I must admit that for me, Cagliari wasn’t a love-at-first-sight type of place. We arrived in early afternoon on a Sunday to a city that appeared deserted and bland.
Out hotel was as short walk from the train station and while clean and centrally located, it looked a bit dated, which was very opposite from the sleek and modern hotel we had in Rome. I felt slightly disappointed.
We ventured out of our hotel to grab something to eat just to find that most of the places were closed. It seemed like everyone got the hell out of dodge and we were just few of the people left behind that didn’t get the memo.
We finally found a place that was open and decided to stop in for a drink. As we pondered our game plan for the next couple of days, we munched on some local specialties. Alex had the smoked tuna while I ate what was described as “stuffed bread” with cheese and honey. It was actually more of a dough that was cut like a pizza and you put the honey on top of it. Both our meals were delicious. Things were starting to look up.
As we enjoyed our respite, the tables around us started to fill up and it seemed that the city was starting to come alive. By the time we were done, there were people everywhere. It was as if the magic hour of 7 pm was a signal for everyone to leave their homes and spill onto the streets. Bars, restaurants, shops and street vendors were all setting up and getting ready for the crowds. And they were coming from everywhere.
As it seemed that all restaurants were now open, we had a great selection of dinner choices. We opted for local flavours once again and ended up in a place called Niu. Food was amazing, reasonably priced and the service was great.
Now that we got dinner out of the way it was time to explore, and explore we did.
While Cagliari lacks the glamour and polish of Rome, it has its own style and appeal with some really impressive architecture and a long history going back to Neolithic times. There were many civilizations that made this place home in between then and now. Due to its sheltered harbour and strategic location on a hilltop, the city has never lacked in appeal.
In a way, Cagliari reminded me of Palermo, but it wasn’t as run down. Most of the buildings here are in very good condition, having been renovated or rebuilt. There were also many currently under construction, which seemed to be ever-present. I haven’t noticed as many crossovers in cultures in buildings like we did in Palermo, however, there are so many styles of architecture that you stop comparing the two pretty quickly.
Cagliari is situated on a hilltop, with many steep stairs and narrow streets. Some times we even wondered as to how people managed to get around this place back in the day, especially with the heat and no air conditioning. In that respect, we were much luckier.
Getting here and travel tips
We flew to Cagliari from Rome, which was a quick and short flight, just like we like them. After we landed, it seemed like a good idea to take the train to the city as our hotel was just a few minutes walk from the station. We were going to take the 2:09 pm train, which never showed up. As we didn’t know how far we were from the city, we want to chance leaving to find out jus to have the train showing up, so we ended up hanging out on the platform for about an hour. After the train finally arrived, it took about 10 min to get into the city. We felt a bit silly for having waited so long when we could’ve taken the bus or even a cab. Lesson learned.
If you do decide to take the train, it very easy and very cheap. It’s important to validate the ticket before getting on the train.
I’ve decided to break this blog into two posts so stay tuned for a more detailed account of our walk around Cagliari. I think the more we walked the more I started to fall for this place. 💜💜💜
Have you ever been to a place that didn’t start off well but ended up being amazing? 🤔 Let me know!
Yes, sign me up for more!