Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Cagliari

Sardinia 18.10.23

Swing unit for Golfo Aranci at Olbia

Wednesday 18.10.23

Our journey today is going to be lengthy.  In rail terms we are going to go to the north of the island – first on the long journey to Olbia and then on the remaining line to Golfo Aranci on the coast.

Leaving Cagliari the train is well laden for the first half of the journey and the existence of this part of the railway system is very definitely needed unlike the thinner loadings on some of our earlier trips.  Our route threads through the island touching the west coast at Oristano before turning east and then north east.

The train then revisits some locations through which we have previously passed – Macomer  first.  At Macomer the narrow gauge lines from Bosa Nova and to Nuoro meet and terminate in a separate station across the way where we were a week or so ago.  Then further north at Ozieri-Chilivani we repass the destination of our ill-fated excursion from Sassari – this time in the same station as that was also a standard gauge train.

The first part of the journey is across the fairly flat plains of southern Sardinia which were no doubt inundated in the tsunami mentioned previously and then after Macomer the unit starts having to apply real power to climb the hills and the speed drops at times.  We move into the more elevated areas in the centre of the island, again with some wonderful views, before we drop down again to sea level at the end of the journey.

Olbia is a terminus and the train goes no further.  After checking our next train is waiting at another platform and we actually walk across the tracks – just like all the other travellers.  The services are much less heavily used  and we have a nice run through the countryside to the final destination.

Isola di Figarolo

At Golfo Aranci there is a coach ready and waiting and after a brief photo stop of Isola di Figarolo we are whisked to the airport – and in plenty of time as the check in desks are not yet checking in!

However they do, we eventually board and fly home.


Sardinia 17.10.23

Dotto train Cagliari

Tuesday 17.10.23

On the original schedule for this holiday we were due to fly home today.  However the relevant flight has been changed (on Tuesdays) to depart much earlier in the day so it would be a very difficult flight to catch.  We therefore opted to have an additional night in Cagliari which in retrospect was not the best possible solution as tomorrow turns into a very long day.

We should have requested the original train service to the north today and then a hotel stay somewhere appropriate and that would have split the travelling in two making it easier.

However with this free day we walk down to the station to catch the Dotto train I spotted earlier and use this to take us up to the castello area and then to descend back to the starting point so that Jackie has an opportunity to see some of the sights which she did not see as she did not take part in the guided tour.  This one is more colourful than some of the others as can be seen above.

Once she is back at the hotel I decide to go in search of the trams which we saw briefly at San Gottardo when we arrived from the north and the online information implies that they currently run to Republicca which looks like it is walkable and hopefully not too uneven.  I head in the right direction noting that it is largely downhill – which is fine now but may not be later on!  There is a large construction project in progress to extend the metro system from that current terminus into the town centre adjacent to the main station – it has been ongoing some years and there have been various delays, not least covid and financial aspects.

Cagliari metro line

I reach my destination and there are lots of people around – and even some tracks around the back but no obvious station entrance and some very rusty looking rails.  I later discover that the metro is not running here and instead there is a replacement bus service – which I do not fancy – it is very hot again today and I walk back by a marginally different route to the hotel.  I am sure the exercise did me good!

Dinner in the marina area again – at what I later find is one of the longer standing restaurants.  Initially not particularly welcomed as we are the first and obviously very early diners but as the staff turn up and they get going it is far more friendly.

Sardinia 16.10.23

Cagliari Station locomotive

Monday 16.10.23

We head down the hill and along to the main station where we are going to travel on a couple of lines which head westward out of Cagliari.   When I say “we” today I am referring to the tour group party as Jackie has decided on a rest day in the hotel.

At Cagliari station there is a steam locomotive 744003 – class 744.  Class construction took place in 1927 and part of the class was assigned to Sardinia when the line they were working on the mainland in Italy was electrified.  They were mixed traffic locos used until withdrawal in the 1970’s.  There is one other similar loco in a museum in Pistoia on the mainland.  It seems unlikely that either will return to steam.

As we leave the station there is evidence along the lineside that electrification is coming – although it looks like it will be some time yet.  The train is well used and particularly at the airport station there are decent numbers waiting to go into the town centre on the other platform.  The line to the northern part of the island is just beyond Deciomomannu station whilst our line branches off to the left and heads westwards.

There is another junction station at Villamassargia-Domusnovas where the line effectively splits into two.  Nothing much happens here for most of each hour, but then when the hourly service arrives from Cagliari, two other trains arrive from each terminus – one at Carbonia-Serbariu and the other at Iglesias – which is where we are heading.  The hourly service we are using goes to Iglesias, and the train which has arrived from there is going to Cagliari.  The third train will return to Carbonia-Serbariu.  An hour later the train from Cagliari will go onwards to Carbonia-Serbariu but again there will be a connection to and from Iglesias using the unit on which we are travelling.


