Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean and, along with Corsica, is one of my two favorite islands in Europe. Alghero is the second largest city on Sardinia after Cagliari, and is a very pretty place to be. It is right on the coast, has some nice beaches within the city, and is also close to wineries and more beaches along the cape.
Alghero also boasts proximity to the awesome Grotta Di Nettuno. The Grotto Di Nettuno is a gorgeous cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites in a mountainous cove wedged some 700 feet or so down. In order to get to it, you can either take a boat from Alghero or you can drive over to it and walk down over 600 steps and some amazing scenery. I walked and it was really cool, but it would be tough for older people to walk both ways so plan accordingly.
Once you arrive in the cave, you're greeted with a gorgeous natural scene with the perfect amount of light coming in from the cave hole. They also offer a tour of the cave that would be interesting especially if it’s your first time in a cave.
If you drive back toward Alghero and Capo Caccia there are some other really nice beaches. I stopped at Spiaggia Lazzarotte where the gorgeous white sand will be packed with Italians on holiday. The water is chilly but really nice and clear with excellent views.
After two hours or so I headed back toward town and stopped at the much larger and spacious city beaches with great views of the old town and Alghero. Alghero itself is divided between the new city that is more or less off the beach and the walled old city with very impressive ramparts bordering it from the sea.
The ramparts are packed at night with people having dinner, strolling or (my personal favorite) eating gelato. As with most places in Italy, there are no shortages of places to eat or great places to walk.
Alghero, surprisingly, has a distinct Catalan feel. In fact, the Catalans ruled it for some 300 years. The menus often include paella and other Spanish favorites. Plus, Catalan is still spoken by locals and all the street signs are in both Catalan and Italian. Also, all the street addresses in the old town have the Catalan flag above the number of the house. I found this very interesting. The layout in some parts of the old city and port looked like you could have been in Barcelona if you didn’t know better.
The old city is much like others in Italy. The old town alleyways and streets have character and the two big churches in town mark the skyline. However, the ramparts and the walled city set it apart in my mind and is what I remember fondly from my time in Alghero.
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