Markets in Cagliari are fantastic places to catch local action and shop for groceries.
As the capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia, Cagliari is a bright and bustling spot buzzing with energy and activity. There’s no better place to discover the real Sardinia than at the incredible markets in Cagliari. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or soaking up the eclectic atmosphere, Cagliari’s markets are where to find the best local delicacies and gastronomic delights.
As I’m a local and a resident of Cagliari, I go to these markets in Cagliari weekly— if not daily! I love supporting local farmers and fishermen, and few things give me more satisfaction than cooking with fresh Sardinian produce, or, when I’m feeling lazy, snacking on local Sardinian treats like braided loaves with a chunk of Pecorino Sardo cheese drizzled in honey. Hungry yet?
While Sardinia’s civic markets aren’t where you can find food trucks and street food, it is a veritable whirlwind of flavors and colors, a place where you can buy the freshest produce, meats, fish, and products you could wish for!
Check out my guide to the best markets in Cagliari and find out which are a must-visit!
5 Markets In Cagliari To Check Out
Mercato Civico di Sant’Elia
Sant’Elia Market hours: Sundays
How to get there: Sant’Elia Market is located in Via Raimondo Carta Raspi. The easiest day to get there is by car. Alternatively, take either CTM buses line 5 or 6 in the direction of Sant’Elia and get off at the market.
Sant’Elia is a district on the outskirts of Cagliari’s city center in the old fisherman’s quarter. It is a picturesque neighborhood filled with narrow alleyways and quaint cottages. The Sant’Elia markets are held weekly on Sundays and surely are among the nicest markets in Cagliari. Keep in mind that they are held outside, so plan on facing some of the Sardinian sunshine and heat if you arrive in the late morning.
One of the best things to sample (and to buy) at the Sant’Elia market are the local cheeses. There is a ridiculous amount of Sardinian cheeses at this market, including specialty cheeses that are difficult to find in stores, like the caglio di capretto or the crema di Casu Marzu. Personally, my favorite cheese is a salted ricotta affumicata, a hard cheese that has been smoked over beech embers. It pairs perfectly with white wines or local mountain honey— both of which you can pick up at this market!
After you’re done shopping at the Sant’Elia market, enjoy a walk along the seafront or a picnic on Sant’Elia beach. It’s just a five-minute drive by car to the beach from the market or a 15-minute walk. If you’ve traveled by car to the Sant’Elia market, there’s free parking on the waterfront near the Piazza del Lazzaretto.
You can also walk up to the Torre del Prezzemolo, and from there follow a trail that takes you to the Sant’Ignazio fort and to the lighthouse.
San Benedetto Market
San Benedetto Market hours: Monday through Saturday 7:00 am – 1:00 pm; closed on Sundays
How to get there: San Benedetto Market is located in Via Cocco Ortu, in the San Benedetto district just a few minutes’ walk west from Cagliari’s historical center. If you want to travel to the San Benedetto Market by bus, take the CTM “M” line. The stop you’ll want to get off at is called Bacaredda – Mercato Civico. I recommend going to this market as early as you possibly can, as that’s when San Benedetto truly comes alive!
Of all the markets in Cagliari, this is the one I like the most. I can still remember going there with my parents on Saturday mornings as a child, and feeling completely overwhelmed with the smells, the people, the chaos.
The San Benedetto Market is the biggest market in Cagliari and one of Europe’s largest indoor markets. It takes place daily inside a two-story building and covers 8,000 square meters of space. There are over 300 stalls in total! As is typical with Sardinia’s shops and markets, San Benedetto Market is closed on Sundays.
The lower level exclusively features local fish and seafood. The upper level is where you can find fruit, meat, cheese, bread, vegetables, and a variety of other local products. While the seafood level can be a little overwhelming, there is an unparalleled abundance of seafood to see — everything from swordfishes and squids to lobsters! Some of the fish were still alive, which is quite a testament to their freshness— albeit sometimes a little unsettling. When you purchase fish, you will likely be given a little bag filled with herbs and spices to season your fish with – such a thoughtful gesture that nearly guarantees a delectable meal!
Via Quirra Market
Via Quirra Market hours: Mondays through Fridays 7:00 am — 2:00 pm; Saturdays 7:00 am —3:00 pm; closed on Sundays.
How to get there: Via Quirra Market is located in Via Quirra. To get there, take the CTM Line 20 or Line 5 or 8 in the direction of Piazza Matteotti. The stop to get off at is “Quirra – Mercato Civico.”
This is the market where I often shop as it’s the closest to where I currently live. Via Quirra Market is located in the Is Mirrionis district in Cagliari. The Is Mirrionis district lies to the north of the historic city center and is home to numerous public structures, including one of the local hospitals.