Iglesias is a pretty town and I undertake a wander around as they have decorated one of the thoroughfares with umbrellas and there is a small square.  I find a small side street for lunch – and it is lunchtime as the entire town, apart from the restaurants, seems to have closed up!

Some of us then take the opportunity of using the interconnection mentioned earlier and visit Carbonia-Serbariu but we merely reach the terminus and then take the return working – which goes through to Cagliari.  I can see evidence of mine wheels in the distance as we enter and leave the station and I believe they mark a coal mine museum indicating the economic history of Carbonia – although there may be a clue in the name!


Sardinia 15.10.23

Our Green Train at Laconi

Sunday 15.10.23

Today is a little odd as we use the coach for a return to Mandas where yesterday we caught a service train south.  Today we head in the opposite direction using one of the Green Train services to see more of the scenic beauty in the centre of the island.

An early arrival enables another quick visit to the same convenient coffee shop as used yesterday.  On this journey it is noticeable that just about all of the coach journey travelling times are significantly over-estimated.

Transport today is also a throwback as we have a diesel loco and coaches.  We are heading north from Mandas to Laconi.  The line originally ran through some very rural areas ending in Sorgono; I have found a review of a trip reaching there in 2012 but there is no indication that any services now cover the line north of Laconi on a regular basis.

Part of the journey is alongside a reservoir and we see some very attractive scenery passing by as the line inevitably twists and turns along the hillsides to find their way between the sparse settlements.

Chiesa San Sebastiano at Isili

Other participants are not just taking the train trip but are going on a further excursion but our tour operator only booked the train – this may vary on future such tours.  Looking at the Green Train excursions being outlined for 2024 it seems that they do not normally just offer the train – but it forms part of a larger offering on most of the services.

We return to Cagliari by coach – it is a lot faster by road than it was by rail!  Once back in the capital we have a cultural excursion to the archaeological site at Nora which was originally a local settlement and then a Phoenician settlement.   Later still Punic and eventually Roman which of course sits on the top of the others.  Given its location at the southern end of Sardinia it became a major trading place as it was easily reached from all directions across the Mediterranean.

Roman Mosaics at Nora

As with many Roman sites there mosaics so implying it was a major site in the first century and predates Cagliari by a long time.  We can see that it was highly compact settlement and yet there is a small amphitheatre and other communal facilities, so the population must have been in need of such resources.  However much of the adjacent land is still used by the army and has yet to be excavated so may extend over a much greater area as well as there being a further extension which has now fallen below sea level as this end of the island is sinking into the sea.

We return to Cagliari for dinner.



Sardinia 14.10.23

ARST Railcar @ Mandas

Saturday 14.10.23

Having used the golf buggy to reach the coach at the top of the hill we depart and head initially south and then turn inland through some more wild and rugged countryside winding around and over some magnificent hills on our way to Mandas – which is where the junction of the line to Arbatax branches off from the line which runs south to Cagliari and also runs northwards.

South of Mandas towards Cagliari there is a pretty regular service run by ARST usually using the same units we have already enjoyed on the west of the island and one or two services (I think for school traffic mainly) that run to a couple of stations north of Mandas on weekdays only.  We arrive in plenty of time and so go in search of a coffee at a nearby establishment which is also popular with the locals and is soon found by many of our fellow travellers.

There are still one or two services provided by older railcars (one was seen earlier in the holiday on the line from Sorso to Sassari) and today one has been found for our journey to Cagliari.  So no air conditioning today!  It is pictured above!

Metro at San Gottardo

Our journey terminates at San Gottardo in the north east area of Cagliari.  The line continues onwards as part of the metro system but our coach is here to convey us to our hotel in the town centre.  The trams use the same gauge and indeed run a little way further out of Cagliari on the line we have used on our inward journey.  The depot is here at San Gottardo.

Our hotel is based in the City Centre near to the main run of restaurants and not far from what is known as the Marina area although there is now a main road between the area and the waterfront.

Elephant Gate Cagliari

Our coach takes us first to the far side of the city and we have views both out to sea and then back across the city to the Castello area.  Having had a distant view the coach then returns to the city to drop us very close to the top of the city which is the Castello district.  This was  originally the location of a  Pisan castle and it represented a change as the main city had previously been elsewhere.

The Aragonese eventually defeated the Pisans and took control of Sardinia.  We walk slowly down the hill from the Castle area past the Royal Palace and the Cathedral – there is a service in progress so we cannot take a look.  We wind back and forth – others seem to know where we are, I will admit to being confused.  We pass through the Elephant Gate and we eventually emerge adjacent to the Bastion de St Remy having walked all the way down the hill and avoided the large number of steps.  I noted a number of restaurants on the way but it is clear that they are uphill!  From here it is a further short walk down more of the hill to the hotel.

The adjacent Marina district is just behind the main street of Cagliari and it contains numerous restaurants so we wander down there for our dinner.