Many people do not know that Cagliari stands on seven hills just like Rome, Lisbon, Istanbul and other important European cities; this means that if you are looking for a vantage point from which to admire the city, the hills are the first place to go.
In this article I reveal the best places for admiring the views of the city from different vantage points: from the ruins of an ancient castle to the bell tower of the cathedral, bars where you can enjoy an aperitivo at sunset and museums with views, scenic walks and breakfasts by the sea… All you need to do is remember your camera! If you do not know Cagliari already, I would start by telling you that it is a city on a human scale, extremely convenient for getting around on foot, and looks out over the sea in the beautiful Golfo degli Angeli.
Amidst its colorful districts and the narrow, cobbled streets, you will find great limestone bastions, museums, old-fashioned cafés, scenic walks and much more besides. The best vantage points for getting to know every corner of the city are found in a variety of places, not only from bars and restaurants, but also from parks, hills and promontories. Let’s start discovering them straight away!
The best place for a 360ª view of Cagliari
Cagliari stands on seven hills: Castello, Tuvixeddu, Monte Claro, Sella del Diavolo, Colle di Bonaria, Colle di San Michele and Monte Urpinu; hence the view you get from on high depends on the district you are in.
To get a 360-degree view of the city, the best place is the Saint Mary Cathedral bell tower, in the Castello district. It is free to visit the Cathedral and the crypt, whereas to go up the tower, you will need to buy a €3 ticket. Once you reach the top, after going up the wooden staircase, there is a complete, breath-taking view, where you will see the hills, city and sea, all from the same point.
See Cagliari from the panoramic lifts
A fun and unusual way to admire the city is from the panoramic lifts, perfect if you want to avoid all the going up and down that is typical of the city. There are three main panoramic lifts: the one in Santa Chiara, which starts from the central Piazza Yenne and takes you to one of the entrances to Castello district, to Torre dell’Elefante (Elephant Tower) to be precise, which is currently being restored. The second lift takes you from Bastione Saint Remy in Piazza Umberto I; from there you will have a beautiful view that stretches from the centre of the city to the sea; if you go up one extra level you will reach Castello at the top. The third lift is the one in Piazza Indipendenza, which also provides a really striking view of the city.
Where to have an aperitivo with a panoramic view in the centre of Cagliari: i Bastioni (the city bastions)
The Castello district offers various vantage points owing to its central position and the bastions that distinguish it. Bastione di Saint Remy is one of the iconic symbols of Cagliari, it can be reached on foot or by the panoramic lift and from it you can admire one of the most beautiful vistas of Cagliari. If you fancy an aperitivo in Piazza Umberto you could stop at Caffè degli Spiriti. Taking a walk from there, you can reach Bastione Santa Croce, which reveals another view over the roofs of the city, this time revealing the old and historic district of Stampace. At this Bastione you can stop at Libarium, a busy Cagliari bar, or have a typical Sardinian meal in the restaurant Pani e Casu. A few steps from Bastione di Santa Croce you will find the panoramic terrace of Ghetto degli Ebrei, where, in addition to a beautiful view, there are often interesting exhibitions.
Discovering Cagliari via a scenic walk to Terrapieno
If you prefer to discover the city on foot, the best place to do so is along Terrapieno, which connects the central streets to the Giardini Pubblici or public gardens, with a beautiful limestone terrace that looks out over Cagliari. Here again, there is a bar with a view from which to admire a fabulous sunset with a pizza and a craft beer: Terrapieno Club House. If you come up from Saint Remy to the Giardini Pubblici, the Villanova district will be on your left, which I advise you to visit because it is really special, the streets are literally overrun with plants that create a mini urban jungle and there are beautiful works of street art. On the right, you will be skirting Castello walking along Viale Regina Elena, where there is a little green oasis: the Parco sotto le Mura (Park below the Walls) with some works by artist Pinuccio Sciola.
Belvedere di Buoncammino for a sunset over Stagno di Santa Gilla
Buoncammino is a tree-lined avenue that connects Castello with Piazza D’armi, the walk among the cypress trees offers a view of a large part of the city: from the Roman amphitheatre to Stagno di Santa Gilla, a lagoon that is a migration point for pink flamingos. Belvedere di Buoncammino is a perfect scenic spot for summer walks, the shade of the trees and the numerous benches provide shady spots for anyone who wants to admire the beautiful view. During the “open museum” days, there you can also access the old Buoncammino prison, which runs alongside the scenic avenue.
A view of Cagliari from the hills and parks
As I said at the beginning of the article, Cagliari stands on seven hills, so all you need to do to find scenic spots completely free of charge and often surrounded by vegetation is go to one of those places. If you seek refuge from the mayhem of the city, I would advise you to go to Colle di Monte Urpinu, where you can not only admire the view but also find peacocks roaming free. Another option is Colle di San Michele, the peak of which is home to the old castle, one of the most important monuments in Cagliari; from there you can see the hinterland and the Gulf. Another city park is Monte Claro, once used as a psychiatric hospital; the Emilio Lussu metropolitan library is now located at the top of the hill there. If you are fascinated by monumental cemeteries and churches in general, I suggest you go to Colle di Bonaria, where the city’s beautiful Basilica is located. Lastly, one place not to be missed if you are visiting Cagliari is the Tuvixeddu Archaeological Site, a park built on the ruins of one of the largest Punic necropolises still in existence. Walking among the historic ruins, you will see yet another incredible view of the city.
Excursion Sella del Diavolo to see Cagliari from above
If you love excursions and you want to reach one of the most beautiful summits in Cagliari, arm yourself with comfortable shoes and climb the Sella del Diavolo promontory: trekking there is not too hard and takes about an hour. Once you reach the top, you will see a view that stretches from the sea to the city, a new vantage point from which to observe the salt flats in Molentargius park, the ones preferred by the pink flamingos. On the way back down from Sella, you will find some bars and restaurants overlooking the sea, all of which are very characteristic: the Scoglio for a meal of fresh fish, Terrazze di Calamosca, which overlook the same beach, are perfect for breakfast or drinks with a sea view, and la Paillote is one of the most popular restaurants during the summer owing to its breath-taking view.
A scenic view in the heart of the city
One of the most charming areas of Cagliari is Via Roma: a stroll under the arcades with a view of Cagliari’s port, the unfortunately only temporary observation wheel, the great ficus trees in Piazza Matteotti and the Palazzo del Comune. To admire this city view from above, I would advise you to go to Rinascente department store and take the lift to the top floor; from there you will have a magnificent view of the Port and Via Roma.
I hope that this guide to the most beautiful vantage points in the city has been useful to you; share it on your social media pages if you think it might be useful to your traveller friends! For further advice on Cagliari, take a look at this article.