Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy
Located about 120 miles from the Italian mainland, Sardinia is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the east and south, the Mediterranean to the west, and the Strait of Bonifacio to the north. The result is a beautiful wind and sea-sculpted coastline with emerald bays and soft sand beaches, fantastic seafood and excellent water sports like sailing, diving and windsurfing.
Cagliari is the capital of the island of Sardinia, in the Mediterranean Sea and a good example of a modern, thriving city with fine examples of it’s varied history.
There are many places to visit including the Roman amphitheatre, National Archaeological Museum, the Botanic Garden and the Necropolis.
Poetto, a vast and pretty beach is 5km west of the city, popular with locals as well as visitors.
Shopping opportunities can be found on the traffic free Via Manno and Via Garibaldi and Arcaded Via Roma, which has a choice of smart shops and department stores. Souvenirs include table linen, lace, ceramics, leatherwork and filigree jewellery.
Seafood, roasted suckling pig, braised wild boar and lamb are a few examples which may be featured on menus in Sardinia.
With its rugged landscape of limestone and granite ranges and oak forests inhabited by pink flamingos, ponies and wild sheep, Sardinia has a fair share of wilderness that’s still untamed, despite the ultra-chic resorts of the Costa Smeralda and the cosmopolitan Cagliari dotted with designer boutiques. Add the charming Old City in Alghero to the list of attractions, and you have enough diversity to enchant travelers of all ages.
The disabled cruiser visiting Cagliari will find that the city of Cagliari is a town rising steep to the sky from the plain overlooking the center of the eponymous gulf. The city is spread over and around the hill of the historic district of Castello and nine other limestone hills of the middle-to-late Miocene, unique heights of a little more than 330 ft above sea level on the long plains of Campidano. This results in a hilly city that is filled with steps and narrow cobbled stone lanes. However, there are lifts throughout the city to assist with the hills.
The city of Cagliari, in order to enhance the accessibility of the city’s public transport network, has is implementing a strategy to invest in new bus fleets and improve infrastructure. The city had renovated its bus fleet via the purchase of low-floor vehicles that are equipped with a state-of-the-art kneeling system and extendable ramps, offer bus stops that are accessible for disabled passengers and implemented a door-to-door service specifically designed for people with disabilities.
Chauffeur Driven Wheelchair Accessible Mini-Bus’ are available at daily rates.
Where You’re Docked
Cagliari’s main port is near Piazza Matteotti, which houses the Sardinian tourist office. A maze of streets off the square leads to the waterfront (Marina), with lot of restaurants and churches including Chiesa di Sant’Eulalia.
The bus station and taxis are available from Piazza Matteotti.
Some cruise lines offer a shuttle to the port gate, otherwise it’s a 10 minute walk. There are lots of up and downhill walking so comfortable shoes are a must.
Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, has the largest port in the country. The center of the city is located just across the wide avenue from the Port of Cagliari.
Good to Know
Alghero and Cagliari have cobblestone streets. Wear comfortable walking shoes before venturing on a tour of the old cities. Beware of the heat in the summer months of June, July and August. Wear a hat, use plenty of sunscreen and bring water along so you don’t get dehydrated. Streets are narrow and the drivers drive faster than in the U.S. If renting a car, drive cautiously.
On Foot: Porto Cervo is pleasant for walking, and the port area has beautiful yachts, designer shops and restaurants. Rental cars or taxis are the best option to venture farther afield.
By Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Sardinia’s larger towns. In Cagliari, taxi stands are located at Piazza Matteotti, Piazza della Repubblica and Largo Carlo Felice.
By Bus: Buses operate around and between Sardinia’s towns. In Cagliari, the main ARST intercity station is at Piazza Matteotti. PANI buses to various towns leave from Cagliari’s Stazione Marittima (the ticket office is inside the port building). In Alghero, buses only operate outside of the Old Town. Taxis are available and you can rent cars.
By Car: There are no highways in Sardinia. Roads are twisty, with frequent switchbacks and sheep crossings. The cost of a rental car ranges between 40 and 55 euros per day, including insurance.
Sardinia’s currency is the euro. Money and travelers checks can be exchanged at a post office, cambio booth or bank. Banks are generally open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. In Cagliari, Banco di San Paolo is conveniently located next to the main train station at Piazza Matteotti with ATMs inside the station. ATMs are also located throughout the city.
Many Sardinians are bilingual, speaking Italian and Sardinian (which is closer to Latin than Italian). Sardinian is more likely to be spoken in smaller towns and villages. Some residents of Alghero speak a version of Catalan. English is spoken in the shops and restaurants.
Handicrafts are popular. Pocket knives, a traditional symbol of bravery in Sardinia, are a prized souvenir with handles carved from a single piece of mouflon (wild sheep) or goat horn. Hollow pieces of cork are made into trays, or taulazzinos. These items, as well as baskets, weaving, pottery and jewelry are available.
The coral that is sold in Alghero is fished on the coral riviera, a stretch of coastline in northwest Sardinia. Coral earrings and jewelry are popular souvenirs.
Sardinia’s culinary heritage has evolved from the sea that surrounds the island. Lobster boiled and garnished with olive oil is a local cherished dish. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are served alongside entrees. Lunch is the main meal of the day, served between noon and 2 p.m. Other favorites include hearty meats like roast piglet (porchetto), braised wild boar and lamb, fried tentacles of sea anemone (orziada), stuffed calamari and pecorino sardo, a fabulous ewe’s milk cheese (the happy sheep feed on pungent wild herbs). Don’t miss torrone, nougat candy made with local honey and nuts.
Points of Interest
- Alghero / Palazzo Albis – Fought over for centuries by Italy and Spain, the old harbor of Alghero has distinctively Catalan influences including language, architecture and cuisine. Its renowned for excellent seafood.
- Church of San Francesco – This 14th century Romanesque church in Alghero’s walled old town boasts a pink stone façade and graceful bell tower that dominates the building. It features an elegant Gothic interior.
- Nuraghe Palmavera – Mysterious stone towers dotting Sardinia were erected by the Nuraghi culture in the second millennium B.C. Palmavera has one of the largest sites, featuring a grand structure surrounded by 50 others. This site is not wheelchair accessible.
- Cape Caccia – A lighthouse marks this natural harbor’s western face. It is one of the wildest places in Sardinia with dramatic cliffs, caves, grottoes and a natural reserve covering over 7,400 acres.
- Grotto di Nettuno – There are 656 steps called “Escala del Cabirol” that zigzag down to the grotto and its fantastic display of stalactites and stalagmites discovered by fishermen back in the 18th century.
- Castelsardo – Once the seat of Italy’s Doria clan, this walled Gothic town boasts a 12th century castle, narrow winding streets and the church of Santa Maria, home to the Black Christ, a 14th century crucifix.
- Bosa – South of Alghero, this city is famous for the local Malvasia wine, olive oil, lace and filigree. Its old quarter boasts medieval Serravalle Castle and a black-sand beach with alleged healing powers.
- Wine Resort Leda’ d’Ittiri – Family owned wine makers located at the foot of Monte Doglia produce first class wine similar to Bordeuax red wines. They have planted Merlot and Cabernet grapevines and their production is Cannonau, Cagnulatri and Vermentino.
Cagliari Accessible Excursions
There are currently no organized accessible shore excursions in Cagliari.
Chauffeur Driven Wheelchair Accessible Mini-Bus is available at daily rates. They can accommodate five seated passengers along with the wheelchair passenger and access is via a short fold out ramp to a lowered floor area. Rates are available for daily, weekly terms; the longer the term the better the rate. Sardinia Driver, your taxi service to Cagliari and Sardinia