Alghero’ is one of the most beautiful settlements in Sardinia, with its ancient and ‘Medieval Old Town’, rich in art and culture and characterized by its roots in the ‘Spanish influence’, which is reflected in the diverse language and in its unique architectural style, the ‘Catalan’ presence preserved for centuries between the walls of honey-coloured hues, with its labyrinthine of cobbled streets and one of the liveliest squares dotted with palm trees and cafes. The other enchanting characteristic is the massive wall just in front of the sea, the entrance to the Town from the Port, in the past this was to guard against the threats of maritime attacks from the sea and to control and collect taxes owing from travellers and seamen alike, now a reminder of the past and a wonderful cobbled entrance to the old town lanes via the Port.
‘Alghero’ called the ‘Coral Coast’, famous for its coral, long white beaches and, the white and fine sand, the blue sea with its fantastic sunsets. Every year in the summer here are hundreds of thousands of tourists, thanks to its nearby Airport, which makes Alghero a vibrant and cosmopolitan place to visit. Drawn from the charming old town, the beautiful ramparts, the old towers that rise within the city, and its spectacular waterfront, where the evening walk is one of the most popular traditions among the local population and tourists. Along its pecorso of bars, fine restaurants and markets add a touch of charm to the atmosphere, and from here you can also admire the imposing promontory of Capo Caccia giving the eyes a view to take your breath away. For the sporty the area is complete with many an activity for you to get to grips with from the Water sport schools, kayaking, boating & boats tours of the famous grottos and sea-caves, many fine walks and a National Park. Unquestionably Alghero is a special and unique place in both Sardinia and Italy if you were to choose one to experience a bit of everything.
10 THINGS NOT TO BE MISSED IN ALGHERO
What to see in Alghero in Sardinia? What are the places of interest to visit? What to see in particular? Here are the 10 things to see in and around Alghero and not to be missed!
One of the main natural attractions in Alghero are the magnificent caves of Neptune. Named after the famous sea God, these stalactite formations among the largest in Italy, located in the promontory of Capo Caccia, about 24 km from Alghero. The caves were discovered by local fisherman at some point in the 18th century, To access it you can do it by land, through a flight of 656 steps along the wall of the promontory of Capo Caccia ( the famous Escala del Cabirol (scale of the roe deer)), or more easily by ferry from the marina to the caves. The natural spectacle represented by the formations of stalagmites and stalactites is something not to be missed.
Santa Maria Cathedral
Dating back to the 16th century, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria with its bell tower, is located in the historic center and is the symbol of the city. The dominant style is Gothic-Catalan, but it is a mixture of different historical and artistic periods. The cathedral and the bell tower can be visited every day, except on Wednesdays and Sundays.
The Parmavera Nuraghi
About 12 km from Alghero, a place worth visiting is the wonderful Nuraghic complex of Palmavera. Classified as a “complex” nuraghe, that is composed of several towers joined together, this nuragic complex is built with limestone and sandstone blocks and consists of a central body with two towers, a rampart and a village of huts: the buildings were built in several phases and the most ancient structures, dated XV-X century BC, are the main tower and some huts. It is a jewel of the Nuragic civilization that you absolutely must not miss.
The Coral Museum
The Corallo Museum is housed in the beautiful and evocative setting of Villa Costantino, a Liberty-style building dating back to the early 1900s in the city center. The museum tells the story of the Mediterranean Sea and the exhibition leads the visitor to discover the history, culture and identity of Alghero through the legend of the Coral, the primary resource of the Alghernese sea, used since ancient times and linked to many traditions . A fascinating journey to discover the marine ecosystem and the history of this important living organism.
Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju
In Alghero you can find the largest complex of prehistoric burial caves in northern Sardinia, which preserves the features of a civilization who lived five millennia ago: we are talking about the necropolis of Anghelu Ruju, the largest necropolis of Sardinia pre-nuragica, characterized by burials at domus de Janas (house of fairies and witches). Located inland, and less than 10 km from Alghero, the complex came to light in 1903, during the excavations for the construction of a farmhouse, when they were found a human skull and a tripod vessel; the subsequent excavations led to the discovery of 31 underground chambers.
20 km from Alghero, in the north-west direction, lies the imposing promontory of Capo Caccia, a huge karstic rock overlooking the sea that includes a rich fossil deposit of considerable archaeological interest. The promontory marks the most extreme point of the north-western coast: a real natural city wall of the past, which owes its name to the 19th century nobles who visited here hunting pigeons from their boats. In the surrounding depths there is a fine variety of red coral, while the Nereo cave is the perfect place for diving enthusiasts. From the promontory of Capo Caccia it is also possible to reach the marvelous caves of Neptune, through the Escala del Cabirol.
Punta Giglio is another of the marvelous natural beauties not to be missed during a trip to Alghero, a limestone promontory located within the Regional Natural Park of Porto Conte. It is a true natural oasis – and at the summit it is possible to admire the cave of Dasterru, which can be visited with basic scuba diving equipment, whilst under sea level there are various underwater caves that can be visited by diving with diving equipment. Punta Giglio is also a destination for trekking enthusiasts, with five trails that allow you to discover its rich variety of animal and plant species.
The Alghero Aquarium is one of the two aquariums in Sardinia (the other is in Cala Gonone): it is located in the city center, a few meters from the Sulis Tower. Inaugurated in 1985, the aquarium is divided into several sections and includes a large permanent display of both marine and freshwater fish. In the central tank are housed several species of sharks,and Alghero Aquarium is also the only aquarium in Italy to host specimens of “Pesce Pietra” (Stone Fish), one of the most poisonous fish in the world!
