Cagliari on a Budget


We’re not gonna lie. We had a mission. We had £200 to spend between us, plus a couple of coupon codes, for a 4-5 day trip, to include flights and accommodation. A quick flight search last October led us to some bargain flights to the capital of Sardinia; Cagliari. So we booked it. And it’s safe to say we will be going back for more!

How to get there

We took a budget flight with Ryanair from Manchester direct to Cagliari airport, just 5 miles from the centre. When we say budget, we mean £25 base fare (and we only took cabin cases). You can also nab cheap flights from London, Spain, France, Belgium and Germany to name a few! The city centre is easily accessible by train, bus and taxi but as we had a rainy weather situation going on, we jumped in a taxi direct to our accommodation for 15 euros.

Where to stay

A 3* hotel will set you back at around £80 per night. Clearly our budget didn’t cover this, so we opted for a little house boat! If you’re keen campers, this will be a step-up, and you can’t beat waking up on the water each morning. It was by no means luxury (and the fishing boats did wake us up around 5am every day) but we paid around £35 a night and it was worth every penny. We bought in some snacks and booze and spent our afternoons on the rooftop deckchair. It was an epic spot for watching the boats go in and out, as well as the most amazing sunsets!

How to get around

Our houseboat was located in Sant’Elmo Marina, around a mile or so from the city centre. We’re keen walkers so enjoyed exceeding the recommended step count each day, but it would only be a few euros if you preferred to take a taxi.

What to do

Explore the old town

You can never go wrong setting off on foot and meandering the streets of anywhere in Italy. It’s by far our favourite country and Sardinia did not disappoint. Upon our travels we discovered the Duomo (cathedral), located in the centre of the city which has 2 crypts inside to explore.

Even better, there are countless places for a pit stop beverage and aperitif as well as great spots for taking in the views of this port city.

Take a tuk-tuk tour

If you can stretch the budget, hop on board a tuk-tuk for a unique way of seeing Cagliari and its surroundings. Our driver was super knowledgeable and we were able to visit some amazing ‘off the beaten path’ spots with unrivalled views of Cagliari and beyond.

The tour also took us to Molentargius Natural Park – home to hundreds of flamingos who live there all year round. From here you can also reach Poetto beach which stretches to around 8km. Buses will also take you here and the sea front is lined with bars, restaurants and hotels.

Sail around the island

Okay this sounds extravagant but we were lucky enough to locate a man with a boat. For 40 euros each, we were able to spend the afternoon on a private sail boat, enjoying the magical waters of Sardinia. The trip even included a glass of prosecco and snacks before taking a dip in the ocean.

We will be heading back for a week-long trip on the boat this fall so watch this space. Send us a message if you want more details!

Where to eat

If you’re staying on Sant’Elmo Marina, the Sant’Elmo Bar & Restaurant is a great lunch spot for tasty home-cooked meals, as well as great cocktails.

If you’re a fan of seafood, the nearby Ristorante Le 2 Isole was a hidden gem. The chef greeted us at the door and enticed us in with this charm – and the food was delicious. We’ve never eaten so much lobster for such a cheap price! They also offer vegetarian and vegan options.

What are you waiting for?

Whether you’re looking for a weekend trip or a week-long vacation, Cagliari is a great base for exploring the city and the rest of the island. For longer trips, we’d recommend hiring a car to give you full freedom and flexibility. With great weather from Spring until Fall, Cagliari is your perfect bargain sunny destination!

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