Alghero is certainly one of the most tourist destinations in Sardinia and is a unique city of its kind. It can be considered a mix of architecture, language and even cuisine, in fact over the centuries it has undergone several dominions including that of the Dorias (the builders of the wall fortress still visible today), the Aragonese and the Catalans. Just under the dominion of the Catalans Alghero developed enormously and is still strongly influenced and can be seen through art, gastronomy with typical dishes, the language (some elderly people continue to speak Alghero) and the way of life. So let's find out what to see in Alghero and its surroundings , what to do and therefore what are the main activities, the beaches of the surroundings and the typical dishes.
What to see in Alghero
1) ALGHERO AND HISTORICAL CENTER
What to see in Alghero and surroundings? The historic center is certainly among the most interesting and fascinating areas of the city, in fact imagine a medieval village entirely enclosed by fortified walls that were fundamental for the defense of the territory by the Doria around 1100 AD Inside the historic center it is difficult not to feel the atmosphere instead of the 400 years of Catalan-Aragonese dominion that have left an important Catalan influence among important historical buildings, churches, but also houses now made up of typical restaurants. What to see in the historic center of Alghero is simple, starting certainly from the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria built around 1530 and which has a gothic-neoclassical style.
Not only the cathedral but I recommend to absolutely see the church of San Michele which represents one of the most significant examples of the Baroque style and also the church of San Francesco , a monument of the city and certainly the maximum architectural expression of the Gothic-Catalan style. Do you want to admire Alghero from above? Climb the bell tower of the cathedral, the view will be crazy. The day does not end here, a walk along the promenade and ramparts will take you back in time, admiring towers, cannons, catapults and beautiful medieval gates.
2) CAVE OF NEPTUNE
One of the most important natural monuments to see in the surroundings of Alghero is certainly the cave of Neptune , a karst formation in the north-west part of the Capo Caccia promontory and about 4 km long but only a few hundred meters can be visited by the public. The interior of the cave is nothing short of spectacular among stalactites , stalagmites , various rooms including that of the palace and the organ and also a 120-meter salt lake that has the same level of the sea outside. Do you think that the area was once the habitat of monk seal , probably exterminated by the human being. Access to the caves is not very easy and can only take place in favorable weather conditions either by sea (a boat leaving from the Port of Alghero will take you directly to the entrance) or by land via the Escala del Cabirol , an incredible staircase of 654 steps that winds along the rocky wall of Capo Caccia.
3) CHIEF HUNTING AND PORTO CONTE
What to see in Alghero and surroundings? The promontory of Capo Caccia is one of the natural symbols of Alghero, characterized by imposing limestone cliffs that have been modeled over time and fall overhanging the crystalline water. It is part of the marine protected area and this area is a must for scuba diving enthusiasts who will find rare specimens of coral , a totally enviable marine flora and fauna among lobsters e groupers , but not only, also the possibility of swimming inside the most extensive submarine karst formation in the Mediterranean Sea called Nereo's cave . Think that in Capo Caccia various archaeological finds have been made such as the cercamic artifacts in the green cave that scholars have dated 6000 BC, date of the ancient Neolithic to which the first human settlements date back. From the top of Capo Caccia and reachable by car it is possible to enjoy an incredible view of the rocks that emerge from the sea, beaches with white sand and if you are lucky you will see the griffon vulture flying high in the skies, the bird of prey which unfortunately is in danger of extinction. .
Another area of absolute importance in Capo Caccia is the state-owned forest of Porto Conte - Le Prigionette , also known as Noah's Ark. It is a very sensitive area from a natural point of view and rich in plant and fauna biodiversity. We definitely recommend one of the do-it -yourself hiking activities, you can follow one of the internal paths by bike, but also through trekking, walking and even in 4x4 with guided tours. Through one of these activities it will be possible to appreciate the scents and colors typical of the Mediterranean flora and be excited by the meeting of domestic animals such as the albino donkey of Asinara and horses that live in the wild, but also fallow deer and wild boar in the plain of Sant'Imbenia. It is an area of extreme naturalistic value and that certainly deserves to be visited and experienced, among other things it can be visited all year round with different times based on the period and at the entrance there are information points, bicycle rental, area picnic, bike / e-bike rental.
4) THE BEACHES IN THE AREA
It may seem trivial but we know very well that the beaches on our island are many, both in the north and in the south and each area contains real jewels, let's say that in a certain sense this is what the traveler always looks for on his holiday in Sardinia. So what are the beaches to see in and around Alghero? Starting right from Alghero we can recommend Maria Pia , which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful city beaches in Sardinia and in optimal weather conditions it is a real paradise. Moving a few kilometers towards Capo Caccia we find first Le Bombarde and then Lazzaretto , the latter one of the symbolic beaches of the Alghero bay with fine and compact white sand. Also in the Capo Caccia area, another important beach is Mugoni , with medium-sized sand and a beautiful pine forest behind it, here you will be able to see the promontory of Capo Caccia in its majesty. Remaining in the same area, the beautiful and small cove Dragunara and the coastal areas of Pischina Salida should be emphasized, while along the road south towards Bosa a beach of absolute importance is La Speranza beach.
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These beaches just mentioned are not the only ones, on the contrary, they are the most popular. Below you will see a sequence of remote beaches which can be reached by car or by trekking and which are located in the immediate vicinity of Alghero. Don't forget us travel planner we absolutely favor the discovery of remote and off-the-beaten-path areas, but not only that, we recommend the choice of a beach also based on weather conditions (may or may not be exposed to winds), to type of traveler (maybe if you are a family I will prefer to recommend a beach with services rather than a remote one reachable after 50 minutes of trekking) and to yours needs and passions . Choosing our service will be fundamental, before and during your vacation. Enjoy the show.
