Alghero, the capital of the Coral Riviera, has preserved to this day the traditions and language of Catalonia, which ruled it for centuries. But its origins stretch much farther back in time, as witnessed by the remains of the Nuraghic fortresses of Palmavera and Sant’Imbenia. Other outstanding heritage sites are the prehistoric rock cut-tombs or domus de janas of Santu Pedru and Anghelu Ruju, where ochre-red rock was used for blood and regeneration rites. Another outstanding attraction is the Sella & Mosca country life museum, on the wine estate of the same name. This winery produces some truly outstanding wines, such as Anghelu Ruju, an aged Cannonau, and Vermentino di Sardegna.
Visit to the Ancient City
When you walk through Alghero, on its centuries old walls, among its distinctive narrow cobble-stone alleyways, you notice the particular allure that only a seaside city can have. A sea that is always there in the landscape and always at hand, a tourist port where next to large yachts can be seen the colours of the typical fishing boats for local fish; and among the shapes and colours of history, there is an of the infinite variety of places where you can relax and have a restorative break.
Among the cobble-stone streets of the historical centre, in the façade of the palaces, among the mullions and the walled in doors, is hidden the history, the image and identity of Alghero: Catalonia. It is Catalonia in the architectonic and urban details; it is Catalonia in the Catalan spoken by its inhabitants, which is an expression of a feeling of belonging and affinity with the motherland that is still so alive and vital. The same language spoken by the walls of the city, the architecture and the signs on its churches and the oldest of its palaces.
Fortified by the Genovese family Doria in 1102 so as to secure its holdings in north-western Sardinia, Alghero thus immediately became an object of conquest. The Republic of Pisa is the first to attempt to take over the Alghero fortress. It succeeded in 1283, only to become Genovese again in 1284. However, today there are few visible signs of the Dorian period among the walls and the streets of the burg because all of Alguer Vella (The Old City), as it called by current inhabitants, tells yet another story….
It was on 15 June 1353 that the King Peter IV of Aragon “the Ceremonious’ arrived in the harbour of Alghero, with more than 90 galleys. After an extensive siege lasting months, Alghero became Catalan. Once the original occupants were expelled, it was repopulated by Iberians; thus began the long Catalan history (XIV-XVIII centuries) of Alghero. A history that is written around the city walls and immediately becoming a chronicle of the City Fortress.
Porto Conte Regional Park
The Regional Nature Park of Porto Conte extends in a south-easterly direction with the Calich lagoon, continuing towards the coast, and including the Monte Doglia, reaching the wide Gulf of Porto Conte which is enclosed by the two headlands of Punta Giglio and Monte Timidone-Capo Caccia. The Park only manages the land areas, while the sea caves in the area of Capo Caccia are included in the Marine Protected Area of the same name. The Park includes the public forest of “Le Prigionette” covering an area of 12 km2 in the municipality of Alghero. The woodland is a precious plant and wildlife habitat, with many protected species. The Park area also preserves a fascinating historical heritage: traces of early Neolithic settlements (Grotta Verde, 6th millennium BC), the nuraghi (Palmavera, Sant’Imbenia), remains of Roman period villas (Sant’Imbenia), and Spanish-period coastal towers. The Park’s plant life includes, on the two headlands closing off the bay, Mediterranean scrub vegetation with some rare species: the spiny Centaurea horrida, a Sardinian-Corsican endemic plant, and the dwarf palm, the only European wild dwarf palm found in the Mediterranean. The Gulf’s seabed is clothed by vast prairies of Posidonia oceanica, a seagrass that forms a precious and fragile feeding and breeding habitat for coastal marine life. Besides various species of pine trees, the park has strawberry trees, helichrysum, broom and euforbia, which in spring fill the park with their scents and colours. As to animal life, the park is home to 35 species of mammals and 150 of birds. These include fascinating sea birds nesting on the sheer cliffs. Visitors may spot the Sardinian hare, the wild rabbit and the weasel, as well as the partridge, turtle dove, common wood pigeon and many other passerines. Animal species that had previously disappeared from this area have been reintroduced; these include the fallow deer, Giara wild horse, white Asinara donkey, wild goat, and the wild boar. The most interesting species to have reappeared here is the griffon vulture. Other birds of prey are the common buzzard, lesser kestrel, kestrel and peregrine falcon. Very close to the Park area lies the Marine Protected Area of Capo Caccia whose sea caves are the largest karst formation in the whole Mediterranean. The most famous is Neptune’s Cave, which is 2500 m in length and forms chambers of stunning beauty, including the salty lake crossing it and its internal beaches created by the sea and wind.
