Take a trip back in time as you walk amongst the cobbled streets of Alghero’s medieval centre, to savour the locally sourced foods and stunning coastlines that mark this destination as so unmistakably Italian. Not only is Alghero the ideal spot from which you can take in the natural delights of the region, you can also use it as a great base from which to explore the whole of the North-West of Italy.
Thanks to a healthy interest of visitors Alghero can offer a fantastic variety of accommodation, whether based in the atmosphere streets of Old Town or further afield. The rich and famous can often be spotted amongst villas and hotels of the North-East coast, but luxurious accommodation and a fantastic view can also be had at far more reasonable rates further along the coast. The vast array of independent stores present in Old Town means you can also indulge in the expertise and craftsmanship of the local people, alongside international brands and designer labels.
Whether perched along the region’s stunning coastline or contained in the city’s charming Old Town, Alghero has the perfect array of places to stay. While the Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s northeast coast hosts the rich and famous, Alghero is a better bet for mid-range hotels and family-friendly lodgings – but it does ‘do’ luxury too: the five-star Villa Las Tronas Hotel (Lungomare Valencia 1), a beautiful former residence of Italian Royalty, is prime evidence of this. Along the coast to the south of the city, the secluded Hotel dei Pini (Località Le Bombarde) affords sweeping seaside views at moderate prices. In town, the three-star Hotel La Margherita (Via Sassari 70) combines elegant furnishings with rooftop views.
The narrow streets of the Old Town are a great place to sniff out gifts and the latest fashions – for something truly unique, buy some coral jewellery made by local craftspeople. Via Carlo Alberto, in particular, is the place to go for shopaholics with its selection of independent stores, while trendy threads can be picked up in the boutiques along Via Roma, such as Antonio Marras (Via Roma 56). Piazza Civica is a bustling hive of activity with jewellers and clothes shops surrounding the square. Among them, Spelta (Piazza Civica 16) has a great choice of shoes and accessories. Foodies will love the sights, smells and sounds of the daily markets along Via Cagliari (for meat and local delicacies) and Via Sassari (for fruit and vegetables).
Alghero’s cuisine is based on the use of locally sourced ingredients, focusing in particular on seafood such as llagosta (lobster) and bogamarì (sea urchin), as well as olive oil and local wines. Among the best places to try fish is Mabrouk (Via Santa Barbara 4), where the daily menu reflects the catch of the day. For a romantic evening, sit alfresco in the calming surrounds of Michelin-starred Andreini (Via Ardoino 45), where you can splash out with a tasting menu composed of exquisite dishes from seafood to suckling pig. If less fussy rustic fare is more to your taste, try the bustling Trattoria Maristella (Via Kennedy 9).
Sea Urchin Festival
This local delicacy that’s often eaten straight from the sea is honoured at this festival with dishes prepared by select restaurants across the city every weekend.
Known locally as La Semana Santa de L'Alguer, Alghero’s Holy Week starts the Friday before Palm Sunday with an atmospheric procession. The religious events during the week here have a distinctly Catalan feel compared to others on the island.
Assumption Day (or Ferragosto) is celebrated here with fireworks, concerts and a feast of barbecued fish at the port – a great chance to mingle with the locals.
Festival of St Michael
This celebration of the city’s patron saint includes street theatre performances and lively concerts, and visitors have the chance to taste some of the region’s delicacies at food stalls.
This New Year celebration sees music and theatre performances from local and international artists, with the evening culminating in a magnificent firework display that lights up the coast.