A jumble of pastel-painted mansions and honey-tinged churches that lurches high above the sky-blue Tyrrhenian Sea, Cagliari is the good-looking capital of the island of Sardinia. It’s not only an immersive city in its own right, packed with Roman relics, ancient ruins, rock-studded urban beaches and palm-threaded promenades awash with chic cafés. It’s also the gateway to the greater isle, which is crumpled by giant peaks for hikers, peppered with pre-historic tombs, and blessed with some of the most brilliant white-sand coastline this side of the Caribbean.
Whether you’re on a quick stopover before escaping to the country or a bona fide city break, Airbnb in Cagliari has you covered. There are all sorts of rentals on offer on the sharing platform, from romantic boltholes in the old town for loved-up couples to sprawling villas overlooking the nearby shores. This guide can help you pinpoint the most immersive neighbourhoods and some of the top Airbnb prospects around…
Airbnb in Cagliari is governed by Italian law, which means the service is totally legal. Travelers are free to browse, book and explore the whole short-term rental market as they wish. Hosts are required to register their property with authorities and are asked to collect the details of all guests at arrival – so be ready to present your passport upon check-in. In certain regions of Sardinia, you might also need to pay a small tourist tax, which is typically calculated per person, per night.
Where should I stay in Cagliari Airbnb?
Cagliari arcs around its big harbour to offer up four ancient districts. The most obvious is the soaring Castello(1), where the age-old fortification walls of the city are still on show. Below, you can explore the colourful residential streets of Stampace(2) or hop cafeterias in the lovely Quartiere Villanova(3). The Marina District(4), meanwhile, has seafood osteria and views over the happening port. For real, lived-in, workaday Cagliari, you could consider staying in San Benedetto(5). For shimmering beaches of soft sand and blue sea, head over to more secluded Geremeas(6).
The most historical part of town
Lovely Airbnbs with terraces
Awesome views across the town and the southern part of the island
Busy with tourists
Looks a bit shabby in parts
Lofted above the rest of the capital with its ancient fortification walls and towers, the Castello is the venerable core of Cagliari. It’s tight-knit, cramped and compact, but also oozes history and heritage from each of its cracked-stucco pores and frontispieces. The vibe is distinctly shabby-chic amid the half-crumbled medieval houses and bulwarks. The Bastione di Saint Remy is the heart of the district, around which are plenty of panoramic lookout points that offer sweeping views across the south of the island. Castello is packed with small but stylish Airbnbs, which often come with balconies or rooftop terraces.
Rolling down a steep hill to the north-west of the Castello is the Stampace neighbourhood. It’s another history-packed part of town that finds its zenith at a half-ruined Roman Amphitheatre that’s carved straight into the Sardinian cliffs. Below it is a maze of zigzagging streets and small piazzas. They are a haze of colour and life, with beautiful painted cafés converging all the way down the boulevards towards the vibrant Piazza Yenne. The side streets beyond are mainly sleepy residential territory, albeit home to grand architecture – think scarlet and ochre façades decorated in wrought-iron and blooms of bougainvillea.
As the name suggest, the Marina District is the boat-bobbing, salt-scented quarter of coastal Cagliari. These days, it’s bisected by an endless stream of car traffic on Via Roma. That’s a long and wide boulevard where you’ll be able to join the locals for a morning espresso and croissant close to the port. Behind, where the handsome Palazzo Marini-Devoto hosts its stone arcades, you can delve into an area of high buildings and shadowy streets, where some of the finest seafood trattoria on the island await.
Hugging the base of the Castello is another of Cagliari’s ancient barrios: The Quartiere Villanova. The street scenes are more typically Italian in these parts – think cobbled lanes with overhanging balconies and flapping washing on lines strewn across the street. If you can navigate your way to the main drags of Via Iglesias and Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, you’ll also encounter perhaps the best array of high-street and boutique shopping around. Further north are the narrow alleys that host the cafés and pizza places.
From the haphazard stalls of the sprawling Mercato Civico to the ramshackle espresso cantinas and the Vespa-purring streets, San Benedetto is every inch the lived-in corner of Cagliari. Things will rarely get too touristy if you opt to hop across to this north-eastern edge of the city, where the Airbnb rentals tend to be more spacious, more contemporary, and a whole load cheaper than their Castello compadres. The area is also known for its multi-ethnic eating, including Japanese sushi joints and German bakeries.
Calling all sun lovers – the outer area of Geremeas is the place to go for Sardinia’s trademark beaches. White sand and dusty hills of scrub front up against a pearly-blue Mediterranean Sea here, with long lengths of open shoreline that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, sailing, and windsurfing. Geremeas has Airbnbs that are deluxe to the T. Some even open onto beautiful decks and swimming pools that have views across the coast. Of course, heading here means you will be far from all the main historical sights and nightlife, but nowhere’ s perfect, right?
This charming duplex apartment spreads from a cosy interior living-dining-cooking space to a breezy terrace that looks straight out onto the ancient Castello of downtown Cagliari. If you manage to find time between long lunches and dinners on the patio, you can retreat to your sumptuous lounge, which has bright whitewashed ceilings and a come-laze-in-me sofa area. The bedroom is tucked into the back with a modern ensuite.
La Pavoncella is perched on a steep cliffside on the rugged and glimmering coastline just to the west of Cagliari. It’s the perfect place for an escape to Sardinian nature, what with its terraced garden and BBQ areas that roll down through groves of stone pines to sweeping 180-degree views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The White House sits in the charming and quiet residential quarter of Stampace. It’s got three separate bedrooms, each of which ooze a mix of contemporary décor and traditional Sardinian coastal style. Down a spiral staircase is the communal dining and cooking room, which spills out onto a compact terrace.
Space is in abundance in this sprawling apartment complex down on the Cagliari Marina. There’s no fewer than five bedrooms, with capacity for up to 15 guests at a time. On top of that comes a trio of working, well-equipped kitchens, and some gorgeous al fresco dining and lazing spaces that should help the whole crew unwind after long bouts of sightseeing in the city.
Luxurious New Seafront Apartment in Peaceful Location
Honeymooners and minimooners could do a whole load worse than this seafront apartment that gazes across the pine-studded shores of gorgeous Geremeas. Yes, it’s far from Cagliari’s main sights, but daytrips to the city can end with swims in crystal-clear seas and evening Aperitivo with the sunset across the water. The apartment itself has a coveted Plus rating, along with an open panoramic terrace and stylish lounge with a flat-screen TV.
Airbnb is always a great choice for budget-conscious travelers on their way to the stunning Sardinian capital. The reason? The service often has rentals that cost a whole bunch less than a traditional hotel. Many of the listings also have multiple bedrooms, allowing you to share the cost of a stay with everyone in your group. What’s more, self-catering facilities are common in Cagliari Airbnbs, which means you won’t have to fork out so much for those seafood tagliatelles or pizzas in the local restaurants.
Don’t expect to receive the same hands-on service that you get in hotels in an Airbnb, though. They are just totally different styles of stay; one about privacy the other about being pampered and looked after. If you’re keen to have breakfast buffets, room service, an on-demand concierge and the like, why not check out somewhere like Hotel Flora. Right in the shadow of the Castello neighbourhood, it boasts characterful rooms and suites in one of the town’s liveliest districts.
Picture-perfect Cagliari magnetises travelers with visions of half-ruined castles, Roman theatres, and bustling port areas scented with fresh seafood. Oh, and then come the nearby beaches, which are cotton white and up there with the very best in Italy. What are you waiting for?