The park can be reached by road from Alghero after passing the village of Fertilia along SS 127-bis. Follow the signs to the Park.
Entrance to the park is free of charge. Individual visitors, families and groups up to 20 people need no prior authorisation; they must only leave ID at the gate. Larger groups must give advance notice of their visit in writing, stating the number of people and providing a fax number.
Santu Pedru Necropolis
This complex stands on a trachyte hill and includes about 10 tombs with entrance corridor (dromos) and several chambers. Some chambers have carved architectural features resembling those of actual houses (steps, skirting boards, strips, frames, lintels, semi-circular ceilings and pillars) and symbols such as false doors and bull heads, decorated with red ochre. Artefacts which came to light during excavations would seem to belong to the cultures of Ozieri, Filigosa, Abealzu, Monte Claro, Bell beaker and Bonnanaro (3200-1600 BC). On the top of the hill stands the nuraghe Santu Pedru, now in ruins and which cannot be visited; perhaps it was a single-tower structure, built in rough-hewn trachyte blocks.
Drive out of Alghero and take SS 127 bis to Uri and Ittiri; once past the turnoff for Olmedo, drive on for a further 2.4 km: at the end of a long straight stretch and right after a right-hand curve, at km 24.5, you will find the archaeological area
Palmavera Nuraghic Site
The Palmavera complex, constructed in limestone and sandstone blocks, consists of a central body with two towers, curtain walls and a hut village. It was built in several phases: the earliest structures have been dated between the 15th and 10th centuries BC. Around the fortress, standing at the foot of a hill, spreads the village, which originally numbered some 200 stone huts. The largest one was the meeting hut, used for political and religious purposes. Its ritual objects include a scale model of a nuraghe and an exceptional cylindrical chair-throne in sandstone. A violent fire led to the abandonment of this complex, probably at the end of the 8th century BC. There is evidence of sporadic habitation of the site during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
From SS 131 in the vicinity of Sassari, take the road for Alghero until the turnoff for SS 127 bis. Keep driving until you hit the outskirts of the city and, still on SS 127 bis, continue in the direction of Fertilia-Porto Conte. After about 12 km, on your right, you will find the archaeological area.
Beaches of Alghero
A brief collection of the best known and most easily reached beaches via land. The Alghero coastline extends for almost 90 Km, with beaches and rocky formations for all tastes.
From north to south an infinite variety of scenery is on offer: vast sandy gold and white beaches, enchanting coves framed by the colors of the Mediterranean nature, soft sand dunes shaped by the wind…
Very easily reached via land, whereas others are reached exclusively via the sea, or, for cycling and hiking enthusiasts, by bike or on foot. All you have to do is go one of the thousands of the often hidden paths that open up among the greenery of the Mediterranean scrub brush to suddenly find yourself among thousands of hues of blue. Beaches that we can suggest: Urban beach like Lido and Pineta Maria Pia 3 km form our hotel , Bombarde ,lazzaretto ,mugoni, Cala Dragunara, Porto Ferro, Porticciolo, la Speranza and many more…
Tips : Mugoni is a beautiful large beach on the Porto Conte eastern road which forms a sweeping arc covered with fine light-coloured sand. It is characterised by white sand and emerald green water, which is particularly calm and warm, thanks to its sheltered position from the winds. Until the fiftiesm a very important farm used to be found in the nearby inland area from which the luxuriant pine forest surrounding the beach takes its name. The beach is extremely popular.
