Giuni Russo is not the only person to have appreciated the attractions of this stunning Sardinian city, which continues to be a very popular destination. If you are planning a trip to Alghero, start taking notes: we are about to find out what there is to see in the city and its surrounding area.
What to see in Alghero and its surrounding area
Nestled on the west coast of northern Sardinia, Alghero is a real jewel by the sea: white beaches and an emerald green sea make it one of the most popular Italian summer destinations. However, Alghero is beautiful all year round: gorgeous in winter and calm and fragrant in spring, the Sardinian capital has a lot to offer. So let’s go immediately to find out what there is to see in Alghero and the surrounding area to ensure we make the most of its beauty.
Alghero’s historic centre: discover Italy’s little Barcelona
Alghero has a stunning historic centre, known by locals as Alguer Vella, which recalls the city’s ancient rulers who made it a place that is truly unique in the world. Founded by the Genoese Doria family in 1102 as a fortress city, Alghero then fell under Aragonese and Catalan rule, which had a strong influence on its architectural style and local dialect: also known as Barceloneta, or small Barcelona, this Sardinian city has preserved the use of the Algherese dialect of Catalan, recognized today as a minority language, which is spoken by almost 23% of the city’s inhabitants. Old palaces and narrow alleys form the backdrop of a city that retains all its ancient splendour.
You can begin your visit to Alghero’s historic centre from Alghero Cathedral, which, with its tall octagonal bell tower, is the symbol of the city. Continue your visit to the old town by making a classic, essential tour: the tour of the towers. Indeed, there are seven towers spread out along the ancient walls of Alghero. From the Tower of Porta Terra, which was once the only way of accessing the city by land, to Sulis Tower, the highest of all.
Stroll through the centre of Alghero and lose yourself in its wealth of history, eventually discovering the countless churches and historic buildings that overlook Piazza Civica.
Alghero’s waterfront: Joan Busquets Promenade
Alghero‘s close connection to Catalan culture is visible in many small details, such as the city’s waterfront. Named the Joan Busquets Promenade, it powerfully evokes the Catalan identity that pervades the city: indeed, Barcelona’s La Rambla street is reproduced here. It took almost 30 years to construct this long promenade, but it was worth it. The architect who designed the waterfront, Joan Busquets, created a very attractive, characterful promenade that will make you literally fall in love with Alghero!
Alghero’s beaches: a crystal clear sea and white sand
Alghero overlooks the sea, from which the city derives much of its charm. The coast is dotted with many beaches, coves and bays, which are a joy to discover on a spring walk and are perfect for bathing during the summer. In short, you are spoiled for choice with both public beaches and private beaches with amenities.
Let’s start with the most famous and certainly most popular beaches, before naming the most hidden and therefore least chaotic ones.
One of Alghero’s most famous beaches is undoubtedly Le Bombarde: featuring sunbeds and umbrellas, it is the perfect beach for people who want to enjoy a day of water sports.
Lido di Alghero beach, also known as Lido di San Giovanni, is ideal for everyone who wants to enjoy beach life just a stone’s throw from the city: it is in fact Alghero’s main beach. Equipped with amenities and characterized by white sand and very shallow water, it is perfect for families with children.
Then there is Maria Pia beach with its gorgeous white sand dunes, located not far from Alghero. It is a must-visit beach: in 2018 it was listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
In a wilder area, you can discover Mugoni beach, also known as Spiaggia della Baia delle Ninfee (Bay of Nymphs beach). Overlooking the stunning Cape Caccia, it is a stretch of sandy beach with a pine forest behind it, perfect for sheltering during the hottest hours of the day.
We cannot talk about the sea and beaches of Alghero without mentioning the beauty of Cape Caccia promontory: situated around 20 kilometres from the city centre, the promontory is now a Regional Natural Park which is also famous for being a rich fossil deposit. The promontory is a huge karst rock overhanging the sea, boasting sandy beaches and beautiful rocky coves. The most notable of these are Cala Dragunara, characterized by its fine golden sand and splendid seabed for snorkelers, and Tamariglio Beach, which is small but gorgeous.
It would be rather reductive to attempt to describe all the beaches in Alghero and the surrounding area: now you just need to rent a car and to set off to discover the marine beauties near the city.
Neptune’s Grotto: Alghero’s hidden wonder
Since we have already mentioned the splendid Cape Caccia, we should pause to discover a natural beauty hidden in this magical place. We are talking about Neptune’s Grotto, one of the largest caves in the area around Alghero. Its beautiful karst formations are among the largest in Italy. The cave should be visited when the sea is calm and weather conditions are favourable: it can be accessed both by land and by sea. To access it by land, descend the equally famous Escala del Cabirol, 656 steps that will take you straight to your destination. People who are less fit can easily visit Neptune’s Grotto by sea.
Other attractions in Alghero
Alghero has a wealth of attractions and you certainly will not get bored if you are planning a trip to the city. So let’s discover the other places of interest in Alghero.
Palmavera Nuragic complex
Anghelu Ruju necropolis
The Coral Museum
Eating in Alghero
Taking a trip to Sardinia and above all to Alghero means indulging in the pleasures of local cuisine. This city certainly has a lot to offer in terms of gastronomy. Dishes that you must be sure to try when on holiday in Alghero include the famous “aragosta alla catalana” (Catalan-style lobster), which is served from April to August (the lobster fishing season). The recipe is one of the city’s traditional dishes, combining the deliciousness of lobster with simple, tasty ingredients. It is truly magical when paired with a local wine. Indeed, Alghero, renowned for its natural beauty, is also famous for its local wineries: visiting them allows you to discover the finest fruits of Sardinia, the envy of the world. If you want to plan a visit to a winery where you can enjoy tastings, we recommend Cantina Sella & Mosa, which organises guided tours, and Cantina Santa Maria La Palma, famous for its “Aragosta” (“lobster”) Vermentino.
So let’s raise a toast to the countless attractions of Alghero, a city waiting to be discovered.
To visit Alghero and Italy, you must have a passport or ID card that is valid for travel abroad. The country is part of the European Union.
When is the best time to visit Alghero? If you are mainly interested in spending time on the beach, summer is definitely the ideal season: hot and dry, with temperatures as high as 30 degrees in August, summer is perfect for those who want to enjoy beach life and relaxation under an umbrella. If you are not interested in swimming in the area’s crystal clear water, you can treat yourself to a stay in the city