Sardinia: from the Green Coast to Cagliari

by Tanja

Here we are, back from Sardinia, in the previous post we told you everything about our first 5 days on the road on the west coast of the island, the wildest and most authentic part. From the Gulf of Oristano, with its nuraghi and the suggestive remains of the ancient Phoenician town of Tharros, we headed South to the beautiful Costa Verde. There, we discovered breathtaking scenery: miles of golden sand dunes, dense vegetation and an unspoilt hinterland, where nature has escaped man’s domination. Now is time to continue our journey!

From the Costa Verde to Cagliari

Duration: 5 days  //  225 km  //  6h30

  Back in the car, we drove through the Sulcis Iglesiante coast, discovering stacks and beautiful coves, together with some stunning sunsets. With a short ferry ride, we reached Carloforte and then continued our trip to more dunes, the famous Is Arenas Biancas of Porto Pino before ending our trip in the Sardinian capital, Cagliari.

 

THE ITINERARY

4 days in the Sulcis Iglesiante Coast

200 kilometres of bays, coves and long beaches. All you have to do is choose. Our favourites? The two kilometres of beach surrounded by a beautiful pine forest connecting San Nicolò to Portixeddu and the idyllic Cala Domestica, a bay framed by limestone cliffs and dominated by an 18th-century Spanish tower. Here, mining history and wild nature merge into a single scenario. Among the galleries carved by the miners, one in particular leads from Cala Domestica to a second, more secluded cove, called La Caletta. Reaching the 10 metre tall Spanish tower you will enjoy breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape. A path starting from the left side of the beach will lead you to the top of the promontory. Cala Domestica’s kiosk offers an equipped camper area and a campsite where you can spend the night in a tent or motorhome starting from 5.00 €.

Further South lies the ancient mine of Porto Flavia: more than a mine, Porto Flavia is a port suspended on the edge of a rocky cliff. Here, a 600-metre long tunnel excavated by miners between 1922 and 1924 leads you to a breathtaking view of the Pan di Zucchero. The imposing 133-metre tall stack is the symbol of the Iglesiante Coast (entrance fee: 10 €, booking is recommended: infoturistiche@comune.iglesias.ca.it). On the left side of the ruins of the mining structure, Masua’s beach is another great view point to admire the Pan di Zucchero stack. Masua is the starting point of one of our favourite coastal roads: a panoramic route, suspended between the sky and the sea, that runs along the rocky coastline offering a unique view of 5 majestic stacks surrounded by turquoise waters. After a short drive from Masua we came across the old mining town of Nebida which has a beautiful Belvedere – view point – overlooking a majestic mine site along with one of the most beautiful views of the island. Especially at sunset!

For two nights in a row we lost the track of time watching the red sun slowly setting on the sea from the romantic veranda of the restaurant Dal Capitano (Tel. 340 761 2891 – Via Laveria Lamarmora, Nebida) where we enjoyed delicious and fresh fish recipes. We literally fell in love with this place! Intimate atmosphere, a panoramic veranda and delicious food at honest prices. After the peaceful Nebida, we visited the small island of San Pietro and its unique town centre, the village of Carloforte. Colonized in 1738 by a few Ligurian fishermen from the Tunisian city of Tabarka, Carloforte holds tight to the language, the culture and the food (like couscous) of its founders. With its narrow alleys and colourful houses, Carloforte totally seduced us! To get there, we took a ferry from Portovesme (40 min journey, departing every hour, tickets starting from 7,80 € return). If you are planning to visit San Pietro beaches consider taking your car on the ferry with you as the public transport is slow and irregular.     The last stop before heading to the city was Porto Pino, in the southwestern part of Sardinia. In this corner of paradise the sea, lagoon and vegetation live in perfect harmony. The turquoise waters contrast with the white sand dunes of Is Arenas Biancas. To complete this wonder of nature, flocks of pink flamingos fly undisturbed on the lagoon, just behind the beach.

Where to eat and what to taste in Iglesiante Coast Dal Capitano Via Laveria Lamarmora – Nebida Tel. 340 761 2891 Specialità: Mussels ‘alla marinara’ (5€) as starter and Linguine with clumbs and bottarga (8€) as main!! Ranch S’arriali S.S. 130 Km 49, 09016 Località S’Arriali – Iglesias Tel. 0781 251792 Specialty: the Porceddu Sardo, a classic of the Sardinian pastoral cooking tradition, is a must try! Despite its fame it is not so easy to find in common restaurants’ menus. The Ranch S’arriali cook it upon request (35€ per person), combining the delicious food with the famous hospitality of the Sardinian people.

1 day in Cagliari

Last stop of our trip: Cagliari, the capital of the island, where we spent a few hours discovering the city before our return flight. Located in the middle of the Gulf of Angels, Cagliari shows to its visitors all the signs of its long history. Of the four historic districts, we only had the time to visit the Marina district, built for fishermen and merchants and the Castle district, which rises on the highest hill. Noble dwellings and ancient bastions – now used as panoramic terraces – and medieval towers characterize the upper part of the city. The real hidden gem of Cagliari is inside the St. Mary’s Cathedral.   The Duomo has been dismantled and renewed several times, but its current look is the result of four centuries of Catalan-Aragonese interventions. As soon as you walk in you get hypnotized by the beautiful artwork, the chromatic features of its marble floor and by the Martyrs’ Shrine, the crypt built in 1618 and hidden underneath the altar of the cathedral.     Practical info For this journey, we chose EasyJet to fly from Milan Malpensa to Cagliari (about € 100 return). After arriving at the airport we rented a car with InterRent (€ 37 a day). Booking in advance through HappyCar.it we got full insurance included in the price. At the InterRent office at the airport, you will find a long queue. Skip the line and go directly into the office to do the electronic check in at the desk on the right (super fast and easy to use)! You will save a lot of time! Beach car parks in the Iglesiante Coast cost 2 € half a day, 4 € the whole day. The main beaches are equipped with umbrellas, sun beds, toilets, showers and kiosks. Some of them also offer a camping area. The restaurants offer delicious local dishes at great prices (from 8 € to 12 € for the first and second). If you liked this article, share it on your socials!

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