Eva Tangstad

Joined January 2017
  • Day1

    Alghero, Sardinia

    June 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.

    History
    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.

    Getting There
    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.
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  • Day1

    La Pelosa, Sardinia

    June 20, 2016 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ -6 °C

    A really beautiful place to visit with beautiful beaches. There is also plenty of restaurant with great food on the hill with beautiful view of the ocean. We was just driving thru this beautiful place and stop and eat some marvelous food up in the hill. I can recommend you to travel to this beautiful place.

    La Pelosa beach (Spiaggia della Pelosa), with its shallow turquoise waters and salty white sands, is a true Sardinian oasis and arguably one of the best beaches of Europe. One of the westernmost beaches of Sardinia, La Pelosa is just 2 kilometers away from the harbour village of Stintino, in Capo Falcone, in the province of Sassari. The beach is 300 meters long – and up to 60 meters wide in some spots – and faces north-east, offering marvelous views of Isola Piana situated 600 meters off the coast and the larger Isola Asinara behind it.

    La Pelosa beach is accompanied by an ancient sixteenth century watchtower, the Torre della Pelosa, that used to be part of Sardinia’s marine defense system. Since this is a popular diving area, there are two diving centers in the vicinity: the Asinara Diving Center, and the Roccaruja Diving Center. Both offer diving excursions in the Capo Falcone area. Surfboards and canoes are for rent at the Stintino Windsurfing Center nearby. The beach can get crowded during peak season in July and August, but if you find yourself in the area of Sassari or Porto Torres, La Pelosa beach is definitely worth a visit. For many Europeans, La Pelosa is a marvelous opportunity to experience the Caribbean at a fraction of the cost.

    La Pelosa Beach Hotels

    Just 3 kilometers from La Pelosa beach, you’ll find Hotel Cala Reale in Asinara Bay, near the pier of Stintino. The hotel features a garden with outdoor pool and sun terrace. Closer to the beach and just 2 kilometers from Stintino, you’ll find Residence Le Vele, with studios that feature a panoramic balcony or patio. Park Hotel Asinara is only a 10-minute walk from the town centre of Stintino. Accommodations are air conditioned, and the hotel offers a free shuttle service to La Pelosa beach.

    Directions to La Pelosa Beach

    From Sassari, take the SS 131 to Porto Torres. Before reaching Porto Torres, take the SP 34 to Pozzo San Nicola, then continue on the SP 34 and head for Stintino. Continue on the main road towards La Pelosa beach.
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  • Day1

    Riva del Garda

    June 24, 2012 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We stayed here for 2 weeks and what a beautiful place. I can recommend everyone at all ages to visit from small to older people. Great food and dessert.

    Riva del Garda

    About Riva del Garda

    Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
    Riva del Garda is a bustling Italian town which doubles as a tourist resort, located at the northern end of Lake Garda. This is the dramatic end of the lake, with mountains rising on either side, and Riva sits comfortably on the shore, with a backdrop of lake, valley and hills. Until the lakeside road was constructed, Riva was an important port for communications along the lake's length. The town was part of Austria until 1918 and there is still something sedate and un-Italian about the streets and architecture. Nowadays it is in the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige, within the province of Trento. After Desenzano, Riva is the second-largest town on Lake Garda, and it has a very different atmosphere from the other lake resorts: simultaneously alive yet staid.

    Visiting Riva del Garda

    Riva del Garda has one or two actual 'sights', but mostly it is a pleasant base where tourists can stroll along winding streets and relax in waterfront squares. The town's main lakeshore area is made up of a harbour, a park and a beach, so there is a variety of promenading on offer. Visitors should also allow some time for exploring the rest of the historic centre, set just back from the lake and protected by the town's fortress. Still enclosed by the old town gateways, the heart of Riva is an atmospheric network of tall buildings and narrow lanes.
    Riva has a town museum (Museo Civico) housed in its moated lakeshore castle (or fortress), the Rocca. The museum contains historical exhibits, paintings and also temporary exhibitions, which can be interesting. Alongside this sturdy fortress is a pleasant leafy park. A little tourist 'train' (trenino) starts here and does a very brief circuit of the town for those seeking more entertainment (it was full of merry pensioners when it passed).