It is the second-largest civic market in Cagliari and also covers two floors of an impressive building. The ground floor is dedicated to seafood, with a wing focused exclusively on pork and beef products. There’s freshly fried fish available if you want to purchase a fishy breakfast or lunch while you shop! In regards to the pork and beef wing of Via Quirra, be prepared to encounter animal heads standing on tables and full-bodied roasting pigs— it’s not for the faint of heart!
The upper level is where you can find fruit, vegetables, bread, sweets, and poultry products. How does homemade fresh pasta sound? Pick it up here! With more than one hundred vendors and stalls at the Via Quirra Market, you’re certain to find something heavenly to take home. It’s one of the most popular markets in Cagliari for a good reason!
Mercato di Santa Chiara
Mercato di Santa Chiara hours: Mondays through Fridays 7:00 am — 2:00 pm; Saturdays 7:00 am —3:00 pm; closed on Sundays.
How to get there: Mercato di Santa Chiara is in the heart of Cagliari, right behind the famous Piazza Yenne. The best way to get there is on foot from either Castello, La Marina or Stampace districts.
Mercato di Santa Chiara takes place every day of the week except for Sundays, in the historic district of Stampace close to Piazza Yenne. You can find it at the foot of the Santa Chiara stairs, where this market takes its name from, right at the base of the stairs you can take to connect from Castello to Stampace. For reference, Cagliari has four historic districts— Villanova, Marina, Castello, and Stampace.
The Mercato di Santa Chiara is the oldest market in Cagliari, established in 1957. Like the Via Quirra and San Benedetto markets, it takes place in a building and used to cover two floors. Today, it only takes place on one floor spanning 300 square meters. The Mercato di Santa Chiara has seen quite a few changes in recent years, including shifting its purpose and focus as a neighborhood produce market to more of a space for tourists to snag a quick meal.
While there are still incredible tasting opportunities for local food and wines, as of 2018, the Mercato di Santa Chiara has added a dining area that serves food from breakfast to late evening. Moreover, there are staff on hand that can assist you in Italian, French, Spanish, and English. Want more info? Click here.
Mercato di Is Bingias
Mercato di Is Bingias hours: Mondays through Fridays 7:00 am — 2:00 pm; Saturdays 7:00 am —3:00 pm; closed on Sundays.
How to get there: The market is located in Via della Resistenza in Pirri. The easiest way to reach Is Bingias Market is by bus. There are multiple buses that will take you there— Lines M, 8, 19, QS, QS / B. The stop you need to get off at is Via Italia – Portici. If you happen to catch Line 15, it will terminate at Is Bingias Market at the same aforementioned stop, Via Italia – Portici. Lastly, I want to mention that sometimes people refer to the Is Bingias Market as the Pirri Market— they are one and the same!
Mercato di Is Bingias is another place my parents would take me at weekends, in search of cheap finds. It takes place daily, except Sundays, in the neighborhood of Pirri, approximately 15 minutes outside of Cagliari’s historic city center. Lying more to the south, you’ll be close to two public parks—Terramaini park and the Is Bingias park. Both parks can easily be reached on foot and are lovely spots for picnics!
Is Bingias Market is relatively small, occupying approximately 400 square meters, with 40 vendors and stalls. It’s an indoor market that is pristinely clean – though keep in mind that there are quite a few stalls outside too, selling mostly clothings, shoes and household goods.
Regardless of its size, there is still an impressive array of fish, meat, fruit, and vegetables to peruse. I always make sure to pick up a bag full of delicate little pastries to savor on my way to Poetto Beach or to the Park when I leave. What’s better than munching on pardule with your toes in the sand? Pardule are moist sweets made with ricotta and saffron and a crispy crust. Talk about delicious!
To check out Is Bingias Market’s Facebook page click here.
Further readings about Cagliari
Make sure to read my other posts about Cagliari:
- Where To Find The Best Pizza In Cagliari
- Cagliari Nightlife: A Guide To Cagliari Best Bars
- Where To Stop For A Coffee In Cagliari
- A Guide To Sardinian Wines
- 15 Must Visit Wineries In Sardinia
- 15 Great Things To Do In Cagliari, Sardinia
- The Nicest Squares In Cagliari
- The Most Incredible Day Trips From Cagliari
- The 7 Best Beaches In Cagliari
- Everything You Need To Know About Poetto, Cagliari’s Best Beach
- The Nicest Hotels In Cagliari
- 15 Incredible Restaurants In Cagliari
- The Best Places To Go Shopping In Sardinia