The next part of our adventure, after several amazing days in Alghero, was to head down to the southern part of the island. We spent the rest of our holiday in Cagliari, the bustling capital of Sardinia! Now I have to say that we had a little blip while we were in Cagliari (I’ve got another post coming all about it…) but there were some really great moments we enjoyed. It’s busier and louder than Alghero, and with that came some really fun experiences!
Exploring the Castello District
Perched high on a hill with a city blooming around it, is the Castello District of Cagliari. It was the area we walked around first, and the one we kept going back to, when we wanted to keep exploring. Tiny narrow streets with cobbled roads. Beautiful churches. Incredible views of the whole city out in front of you! Just like Alghero, Cagliari had some truly incredible architecture. You can tell which bits are the oldest, but the colorful buildings blended together in perfect harmony. My favorite little bits? Climbing to the top of the Bastione di Saint Remy, stumbling upon the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen, the Chiesa di San Michele, and wandering the tiny little streets after we went to the famous food market, Mercato Civico di San Benedetto. Not technically part of the Castello District but 100% worth a visit. Pick up some tasty treats and then go for a wander!
Cagliari is quite big, and to be honest, we barely scratched the surface! The market was definitely a favorite of ours, and seeing the Roman amphitheater was pretty cool as well. It’s cut into the stone! We did a lot of walking… okay, climbing, on account of how hilly Cagliari is! There are a lot of stairs!
Tasting Wine in the Countryside
Sardinia is known for it’s wine, so I thought, we’re on holiday! Why not be extra fancy and book a wine tour? Well, it ended up just being me and Mr. Actually on this wine tour which was pretty perfect. Francesco, our host, collected us from our B&B and drove us out into wine country, where we talked about the history of Sardinia, some of the techniques that go into wine-making and all sorts of other things. We visited the vineyards of Giuseppe Lecis, who’s family have been making table wine for about 5 generations, and he showed us around his winery, before we sat down to taste! They’d laid out a spread of cheese and honey, prosciutto, and the classic pane guttiau. Come to find out, all the food was made by Francesco and some of his friends and family. It was really a perfect evening, and we even bought two bottles of wine to bring home with us!
Hiking in the Far Off Hills
Mr. Actually and I really love going for country walks (I wrote a whole blog post about it, remember?) so we thought Sardinia would be no different. After all, the landscape in Sardinia was absolutely gorgeous! We hoped on a bus into the countryside and spent about 4 hours walking around an area called Sattefratelli. It’s a huge protected forest, with lots of hills and mountains. As we hiked, we could definitely feel the change in atmosphere, a first for both of us! It was tough, but so rewarding! The views were incredible, and honestly, even though I felt like I was about 10 seconds from my legs giving out, I don’t regret a thing. Plus, we feasted on a huge bag of cherries and some focaccia bread we’d bought from the market the day before, which was so nice and the perfect end to our hike!
Dining in the Evening Air
Just around the corner from where we were staying were lots of tiny little streets with more restaurants than you could shake a stick at. Most of them had outdoor seating right out on the street as well. It was really nice in the evenings, when the sun doesn’t go down until about 9pm, and the air is mild. We tried a few restaurants, but our favorite one was Antica Cagliari. We went back for dinner twice! It was some of the best seafood I’ve ever had! I even tried cuttlefish, which is very daring for me! The first time, I had the shellfish fregola (a kind of pasta/couscous dish unique to Sardinia) and Mr. Actually went for the seafood spaghetti. SO good. Then when we went back, we shared an order of lobster linguine and it was utterly divine!
Day Tripping to Villasimius
The weather hadn’t agreed with us when we first got to Cagliari. It rained a decent amount, and we didn’t see the sun for a few days! When we saw that our last full day was do some sunshine and 30 degree temperatures, we decided to spend it as anyone would… at the beach! We got up early, and took a bus down to Villasimius, a gorgeous seaside town about an hour outside of Cagliari. It’s a little bit resort-y, but since we weren’t in the peak of tourist season, it was pretty quiet! We walked down to what might be the prettiest beach I’ve ever been to, and ended up staying there for several hours. There are so many beaches in the area, and the water is so clear and blue and refreshing! Afterwards, we headed back into town to get gelato, explore the town, and pick up a few last minute souvenirs! It was the perfect end to our holiday, really!
Cagliari was really fascinating to explore. It was more city break than beach holiday but the culture and the history are so interesting! Of the two places, I definitely prefered Alghero and would certainly go back. Maybe next time I would rent a car and drive out to some other places like Bosa or Castlesardo. Still, Cagliari has a lot to offer, and is certainly worth a visit!