    One of Riva's most striking buildings is the Torre Apponale, a tall clock-tower which dates to the thirteenth century. It looks down on Piazza III Novembre, the heart of town. The tower is open to the public, and climbing up the narrow steps is a good way to work off holiday ice-creams. There's an admission charge, and you can buy a combined ticket with the town museum. Energetic over-65s wanting to climb the tower are rewarded with free admission. It's a stiff-ish climb but the views are rewarding: the mountains and lake look pretty much as they did from ground-level, but the town and harbour are interesting seen from above, as are the various roof-tops, squares and hidden terraces of Riva.

    Riva del Garda

    Opposite the waterfront there is a chain of cafes where you can indulge in that classic Lake Garda activity: sitting with an ice-cream or drink and watching the world go by. There are plenty of eating and drinking establishments aimed at tourists, but further back from the waterfront, amid the narrow streets of Riva, you'll find more 'normal' shops and businesses aimed at locals as well as visitors.

    Activities

    The northern end of the lake is incredibly popular with windsurfers, who take advantage of the strong wind systems caused by the mountains and water. Torbole, just along the lakeshore from Riva, is the principal base for windsurfing. In Riva it is possible to hire boats, or, for a less strenuous way of enjoying the water, there is a long beach suitable for sunbathing and swimming. Walkers can enjoy easy walks around town - such as the stroll along the lake towards Torbole - or longer hikes in the mountains around.
    If you have a hire car, or are prepared to research the local buses (see our links on the right), you can travel into the mountains or up the valley from Riva, visiting interesting towns like nearby Arco and sights such as a waterfall a few miles to the north of Riva, the Cascata del Varone. Lake Ledro, a much smaller lake with a museum dedicated to its ancient lake-dwelling residents, makes a good excursion.
    Visiting the other Lake Garda resorts is one of the principal Riva tourist activities. Both Limone and Malcesine are reachable by ferry or bus, and Malcesine gives the added option of taking the cable car up to the high ridge of Monte Baldo for views and walks.

    Riva del Garda

    A good place to stay?
    Unlike some of the little, picturesque tourist resorts on the lake, Riva del Garda is definitely a proper town. This is handy if you want to seek out 'local' shops and atmosphere, but less quaint for holiday-makers. The surrounding mountains make it a practical base for exploring the area, and the Lake Garda ferries call regularly. Since this is the very tip of the long lake, journeys to the southern lake resorts are both time-consuming and costly: if you want to visit as many lakeside towns as possible, it would be better to stay nearer the lake's centre. Although the mountains are easily accessible, Riva itself is largely built on the flat; along with the sedate atmosphere this makes it popular with older visitors, who promenade in the lakeside park. Younger travellers will find bars and the lively night-time atmosphere you'd expect in a holiday town of this size.

    Riva del Garda transport

    Riva del Garda is served by the regular Lake Garda ferries, and the other northern resorts - Torbole, Limone and Malcesine - are a reasonably short boat ride away. You can buy day tickets for either the whole lake or just this northern end. If you are travelling towards the southern end of the lake, be prepared to pay extra for the fast hydrofoil services, or to relax during a very long boat ride.

    Riva del Garda is not quite as well-connected to Italy's transport network as the southern lake towns, but it can still be reached by public transport. There are railway stations in Desenzano and Peschiera, and from either town you can take a bus or ferry up to Riva. There are also direct buses to Riva from the nearby cities of Verona and Brescia, both of which have airports with budget flights from the UK: Brescia Airport. There is also a railway station to the east in Rovereto, which is connected to Verona by rail.

    In the summer there is a daily bus service to Venice for day-trippers, run by Verona firm APTV (see links panel). The journey time is between three and four hours, and Venice really merits more than a brief excursion, but if you're desperate to see the lagoon city this is an opportunity. Verona, reachable by regular bus services, is a more convenient day-trip destination.

    Riva del Garda accommodation

    There is a good choice of places to stay in Riva, from extremely smart, large hotels to boutique B&BS. Not all of the local accommodation is close to the lake, so read descriptions and reviews carefully before booking.
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