Visiting Alghero

Alghero is one of the most popular resorts on Sardinia, yet retains the charm and atmosphere of a working fishing village. It manages to cater for all tastes, with cultural sites and plenty of amenities. It is less glitzy than the busy Costa Smeralda on the north east coast of the island, but has plenty to offer those wanting sun, sand and sea - with clean beaches, and a lively clutch of bars and restaurants. The medieval old town is the most picturesque on Sardinia, and has a fascinating Catalan heritage: a legacy of centuries of Aragon rule. Street signs are in both Italian and Catalan, and much of the architecture is distinctly Spanish. There are plenty of things to see and do within a short distance of Alghero, and it offers a stylish base for exploring the rest of Sardinia.

Who goes there

British package tour operators have included Alghero in their brochures for some years, but it has escaped the ‘fish, chips and lager' commercialisation that has plagued other resorts. Budget airlines now offer direct flights from the UK, so many visitors are still British - frequently couples seeking romantic or relaxing holidays. It is also a popular destination with holidaying Italians. Alghero is an excellent winter destination, as it is a working fishing port, so still functions out of season.

Where in the world ?

Alghero Sardinia Map

Alghero is on the northwest coast of the Italian island of Sardinia, which lies immediately south of Corsica. The resort is 12.8km (8 miles) from Alghero airport, and 172km (107 miles) from the island's capital, Cagliari, in the south.

The 1,000-year-old port sits on a headland, the old town surrounded by a thick medieval wall. Sandy beaches stretch north from the village, while the road south offers dramatic cliff-top views of the sea.

Beyond the Beach

Stroll around the old town, which the medieval Catalans named Barcelonetta, or Little Barcelona. The most striking building is the cathedral (Piazza Duomo), which was built in the 16th-century in Catalan-Gothic style. A boat trip along the coast offers the chance to see the spectacular caves at Capo Caccia, known as Grotta di Nettuno - or Neptune's Caves. This limestone cave system, hidden beneath a sheer cliff face, has jagged stalactites and stalagmites and a deep, clear lake. The round trip lasts around three hours. Diving enthusiasts can make for Porto Conte, which has equipment hire and runs diving excursions.

Family Fun

Alghero is a resort that offers a relaxing, traditional family holiday. The beaches are unspoilt, there are plenty of family friendly restaurants, and children should enjoy the boat trip to the Grotta di Nettuno. There are also plenty of opportunities for family walks and cycle rides in the unspoilt countryside that lies inland.

Day Trips

Grotta Di Nettuno...

Grotta Di Nettuno
One of the most popular excursions from Alghero is Grotta Di Nettuno oe Neptune's Grotto. This is a spectacular series of connected sea caves located underneath the Cappo Caccia headland. Reached either by car (and an impressive set of 656 steps) or by boat trip from the port.

Nuraghe Di Palmavera...
The archaeological site of Nuraghe di Palmavera is the most important Nuraghic excavation in the Nuoro region of Sardinia. Situated some 10km from Alghero, the centre of the site is dominated by the ruins of a palace and this is surrounded by the remains of fifty circular dwellings.

Anghelu Ruju...
This is the oldest prehistoric site near Alghero and dates back to the Ozieri Culture of the late Neolithic (3300BC). The excavations can be found just outside the airport at Fertilia and consist of a necropolis made up of thirty seven burial tombs. A convenient end of Holiday excursion.

Beaches in and around Alghero

Alghero offers lovely, unspoilt beaches: long, sandy and etched with cool fragrant pine trees. The longest stretch of sand is just north of the old town, one of the largest beaches being San Giovanni. The coast also offers plenty of possibilities for sailing and diving.

Mugoni Beach - 18Km North West of Alghero

How to Get There
Take the road from Alghero to Porto Conte and turn right for Capo Caccia. After about 2.5 km, on the left, a paved road leads to the first beach in the Mugoni pine-wood; a few metres from the beach on the left is a large paid parking area (campers admitted) with showers and bathrooms. Continuing along the same road for 1 km, an unpaved road on the left leads to the second Mugoni beach (La Stalla), with parking available.

Description
Protected by very dense eucalyptus trees, Mugoni Beach is quite narrow but several kilometres long.
With very fine white sand, the water is always cool, even in August, and being a bay, it is usually sheltered from currents and winds. The water is crystal-clear with a sandy bottom. A family beach.

Lazaretta Beach

Lazzaretto Beach - 3.5Km West of Fertila

How to Get There
From Alghero, proceed to the hamlet of Fertilia; go past the crossroads for Bombarde Beach, after 700 mtrs turn left on a small paved road and after another 800 mtrs you arrive at Lazzaretto Beach.

Description
A splendid beach set between the rocks of a small cove and surrounded by very dense Mediterranean vegetation. The area has countless other marvellous inlets.

The beaches are "protected" by a seventeenth-century Spanish tower.

Baja Di Conte Beach - 18Km North-West of Alghero 

How to Get There
Leave Alghero in the direction of Porto Conte. Turn right at the crossroads for Capo Caccia. Turn left immediately after Hotel Baja di Conte for Le Ville Romane Beach.

Description
Baja di Conte is a very narrow strip of unbelievably white sand. There are large areas with pebbles that run down into the water and the bottom is made up of pebbles and rocks, a great place for those who like rocky beaches. Sheltered from winds and with no dangerous undercurrents. Uncrowded.

The water is very clear and a pleasant temperature. Behind the beach is the protected Le Prigionette Forest, where you can see protected species like the white donkey, wild boar, Sardinian deer, etc.

Cala Argentiera Beach, - 40Km North-West of Alghero

How to Get There
Leave Alghero in the direction of Porto Conte. Turn right at the crossroads for Capo Caccia. Turn left immediately after Hotel Baja di Conte for Le Ville Romane Beach.