The bay of Porto Conte, about 20 km from Alghero, is a natural creek of the Riviera del Corallo, enclosed between the promontories of Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio and besides being a wonderful natural harbor, it is also a regional natural park extended beyond 5,000 hectares. The coastal part is made up of small inlets, cliffs and the long stretch of Pineta Mugoni beach.
When is the best time to visit Alghero?
Climate, Average temperatures and precipitation
Alghero’s climate is warm and temperate. Winter is rainy and has an average temperature of 10 ° C, January is the relatively coldest month, while summer is dry and hot with a maximum of 30 ° C in August. Spring is pleasant and with a few days of rain (except in April), unlike autumn which is a rainy season, especially in the month of November when about 90mm of precipitation fall.
In any case, this period has a welcoming climate with more or less 17 ° C.
The months of the year when the water of the sea is most beautiful, with about 25 ° C, are July, August and September.
Alghero in Spring
Spring is quite pleasant, with maximum temperatures around 18 ° C and minimum temperatures of 10 ° C. The season is not particularly rainy, only in April there are 10 days of precipitation. The sea is undoubtedly cold, in May it reaches 18 ° C and remains, a temperature too low for swimming (unless you’re very brave of course).
In spring it is wonderful to admire the vegetation in full bloom in its infinity of colors and perfumes, accompanied by a time neither too hot nor too cold. So an ideal time to discover Alghero on foot, walking through its streets and its historic center, even by bike, or taking boat trips.
The event not to be missed is “Emotions of Spring” at the park of Porto Conte: 11 weekends (from March to May) with numerous entertainment initiatives and exhibitions, concerts and entertainment. Also, you might think of spending the Easter weekend in Alghero, since Easter is very much felt and celebrated in a particularly evocative way. In May the famous Alghero – Scala Piccada car race is held and the Shepherd shearing party is held, organized by various agritourisms.
Alghero in Summer
The summer in Alghero is hot, with averages of 23 ° C: in July and August the maximum temperatures reach 30 ° C, the minimum 18 may reach intense heat waves that increase the heat even more. The period is dry and, in about 2 days of rain, the rainfall is 10mm.
In the summer months the city gives its best: sun and sea, good food and unforgettable sunsets … so enjoy a good bathe and relax on the beach!
There are many events: in June there is the San Giovanni Fair with gastronomic and commercial stands. For film lovers, the unmissable event is the Sardinia Film Festival, from the end of June to mid-July, with fifteen uninterrupted days of events including projections, focus, meetings with authors and protagonists of national and international cinema.
In July there is the festival of the song “Una cancò per estiu” (a song for the summer), while towards the end of the month Birralguer is held – an event dedicated to Sardinian craft beers, food and wine and quality cuisine . Also in July there is the party of the Sant Crist de la Costera del Coral (of the Holy Christ of the coral coast), during which there is a procession of boats and a characteristic submarine mass.
Furthermore, on the first Sunday of August we celebrate Our Lady of Mercy, with a regatta of boats, the launch of crowns of flowers from ships and airplanes, and other events. Finally in mid-August, from the port you can admire the famous fireworks display, followed by a band concert and a huge fish grill on the piers.
Alghero in Autumn
Autumn has very pleasant temperatures, especially between September and October, with a maximum of 25 ° C, in November they fall to 17 ° C; the minimums are about 15 ° C. The season is rainy, mainly in November with 90mm of rainfall.
In September, the water is still hot at 24 ° C and drops 2 degrees in October. Consequently, at the beginning of the season the advice is to go on the enchanting beaches, like the Bombarde which is 10km from Alghero. If you are driving, you can move on the most beautiful beach in the area: La Pelosa in Stintino, about 45km away. In the evening, walk along the ramparts and enjoy the sunset over the sea, perhaps sipping an aperitif.
At the end of September there is the festival of San Michele Arcangelo, the patron saint of the city, with religious rites and with the performance of artists and musicians from Alghero. Other important festivals take place in the towns near the city and, among these, I recommend the Feast of Santa Maria La Palma and the Madonna Stella Maris Festival, near Porto Conte.
Alghero in Winter
Winter in Alghero is mild, with a maximum of 14 ° C and a minimum of around 6 ° C. Snow is a rare event. It is a period that sees a lot of rainfall compared to the rest of the year, especially in December, which is as rainy as November.
In this season time is best spent visiting the museums, such as the Archaeological Museum and the Coral Museum, which tells the fascinating journey in the marine ecosystem and in the history of the precious coral.
Between January and February there are interesting underwater fishing competitions and there is the Philatelic and Numismatic Exhibition which advertises the “Catalan” image of Alghero. Also in this period the Carnival Week takes place, with parades of floats, bands and folklore groups.
Worth a visit is the festival of “Lu Boga Marì”, a gastronomic review of the sea urchin held between January and February, the best time for sea urchins.
Finally, it is worth celebrating the Christmas holidays and especially the New Year’s Eve (Cap d’Any d’Alguer) in Alghero, where they organize different entertainment shows and concerts in the squares, up to the grand finale of the New Year’s Eve with a wonderful fireworks display over the sea.
When is the cheapest time to visit Alghero?
The cheapest months in Alghero are May, June, September and October. It will be possible to save on the cost of transport (which in July and August touch unimaginable figures) and on the prices of airline tickets or ferries, as they suffer sharp drops.