Excursions from Cagliari: the best day trips around Cagliari

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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It is well known that Sardinia offers beautiful beaches along all its kilometers of coastline, but who said that this land is only suitable for a beach holiday? Did you know instead of its archaeological richness?
Well yes, there are several prehistoric sites, better known as nuraghe, and the Cagliari area really boasts many. If therefore your travel interests are mixed, Cagliari is an excellent city in which to place your base to be able to explore magnificent white beaches and interesting historical areas in the immediate vicinity and we assure you that between sea and archeology, the area will surprise you.
Here are some tips for you on best day trips around Cagliari!


  1. Boat tour to Chia and Teulada
  2. Villasimius
  3. Nuraghe of Villanovaforru
  4. Saline Conti Vecchi
  5. Sant'Antioco Island
  6. Su Nuraxi and Barumini
  7. Ruins of Nora
  8. Is Cannoneris
  9. Sa Spendula
  10. User questions and comments

1 - Boat tour to Chia and Teulada

It is known that Sardinia boasts beaches of inestimable beauty, which are not far behind even in the surroundings of Cagliari, and not surprisingly one of the most popular day trips in the area is a boat tour to discover hidden beaches and coves. Chia and Teulada are two seaside resorts south-west of Cagliari, very popular for their long white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that allow you to practice snorkeling and diving, surrounded all around by lush green nature. This area can be reached in about 45 minutes by boat, but if you prefer to get there by land, they are an hour or so from Cagliari and the views offered during the journey are fantastic!

I main points of this day they are usually the beaches of Sa Colonia, Cala Cipolla, Cala Zafferano and various peninsulas such as Capo Malfatano and Capo Teulada where you can dive and, with a little luck, spot and swim with dolphins admiring unexpected backdrops.

  • Range: 71,3 km
  • through the Statale 195 it is possible to reach both Chia and Teulada, or with the bus 129 of the ARST company - Get directions
  • tours depart in the morning and last between 5 and 6 hours
  • private tours are around € 100,00 while group tours start from a total of € 300,00
  • private boat tour of southeast Chia and Teulada Baie di Chia and Teulada: tour by jeep and boat from Cagliari 1 day tour among the isolated and hidden beaches

2 - Villasimius

Another very popular seaside resort, with beautiful beaches and ideal for spending a whole day, is Villasimius, one hour away from Cagliari. This small town has been a holiday destination par excellence for years, able to attract a large flow of tourists starting as early as spring!
Behind Villasimius there is a beautiful mountainous panorama of 700 meters high which frames the long stretches of white sand surrounded by as many long thick pine forests.

Not to be missed in Villasimius are the Punta Molentis Beach, the Porto Giunco ​​Beach, the Capo Carbonara promontory with the Campulongu Beach, the Molentargius Pond known for the presence of pink flamingos, the Sella del Diavolo, a rock formation that overlooks the Poetto, and the two islets CaFlights and Serpentara. The beaches in this area are also suitable for snorkeling and offer wonderful backdrops!

  • Range: 47,4 km
  • by car via Statale 125 or by bus 135 of the ARST company - Get directions
  • a complete tour lasts approximately 6 hours
  • tours start from € 55,00
  • Villasimius Beaches: Full-Day Tour from Cagliari

3 - Nuraghe of Villanovaforru

A holiday in Sardinia is not necessarily made only of sea but, for fans, also of culture and history. For example, 45 minutes from Cagliari are the Nuraghe of Villanovaforru, a site also known as the Nuragic Complex of Genna Maria that will take you back in time.
The nuraghe are ancient stone constructions dating back to the Bronze Age, populated by about 100 inhabitants and made up of towers, courtyards and wells.
In particular this complex is famous for the Tomb of the Giants, the largest and oldest in Sardinia. Inside the park is the Archaeological Museum which offers visitors the opportunity to discover more about the ancient civilization that lived there. Moreover, given the hilly position, from the complex you can enjoy a suggestive panoramic view of the Gulf of Cagliari and the Gulf of Oristano.

  • Range: 55,6 km
  • by car via the E25 road, or by bus 120 from the ARST company to the town and then reach the site on foot in a few minutes - Get directions
  • open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 18:00
  • the bus costs € 4,30 each way, the entrance to the park costs € 2,50, the entrance to the museum costs € 3,50, the combined park + museum ticket costs € 5,00, the complete tours start from € 45,00
  • From Cagliari: visit to the nuraghe and the tomb of giants

4 - Conti Vecchi Saltworks

Another naturalistic excursion, but we can also say cultural, is that of the Saline Conti Vecchi, located just 20 minutes from the city. This site is ahuge area with natural salt water pools and mountains of salt all around, in which one of the first Sardinian industries developed about 90 years ago, which is currently the second largest in Italy as regards salt companies.
The salt pans itinerary is an archaeological and industrial route, in addition of course to the particular nature all around, during which you can observe the production plants, the tanks, the salt and the wildlife made up of hundreds of specimens of pink flamingo that wander quietly.

The extraordinary thing about the Conti Vecchi Salt Pans tour is undoubtedly the coexistence of man and nature working in perfect synergy, each respecting the other. A non-negligible detail that nature lovers will certainly appreciate!

  • Range: 18,1 km
  • in 20 minutes by car via the Statale 195 or bus 211, changing with the 215 at Macchiareddu Contivecchi - Get directions
  • open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 00pm
  • the bus costs € 1,30 each way; admission to the salt pans € 10,00 full and € 4,00 reduced; tours start from € 70,00
  • Cagliari: Conti Vecchi salt pans and local crafts

5 - Island of Sant'Antioco

For those wishing to combining sea and gastronomy in one day, the Island of Sant'Antioco is the perfect place! Reachable and visited in a day, this island is the largest in Sardinia and is located in the south of the west coast, an hour and a half from Cagliari. Yet another Sardinian paradise with a jagged and rocky coast and perfectly crystalline waters. Along the coast you will meet several coves such as Cala Sapone and Cala Grotta, sandy beaches such as Maladroxia beach and cliffs such as the Nido dei Passeri and Arco dei Baci.