Description
Baja di Conte is a very narrow strip of unbelievably white sand. There are large areas with pebbles that run down into the water and the bottom is made up of pebbles and rocks, a great place for those who like rocky beaches. Sheltered from winds and with no dangerous undercurrents. Uncrowded.

The water is very clear and a pleasant temperature. Behind the beach is the protected Le Prigionette Forest, where you can see protected species like the white donkey, wild boar, Sardinian deer, etc.

Maria Pia Beach - 2Km North-West of Alghero

Maria Pia Beach

How to Get There
Leaving Alghero, go towards Fertilia, along the Lido coast-road; after 2 km, you arrive at Maria Pia Beach, which continues for about 2 more km, as far as Fertilia.

Description
For more than 50 years, a thick pine-wood has protected this sandy beach, which slopes gently down to the water. The extremely white sand is very fine and impalpable to the touch.   The pine-wood and dunes provide ample shade at any hour of the day. The beach is rarely exposed to winds and the sea is nearly always calm, with virtually no dangerous undercurrents. The crystal-clear water is not overly cold. Good for children.

Poglina Beach - 8.5Km South of Alghero

How to Get There
Leaving Alghero, go towards Bosa on S.P.105. After 8.3 km, turn right on an unpaved road leading to the beach, near which there is an old Spanish watchtower.

Description
From the promontories, the coast drops down to the beach, a few hundred metres long and about 10 metres wide, tapering off at the sides; fine white sand. Rocks enclose the beach at the two ends.
The beach slopes gradually into the water; there is a sandy bottom with occasional rocks surfacing. Winds blow from the north-west, but the area is relatively sheltered. However, the sea is often rough, good for windsurfing and even surfing.

Porto Ferro Beach - 26Km North-West of Alghero near Lake Baratz

How to Get There
At the crossroads for Capo Caccia on the Alghero-Porto Conte road, turn right and go straight on for about 3 km, turning right at the crossroads for Sassari/Santa Maria La Palma. After about ¾ km, a sign on the left indicates the entrance to Porto Ferro; the road is paved. Go ahead for 2 km until entering Via Monte Aratu on the right. After a few hundred metres, the road ends in a large open space where you can park.

Description
It is a beautiful half-moon of fine reddish sand, very long and overlookd by three seventeenth-century Spanish watchtowers. A perfect place for those who like rocks, it is surrounded by dunes and a pine-wood. Very dense Mediterranean vegetation goes right down to the edge of the beach. Exposed to strong north-west winds, it is one of the favourite places for surfers.

Porto Palmas Beach - 40Km North-West of Alghero

How to Get There
Leave Alghero in the direction of Porto Torres. After about 20 kilometres, having passed the Joanne Abbas roadman's house, turn left towards Palamadula. Leaving Palmadula, turn left for l'Argentiera (S.P. 18). After 2.5 km, at the end of a long downhill stretch with hairpin bends and curves, on the right is Porto Palmas Beach.

Description
This beach, sloping gently towards the sea, is made up of pebbles and sand remaining from mineral-processing. The crescent-shaped beach is 20/30 metres long and slightly less wide. Crystal-clear water with pebbles and rocks on the bottom. Open sea with possible undercurrents offshore. A characteristic of the rocks and stones in this area is that if seen from above, the sun makes them look silver-coloured. To the side of the beach, we can still see the interesting remains of the mining installation, which was abandoned in the '60s.

Punto Negra Beach - 700 metres west of Fertilia

How to Get There
Leaving Alghero, after 6.5 kilometres we reach the hamlet of Fertilia. Continuing on for 500 m in the direction of Porto Conte, we find Punta Negra Beach on the left. 

Description
The beach slopes slightly towards the water, which is not very cold. The sea-bottom is sandy and crystalline, with some rocks emerging here and there. Large rocky areas at the sides of the beach.
Sheltered from wind and currents. The Fertilia pine-wood hides it from the road. The sand is fine and white. To the left of the beach is the hotel of the same name. As it is slightly hidden, the beach is not overcrowded and less chaotic than some of the other ones. It can be reached directly from nearby Fertilia by a short road. 

Porticciolo Beach - 17Km North-West of Alghero

How to Get There
Leave Alghero in the direction of Porto Conte. At the crossroads for Capo Caccia, turn right.
Just before Hotel Baja di Conte, turn right in the direction of Santa Maria La Palma and go straight on for 1.4 km. Turn left on a paved road which after about 900 metres leads to a campground. Turn right and go on for 200 metres and you've arrived! Leave the car and go down to the beach, following one of the two paths on the left.

Description
Overlooked by a seventeenth-century Spanish watchtower, the beach is a little cove reached by going down steps cut into the earth for about 100 m. The beach and shore-line are covered with pebbles, but the water deepens rapidly and there is a rocky bottom. The crystal-clear water is always a pleasant temperature. This little cove is sheltered from the wind and undercurrents. Behind the beach is an area with low Mediterranean vegetation, excellent for trekking. There is a picture- postcard view from the Tower. 

Le Bombarde Beach - 3Km West of Fertilia

Le Bombarde

How to Get There
Take the Alghero-Porto Conte provincial road; about 2 km after Fertilia, just after the first curve, take the small road on the left to the end, then turn left and immediately right to reach the beach parking area. 

Description
Bombarde Beach is a small bay between the rocks. Less than 1 km long, the beach is a few dozen metres wide. It slopes towards the water, which deepens just a few metres from shore. The water is almost always calm, crystal-clear, and always quite cold. There is a sandy bottom with numerous rocks emerging, especially at the two ends.The sand is fine and very white. Extremely popular among young people who tend to congregate near the bar, making the beach more "livable" towards the sides. Behind the beach there is a dense pine and eucalyptus wood.

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