5) SPECIAL LA PELOSA
What can I say, I believe that in Stintino there is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia but not only, it has been included in a list of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean: La Pelosa . Let's start with the outline, namely the Junipers of the Mediterranean scrub that remind everyone that we are in Sardinia through their nature and their scent. I say this because looking at the beach and the sea the mind can take you very far, like the Caribbean , or the Maldives . The sand is white, the conformation is nothing short of spectacular and the seabed is low, for many meters giving prominence to the turquoise water initially which gradually changes color become increasingly dark. The shades are infinite, all this defines this beach as really one of the most beautiful in Europe, for us, the most beautiful in the North West area.
One of the must-see beaches if you are in the Alghero area right? This is so if the weather conditions are perfect because we know very well that Sardinia is subject to the strong mistral wind that could sometimes "ruin" the natural spectacle that normally appears to our eyes. This area is also a destination for kite surf enthusiasts so be careful to choose the day to go, in addition to this access to La Pelosa has become paid for several years, it will be important to book your access through the dedicated online channel.
6) WHAT TO DO (OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES)
Not only to see and eat but there is a lot to do in Alghero in terms of outdoor activities. Starting with the marine ones, scuba diving within the protected marine area of Capo Caccia is certainly of importance, among caves and marine flora and fauna to be envied. If I went on holiday to Alghero I would certainly choose one of the excursions by rubber dinghy or sailing ship that depart from the port of Alghero and take you to different coastal locations between crystal clear sea, paradisiacal beaches, semi-submerged caves and dolphins that jump out of the water and accompany your day. . Another outdoor activity at sea is that related to SUP (stand up puddle) which for several years has taken hold and is considered as one of the most beautiful and exciting activities to do, but there is also a kayak tour especially in the Lazzaretto area and maybe take a lesson in surfing in Porto Ferro if the weather conditions allow it.
7) HISTORY AND TRADITION
We all know that Sardinia is a land of Nuraghi , domus de janas , necropolis and Dolmen . In the surroundings of Alghero there is an absolute archaeological relief that is absolutely worth seeing if you are a lover of the history of Sardinia. This is the majestic Nuragic village of Palmavera , which is one of the most important and significant sites that the Nuragic civilization has built on the island. This complex is divided into two towers consisting of large limestone and sandstone, positioned in the center of a pentagonal wall that also incorporates three towers and the majestic Capanna delle Riunioni . A village of about 50 huts extends around the walls, but whose remains are still a source of debate among the greatest scholars of the Nuragic civilization (especially for the real amount of houses).
The Palmavera complex is built on 3 distinct historical periods ranging from 1600 to 1000 BC, in case of visit do not forget to choose a guide during (the site is open all year), it will be important to discover the history, the style of life at the time of the nuragics and also some interesting curiosities. No less important is the necropolis of Anghelu Ruju , the largest in the Sardinian territory and the excavations that took place about 120 years ago brought to light 31 hypogea. Another important necropolis is that of Santu Pedru made up of 10 tombs and which came to light after the works for the construction of the Alghero aqueduct.
The Corallium rubrum (also called Red Coral) is the symbol of the Alghero tradition, an element of great value for the economy of Sardinia and, even more, for the city of Alghero. Precious since ancient times for its hardness and intense natural color, living material collected by our fishermen and which the artisans transform into unique, timeless works of art and jewels. The Red Coral is in fact for the city something more than a precious product of the territory: it is an expression of culture and tradition, reflected in the name defined precisely Riviera del Corallo and in the coat of arms that contains a branch of the precious red coral on a rock base. This extraordinary product is linked to an artisanal and commercial activity of the highest value, and recently there is also the only aquarium in Italy of Corallo Rosso vivo.
8) TYPICAL DISHES
Not only what to see in Alghero but also what to eat. The typical dishes of the culinary tradition of Alghero are strongly influenced by the Catalan domination and above all by what was once the main economic source of the city, that is fishing (currently tourism). Let's start immediately with the queen of the kitchen, the Catalan lobster which in this city is served on a bed of cherry tomatoes, onions and with a sauce of oil, vinegar and lemon. Think about it also because if you go to a "trusted" restaurant (with the TOP plan of our itineraries we will also suggest restaurants where you can eat typical local cuisine) you will experience the thrill of tasting a lobster caught a few hundred meters from Alghero. In addition to lobster, the algherese aglta is no less important, a dish considered poor and containing fish usually boiled topped with minced garlic, dried tomatoes and chilli.
Other typical seafood appetizers are the soup prepared with different varieties of fresh fish and the sea urchins which are the absolute protagonists of the cuisine of Alghero, especially in the months ranging from autumn to spring, served simply fresh on a toast of warm bread. Moving on to the first, the sea urchins are also served with spaghetti (an absolute delight) but let's not forget the algherese paella , which represents a strong link with Catalonia; the base is Sardinian fregola which is seasoned with lamb, seafood and seasonal vegetables. Another important dish is certainly the spaghetti alla bottarga , which has now become an integral part of Alghero cuisine, the creme brulee , a dessert made with milk and eggs with a sprinkling of brown sugar on the surface which is burned, the seadas typical throughout Sardinia and finally the red myrtle , the Sardinian digestive par excellence.
A collection of our experiences on the island!
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Here is who has chosen us to organize their holiday to discover the less touristy Sardinia !