Cagliari (or Casteddu in Sardu meaning castle) on the south coast of Sardinia, is the island’s capital and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia. It is an ancient city, known to have been inhabited as long ago as the Neolithic period, over 5,000 years ago.

The city today is known for its architecture, University and International Airport and for having one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean but when I visited last Autumn, Cagliari didn’t have the feeling of a city at all. It was more like a charming and inviting town, an old friend even. Despite it being my first visit there, it somehow felt familiar yet new, all at the same time. I only had a few hours to explore so I took the opportunity to wander through the old town, its narrow, medieval streets and beautiful cathedral…

The Castello Quarter

Climbing the stairs of the Bastione San Remy on the southern side of the Castello’s fortifications is the most evocative way to enter the old town. At the top you’ll be rewarded with an impressive terrace and views across the port and out to sea as well as back across the city to the distant mountains.

Bastione San Remy, Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari old town

Castello Quarter, Cagliari old town

Walking north through the narrow streets you’ll come to Piazza Palazzo and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Castello.

Cagliari old town

Cagliari old town

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Castello


Cagliari cathedral

The cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century, has a lovely façade, despite having seen many facelifts over the years, the most recent being in the 1930’s in a Neo-Romanesque style, inspired by Pisa Cathedral. Inside you’ll find a mixture of Gothic and Baroque features. It’s not subtle but it is very impressive.

Sculpture of devils being cast in to hell by San Michelle

Sculpture of devils being cast into hell by San Michelle

The steps leading up to the alter adorned by lions by the sculptor, Guglielmo da Innsbruck.

The steps leading up to the alter adorned by lions by the sculptor,
Guglielmo da Innsbruck.

Picture 091

Picture 096

Caffè delle Arti


We stopped for a simple lunch at Caffè delle Arti with a cool beer and more stunning views, before heading south again and following the streets back down to the port.

Picture 041

Picture 055

Picture 050

Picture 044

Walking back towards the port


Cagliari old town

Picture 177

Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy


I would love to return one day to get to know the city better but, for now, those few hours were a wonderful introduction. I’m sure Cagliari would make a great base from which to explore the south of the island and I hear there are more fine churches to see, interesting museums and an 8km sandy beach to enjoy. It’s not glitzy or glamorous neither is it tacky or touristy. Despite the number of budget flights that land here, I’m pleased to say, mass tourism seems to have passed it by.

Disclosure: I was travelling in Sardinia while working for Sardinian Places. As always these are my own, honest opinions.


Join my 'Behind the Scenes' newsletter

Delivered monthly to your inbox with all my behind the scenes news, latest posts and giveaways exclusive to my subscribers.


Travel Planning Resources

Please note that most of the following links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link, I may be paid a small commission. You can find out more about affiliate links in my Disclaimer.


Travel Insurance

I never travel without insurance. If something unexpected goes wrong the costs implications are just too high to take the risk. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 130 countries. They're the perfect choice for long term travellers or single trip insurance.


Travel clothes for women

Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.


Book your hotel or package holiday

TripAdvisor is my preferred hotel search engine. They compare all the top sites to find you the best deal. I also use Airbnb ($31 discount) for booking rooms/apartments.


Book your flight

Skyscanneris my preferred flight search engine. I'd recommend them for finding the best deals on flights.

Rent a car

Discover Carsis a great site for comparing car hire prices to help you find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.


Book an experience

When I’m travelling, especially to a new city, I use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours and excursions. You can't beat a good food tour to introduce you to a new city!


Don’t forget your travel adaptor

Worldwide travel adaptors are perfect no matter where you are travelling from or to. Buy this one from the US or this one from the UKIt’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need. Please note that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Pin It on Pinterest

More in Art & Architecture, City Breaks, Europe, Italy, Sardinia
Ciccolata Calda, Caffé Nina, San Pantaleo
San Pantaleo and the best hot chocolate in the world?

With its rustic stone buildings, hardly any traffic and a backdrop of granite mountains, walking around the pretty Sardinian village...