Discovering the Beauty of Alghero
Alghero is a coastal city located on the northwestern coast of Sardinia, Italy, with a population of 44,000, making it the fifth largest city on the island. This stunning destination is home to Fertilia airport and is known for its popular walkway along the port’s bastions, the red roofs that touch the sky, and the breathtaking natural bay that flows into the emerald sea. In this article, we will explore the best of Alghero, from its stunning beaches to its rich cultural heritage.
Exploring the Coral Riviera and its Beaches
The Coral Riviera is a 90 km long stretch of coastline that is home to a major colony of the finest coral. Le Bombarde is the most famous beach in the area and is blessed with crystalline water and a clean sandy bottom, making it a favorite destination of families, young people, and surfing enthusiasts. Just a kilometer away is Lazzaretto, which has ten inlets with soft sandy beaches.
For a more leisurely beach experience, head to Mugoni beach in the bay of Porto Conte, which is graced with golden sand and still waters that are always calm and crystalline, creating a completely protected oasis. At the city center, you will find the splendid Lido di San Giovanni beach, while just outside of town, you can visit the Maria Pia dunes, dotted with centuries-old juniper trees.
The coastline of Alghero is also within the protected marine zone of Capo Caccia – Isola Piana, where hundreds of treasures are safeguarded, including the Grotta di Nettuno. You can reach the Grotta di Nettuno over land via the Escala del Cabriol or by sea with boats that depart from the harbor.
Discovering Alghero’s Rich Cultural Heritage
Alghero has a rich cultural heritage that dates back to the Neolithic era, as evidenced by the domus de Janas of Santu Perdu, the Anghelu Ruju necropolis, and the complexes of Palmavera and Sant’Imbenia. The historical center of the city is the most interesting area, with a labyrinth of narrow streets that connect bustling piazzas. The yellow walls and ancient houses reflect the city’s Catalan origins, as do the churches.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria (XVI century), the churches of Carmelo (late XVII century) with its great gilded retablo, that of San Michele with its colored ceramic dome, and the late Renaissance Sant’Anna (1735) are all worth a visit. If it’s culture you’re after, then visit Casa Manno, a research center full of important paintings, furniture, books, and manuscripts.
Alghero is famous for its fine coral, which is used locally with gold to make every manner of adornment. You can learn more about the history of coral and how it is used by visiting the Museo del Corallo.
Experience Alghero’s Festivals and Events
The big event in 2017 was the opening race of the great multi-city Giro d’Italia cycling event. Another great time to visit Alghero is during Cap d’Any de l’Alguer, or “New Years at Alghero,” when a myriad of shows enlivens the city center. The most passionate time of year is Holy Week, with heartfelt religious rites from the Spanish tradition.
In conclusion, Alghero is a hidden gem in Sardinia that offers a unique mix of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and exciting events.