The city of Alghero can be found in the northwest of Sardinia, and is part of the Sassari province. One of the most beautiful and interesting destinations on the island, it still preserves its distinct medieval charm, with the famous strong city walls, the stunning heritage of the historical center, the charming beaches and seascapes nearby or its special Catalan legacy. The town of Alghero has around 40,000 regular inhabitants, while the summer months can double or even triple its population with tourists and visitors. Due to its amazing cultural and natural heritage, the year-round mild climate and the warmth of its people combined with a character of authenticity, it has become a very popular travel destination. The history of Alghero goes back for many centuries and has always been linked to the sea, a trait still very visible today.
Through the centuries, the stronghold of Alghero has been disputed among the great maritime powers of those times, the influence changing from the Genoese to the Catalans and back to the House of Savoy. Settled from pre-historic times according to archaeological evidence, the area of Alghero has also known the rule of Phoenicians, until the Genoese family Doria built a sea stronghold in 1102, increasing its importance as a strategic spot. After a short period under the rule of Pisa, Alghero was conquered by the Crown of Aragon in 1353, remaining under its influence for several centuries, a period when the local population was massively expelled and replaced by Catalan colonists. This has left a deep mark on the city, much of its architecture, language, gastronomy and other areas being influenced by the Catalans. Through time, Alghero was also known as Little Barcelona, sharing with the big city a strong connection to the sea.
The strong walls of Alghero have been carefully maintained and reinforced through the centuries, becoming an almost impregnable fortress by the sea, heavily defended by the house of Aragon. At one point in time, outsiders did not even have the right to stay inside the city overnight, the entrance being regulated and only possible through the two main gates which can still be visited today: Porto Terra and Porto Salve. It was only in 1720 that Alghero and the entire island passed under the rule of the House of Savoy, beginning a long voyage marked by transformations and tragedies, leading to the city that is today, one of the most important and fascinating places on Sardinia and an remarkable destination in Italy. With its strong Catalan heritage, many of the people of Alghero still speak a Catalan dialect specific to the city, together with Sardinian, Italian and Catalan. Beautiful Alghero has always been in touch with the sea, protected inside a lagoon by the northern peninsula which today features a protected marine area containing the famous Neptune’s Grotto.
Things To See in Alghero
There are certainly many things to see and experience while visiting Alghero and its surrounding area. The best place to start exploring is in the charming and atmospheric center, or centro storico, as it is known locally. The small and narrow pedestrian cobblestone streets of the old city meet in small squares or open up by the strong defensive wall by the seaside. They are flanked by shops, cafes and restaurants and can become very crowded during the summer evenings. Most of the attractions of Alghero can be found in its historical center, starting with splendid medieval monuments, museums and churches. Towards the interior, the old walls have been demolished and the new city starts beyond the Public Gardens.
Towards the sea, the massive and imposing ancient walls can now be explored by walking along the charming route, offering stunning views of the sea and the nearby peninsula. The old gates of the city can still be visited today, although not in their former magnificent form. The old Porta Terra is represented today by the Porta Terra Tower, which offer the opportunity to watch multimedia displays about the past and people of old Alghero. On top of the tower, a panoramic terrace offers beautiful views of the city below. To the south, another major tower guards the entrance to the old city. Known as the Torre Sulis, it is located by the Piazza Sulis, also marking the start of the promenade along the sea wall known as the Towers and Ramparts of Alghero.
Other historical monuments include the Torre San Giovanni with temporary art exhibitions, Bastioni Marco Polo with its distinct architecture, Torre di Sant’Elmo with its Virgin Mary statue, Porto a Mare which is the old entrance into the city through the port and others. In the large Piazza Duomo, the massive St. Mary Cathedral presents an interesting architecture with neoclassical façade and Doric columns, the result of several modifications and additions. One of the most beautiful churches of Alghero is Chiesa di San Francesco, with a charming mix of Catalan Gothic and Renaissance styles, as well as enchanting interior features.
The impressive Piazza Civica used to be the meeting place of aristocrats in the past centuries, today being a tourist hotspot with stupendous architecture and the fascinating Palazzo d’Albis, former residence of Spanish emperor Charles V. Other interesting highlights include the Palazzo della Dogana, Palazzo Guillot, the Misericordia Church, Madonna del Rosario Church, the Museum of Diocesan Sacred Art, the City Archaeological Museum and many other churches and palaces. A unique attraction can be visited at the Coral Museum, with impressive displays of corals from the Mediterranean Sea around the city.
