Alghero is one of the most characteristic beauties of Sardinia. The town's close ties to Spain, Catalunya in particular, go back to the 14th Century when the House of Aragon’s domination began. Catalonia still inspires the Municipality’s coat of arms, and you will hear the language spoken by many locals of the older generation. For this reason, Alghero is also called “Little Barcelona”.
It could be that the name Alghero derives from Aleguerium, an ancient term for “alga”, which is Italian for seaweed: significant quantities of which are often present on the town’s beaches. As is well known, Sardinia is dotted with cone-shaped stone structures called Nuraghi, and Alghero is no exception to this. A few kilometres from town, on the bay of Porto Conte, you’ll find the site of Sant’Imbenia. This Nuragic complex and its huts dated back to the 15th Century BC and were extremely important for trade with the Iberian peninsula. Of the same period, a bit further south and inland is the Nuragic complex of Palmavera, which was in use until the 8th century BC. Nuraghi are undoubtedly the most typical archaeological evidence, but there are others, even older. For example, the Roman Villa also located in Sant’Imbenia or the Domus de Janas Neolithic tombs slightly further north. Or the necropolis of Anghelu Ruju, 3300 BC, or the necropolis of Santu Pedru. So you’ve got not only nuraghi but also archaeological sites which date back even further so that you can immerse yourself in an even older past.
Going back to the Catalan colonization of Alghero, we have the Crypt of San Jaume, referred to locally as the Tomba del Cavaller.
There are many other examples of Catalan architecture that you can find in another editorial: 5 things to discover, do and see in Alghero.
Alghero offers sea, sun and sand, and some of the most beautiful and important panoramic views in Sardinia. Let’s start at the Isola Piana, located in front of the spectacular vertical cliffs of Capo Caccia. This tiny island looks like a rock which dropped from the sky and beckons you to reach it, which you can do by sea. It lends its name to the natural landscape to which it belongs – the Area Naturale Marina Protetta di Capo Caccia-Isola Piana, a marine protected area since 2002 and classified as "Mediterranean interest". If you follow the coast towards the north, you reach the spectacular Gulf of Porto Conte, an expanse of green and blue water part of the regional natural park of the same name. It is one of the largest natural harbours in the Mediterranean, the site of a bloody 14th century battle between the Aragonese and Genoese armies.
Even under the sea, this area is full of surprises. Among the submerged caves, you’ll find the Cave of Nereo, which is the most famous, just below the cliff of Capo Caccia. To the east, beneath the limestone of Punta Giglio, there is the Grotta dei Fantasmi, and not far away from the Grotta dei Cervi (not to be confused with the Apulian one), with essential fossil deposits. These are all caves that you can explore with organized scuba diving excursions.
For those who prefer to remain above sea level and breathe fresh air, we recommend an invigorating hike in the protected area of Noah’s Ark.
Alghero is famous above all for a relaxing vacation on its spectacular beaches. The town’s seafront is one continuous stretch of soft white sand, with some precious pearls here and there. Alghero’s Lido Beach is located just outside the old town and is easily accessible by foot. Don’t be fooled by its proximity to a town, its waters are crystal clear! If you prefer a more intimate situation, just continue a kilometre further to the north and you’ll be at Maria Pia Beach. Here the sand is white as snow. Should you decide to go in the opposite direction from the old town, towards the south, you will reach the small Las Tronas Beach surrounded by jagged rocks and a dark blue clear sea. If you are looking for a more varied landscape, head a few more kilometres south, and you will reach Porto Poglina and the Speranza Beach (the beach of Hope). You will find yourself surrounded by soft hills sloping down to a flat blue sea.
And speaking of Catalonia, what better place to stay than the Hotel Catalunya? A 4-star establishment, happy to welcome you 24 hours a day all year round, in one of the most beautiful locations in the whole of Italy! The hotel overlooks the sea, obviously via Catalogna, at the gates of the historic centre, a few kilometres from the most beautiful beaches and a short walk from the shopping streets. The 9th floor deserves the time for breakfast and an aperitif as the sun sets because, from the Blau Skybar located here, you can enjoy a unique view over the marina and the city. The Maqù Restaurant, which is on the second floor and overlooks the peaceful town park, serves succulent dishes for both those seeking traditional flavours and those who enjoy the sophistication of gourmet cuisine. Whether you're travelling alone, with your family, or in groups, Hotel Catalunya is always the best solution, with its 128 rooms designed for every type of need and with sea or bay views. Thanks to its conference centre with 5 large meeting rooms on the ground and first floors, it is also ideal for business trips. Are you travelling with your four-legged friends? They, too, are always welcome here!Book your holiday in Alghero❯