But as we said, the Island of Sant'Antioco also offers other possibilities besides the sea! Much sought after for its wine production, on the island you could enjoy a nice food and wine tour starting from the visit of vines and cellars and then concluding with the tasting of different productions of the Carignano grape, typical of the area, combined with the best local foods such as ham and pecorino.

  • Range: 90 km
  • by car via Statale 130 or by bus 802 of the ARST company - Get directions
  • wine tours usually last between 4 and 5 hours
  • the bus costs € 5,00 each way; full tours start from € 80,00
  • Island of Sant'Antioco: wine tasting from Cagliari

6 - Su Nuraxi and Barumini

Barumini is another interesting destination for an excursion dedicated to archeology. It is a small town 50 minutes from Cagliari where it is located Su Nuraxi, a prehistoric site among the most important not only in Sardinia but throughout the Mediterranean, also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In this area there are several nuraghe that made up one of the first Sardinian settlements, an entire village of which today you can see ancient houses and various types of buildings in a good state of conservation if you think that they date back to the sixteenth century BC. of the site, you can deepen the knowledge on the first Sardinian civilizations through the archaeological collection exhibited in the Casa Zapata Museum Complex, located a few steps from the archaeological area and towards Barumini. In the village, on the other hand, you can enjoy a pleasant walk through the ancient streets of the village, appreciating the historic houses and artisan shops.

  • Range: 71,6 km
  • by car via the E25 road or by ARST bus number 501 - Get directions
  • every day from 9: 00 to 17: 00
  • the bus costs € 4,90; the entrance to the site and the museum is unique and costs € 12,00 full and € 9,00 reduced; tours start from € 50,00
  • From Cagliari: Su Nuraxi to Barumini guided tour Cagliari: Barumini Su Nuraxi village tour Cagliari: 5-hour Nuraghe archaeological excursion tour

7 - Ruins of Nora

If history and archeology are never enough, even the Ruins of Nora are worth a day visit!
A 45-minute drive from Cagliari is the town of Pula and here it rises Nora, an ancient city of Phoenician foundation then passed to the Romans, where there were already ancient prehistoric Nuragic settlements. Inside the archaeological area there are several testimonies of the passage of these civilizations, all to be discovered by crossing the heart of the former inhabited center dating back to 3000 years ago and consisting of temples, baths, houses, mosaics and theaters. In addition, the location on a peninsula overlooking the sea is very characteristic and offers visitors a nature trail, as well as historical, truly unique and with the typical colors of the Mediterranean.

  • Range: 36,2 km
  • by car via Statale 195 or by ARST bus 129 - Get directions
  • every day from 10: 00 to 17: 30
  • the bus costs € 3,10; admission costs € 6,00 full and € 3,50 reduced; tours start from € 45,00
  • Nora: Tour from Cagliari Cagliari: 5-Hour Archaeological Shore Excursion Archaeological Tour of Nora from Cagliari Cagliari: Half-Day Shore Excursion to the Archaeological Site of Nora

8 - Is Cannoneris

Is Cannoneris is another wonderful natural attraction to visit in one day. It is located an hour and a half from Cagliari and is a luxuriant forest that for years has risked having to give up its thick and green vegetation due to a disproportionate use by man towards it. Currently it is instead one of the most luxuriant Sardinian natural sites thanks to the recovery interventions that have been carried out over time so as to give it back its beautiful Mediterranean scrub.

Is Cannoneris is the paradise for hikers and trekking enthusiasts but this does not limit visits only to those with a certain physical preparation and sporting habits, on the contrary anyone can access it thanks to a network of paths that wind inside it between streams, tree-lined avenues, rare fauna species and some prehistoric testimonies.
You can enjoy a whole day among nature in 4800 green hectares and reach Punta Sebara, the highest peak of 979 meters, to admire the view offered on the gulf.

  • Range: 53,4 km
  • by car via the Statale 195 or by the ARST bus 129 to Villa San Pietro from which the routes to enter the Is Cannoneris forest begin - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free admission, bus € 3,00 each way, tours from € 130,00
  • Cagliari: Is Cannoneris Waterfall Half-Day Swimming and Trekking Tour: Nature Reserve Walking Tour Cagliari: Mountains and Sea Tour by Jeep and Rubber Boat

9 - Sa Spendula

Sa Spendula is the last of the day trips from Cagliari that we want to offer you and this time too it is a 'natural excursion among the splendid Mediterranean vegetation.
Sa Spendula is one waterfall, the highest in Sardinia, located in the municipality of Villacidro, half an hour from Cagliari. The waterfall is formed by the Coxinas stream, also known as Rio Seddanus, and consists of three jumps for a total height of about 60 meters. Each jump forms pleasant swimming pools.
In the summer Sa Spendula is a very popular place as a shelter from the scorching heat between the cool breeze of the vegetation, but also in the other seasons it is still an enchanting place, ideal for trekking and walking surrounded by a beautiful natural environment.

  • Range: 19,4 km
  • by car via the Statale 196 or by bus 211 of the ARST to Villacidro from which you then continue on foot for about 20 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free admission, bus € 3,00 each way, tours from € 100,00
  • Cagliari: 5-hour excursion to the Sa Spendula waterfalls

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