Alghero, SardiniaJune 20, 2016 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
Ancient fishing village turned holiday hot spot, the town of Alghero, Sardinia, offers visitors clean beaches with crystal clear water as well as a host of architectural delights. The city itself features cobblestone streets and fortified walls that house a large number of quaint shops and restaurants, while the surrounding beach area stretches off to pristine nature preserves and traditional villages. The only downside to Alghero is the sometimes overwhelming amount of tourism it receives from northern Europe in the summer.
Alghero was a small Sardinian fishing village until 1323, when it was taken over by the House of Aragon in Spain and the local population was pushed aside by Catalan colonists. The Spanish named the city "Barcelonetta," meaning "little Barcelona," and developed it into a small but bustling port city and maritime fort. The powerful northern Italian Savoy family took over Alghero in 1720. It became part of Italy following Italian unification. Alghero retains much of its former Catalan culture, especially in cuisine and traditional festivities, and the Catalan tongue is spoken by much of the populace.
Highlights of Alghero
The town beach, called the Lido, runs from the center of town to a small hamlet called Fertilia, just south of town. The larger San Giovanni beach runs north of town and features some of the area's clearest water. The 16th-century cathedral in the heart of the historic center is built in a Catalan-Gothic style and is located on the central plaza. The ancient walls of the city are largely intact and offer sweeping views over the sea from their battlements. Capo Caccia is a limestone cave system that is accessible by boat from the Lido. Porto Conte is a nature preserve located just outside of town; reachable by boat or land, it features some of the island's best diving opportunities.
Dining in Alghero
The cuisine of Alghero is heavily influenced by both Catalan and Italian cuisine yet is almost entirely based on local Sardinian produce, meat and seafood, such as the immensely popular local rock lobster. Many of the restaurants in Alghero have panoramic sea views and offer traditional dishes such as malloredus, a saffron-spiced pasta made with tomato sauce, sausage and cheese, and panadas, which are pies stuffed with eels or other local seafood and meats. For cheap eats, a variety of street vendors sell freshly made pizza.
Accommodations in Alghero
The old town of Alghero is home to several bed-and-breakfast-type accommodation options and a spattering of small boutique hotels, while the Lido is lined with modern beachfront hotels, many of which cater to all-inclusive tourists from Britain and Germany. Outside of the city itself, a blossoming agriturismo industry is forming, where guests live on small family farms and learn about traditional food production and preparation methods.
The Fertilia Airport, less than 10 miles north of town, offers direct flights to and from most major Italian cities as well as London and Frankfurt. A train runs between Alghero and the town of Sassari, about 35 minutes up the coast, and a variety of buses arrive and depart from the bus terminal for points all over the island on a daily basis.Read more