Gulf of Cagliari (Golfo di Cagliari)
Cagliari is an important port city and its gulf is busy with ships and ferries, but the crystalline waters and sandy coastline here are also a recreational hub. Many stretches of coast along the gulf are lined with bustling beach clubs where you can rent a deck chair and umbrella for the day or set off to explore by sea via kayak or boat. The St. Elia Promontory marking the middle of the bay is a popular hiking destination, and trails run near ruins of a Punic water tank and Roman cistern. Other archaeological sites ring the gulf, including the ancient Roman and pre-Roman ruins at Nora on the western end, where the theater is still used for performances during the summer.
Things to know before you go
- A day at one of the beaches along the gulf is a welcome respite for families. There are public beaches or private beach clubs that rent loungers and umbrellas, and include access to changing rooms with showers, restrooms, and restaurants or snack bars.
- To explore the bay by sea, you can rent a kayak independently or as part of a guided excursion.
- The sun can be unforgiving along the gulf, so wear a hat and sunscreen whether relaxing on the beach, kayaking, or hiking.
- Some beaches are accessible to wheelchair users; kayaking tours and hiking trails are not. The ruins in Nora are only partially accessible, so request information and assistance at the information office.
How to get there
The Gulf of Cagliari (Golfo di Cagliari) is located on the southern coastline of Sardinia near the island’s capital city of Cagliari. Ferries run from a number of ports on Italy’s mainland to the gulf, or you take a city bus from central Cagliari to the nearby beaches. Many hiking, kayaking, and archaeological tours include transportation from Cagliari or other cities in Sardegna.
When to get there
Most activities along the Gulf of Cagliari, from swimming to exploring the area’s ancient ruins, are outdoors. Visit during the summer months to enjoy all the gulf has to offer, keeping in mind that temperatures in Sardinia soar during midday.
The Gulf of Cagliari’s Most Diabolical Sight
One of the most striking natural features in the Gulf of Cagliari is Devil’s Saddle (Sella del Diavolo) a saddle-shaped indentation in the St. Elia promontory. Its diabolical name derives from a popular local legend that tells the story of a battle between the devil and Archangel Michael over control of the gulf. During the struggle, the devil is said to have been thrown from his horse and his saddle turned to stone. The names of both Devil's Saddle and the Gulf of Angels are inspired by this tale.