Thursday, 11 May 2017

Cagliari, Sardinia: 9 Recommendations For Your Trip (Featuring Food, Wine And More Wine)

Hello hello, it's been a while! I've recently returned from a five-day stay in Cagliari, Sardinia. We managed to get some cheap(ish) return flights with Easyjet and found a decent Airbnb apartment for a good price. During our time there we didn't really do a lot of sightseeing, it was more an exploration of the food and drink. But it was still incredible and I managed to squeeze in an hour's nap (minimum) each day. Hard slog, eh?

Anyway, now that I'm home and craving another holiday, I thought I'd jot down nine recommendations for anyone who might be venturing there in the future. 
Without further ado, here they are:

1. Stay in an Airbnb

Yes hotels are all well and good, but to get the true Italian experience, try and bag yourself an Airbnb apartment in the city centre. We managed to stay in an apartment which was not only very authentic (it had old-fashioned beams in the ceiling and little Juliet balconies which looked out over the narrow streets below), but it was also ideally located - literally a hop, skip and a jump from all of the restaurants and shops. Here's a link to the apartment we stayed in, which was a 10 minute walk from the train station. The owners are lovely and really helpful, I'd defo recommend.

2. Eat at Stella Marina Di Montecristo

Stella Marina Di Montecristo is like no other. While it might not look like much aesthetically, this restaurant does incredible seafood. They don't have a menu or anything, you simply rock up and eat what they serve you (which, in hindsight, is not ideal if you have a food allergy!). We had a mind-blowing seafood starter with lots of different nibbles to try including prawns, mussels, octopus and other fishy delicacies - all presented on large shells. This was followed by some form of seafood pasta. Then came the main, which was a huge platter containing beautifully grilled fish, prawns and loads of fruit. It was fresh and it was very tasty. There was also bread, a bottle of wine and limoncello to wash it all down with. The meal cost 30 euros per person and was absolutely spot on. Booking ahead is a must though as it's popular with locals and tourists alike.

3. Drink latte macchiatos at Dulcis Pasticceria

Dulcis Pasticceria was our local haunt. Every morning, at about 11:30am, we'd venture to the café for a coffee. We'd often sit outside in the sunshine and people-watch. The latte macchiatos there are delicious - super creamy coffee with loads of foam on the top. They also do lots of cakes and nibbles. We had a selection of 10 mini treats such as pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, pastries etc for five euros. Top tip: if you ask for a 'latte' in Cagliari, nine times out of 10 they'll bring you a glass of hot, frothy milk as they take it very literally. Instead, make sure you ask for a 'caffe latte'.

4. Try the biscuits at Durke

Durke is a lovely little shop selling traditional Sardinian biscuits - *sings Rihanna's 'Work' but with the word 'Durke' instead*. They sell a variety of biscuits and small Italian cakes with delicious flavours - some taste like almond, others taste like Christmas cake, others are very lemony. The biscuits themselves are quite crunchy on the outside, with a softer centre. One evening we walked past the shop, which was directly below our apartment, and decided to buy a selection. We ended up with a sizeable bag of treats and at about 10:30pm at night, we sat eating them in the flat and washed them down with a bottle of red. It was the absolute dream. The next morning we walked outside and the Hairy Bikers were filming there - so it must be good!

5. Visit Castello di San Michele

Climbing up a big hill to Castello di San Michele (especially after an hour's walk to get there), it can be easy to wonder why the hell you're there in the first place. Your legs hurt, it's hot, you need a drink and to top it off, you've got a lovely blister forming on your ankle. But all of that is swiftly forgotten when you get to the top of the hill and peer out at the whole of Cagliari. If you do go, I'd recommend getting some form of public transport to the actual hill instead of walking all of the way there. There's also a bar at the top of the hill where you can stock up on fluids. Winner, winner.  

6. Shop along Via Giuseppe Manno
If you fancy a mooch around some shops, head to Via Giuseppe Manno. I ended up spending a good hour in the Zara there which was full of colourful clobber and some super-funky designs. I ended up purchasing some high-waisted gingham trousers. Because, well, why the hell not?!  
7. Drink wine and eat cheese in BuffHouse
The name alone is enough to make you want to drink there. BuffHouse is this dark, cellar-like bar where you can sit and drink red wine and eat cheese and prosciutto to your heart's content. One of our afternoons in Cagliari was spent in there and we had a whale of a time (helped, of course, by the fact I was suitable sozzled by the end of it). I'd definitely recommend though. The cheeseboard is a must! If I went again, I'd definitely like to try their cooked food too. (JUST GIVE ME IT ALL.)

8. Dine in style at Ristorante da Marino al St. Remy

When we chanced upon this restaurant one evening, we struck gold. Despite not having a reservation, they managed to find us a table and we had an absolute corker of a meal. I still have dreams about the black seafood spaghetti. The atmosphere in there is amazing and the service was most definitely the best we received during our time there. It's a fine dining experience, and the price reflects that, but it's definitely worth visiting. 
9. Cool down with gelato from Gelateria Vaniglia e Pistacchio
If I could ship this gelato to England and eat it every day I would. Situated down Via Napoli, this gelateria is very, very popular - with queues out of the door. And no wonder, because the gelato is incredibly creamy and just generally downright delicious. The coconut flavour (or cocco, as they call it) is my absolutely fave. The pistachio's not bad either. *Dribble*

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