I had the weekend off while I was in Sassari but rather than stay in this landlocked town I persuaded my coordinator to let me swap hotels and go to nearby Alghero which is by the sea.
There’s a little train that runs between the two towns. It has its own platform and ticket office at Sassari station.
Alghero is unique for a few reasons. To begin with I’ve been told it’s the only Sardinian town that has a beach within walking distance of its centre.
Consequently it’s one of the island’s premier resorts and the population quadruples in July and August thanks to a huge influx of tourists. I was there in June when it was busy but not too crowded.
I stayed at this place on the recommendation of some locals…
Hotel San Marco (Intermediate B), 67 Via Lido, www.hotelsanmarcoalghero.com
Located on the seafront, this is a large, mid-range family hotel. The rooms and breakfast are nothing special but I was only there for one night so I wasn’t too fussy.
I spent two days at the beach. The hotel has its own section of sun loungers which cost €4, €6 or €8 a day depending how near the water you want to be. As you can see, the sea is beautiful and very clear but the hotel has a pleasure pool too should you prefer it.
The old town is about twenty minutes walk along the beach. It’s really lovely and crammed with great bars and restaurants (see my next post).
The fortified port was founded by the Genoese in 1102 but fell to the Aragonese in 1372.
The Aragonese expelled the local population and facilitated the arrival of Catalan colonists whose culture still dominates the town.
Catalan is the joint official language, although only 22% of the population speak it nowadays.
The old town is located on a small peninsula and is encircled by defensive walls with a series of towers and bastions dotted along them.
The Catalan-Gothic Cattedrale de Santa Maria dates from 1570.
Inside there are some nice late-Renaissance features.
The lions guarding the altar are the happiest I’ve every seen in an Italian cathedral!
The ancient cobbled streets are very atmospheric at night.
However this is mosquito territory so bring protection for the evenings if you are walking around.
Alghero is a really special town and I’d love to come here again.
There are lots of other places to explore nearby such as the Grotta di Nettuno, Nuraghe Palmavera and the secluded Lazzaretto beach. www.alghero-turismo.it
Here’s my Google map which has all these places on it.