Things To Do in Alghero
One of the most popular destinations in Sardinia, Alghero offers travelers plenty of options to stay active and discover the magnificent area. The resort town has all the amenities necessary to cope to massive numbers of tourists during the high season, with many high quality hotels and restaurants, but also leisure opportunities. The beaches and coast to the north and south of Alghero provide fascinating sights and a wide array of possible activities, being one of the best places to experience sailing, surfing, kayaking, diving and other water sports. The best known and most popular beaches include Lido di Alghero, Maria Pia, Calabona, La Speranza, Porto Ferro, Tramriglio and many others, perfectly equipped to welcome tourists.
Away from the sea, the interior around Alghero is also filled with special sights and activity opportunities, like exploring the amazing archaeological trails to discover the ancient past of the area or hiking and mountain biking along the enchanting nature trails. One of the most famous and popular destinations close to Alghero is the stunning Neptune’s Grotto, or Grotta di Nettuno. Only reachable by boat cruise or a picturesque scooter trip, the sea grotto can be accessed through 600 steps down to the wonderful and mysterious world that waits below, with impressive stalactites.
Other highlights nearby include the important archaeological sites of Anghelu Ruju and Nuraghe Palmavera, or the abandoned mining town of Argentiera. All of these are completed by other small medieval towns and fishing villages, accessible by following the charming roads filled with idyllic landscapes of Sardinia. For those who wish to find more entertaining ways to spend time in Alghero, the city is also a great shopping and nightlife destination, as well as being renowned for its delicious and affordable cuisine.
Overall, Alghero is a truly fascinating destination, a town that bestows its special charm and character to whoever visits. Offering an inspiring and insightful experience, Alghero has something for everyone, from amazing historical and cultural sights to splendid landscapes and natural wonders. With enchanting beaches and a thrilling nightlife, it has become one of the most spectacular travel destinations of Sardinia and Italy.
Alghero Hotels - Where to Stay
Hotel Sa Cheya Relais & Spa
One of the top hotels in Alghero is Hotel Sa Cheya Relais & Spa. It lies deep in the heart of the Sardinian countryside and offers 360 degree views of the stunning landscape and hills. Just over 3 miles outside of Alghero, the hotel offers every guest a buffet breakfast, tennis courts, and a pool. Visit the Villasole restaurant that’s attached to the hotel, and enjoy traditional and modern dishes that have a Sardinian twist. Every single room in the hotel comes with a private patio or terrace, ensuring guests have the privacy they need during their stay. Guests can also choose between a room with a view of the hills, balcony, or the pool, helping to add a personal touch to their time at the hotel. With a 24 hour reception and a spa, the hotel lies in a 5-hectare park land that was transformed from unkempt marshland into a charming hotel that has been created with the local area and Sardinian traditions in mind. The hotel has been elegantly decorated with modern touches that help to make your stay even more special. Situated in the hills, you may be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle of nowhere, making it ideal for those who want peace, quiet, and a touch of luxury during their time away.
Located close to the beach in Alghero and Fertilia, Hotel Oasis is situated opposite a pine forest, which leads straight to Maria Pia Beach. The hotel is the ideal destination if you’re bringing young children on vacation with you. With two play areas and a pool, the little ones will be kept entertained. A buffet breakfast is served at the hotel’s restaurant, as are Italian and Sardinian meals, in addition to many other dishes. Every room in Hotel Oasis has a balcony, air conditioning, and free WiFi. Guests can choose between a standard or an economy room, and every room has been furnished in a simple but elegant style. Standard rooms look out over the swimming pool, or other hotel rooms, depending on where you would like to stay. Economy rooms can be found on the first floor, and overlook a rooftop that’s been filled with flower boxes and vases, to give it that special touch. Guests can take a walk along the local beach, or dip their toes in the deep blue sea, before making their way back to the hotel through the pine forest. With a touch of elegance added to all of the rooms, the pool and pool area, Hotel Oasis is the ideal getaway for families or couples who like the finer things in life.
Hotel Alma di Alghero
With a 1 minute walk to and from the beach, Hotel Alma di Alghero is home to a Turkish bath and a pool that has hydromassage, helping to soothe your aching bones. Decorated in a contemporary style, and with a 24-hour reception, the hotel offers breakfast daily until 11 am. The swimming pool that is open to every guest overlooks the beach, making it a lovely spot for an evening swim, as you watch the sun go down. The hotel itself has a modern but clean look, and every room has a balcony, with some offering a view of the sea. Guests are encouraged to rent a car or a scooter from the hotel, but they can also hire a Renault Twizy, which is similar in style to two-seater Smart cars. The hotel’s bar offers you the chance to unwind after your day in the sun, and the massages offered by the hotel will both relax and revitalize you after a hard day lounging on the beach in the sunshine.
