In recent years I have often been around here and I honestly think that Alghero, together with Cagliari, is the most beautiful city in Sardinia. Every time I go there I fall in love with it again! The city was colonized by the Spaniards (or rather by the Catalans) in the fourteenth century and this domination is clearly visible in the architecture of the historic center, but also in the dialect (the elderly here speak Catalan!) And in the cuisine. In addition to this, there are many interesting things to see in the surroundings (such as Capo Caccia, the Grotta di Nettuno, the island of Asinara, etc.) and many beautiful beaches. If you are also looking for a bit of nightlife then Alghero is perfect and is able to really please everyone.
How to get to Alghero and how to get around
The fastest way to reach Alghero is certainly the plane, flying to the city airport which is located just outside the city, 10 kilometers away. The city center is then connected with a shuttle. If you intend to rent a car (which I recommend you do in order to reach all the beaches and be able to move freely), you should rent it directly at the airport, but book it in advance to save on the price. I usually use the Rentalcars website.
If, on the other hand, you want to travel with your car, or you simply don't like flying, you can easily reach Alghero by ferry, getting off at Porto Torres (the nearest port, which is 40 km from Alghero). Several companies (eg. Tirrenia, Moby, Grimaldi, etc.) they connect Civitavecchia and Genoa with Porto Torres.
What to see in Alghero and surroundings
The historic center of Alghero is an intricate maze of alleys enclosed within the ramparts, today all pedestrianized, fortunately, where it is really nice to walk. The things not to be missed in the city are definitely:
- Ramparts: it is wonderful to walk on the surrounding walls, especially at sunset, to have a magnificent view of Capo Caccia. There are also several restaurants and bars.
- Civic Square: the “living room” of the city, overlooked by the most important buildings such as Palazzo Albis (in Gothic-Catalan style, home of the royal governors), the Casa de la Ciutat (seat of the City Council) and Palazzo della Dogana.
- Via Carlo Alberto: the street of the shops, since the Middle Ages it was called the street of the merchants. Today there are many small shops, especially jewelers who work coral (typical of Alghero).
- Cathedral: the 500th century stone portal is magnificent, decorated in a gothic-flowered style.
Capo Caccia and Neptune's Grotto
Il promontory of Capo Caccia it is clearly visible from Alghero and it is possible to admire its cliffs overlooking the sea and its caves up close by making beautiful boat trips (which depart from the port of Alghero and last about 4h). The most famous and most beautiful cave is certainly the imposing one Neptune's Grotto, full of stalactites and stalagmites. Arriving by land, the entrance to the cave is just as spectacular because there is a long staircase from which you can see the old path called Escala del cabirol, a descent of 654 steps that can only be faced by goats (or cabirol in fact). For the descent it takes about 10-15 '.
In addition to the cave of Neptune, by car you can also reach the tip of Capo Caccia, where the lighthouse is located (near the entrance to the cave). It's a crazy place to wait for the sun to go down.
Wineries (Sella e Mosca and Santa Maria La Palma)
A few kilometers outside Alghero there are two of the most important wineries in Sardinia, and it is possible to both visit them and enjoy tastings. The first, the Tenuta Sella and Mosca, is a historic company in the Italian wine sector, is the largest in Sardinia and celebrates 120 years of history this year. 1200 hectares of vineyards that produce Vermentino, Torbato and Cannonau. To book a visit or a tasting you must go to this site. The second, no less important, is the Winery of Santa Maria La Palma, whose wines have collected several national and international awards and recognitions over the years. To book visits and tastings you must go to this site.
The most beautiful beaches of Alghero and its surroundings
The Lido and Maria Pia beach
La Lido beach it is the city beach of Alghero, the easiest to reach for anyone in the city. Looking at the sea from the port, all you have to do is walk to the right and you will find it immediately. It is a white sand beach with a shallow seabed and has all the services (bars, restaurants, umbrellas, etc.) and is usually very popular with locals. Walking still to the right, after the hospital the beach takes the name of Spiaggia di Maria Pia. Here the sea descends after about 5 meters from the shore, there are small sand dunes and large juniper bushes under which to shelter from the sun.
La Spiaggia delle Bombarde is the most famous beach in Alghero and is located about 10 km from the center of Alghero going towards Capo Caccia. If you want, you can also reach it comfortably by bike using the cycle path. It is always very busy and is frequented by young people and some VIPs. There are ciringuites, restaurants and hotels. It is a beautiful beach with fine white sand. Unfortunately in recent years the shore has shrunk more and more.
Going on for another 1 km from the Bombarde beach, you will arrive at the Lazzaretto beach, a beach that I personally am very fond of. It is a beautiful wide beach with fine white sand and the seabed is quite shallow. The best thing is that, in addition to the main beach, the coast continues indented with a whole series of very nice coves. There are bars / restaurants that also rent umbrellas and deck chairs.
Continuing along the coast for another 6 km you reach the Mugoni beach, a very long but not very deep tongue of sand. This beach is very popular with the people of Alghero and is mainly frequented by families. Being in a bay, the beach is generally protected from currents and winds, and the water is always fresh even in the middle of August (as in the whole area). There are kiosks, bars and restaurants.
