Cagliari is a historical city along the southern coast of the beautiful island of Sardinia. It is the capital city of the Italian island, whose name means castle thanks to its magnificent old town (Castello) that sits on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Cagliari. In fact, the entire city is built upon seven hills and is home to some lovely parks, stunning beaches and a vibrant nightlife. Cagliari also has much to offer outside of the city centre, such as the surrounding Sulcis-Iglesiente hills, the pre-Roman village of Pula and the picturesque Villasimius beaches.
Who to Book With
Known international car hire suppliers such as Avis, Sixt and Hertz have a presence in Cagliari, as do local companies Matta Autonoleggio and Sardinya Autonoleggio. This means that there is a large selection of vehicles to choose from, but it is recommended to book in advance to ensure the car of your choice is available. Most firms have offices in the airport as well as near the main ferry port.
Best Time to Go
Cagliari is most popular with visitors in the summer and prices often rise during this busy time. Still, its mild climate means that it can be enjoyed year round, with winters rarely seeing temperatures lower than 10°C. May and September are also pleasant, while October and November are the wettest months.
Need to Know Essentials
The following paperwork needs to be presented when picking up your car rental:
- An EU driving licence with a photo
- Another form of ID
- The credit card that was used to book the car
- Verification of booking
For more info read our FAQ's.
Cagliari’s old town is free from traffic though the rest of the city is easy to traverse by car. There is plenty of parking, some of which is free while there are also spaces in paid car parks. Free spaces are harder to come by than paid spaces, with car parks charging around £0.85 per hour or £8.70 for 24 hours.
Look at our guide to Italy for more advice on driving here.
Arranging car rental in Cagliari is the best way to get out of the city and explore though buses also travel from here to the rest of the island, but at a much slower pace. There are also trains that reach some locations on the island but they do not travel every day. Another great way to see the island is to charter a sailboat and sail around it.
Trenitalia operates trains from Cagliari Railway Station to Sassari. The railway station is right in the heart of the city, on Giacomo Matteotti Square. There are also three trolleybus lines that run through the city as well as its surrounding villages that are operated by CTM.
There are nine taxi ranks in Cagliari, so it is easy to get a taxi when needed. Taxi drivers often take visitors on tours of Cagliari’s surrounding area as well as to destinations within the city centre. Tariffs are fixed and quite expensive, with a trip to the airport costing around £40 and the journey to Pula being around £70.
There are a number of local CTM bus lines that travel within Cagliari and to its suburbs. Tickets can be purchased at various outlets throughout the city or directly from the driver, with a standard ticket being £1 and a week pass costing £10. Week passes must be validated on the first bus ride.
There is so much to see and do in Cagliari, yet there is even more to explore outside of the city itself. Getting out and exploring the island will result in some lasting memories, and self-drive is the best way to do this. Cagliari is served by the SS131/E35 highway, which is the main highway that travels across the island from north to south, as well as by plenty of smaller routes which lead into the hilly interior and to destinations along the south coast.
Su Nuraxi di Barumini - This is a Nuraghe complex and a UNESCO World Heritage site that can be found less than 40 miles north of Cagliari. Its three-storey tower is the site’s biggest draw, with numerous other ruins built around the tower. It is estimated that the site dates back to the 16th century BC.
Porta Pino - Offers tourists beautiful pink sand beaches, sand dunes, coves and forests, and makes for a great excursion out of the city. The beaches here really are like something out of a movie, making for the perfect family or romantic outing.
Gennargentu National Park - Located in the interior of Sardinia this National Park features a stunning lake, loads of magnificent wildlife and scenery that is absolutely breathtaking.