If you’re a history buff, art lover, or someone who just loves learning, then the museums in Sardinia will be a real treat for you. While lounging by the beach in a sunbed along the turquoise-blue waters of Sardinia is positively divine, there is a bevy of museums in Sardinia that really merit a trip away from the sandy shore. Plus, you need a break from the sun every now and again, right?
I’ve spent many hours wandering the halls of the best museums in Sardinia and am eager to share my favorites with you. If you’re ready to plan your Sardinia trip – or you’re just perusing the options – let me be your tour guide through the top museums in Sardinia. Ready? Let’s go.
The Best Museums In Sardinia You Really Must Visit
The Archeological Museum of Cagliari
The Archeological Museum of Cagliari is located in the capital of Sardinia, right on the southern shore. This prize jewel of Sardinian museums houses a vast collection of archeological artifacts and objects showcasing the rich history of Sardinia.
This is definitely one of the best museums in Sardinia. You’ll find incredible exhibits from the pre-Nuragic and the Nuragic Age, all the way up until the Byzantine era. You’ll encounter bronze and stone statues as well as gold, craftsmanship objects, ceramics, and jewels. Trust me, the Byzantine jewels aren’t something to scoff at!
My favorite jewelry on display at the Archeological Museum in Cagliari is a gorgeous Phoenician necklace made from stunningly large pearls. The central pearls actually have the form of bearded heads! Talk about creativity there – who doesn’t want to wear bearded-head shaped pearls around their neck these days? Someone call Tiffany’s to put their designers to work!
The museum itself is a stocky four-floor building that was previously an armory. Once it started to fall apart, it was rebuilt into this museum.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Admission is €7; the combined ticket (Archeology Museum and Pinacoteca Nazionale) is €9.
Make sure to read my post The Most Interesting Archeological Sites In Sardinia.
The Civic Archaeological Museum of Cabras
The Civic Archaeological Museum of Cabras dwells in the central-western coast of Sardinia. Inside this museum lie one of the most precious artifacts in all of Sardinia— the Giants of Mont’e Prama. The discovery of these giant statues has been described as the most significant archeological find in the entire 20th century in the Mediterranean. Their claim to fame is well deserved.
So what exactly are the Giants of Mont’e Prama? These are two-meter-tall giant stone statues that total in eighteen boxers with shields and gloves, six archers, and six warriors.
Granted, the Archeological Museum in Cagliari does have a few of these on display, but it’s really here at the Civic Archaeological Museum that you’ll get to witness these ancient giants in full effect. That’s why this is one of the most famous museums in Sardinia.
Another focus of the museum is the pre-Nuragic Age, which is well-evidenced by the plethora of artifacts from Cuccuru is Arrius. This village was nestled along the banks of the Cabras Lagoon and was inhabited between the 5th and 3rd millennium BC. There are also ruins of a necropolis on display from the first period.
There are also displays of pottery, and a shaft temple from the Nuragic Age, as well as artifacts from the Middle Bronze Age and Iron Age. One of my favorite things to see is grape seeds! These grape seeds were found inside a well and are the first evidence of wine and vine growing on Sardinia! Who doesn’t love a good wine origin story?
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is € 6.50 – if you get a combined ticket for the museum and Tharros Archeological site, the fee is €10.
Sardinian Ethnographic Museum of Nuoro
The Sardinian Ethnographic Museum of Nuoro is a fantastic museum that hones in on the unique beauty of Sardinian culture and life. This is one of my favorite museums in Sardinia.
Specifically, Nuoro sits in a landlocked area near the center of Sardinia, hovering just a bit further to the northeast than dead-center. The Sardinian Ethnographic Museum was built in the 1950s through1960s to showcase all aspects of Sardinia – from clothing and jewelry to weapons, instruments, and tools. In fact, there are over 8000 items on display!
Most of the collection comes from the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s not meant to be a historical representation of all of Sardinia’s culture throughout history, but more of an in-depth look inside everything Sardinian over the last two hundred years.
One of my favorite exhibits is on traditional Sardinian clothing! There are 80 outfits on display, each representing a different village in Sardinia. While there isn’t a fashion museum in Sardinia, this is as close as it gets!
As a heads up, this museum actually goes by another name – the Museum of Sardinian Life and Folk Traditions – and is sometimes referred to simply as the Costume Museum in Nuoro. Be aware that the locals may refer to this museum by any of these names.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 7:00 or 8:00 pm – depending on the season. Admission is €5.
