Alghero is a Sardinian city famed for its high-quality tourist offering.
The first tourists in Sardinia arrived in Alghero around 50 years ago for their holiday, allowing the city to garner a reputation as the "golden gateway" of Sardinian tourism. Alghero boasts a wonderful tract of sea, where the water is both transparent and inviting, and where the long beaches of fine white sand alternate with majestic cliffs, inlets, lagoons, mountains and flatlands create an evocative, unforgettable landscape.
This major tourist port is one of the largest in the Mediterranean. An immense array of fascinating places; parks, terrestrial and marine protected areas, history and archaeology, all around the city and its historical centre, which is unlike any other in Sardinia. A “Foretress City” that plays host to stunning historic palazzos, cobbled alleyways and little squares. In every gracious corner of his architectural jewel, you will find a large variety of restaurants, coffee bars, pubs, boutiques and businesses of all types.
Characteristic in its antiquity, fascinating in its history, refined in its artistic and cultural beauty, it offers glimpses and views that make it entirely unforgettable.
Alghero is a destination of choice for those who want to enjoy a seaside holiday while savouring a city with a thousand facets.
ALMOST 100 YEARS OF HISTORY
Alghero is an incredibly fascinating city: this ancient, fortified city, founded by the Doria family 9 centuries ago and with a history of conquests and influences of different cultures. It is much sought-after for its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean. A major port for trade by sea and home to a range of fertile plains behind the conurbation, Alghero has always been a jewel in the Sardinian crown. The city has close links with the Spanish region of Catalonia, deriving from its history: after its conquest by the Aragonese in 1350, it was ruled by the Catalans for around 250 years, before being seized by the Castilians, who remained at the helm for another 120 years.
The city is also known as Barceloneta, or "little Barcelona", and alongside the numerous Aragonese towers to be found in the city and along the coast, it has retained theuse of the Catalan language. A large part of the natives speak the Catalan variant called Algherese. The Spanish domination came to an end on 17 February, 1720, when Philip V reluctantly signed the transfer to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy.
It is the main city on the so-called Coral Riviera ("Riviera del Corallo"), the name deriving from the fact that in the waters of its natural harbour there is a large amount of precious red coral of the highest quality, which is still fished to this day by underwater coral fishermen. Over the centuries, the working and sale of coral has been central to the city's economy and culture – to such an extent, in fact, that the coral brand is part of the city's coat-of-arms.
The most important beaches here, all of which are located within the marine protected area, are the beautiful, 7 km-long Maria Pia beach, and Le Bombarde beach, each of which has a large pine forest behind it, which is a wonderful place to take refuge during the warmest hours of the day. Also within the Gulf of Alghero is the Lazzaretto beach and Mugoni beach, which delineates the wide |nymph bay" of Porto Conte, closed over and protected by the so-called “sleeping man” (Capo Caccia), the glorious limestone promontory that plays host to the famous Neptune's Caves (Grotte di Nettuno) which are unlike any other sea caves in the Mediterranean. Proceeding northwards from the promontory on the western coast of the island, you come to Porticciolo beach and the enchanting Porto Ferro beach, an untainted area of rare beauty, which is a favourite of surfers.
The impressive landscape of the southern coast of the city is mostly rocky and wild, and includes several small inlets and bays that are difficult to reach but feature pools of crystal-clear water. The road that runs along this coast is a trip worth taking in and of itself; the fabulous rock formations eroded by the mistral and the libeccio create very unusual shapes, which force you to take your eyes off the cobalt-coloured sea.
Around 10 km from the city, there is one of the area's most beautiful beaches, La Speranza, also known as Poglina, which is surrounded by mountains covered by Mediteranean maquis and still inhabited by griffon vultures.
Here, to meet the sea, the mountains ask the Speranza beach for permission. In other words, this is a truly enchanted place.