7 ways to ways to escape the midday sun in Cagliari

Whilst this Italian gem is adorned with some of the world’s best beaches, sun, sea and sand aren’t the only things Cagliari has to offer. When you fancy some shade, spend the afternoon delving into history, tucking into fresh local produce and inhaling gelato. Here’s seven ways to escape the midday sun in Cagliari. 

1. Torre dell’Elefante – Via Santa Croce

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Located in the Castello historical quarter, the medieval tower is one of the most striking and celebrated ancient building in the city. Looming above the town, this landmark is unmissable. Just a stone’s throw away from Bastione San Remy, the tower was constructed in the middle ages and has been around since 1307. Whilst the architecture appears simple in design, look more closely and discover the carved elephants and coat of arms spanning its exterior. Climb to the top of the 42 metre tall structure and take in the panoramic views over the Adriatic sea and the bustling streets below. 

2. Museo Archeologico Nazionale – Piazza Arsenale 1

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Just beyond the Roman Amphitheatre, discover the city’s past at the local museum of archaeology. Home to artefacts recovered during the pre-Nuragic age to the Byzantine age, this centre has been educating visitors since 1800. Head to the north west corner of the old town and hide from the rain among cabinets of Roman, Punic, and Greek relics. The large exhibitions include displays of coins, statues, pottery and jewellery collected from all over Sardinia. A great day out for the whole family, this is definitely one to add to your list of what to do in Cagliari on a rainy day. 

3. Mercato di San Benedetto – Via Francesco Cocco Ortu 46

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Spend the day mingling with the locals at Italy’s largest covered food market. Located at Via Tiziano, the indoor market is the best place to experience authentic fresh Cagliari produce at incredible bargain prices. Set across two floors, the fish and seafood cover the bottom while stalls selling meat, locally grown organic fruit and veg and cheese, dominate the upstairs level. Feeding the city since 1957, the aroma alone will have your stomach growling before you’ve even stepped inside. 

4. Cagliari Cathedral – Piazza Palazzo

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Built in the 13th century, the Roman catholic cathedral is situated in the heart of the Il Castello district and is a must-see when visiting Cagliari. Constructed in the Pisan-Romanesque style, the structure features a breath-taking façade with an even more impressive interior. The cathedral features a series of stone arches, religious decoration, stunning altars, smaller chapels and incredibly detailed frescoed ceilings. Similar in appearance to the Duomo in Rome, the cathedral has been moderated and restored over the years to incorporate various styles, making it a unique attraction in Cagliari. 

5. Bastione San Remy – Piazza Constituzione

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Whilst this next one is a little exposed to the elements, it’s worth checking out later in the afternoon. The Bastione San Remy is a massive structure with a limestone arch, pillars, terrace and promenade that has become synonymous with Cagliari. Sitting in the centre of the old town, the monument is used for numerous cultural events throughout the year and was originally used as a defensive structure. Built in the 19th century, the decorated walkway acts as a terrific viewing point. Get your bearings and admire the view from the wide open terrace across the ocean and port areas of the city – it won’t disappoint! 

6. Il Castello

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Charming and alluring, this quarter of the city is picturesque beyond compare. If you’re after an authentic local experience, Il Castello is your next port of call. Buzzing with vibrancy, wander through the winding narrow streets, colourful buildings and marvel at the iconic Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Palazzo Archivescovile and Palazzo Reggio. As the oldest and highest position in the region, the area is surrounded by old medieval wall fortifications and dates back to the 13th century. Tuck into some gelato, charge your cameras and experience one of the best things to do in Cagliari when the heat gets all too much.

7. Santuario di Bonaria – Piazza Bonaria 2

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Also known as the shrine to Our Lady of Fair Winds, this stunning basilica was originally constructed in the 14th century. Intricately decorated, the structure boasts a beautiful façade with a trio of elaborate archways leading into an open foyer. Venture further inside and explore the stone courtyard covered in mosaic patterned tiles and frescoes. A true hidden gem, this is definitely a worthwhile visit when in Cagliari.


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- Lucy Norris