The Museum of Art – The MAN of Nuoro
The beloved MAN museum of Nuoro is one of Sardinia’s museums of art – and definitely deserves to be included in a post about the best museums in Sardinia. It’s one of the most eclectic and impressive museums of Italian art, and it’s nestled right here in Nuoro amidst the mountains in central Sardinia.
The MAN Museum in Nuoro is an absolute must-see for art lovers – or those who are at least mildly curious about art. This Sardinian museum of art will dazzle you as it flaunts both Italy’s and Sardinia’s talent. It’s a museum that rolls out the best of the best that Italian art has to offer.
While you never quite know what kind of art you will encounter at the MAN, you’re guaranteed to see some staples, like Costantino Nivola or Antonio Ballero. Of course, special exhibitions are planned, executed, and rotated regularly, so make sure to check out the MAN’s website to see what’s upcoming!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Admission is €5. It is free to visit each first Sunday of the month.
The Archaeological Museum of Olbia
The Archaeological Museum of Olbia strives to showcase the history of the port city of Olbia – from prehistoric times through the eras of Phoenician, Punic, Greek, and Roman times. I love the Archaeological Museum of Olbia because it’s actually on the small Peddone island! It’s just a quick walk from the old port, so don’t worry about having to take a ferry or anything.
The museum also prides itself on its location on the sea, and Olbia’s role as a port city. This homage is demonstrated through its numerous exhibitions – from ancient ship parts on display to shipwrecks from 450 AD and the Middle Ages!
In my opinion, the most surprising item on display is a statue of the Egyptian god Osiris. How did that get there? You will agree with me that this is one of the nicest museums in Sardinia.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. There is no admission fee.
The Calasetta Museum of Contemporary Art
Plenty of surprises are in store at the Calasetta Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the best museums in Sardinia for all things art.
Head on over to the southwestern tip of Sardinia in the Sulcis archipelagos right on Sant’Antioco island to visit this fantastic museum. It’s a diverse contemporary art museum that could be described as the apple of Sardinia’s eye – that is, if the apple is a madcap, wacky apple — not a standard red classic apple. Would you allow me that mixed metaphor? The fact that Sardinia’s museum of contemporary art dwells in an ex-slaughterhouse is enough to elicit a confusing metaphor… at least it was about apples, right?
The Calasetta Museum of Contemporary Art catalogs Italian’s contemporary art scene, paying special attention to the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a delightful way to spend a few hours wandering through the halls of this comprehensive contemporary collection.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission fee is €4.
The Museum Of The Territory Sa Corona Arrubia
While the name itself – the Museum Of The Territory Sa Corona Arrubia – might not pique your interest, let me try to change your mind! This Sardinian museum sits in Lunamatrona in central Sardinia. It’s a highly unique museum that focuses on Sardinia’s wildlife, geology, and the overall natural environment. The exhibit and the fact that it is located in one of the island’s lesser-known places makes it one of the most interesting museums in Sardinia.
When visiting, you can expect to see life-like dioramas examining the local environment, including vegetation and wildlife. While it may sound nerdy, I love the botanic section, which features the local wood, fungi, and herb species!
Another curious exhibit in the Museum Of The Territory Sa Corona Arrubia is their handmade toy section— ‘giocos antigos.’ It’s actually a collection of 200 handmade traditional Sardinian toys. While it may seem out of place in a museum that highlights the natural world, it’s sure a fun thing to see!
This museum in Sardinia is encompassed in a geological-botanic park. There’s a chairlift to ride to take in the gorgeous landscapes below. It’s worth a trip to this museum just for the ride!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
The Carbone Museum of Carbonia
The Carbone Museum of Carbonia is an old mining site that has been transformed into a museum in Sardinia’s southern region. This mining site, called Serbariu, was active from 1937 to 1964. It does an incredible job of showcasing the region’s mining history. You can trek along the outdoor routes and even see an underground tunnel!
The guided tour of the underground mines is also extensive and impressive. If you pre-book your tour, it nearly guarantees that you’ll get a guided tour at the time you want in your language! With the cost of the tour and ticket price totaling 8 euros a person, it’s well worth the visit!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 or 6:00 pm depending on the season. Admission fee is €8 and with that you also get a guided tour. You need to book in advance by calling this number +39 0781 62727.
