Monday, June 4, 2018

A Newer Kat in CAGLIARI


I'm back with another travel guide this time for Cagliari, a small city on the Italian island of Sardegna. I traveled to this island over spring break and loved the quintessential Italian feel of the city.

Where I Stayed:
I stayed at Villa Beach City which is located in Poetto Beach, about 20 minutes outside the main city of Cagliari. The hostel was only a two-minute walk to the beach and a grocery store. Unfortunately, I went during off season so it was too cold for the beach and most of the restaurants were closed. However, this would be a great location to stay in the summer months! As for the hostel itself, I stayed in a private room since this was the only option the hostel offered. It cost about $30 per night which wasn't bad considering I had my own room and bathroom. My favorite part of my stay was talking with one of the owners of the hostel in Italian. She was so friendly and told me to come back to the island soon. She even drove me to the airport for about 20 euro which I was happy to pay since my flight was early. While I enjoyed my time here and the fairy tale essence of the garden, I will say the common area smelled a little wonky like bad incense and it was a little far from the main city if you want that to be the focus of your trip.

Where I Ate:
I struggled with finding vegan food near my hostel since it was such a small town. I ended up going to the grocery store for my breakfast and lunch meals (which was fine with me) and eating pasta and pizza without the cheese for dinner. I also ventured into the city one afternoon and went to the farmers' market for some fruit to munch on and stopped by a quintessential Italian cafe which I highly recommend doing! I got a bag full of fruit for only two euro and enjoyed a soy cappuccino...vegan heaven if you ask me! I'm sure there are other vegan options in the city as well, I just wasn't staying in that area.

Restaurants in Poetto:
  • Lo Spiedo Sardo Poetto $$ - I don't recommend. The pasta wasn't that great. I only went here since all the other restaurants were closed.  
  • Al Poetto Ristorante Pizzeria $ - This is an OK spot for pizza. Again, I was limited with my options. 
Farmers' market and cafe in Cagliari:
  • Mercato di San Benedetto $ - Highly, highly recommend! The market is open Mon-Sat 7AM-2PM and makes for a great lunch or snack stop. For more info, check out this post
  • Antico Cafe $ - If you want to feel like you're in an old-school Italian movie with Italian music playing in the background and a classic old Italian man reading a newspaper right next to you, go to this cafe. 
What I Did:
Here are some of the places I recommend seeing in Cagliari and Poetto! If you want a more in-depth look, watch my Cagliari Vlog.

1. Poetto Beach
The first thing I did when I arrived at the hostel was venture to the beautiful Poetto Beach. You can tell how much I loved it by the smile on my face! I took a long walk on the beach and enjoyed the view while eating some of the best strawberries I've ever had. I'm sure this beach would be even better when it's warmer. I probably would've stayed all day if it wasn't cold! The restaurants along the beach also looked really cute, although almost all of them were closed like I said. You can also see Sella del Diavolo in the background which is a beautiful place to go hiking or just admire from the beach. There was also a great running/biking path along the beach which I would've taken advantage of it I was there longer. 






2. Sella del Diavolo Hike & Calamosca Beach
As I was researching things to do in Cagliari, hiking the Sella del Diavolo was one of the top things that caught my attention. I tried to find a hiking tour, but there weren't any since it was off season. I hemmed and hawed about hiking solo, and finally decided to just go for it because I didn't want to miss out on something I really wanted to do just because I was alone. I packed some water and a pocket knife and my hiking saga began. I attempted to find the entrance on the Poetto beach side and failed to do so. I didn't want to give up that easily so I tried again later in the day and successfully found it near Calamosca Beach which is also a great beach to visit (beach in the distance of the picture on the right). I found the entrance/trail using this app called Wikiloc and will definitely use the app again in the future! 
As always, if you opt to hike alone, use caution and do so at your own discretion. 



3. Botanical Gardens
My Earth-loving, vegan self had to go to the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are located in the heart of Cagliari which you would never expect...it's like a little oasis from the busy city! I really enjoyed going here because it was a nice break from the ebb and flow of the city. There were also so many different types of plants, most of which I had never seen before! Another thing I loved about the garden is that the people working at the entrance gate were so friendly! I spoke in Italian and you could tell they really appreciated it. If possible, try to learn a few basic phrases of the language wherever you are traveling to! A little effort goes a long way. 






4. Torre dell'Ellefante & Panoramic Viewpoint
Unfortunately, I couldn't climb the Torre dell'Ellefante because it was closed for construction. Instead, I went to a panoramic viewpoint right past the tower! It was overlooked the entire city and port. I loved seeing all of the colorful buildings from above. 

Side note: Right before I took this picture, a little girl walked past me and asked her mom in Italian, "Why is that girl alone?" Of course, she didn't know I could understand her and didn't mean any harm by it. However, it took me by surprise and I ended up thinking about it for the rest of the afternoon. I came to the conclusion that our society is so afraid of being alone because of the stigma that is attached to doing something solo. We are so afraid of being alone that we even use our phones as pacifiers. I say no to this stigma and will proudly keep going solo near and far!  

Other places in my Cagliari Vlog
5. Parco Naturale Molentargius

What To Be Prepared For:
First and foremost, Sardegna runs on Italian time which means schedules don't really exist. I waited over an hour for one bus and 15 minutes for another. Italy has a beautiful way of making you slow down you least want to! Secondly, make sure you buy a ticket for the bus and don't try to ride for free. The first time I purchased a ticket at the machine prior to boarding and the second time I bought a ticket on board. Well, I figured that when I took the bus for a third time, I could just buy a ticket on board again. Apparently only some bus drivers let you do that so buy your ticket in advance! Also make sure you always have a bus ticket and don't try to sneak on without one! On one of the buses I took, two cops got on and started checking everyone's tickets and fining those without one. Lastly, as with any European city, be weary of pick-pocketers.

If any of you have summer travel plans, I'd love to hear in the comments and follow along! xx

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