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Throughout the early part of its long history, Alghero was a simple fishing port. In the 14th century, the village was captured by Catalonia, and its Sardinian inhabitants were forcibly resettled to make way for Catalan colonists. To this day, nearly a quarter of the town’s residents speak Catalan, and Catalan is recognized as the town’s official second language. Many of the most striking ramparts and towers that characterize the Città Vecchia were built during the Aragonese occupation, and today they are fascinating pieces of history for visitors to explore.
Alghero Weather: Like most places on the Mediterranean, Alghero enjoys mild winters and warm summers with an average of around 300 sunny days a year on its northern coasts.
Regional Cuisine of Alghero: Anchovies, lobster, shellfish, mullet roe, fava beans, sausage, eggplant, pasta with sea urchin sauce
Regional Wine of Alghero: Torbato, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Cagnulari
Things to Do in Alghero: Cattedrale di Santa Maria, Chiesa di San Francesco, Spiaggia di Maria Pia, Grotta di Nettuno, Grotta di Nereo
Where is Alghero? Alghero is in the province of Sassari in the northwest part of the island of Sardinia. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
When I first visited Alghero in Sardinia, I had no idea that my high school Spanish lessons would prove so useful.
Alghero was once a possession of the Crown of Aragón. Today, Catalan is commonly spoken here, and menus and street signs are frequently in both Catalan and Italian. Spanish and Catalan remain somewhat different languages, of course, but Spanish is closer to Catalan than the Italian I grew up learning.
When I saw a beautiful piece of coral jewelry in a store window, I went into the shop with the intention of negotiating a better price. I used Italian; the shopkeeper smiled and shook her head. When I switched to Spanish, though, she understood. She gave me the discount I wanted but added, "You speak terrible Catalan!"
Whether you go for stretches of powdery white sand, pine forest dunes or narrow littorals underneath dramatic cliffs, there’s a beach in Alghero for you.
Maria Pia Beach, located within easy walking distance of town, sports golden dunes and wind-sculpted junipers. It has cafes, restaurants and places where you can rent an umbrella and a lounge chair for the day.
Beyond the airport are Spiaggia Bombarde and Spiaggia del Lazzaretto. Bombarde, a white sand beach, is one of the most fashionable beaches on the Sardinian Riviera. It features a host of amenities such as a dive center and a boat rental place. You can even sign up for sailing lessons. Lazzaretto is a more rustic, pebbly beach surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation.
Fun Fact: Alghero is the site of the Grotta di Nereo, the largest underwater cave in the entire Mediterranean.
Local Dish: Don’t leave Alghero without sampling malloredus, a distinctive Sardinian pasta created from flour, semolina and water. Malloredus is typically served with a sauce made from frying onions, pungent Sardinian sausage and saffron in olive oil.
Local Day Trips: The necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is the largest prehistoric burial site in northern Sardinia. It is an island famous for its Neolithic relics dating from between 3200 and 2800 B.C.
Alghero is better known as a family vacation destination than as a party town. Nevertheless, there’s fun to be had after the sun sets if you know the right places to look.
Catch the sunset off the ramparts and then go for a stroll in the Città Vecchia. The best Alghero bars can be found in the narrow alley ways and piazzas of the old town. The bars on the waterfront in the south of town stay open until 4 a.m. Both locals and tourists can be found here. You could party from sunset to sunrise if you wanted to. After a fun night out on the town, maybe just spend the day napping on the beach.
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