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bineba Alghero - A travel report by Sabine
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Alghero,  Italy - flag Italy -  Sardegna
10775 readers

bineba's travel reports

Alghero for a Long Weekend

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Tempted by extremely low air fares (I think we paid £20 return each) we visited Alghero in Sardinia for four days in November 2001. I can only recommend it.

Alghero Harbour
Alghero Harbour
Alghero lies on the North-west coast of Sardinia and even though it might not be as well known as Cagliari or the Costa Smeralda, it is well worth a visit in it's own right. Founded in the early 12th century, Alghero was ruled for 250 years by a dynasty from Genoa until they had to surrender it to the rulers of Aragon. At this point the first Catalan settlers arrived and to this day there is a strong connection to Spain, with people speaking a Catalan dialect and street names being bi-lingual.

Favourite spots:
Piazza in Alghero
Piazza in Alghero
The old town is very reminiscent of the Gothic quarter in Barcelona, but with an Italian twist. Even in November you'll find flower filled piazzas and shops unique to the town. The craft shops in particular took my fancy, with their pottery and jewellery made with local red corals.The city walls towards the sea are still standing and you can take a nice stroll along the sea front towards the harbour and watch the fishing boats and yachts.

What's really great:
We hired a car for a day and took a trip up to Porto Torres and then along the North coast which has some beautiful wild & windswept sandy beaches and strange and colourful rock formations. The town of Castelsardo looks picture postcard perfect and at that time of year we had it almost to ourselves. Even the Costa Smeralda was near empty and you had the time and the space to enjoy it's natural beauty. Wouldn't really want to be there at the height of summer.

View of Cappo Caccia
View of Cappo Caccia
Alghero is also famous for its Grotta di Nettuno, a stalactite cavern on Capo Caccia which can be reached either by boat or a rather steep climb down a stairs in the rocks. It is supposed to be stunning, unfortunately the high winds we had on the the day we were going to visit meant the cavern was closed. well, there is always next time.

Villa Las Tronas
Villa Las Tronas
The only problem with going to Alghero off season is that the number of hotels, especailly budget hotels, that are open is a bit limited. We stayed at the Carlos V on Lungomare Valencia (, which cost us about 90 Euros or £60 per night for the two of us. This included breakfast, which wasn't that great. But the room was nice and the hotel is right on the seafront with nice views of Capo Caccia and it has a huge pool which was still open at the beginning of November.
If you can afford luxury, there is the Villa Las Tronas, just a few minutes walk from the Carlos V towards town.It used to be a holiday home of Italian kings and is now a first-class hotel. In fact, Madonna was staying there when we were in Alghereo, making the ill-fated movie 'Swept Away'. The front gate was absolutely besieged by local youths and paparazzi. We didn't see the woman, but did get invited to the wrap party by the film crew who were staying in our hotel.

Narrow Street in Alghero's Old Town
Narrow Street in Alghero's Old Town
From the beginning of November until the middle of December, Sardinia celebrates Settimana del Novella, a celebration of the new local red wine and many restaurants have a special 'Menu del Novello' which consists of a set menu (3 or 4 courses) and a bottle of Novello. Coffee and the local speciality Mirto, a herb liquor, is usually included as well.

We went to Da Ninetto on Via Gioberti, a really nice Italian neighboorhood restaurant, and to Palau Real on via S. Erasmo, which is in the arched cellar of a former palazzo and has a huge fire place in one corner where the chef prepares the meat over the open fire.

After eating the woodfire oven pizzas in the Restaurante El Pultal (Via Columbano), you might come to the conclusion that any deep frozen or Pizza Hut pizza really is just an insult to your taste buds. Be aware, often pizzas are only available in the evenings in Italy.

For a nice cup of capucchino and a pastry I would recommend the Cafe Diva, piazza Municipio.

Other recommendations:
Elephant Rock near Castelsardo
Elephant Rock near Castelsardo
A couple of words of advice when visiting Alghero out of season:

If you take a plane that arrives after 9 pm you will have missed the last bus to town and will have to take/share a taxi. The airport is about 12 km from the town centre.

Italians take a long lunch break and you will find shops will close at 1pm and don't reopen until about 4-4.30 pm, also most shops stay closed on Mondays, so get your souvenir shopping done when you can. Many restaurants will only open in the evening in the off season and if you don't stock up on provisions before the supermarkets close, you might find yourself going hungry.

Published on Sunday August 8th, 2004

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Tue, Sep 28 2004 - 11:22 AM rating by saleha

Wonderful report...the best part...captions of the pics...for people like me it serves like a treat to know about the distant places...Thanks for sharing...(Y)

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