The island of Sardinia is known for stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. Poetto beach ((Spiaggia del Poetto) is a long stretch of sand located near Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing and windsurfing. The beach is also close to the city center, making it easy to get to by bus or car.
Poetto is an excellent spot for a day at the beach, whether you’re looking to relax or get active. It’s also close to one of Sardinia’s most important national parks and a scenic lookout known as the Devil’s Saddle. So, if you’re looking for a nice day trip idea, add this one to your list.
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Where is Poetto beach & how to get there?
Due to its proximity to Cagliari’s centre, it’s very easy to get to Poetto. There are several parking areas if you decide to drive, or if you’re feeling energized, you can walk there. It takes about an hour to walk to Poetto beach from the city centre. Or, you can take the bus as we did.
You can take the PF, PQ or QS bus from Piazza Matteotti, right off Via Roma. The bus takes about 15-20 minutes and drops you off right by the beach. We got our tickets from a ticket booth in front of the central train station, or you can buy them at any Tabacchino.
Poetto beach is very popular with locals and tourists alike, so we were told that we had to go when we visited Cagliari. As Poetto is often referred to as a city beach, I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t have high hopes for the quality of sand and water. But since it was a quick trip from the city centre, we decided to give it a try. Spoiler alert – it was great.
About Poetto beach
As far as beaches go, Poetto is a lovely, 8 km-long stretch of sand between Cagliari and Quartu Sant’Elena. It’s a very picturesque area with great scenery. The water is clear and shallow and warm during the summer months. If you love the outdoors, there is plenty to do here.
The Italians are serious about their beach time and love to spend their summers hanging out by the shore. We visited at the end of the season when most people were finishing up their holidays, so the beach wasn’t as crowded as it would’ve been earlier in the month. If you plan to visit Poetto beach during the high season, expect more people and less availability.
The beach is excellent for a day or weekend trip year-round. Escape the summer heat for a quick dip in the water, grab lunch at one of the many restaurants with beach views or go for a long walk. You can come to Poetto beach and stay here for a few days at a hotel or rent a villa during the summer.
What to do at Poetto beach?
There are plenty of things to do at Poetto beach. If you’re looking to relax, you can sunbathe on the sand or take a dip in the clear blue water. If you’re feeling active, you can go for a swim, play beach volleyball or go windsurfing.
Whether you choose to stay for several days or take a drop by for a day, you’ll find several options. There is a stretch of public beach where you can claim your patch of sand and stake your umbrella, towels and chairs, or you can go with beach club-like options where you can rent it all.
We settled for a spot where we rented a full cabana with two chairs (padded with a little mattress, no less!) for 30 euros. The place even had its own beach access. It was also roped off from the public and had staff walking around the property. It definitely made us feel better about leaving our belongings there.
Poetto beach has a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops. If you get bored sitting on the beach, grab some food or a drink, and people watch. There are also water sports facilities and a marina if you’re feeling like being more active on the water.
Torre di Mezza Spiaggia
When you’re at Poetto beach, be sure to visit Torre di Mezza Spiaggia, a beautiful Spanish tower that offers stunning views of the beach and surrounding area. The tower was built during the 16th century and is located at the end of Poetto beach.
Molentargius-Saline Regional Park
Near Poetto beach, you’ll find Sardinia’s massive regional park. The park was once a significant salt extraction site, and today it’s a vast wetland with shallow pools. This large nature reserve is home to various wildlife, including pink flamingos. The park is also an excellent spot for birdwatching, as it is home to several rare and endangered species.
The park is free to visit, and you explore it on foot or rent a bike at the entrance. The birds are most active early in the morning and late afternoon, so plan your trip accordingly if you want to see them. Here you’ll also find different species of mammals and amphibians. It’s an excellent place for nature lovers and bird watchers.
Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and a hat. If you don’t own a pair of binoculars, you can rent them at the entrance too.
Sella del Diavolo/ Devil’s Saddle
If you’re up for some hiking, check out the scenic viewpoint called the Devil’s Saddle. It separates Poetto beach from Calamosca Beach and has a fun legend behind its name. It goes like this.
A very long time ago, the area enchanted Lucifer and his demons that they decided to keep the gulf and everything else to themselves. As we can imagine, God didn’t love this idea, so he sent his celestial army, led by the archangel Michael, to deal with this problem.
Lucifer purportedly fell off his horse during this battle and lost his saddle. As it fell, it was petrified when it hit the water. In another version, it was Lucifer who fell into the sea. Either way, the impact from the crash created a pretty promontory that overlooks the bay we see today. Hence the name.
You can hike the Devi’s Saddle in two ways. One of the trails you might want to take if you’re visiting Poetto beach starts in Marina Piccola, at the bottom of the mountain. The other begins on the other side of the hill on Calamosca beach. Both trails are relatively easy, with the Marina Piccola slightly more challenging. At the top, you’re rewarded with stunning views of the gulf.
Golfo degli Angeli / Gulf of Angels
Golfo degli Angeli, also known as the Gulf of Angels, is a beautiful bay that faces Poetto beach and the Devi’s Saddle. The bay is home to several small islands and many rocky cliffs. It’s also a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing and fishing.
There are various options for boat excursions to get a better view of Poetto beach. You can check for tours departing from the Marina Piccola or book in advance. It’s a great way to add an unforgettable experience to your trip, especially if you go at sunset.
The best time to visit Poetto beach
The best time to visit Poetto beach is from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny. The water temperature during this time is also very comfortable for swimming. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Poetto beach is October to April.
No matter when you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed. Sardinia is a great place for nature lovers and it’s a quick flight from Rome and other major cities. Come for a weekend or extend your vacation for as long as you like.