia. Built in the 5th Century it is dedicated to San Saturnino, the martyr killed under Diocletian's reign.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria, a convent built by the Aragonese in 1324-1329, has a Gothic portal in the façade and a wooden statue of the Madonna inside. The statue was thrown off a Spanish ship, landing at the feet of the Bonaria hill. The cloister of the convent is home to the Marinery Museum.
The Roman Amphitheatre, a testimony of the Roman domination, is carved into a block of lime-stone rock. The Amphitheatre still stages open-air operas and concerts during the summer.
Towering high over Cagliari is the museum citadel, worth spending time in not only for the magnificent artifacts of ancient cultures housed in it, but also because of its subtropical gardens with their inspiring panoramas of lagoons and salt water lakes.
What should also not be missed is Cagliari’s fish market, Mercato di San Benedetto, whose medley of sights and sounds is truly unforgettable.
Thanks to its long and eventful history, Cagliari is a trove of fascinating architecture. This port city was founded in the seventh century BC by the Phoenicians. There’s no better way to see Cagliari than from the sailor’s vantage point, by approaching the city from the sea. Cagliari’s massive castle towers majestically overhead. Between the harbour and castle lies Cagliari’s marina located in the old harbour district.
Don’t be deceived by the dim, narrow streets and the plaster falling off the facades. This is a vibrant district indeed, particularly Via Sardinia, which is replete with restaurants, from modest, wispy trattorias to gourmet establishments. One thing’s for sure: there’s a place setting in this street for every palate and pocketbook.
The old city is a wonderful venue in which to stroll and explore Cagliari’s many stores. The main shopping street, Via Roma, is replete with cool, shaded arcades; the shopping on Via Manu is also outstanding.