Cagliari and SE Sardinia

The adventures of Chili III
Peter & Belinda Vernon
Sat 16 Apr 2022 15:55

39:11.6N 09:06.5E

We arrived in Cagliari with a forecast of strong winds for a week. But there was a short window the following day to press on to Sicily. However the passage we had just done had been physically challenging (B describes it as having been in a washing machine for 48 hours) so we didn’t feel like setting off straight away - and we wanted to see something of Sardinia. So we decided to stay put until the weather improved. 

Cagliari has changed massively since we last sailed in 30 years ago. Then it was dirty, rundown and had few attractions let alone enticing restaurants. Today the graffiti is still there and some areas are still quite rundown - but the harbour front is now really impressive and the narrow lanes of the old part of town are buzzing day and night. Because of its position, Cagliari has always been an important port and it is now possible to visit an endless number of historic sites and churches. The highlight for us was the outstanding National Archaeological Museum which had an incredible collection of brass and huge stone sculptures from the nuraghe civilisation (Neolithic & unique to Sardinia). We also had a great half day bike ride through the salt flats between Cagliari and a 5km beach to the east of the city. The salt flats are a popular resting place for pink flamingos. 

Although we could have easily spent several days exploring Cagliari we decided to hire a car for a couple of days to explore a bit further afield. There is a beautiful drive along the SE coast with jaw-dropping views around every hairpin bend (of which there are many). The photo is of the beach where we would have anchored if the weather had been suitable - not bad! One of the reasons the coastline is so beautiful is that a few years ago Sardinia prohibited any development (including of existing properties) within 2km of the coast. We understand this policy is being reviewed but hopefully not too radically. We also visited the ancient nuraghe monument of Su Nuraxi of Barumini. From afar it looks like a very big pile of rocks, but inside it is huge with several rooms and tunnels and staircases inside the 3m think walls. It dates from 1500BC and has been declared a World Heritage Site. 

So, all in all, we were pleased we got delayed in Sardinia as it allowed us to see so much more of the island than we would otherwise have done, especially inland, which has a different feel to the coast. It seems relatively undiscovered and unspoilt.