Planning to travel to Sardinia? Don’t miss one of Sardinia’s most beautiful and interesting cities. Just minutes from the Fertilia airport, Alghero has charming streets, an exciting waterfront, and a fascinating history. Here's a list of what you don't want to miss when you're visiting Alghero.
Grotta di Nettuno
On the top of our list is the Grotta di Nettuno, an ancient, half-submerged cave just a 40 minute boat ride from the Alghero waterfront. Formed from Sardinia’s primordial rock the cave is home to many spectacular and bizarre rock formations. The boat ride offers tourists a view of Capo Caccia and some of Sardinia’s pure green waters. The adventurous can opt to take bus, and hike into the park and descend a spiraling staircase to reach the cave. It currently costs €10 to visit the interior of the cave where the most spectacular formations can be seen.
Sardinia's ancient past
Some of the first recorded inhabitants of Sardinia were the Ozieri culture of the Late Neolithic. A village and necropolis from this era can be seen at nearby Anghelu Ruju, one of the best preserved examples of this culture. Anghelu Ruju sits about five km outside Alghero, just to the east of Fertilia airport. Last time I was there, the charge to visit was €10.
The later Nuraghic people appear in the area somewhere around 1500BC. This was a patriarchal warrior society and their circular stone towers or nuraghe are found dotting the countryside all over Sardinia. A well preserved example can be seen at Nuraghe di Palmavera located between Fertilia and Capo Caccia.
Alghero city walls
The geographical layout of Alghero means that the old town is surrounded by the Mediterranean on three sides. The old city walls, or bastioni, were constructed along this perimeter to guard against seaborne threats from pirates and invaders. Sardinia’s location in the prime ancient Mediterranean trade routes made it a prize for every seafaring group.
Alghero itself was nothing more than a small fishing port until 1102 when the Doria family of Genoa arrived and began building the “modern” fortified Alghero. Their rule lasted until 1353 when a joint force of Aragonese and Venetians captured the town after the defeat of the Genoans at Porte Conte, northwest of Alghero.
The city walls were continually updated and strengthened throughout the Aragonese, and later Catalan periods. Starting from the Lungomare Dante road to the south and finishing at the Bastione La Maddalena in the north, the ramparts are interspersed with defensive towers: Torre di San Giacomo, Torre della Polveriera and Torre di Sant'Erasmo.
A stroll along the walls, with the superb views out to Cappo Caccia, makes for a relaxing and breezy alternative to the narrow lanes encountered within the old town. The city walls are especially popular in the evenings when Alghero's westerly facing aspect means that the stunning sunsets can be enjoyed from one of the many bars, cafes or restaurants that line the route.
Best Beaches in Sardinia
Beach lovers will definitely not want to miss the beaches of Le Bombarde and Lazzaretto, just minutes outside of Alghero and easily reached by major roads. These beaches fill up on summer weekends with tourists and families so get there early to grab a prime spot.
Lazzaretto and Le Bombarde are just north and west of the city and can be reached by following the SS127bis west out of Alghero and through Fertilia. You’ll see a sign at the left turnoff for Bombarde. Try parking along the road or in one of the small lots. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to walk a bit to get there.
If you continue along the coastal road, you’ll get to Lazaretto, one of the best beaches in Sardinia. The breeze is mild and the beach is protected by a headland, so even when the powerful maestrale blows, Lazaretto is protected from the brunt. Parking is a challenge here as well, so get there early on busy summer weekends and try to park on the road. Busses from Alghero stop here as well, which is a good alternative to driving. Visit us here for more opportunities to travel for free!