The Museum of Mining Art of Iglesias
While the previous museum is housed in a mining site, the Museum of Mining Art of Iglesias is actually in a former mining school in central-southern Sardinia! There are tons of tools, materials, and machinery to see – all of which create a wide-ranging educational gallery providing an in-depth look at the life and work of a Sardinian miner. The photographs are stoic and evocative.
The best exhibit, in my humble opinion, is the mineral exhibition that has tons of minerals and ore on display from all around Sardinia. Who doesn’t love a good mineral, right?
Plus, you’ll get to take a tour down into the lead-zinc mine yourself. Get ready to put on a helmet and see the impressive tools used to blast through rocks! With 5 euro ticket and tour admittance, you really can’t go wrong. You’ll never know if you love learning about the history of the mining industry unless you go!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. You are anyways better off calling in advance to let them know you intend to visit. You can call the numbers +39 347 5176886 and +39 339 40514862 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum of Mediterranean Masks of Mamoiada
While a museum of masks sounds like a museum you would likely encounter in New Orleans, the Museum of Mediterranean Masks in Mamoiada shouldn’t be underestimated. As a point of reference, Mamoiada is a village in the Nuoro region in central Sardinia.
The Museum of Mediterranean Masks places masks and carnivals at its focal point, as well as Sardinia’s festivities and rituals. It’s not just dedicated to Sardinia; as the name implies, it exhibits masks from the Mediterranean, including Spain, Croatia, and other countries.
Curiously, the Mamuthones masks and Issohadores masks (which are the names of traditional carnival masks) were so important to past Sardinian communities that they believed these masks could influence the fate of their agricultural harvest each year.
After finishing up at the Museum of Mediterranean Masks, make sure to stop by local artisan workshops and pick up unforgettable handcrafted souvenirs!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 to 6:00 pm. Admission fee is €4.
The Mediterranean Weaving Museum of Castelsardo
Believe it or not, the Mediterranean Weaving Museum of Castelsardo is one of the most visited museums in Sardinia. While weaving isn’t top-of-mind for many of us, the incredible craftsmanship exhibited here is truly jaw-dropping. The gorgeous baskets, pots, mats, and sieves on display will make you drool. Good thing the local craftsmen in town sell similar craft products! I definitely have bought a basket, or two…
Also, the Mediterranean Weaving Museum of Castelsardo is so popular in part because it’s housed inside a gorgeous 12th-century military fortress in the north of Sardinia. There are nine rooms spread over two floors to explore. Moreover, a visit to this museum in Sardinia is an incredible chance to explore a medieval fortress and walk the ramparts and walkway— you’ll get to soak up some marvelous views!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open daily from 9:00 or 10:00 am to 5:00 or 7:30 pm depending on the season. Admission fee is €5.
The Museum of Banditry of Aggius
Ah, who doesn’t love a good bandit? Robin Hood, perhaps? Regardless of one’s feelings on bandits, a visit to the Museum of Banditry is a must for those who love quirky things! This museum brandishes Sardinia’s history of assassinations, thefts, and ambushes across the Gallura regions from the 16th to the 19th century. If you’re into the weird, the random, the zany, then this is the museum in Sardinia for you!
Why is this museum situated in the town of Aggius – a small town in the north of Sardinia? Well, apparently, it was the epicenter of banditry for three centuries! Housed in the old magistrate’s court, the Museum of Banditry is surrounded by streets where numerous murders were committed. Tickets cost only 4 euros, so check this unique museum off your list!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Admission fee is € 4.
Final Thoughts On The Best Museums In Sardinia
While Sardinia is an island filled with famous beaches and yachts galore, it’s also home to a number of fantastic museums. Since I’ve had the opportunity to explore some of the best museums in Sardinia, I hope my list proved useful for you and for your planning. Thank you for letting me be your tour guide of the top museums in Sardinia. Cheers!
Make sure to read my other posts:
- What You Should Know Before Traveling To Sardinia
- 10 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Sardinia
- The 15 Best Beaches In Sardinia
- The Most Incredible Day Trips From Cagliari
- A Guide To Sardinian Wines
- The Most Delicious Sardinian Food: Everything You Must Try
- A Complete Guide To Costa Smeralda
- The Nicest Small Towns And Cities In Sardinia
- A Guide To Nuraghe In Sardinia
- A Complete Guide To Villasimius, Sardinia
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