Hotel Calabona is a 4-star hotel in Alghero that has everything a young family needs on their vacation. With a perfectly safe play park, located in a very green area that will appeal to young children, and a babysitting service that comes with a small charge, you know your children will be kept entertained. Leave your children in the care of the babysitting service while you and your other half take a walk along the beach, or simply enjoy a bit of alone time. The Hotel itself comes with two outdoor swimming pools, which is ideal if you want to get a bit of exercise in before you head to the beach. Nestled in a sandy and rocky bay, the beach is known for its emerald green waters and incredible views. Head to the beach which is close by, and go for a dip in the ocean, as the sun beats down on you. With nine different types of rooms to choose from guests can opt to stay in a standard room, a superior room with a sea view, a Corallo suite, and more. Every room has been beautifully decorated, and even the standard rooms come with an en suite bathroom, TV, mini bar, and telephone.
Alghero Restaurants - Where to Eat
The exquisite Italian cuisine in Al Tuguri never fails to satisfy visitors who arrive with cravings for the best pasta on the Sardinian West Coast. The ambiance is also timeless with the top floor dining area designed with simple rustic interior with painting. It offers traditional vibes with the dark green floral table cloths giving a relaxing hue. Al Tuguri usually offers a first course, main course, then the dessert to give an unforgettable dining experience. Among the best tasting menus includes the Fisherman’s Menu, The Menu of the Territory, and the Market Gardener’s Menu. The meal starters, first courses, grilled fish, and shellfish, to the grilled meat, are truly mouthwatering. There are also vegetables, cheese, and an excellent list of wine to choose from. True enough, it is one of the most sought after dining destination serving the tastiest red tuna fish in the nut crust, bonorva, black and white linguine with stingray, sea bass marinated in seasoned salad and brown sugar, mussels, and more from one of the best Alghero restaurants. Pasta lovers can also enjoy ricotta filled ravioli, spaghetti with crabs, spaghetti with spiny lobsters or some truly unique dishes including the roast eel, bean soup, and pardulas. With the great location, medium price range, and amazing dishes, the Al Tuguri should absolutely be on your list of top choices for dining in Alghero.
Al Tuguri official website:http://www.altuguri.it/en/
Ristorante The Kings
Dishes fit for royalty await in the kitchen of The Kings Restaurant. Located at the Cavour 123 Bastioni Marco Polo 5, this is one of the most popular Algerho restaurants, and they serve locally produced pasta, meat, fish, and vegetable in typically Sardinian and Italian styles. Also, the wine cellar of this excellent restaurant stores the great selection of regional wines which best represents the local grape blends. They even provide meals which are recommended by the chef as well as the wines. The staffs are friendly and provide excellent customer service. Moreover, the location is very strategic with a beautiful sunset view which adds to the superb value of their dining experience. Impressively, the Kings Restaurant ensures that every meal is enjoyed with the beautifully presented courses of sea bass, tuna, to pasta, and mousse. You can sit in comfort while waiting for the tastiest meals you can find in Alghero. For instance, the beef fillet with red wine sauce is a popular choice among diners. Local vegetarian pasta with a cream rocket is also perfect for those who avoid meat. They also offer bread which tops the list in Sardinia. With genuine excellent service and a vibrant atmosphere, the King Restaurant lives up to the royalty and expectation inside every customer.
Ristorante The Kings official website:http://www.thekingsrestaurant.it/
Right at the heart of Alghero resides the Nautilus Restaurant which is always ready to welcome guests with a warm ambiance and Algerian tradition. The cuisine here is also very nutritious using only the light ingredients and fresh sea foods. In fact, it is often thought to be the best restaurant in Alghero for fish lovers because of the typical northwestern sea food dishes they serve. Among the many bestselling dishes of the great restaurants in Alghero includes the mixture of crudités and tare tare, grilled fish, and dessert cheese board. They provide impressive plates together with the spectacular scenery while in the balcony. The harbor views are fantastic and add to the magical charm of the restaurant. Remember to book in advance to get the best seats because Nautilus is one of the most sought after restaurants in Alghero. For regular customers, the squid, swordfish, white sea bream, prawn, and langoustines are among the best dishes to select. They also provide sublime and tasty servings for every menu. You can also choose the best wines from the Sardinian Vermentino white wine to the red wines. Visiting this eatery is also highly recommended as Nautilus is one of the most genuine restaurants in Alghero that you can find.