About halfway along the Capo Caccia promontory there is Cala Dragunara, a small cove with a spectacularly colored sea. The beach is small and is cut in two by a small pier from which the organized excursions to Neptune's cave also depart (so if you want to find a place you will have to come early in the morning!). In the cove there is a bar and you can rent sun loungers, deck chairs and umbrellas. Parking is free, but the access road is unpaved.
Porto Ferro beach
La Porto Ferro beach is another of my favorites! It is located about 23 km north of Alghero and is a very large beach of yellow / reddish sand, which has remained quite wild. The beach is characterized by two imposing Spanish watchtowers, Black tower to the north and Tower of Bantine Sale South. And the most popular beach for windsurfers, kite surfers and surfers from wave because it is very subject to the mistral. For many years the northernmost part of the beach, where there are the more private coves between the two towers, has been dedicated to naturism. Close to the beach there are three refreshment points and bathrooms.
La Porticciolo beach it is located about 18 km from Alghero, going towards Sassari. The beach is not very large and is nestled in a bay dominated by an Aragonese tower: the Torre del Porticciolo. The sand is reddish and is mixed with small stones and there are large rocks that continue even on the seabed (if you have salvaricci .. bring them!). It is a fairly quiet beach and there is a kiosk that sells sandwiches, and rents umbrellas and chairs.
Hope Beach (Poglina)
After so many beaches that are located north of Alghero, now I am talking about a beach that is instead to the south, along the coast road to Bosa, 8 km from the center. The beach is known as "The hope" because of a small church nearby built by sailors on an uncertain date, but its real name is Porto Pollina (which becomes "Poglina" in the Catalan pronunciation). It is a fairly long sandy beach with a shallow seabed. On the beach you will find both a restaurant (it seems that spaghetti with lobster is eaten well) and a kiosk. Parking is large.
La Pelosa - Stintino
This beach is not exactly near Alghero (it is 58 km away), but you cannot miss it! There La Pelosa beach in Stintino is one of the most photographed and most beautiful in Sardinia, famous for its shallow and crystal clear turquoise sea. The beach reaches up to Capo Falcone and the panorama that sweeps up to the islands Piana and Asinara is really crazy! The only flaw is that to enjoy the beach without the crowds you have to come at dawn. From 1 June to 30 September 2020, there is also a limited number (there is a maximum of 1500 people per day) and for a fee (3,5 euros per person) between 8am and 18pm. At the entrance you will be given a biodegradable bracelet in a different color according to the day of the week. To be able to stop on the beach you can also use only the mats (and not the towels), under penalty of a nice fine (ditto if you get caught smoking on the beach!).
From the port of Stintino the boats leave to reach the magnificent one Asinara island, a natural park where cars do not circulate, as well as one of the most beautiful places in Sardinia that I absolutely recommend you to visit. Find all the info in the article that I dedicated to him Asinara: what to see, how to get around and how to reach this paradise of Sardinia.
Where to sleep in Alghero
- Aigua: very nice structure that is located right inside the ramparts, in the historic center. They have several studios on one and on two levels, recently refurbished and with all comforts.
- Kevin Charming Houses: an elegant and modern guest house, recently inaugurated, which is located a few steps from the historic center and the sea. They have 5 rooms plus a suite.
- Villa Marina house: it is a beautiful farmhouse recently inaugurated atinside the Sella & Mosca estate and rises in one of the structures of the village which at the beginning of the century housed the residence of the Marquis of Villamarina, the houses of the peasants, a church and other buildings used as work spaces. They have from 7 rooms.
- Hotel Punta Negra: a nice 4-star hotel located in Fertilia, a few km from Alghero. It has a private beach and 2 outdoor pools; it is right on a cliff and has a really nice view. For those seeking absolute relaxation.
Where to eat in Alghero
It goes without saying that in Alghero you can eat excellent fish, guaranteed by the presence of the fishing port. L'lobster is definitely a local specialty, as are some dishes that derive from the Catalan culinary tradition, such as paella or Catalan cream. The places you find below are located both in the center of Alghero and just outside. To have a drink for an aperitif or in the evening, there are many little bars on the seafront in front of the Lido beach (as the Maracaibo Cocktail Bar for example), or on the rocks in front of the Lungomare Dante (like the Reserved Beach Bar) or finally, if you are looking for a more sought-after place, there is Villa Mosca (the view of the sunset on Capo Caccia is well worth it).
- Bar Focacceria Milese: a city institution. Pizza stuffed with everything, very good !!! It is located right in front of the harbor.
- Mabrouk: historic trattoria in the center that offers a set menu at 40 euros for dinner from which you will come out on your knees. 5 starters, 3 first courses and so on and so forth!
- At the Old Mill: another historic restaurant located near the ramparts. They have both fish / meat cuisine and pizza.
- Movida: fish restaurant located in a small square right on the ramparts. Beautiful location and cuisine up to par.
- Sa Mandra farmhouse: rustic and elegant location at the same time. Excellent traditional cuisine, generous portions and prices in line with the quality.
- The Golden Fish: nice and well-kept place just outside the walls. Excellent fish cuisine (even raw fish), but they also make pizza.
- The beach: bar-restaurant located right on the sea on the Lido beach. Cheap and good. Very busy so book! They also make pizza.
- Nautilus: very well known restaurant in the city that overlooks the harbor. Impeccable seafood cuisine; service and prices up to par.
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