Ristorante Nautilus official website:https://www.nautilusalghero.it/
How To Get To Alghero
Flights from the UK
- The nearest airport to Alghero is Alghero-Fertilia Airport.
- Most direct flights from London Stansted to Alghero-Fertilia Airport usually take about 3 hours.
- Most direct flights from London Stansted to Alghero-Fertilia Airport are handled by airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet, Thomsonfly.
Arriving in Alghero is fairly easy; the city being serviced by an airport located about 10 km outside town. Flights from big cities of Italy and several European capitals land on the Alghero Airport. Another option would be to fly to Cagliari International Airport and catch a bus or rent a car to reach Alghero. Within the island itself, there are mainly two options of getting around, driving or renting a car and by using the trains. A local train runs to the provincial capital of Sassari, while the public national trains offer connections to Cagliari. Within the city of Alghero, it is fairly easy to explore and get anywhere on foot, and although driving is also an option, parking places are scarce in the tourist season.
Sardinian Beaches Near Alghero
There are several sardinian beaches to explore near Alghero. Just click on a link below to find out more!
Spiaggia di Porto Ferro
Spiaggia di Porto Ferro is one of the best beaches in north-west Sardinia.The beach is also known for the nearby hamlet of Villa Assunta and Lago Baratz, the only natural lake of Sardinia. Separated by towering dunes and silent pine forests, they form yet another side to an already fascinating ecosystem which are further reasons as to why this bay is such sought after destinations in Sassari. Spiaggia di Porto Ferro faces west and features two kilometers of golden sand and some ancient towers which certainly add to the charm of the area. Highly recommended!
Learn more about Spiaggia di Porto Ferro, how to get there, and where to stay.
From Alghero, drive north-west for about 4 kilometers and you’ll find Fertilia beach, located in between Maria Pia beach and the small village named Fertilia. Backed by a pond, Fertilia beach has a length of 1 kilometer and faces south, offering nice views over the shallow light-blue waters and Fertilia’s small shipyard. This beach consists of clear sand and some rocks that arise on its outskirts. The seabed consists of sand and some small rocks, and the water is always crystal clear and pleasantly cool. There a diving school nearby.
Learn more about Fertilia, how to get there, and where to stay.
Lido beach can be found just a few hundred meters north of Alghero. It has a length of nearly 1.5 kilometers, and mostly faces south-west, featuring views of a harbor named Marina di Sant’Elmo to the south, and a small island named Isola della Maddalenetta that’s situated 1.5 kilometers off the coast. This Alghero beach is a favorite spot among both tourists and locals because, in addition to being an attractive beach, one can easily reach both the marina and the old town, along the Via Lido, either on foot or by bicycle.
Learn more about Lido Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.
Drive north-west from Alghero for about 15 kilometers, and you’ll discover Mugoni beach. The main – and widest – part of Mugoni is about 1.5 kilometers long, though the beach continues for a few hundred meters at its outskirts. Mugoni is almost completely sheltered by cooling pine tree forests, and offers extraordinary views of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte headlands and the mountainous region near Tramariglio.
Learn more about Mugoni Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.
Maria Pia Beach
Head north-west from the center of Alghero for just a few kilometers, and you’ll discover Maria Pia beach (Spiaggia di Maria Pia). It is one of the best beaches near Alghero. It is 1200 meters long and faces south-west, featuring excellent views of the Alghero bay. Maria Pia is backed by beautiful dunes and a cooling pine forest that can give you some shade during the hottest hours of the day. The waters at Maria Pia are shallow at first and get deeper gradually, so it’s a good beach for families with children. This beach is also easily accessible with wheelchairs, it has a wooden pathway. The parking space is close to the beach. Highly recommended when in Alghero!
Learn more about Maria Pia Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.
Porto Palmas beach is a small cove just north of Argentiera in north-west Sardinia, and belongs to the group of westernmost coves you’ll find on the island.
Learn more about Porto Palmas, how to get there, and where to stay.
Located less than a kilometer east of Lazzaretto beach, Le Bombarde beach is another popular beach of the Alghero area and the Riviera del Corallo.
Learn more about Le Bombarde, how to get there, and where to stay.
Lazzaretto beach, on the Riviera del Corallo, is located near the villages of Fertilia and Lido San Giovanni, and close to Le Bombarde beach.
Learn more about Lazzaretto Beach, how to get there, and where to stay.
La Speranza beach is located in north-west Sardinia, 8 kilometers south of Alghero. La Speranza beach is one of the best beaches of the Alghero area.
Learn more about La Speranza, how to get there, and where to stay.