How to reach it:
Mugoni is found at Porto Conte, in the commune of Alghero. It can be reached along the Provincial Road 55; the sign indicating the beach can be seen on the left, 8 km before Capo Caccia.
Lazzaretto Beach .
Lazzaretto is found in the place with the same name in the commune of Alghero. The Lazzaretto Beach owes its name to the tower that dominates the bay. It is framed by sandstone rocks and a verdant area that separates it from the Bombarde Beach. The large beach, has fine grains of light-coloured sand and is lapped by a sea painted with a thousand shades of blue. Numerous tourists are attracted here every year by its beauty and the beach has a number of facilities to make their stay here all the more enjoyable.
How to reach it.
It can be reached from Fertilia turning into the 125 bis in the direction of Porto Conte, and turning left at the sign indicating the Scuba School and the Diving Centre.
The Marine Protected Area
The Capo Caccia – Isola Piana Protected Marine Area extends from Capo Galera up to Punta delle Gessiere and goes as far as 36 km and covers 2,631 hectares of land. The coastal strip is characterized by the presence of the high cliffs of Punta Giglio, Capo Caccia and Punta Cristallo, as well as by the beautiful Mugoni beach; the underwater scenery includes not only the sea plane Posidonia oceanica but numerous and incredibly interesting underwater sea caves and coral sea floors.
The territory of the Protected Marine Area includes some highly valuable features, both in terms of scenery and in terms of nature. Situated on marine limestone layers dating back to the Mesozoic, the whole area arose 70 million years ago owing to a series of tectonic movements. The action of atmospheric agents molded over time the limestone rock, giving rise to the typical shapes that are today visible along the coast, and, thanks to subterranean erosion, beautiful grottoes, full of internal lakes, imposing columns, such as the delicate shapes that are known as “eccentric forms’. The underwater grottoes, which are karstic formations, make the Capo Caccia-Isola Piana Protected Area unique by virtue of their morphological variety, number, extension and their fauna.
The marine environment shows a remarkable diversity of animal species the populate the rocky and sandy sea floors and Posidonia oceanica prairies. There are several vegetation species, and several animal species such as thrushes, rainbow wrasses, sarpa salpas, needle fish, sea horses, noble pen shells, the largest bivalve mollusc in all of the Mediterranean.
Typical of the rocky surface and front parts of the grottoes are the sessiles species of plants, such as sea sponges, sea fans, sea anenomies and red coral; among the brown grouper, the moray eel, chromis chromis, Sciaena umbra, cardinal fish and the redfish. The deeper you go, the likelier you are to come across a crayfish or lobster.
In a rocky marine environment the flora found are several green algaes, such as the Acetabularia acetabulum, sea fans, the sand dollar and codium bursa sea weed, among the widespread brown algaes are the Peacocks tail (Padina pavonica), the cystoseira and the Dictyota dichotoma. The various hues of red characterise the group of red algaes, among which signal the coral algae, peyssonelia and spherococcus. The ecological highlight, however, is the Posidonia oceanica which is a luxurious sea prairie located with Baia Porto Conte and monitored by the Protected Marine Area, which has drawn up a biological map of the protected sea floor.
The educational activities of the Protected Marine Area are designated for all users of the territory and are dedicated to the raising of awareness of the marine environment and coastline, to the themes of environmental upkeep and historical traditions linked to the sea. During the academic year, there are several actions taken, some in the form of in-class lessons, some in the form of field trips, that have been created for elementary, middle and high school students. During the summer season in places habitually attended by local citizens and touists alike (public beaches, bathing establishments, tourist facilities, etc.) are held educational events. The seaside, in this context, is a sort of an open-air classroom for children, but also the ideal place for raising the awareness of adults who accompany them. Particular attention is paid to the world of boating with the summer campaign “barca a barca’ (boat to boat), which will be held in collaboration with coast guard and will be focused on safe enjoyment of the sea. The Protected Marine Area has also carried out videoconference seminars for school students in Catalonia and directly in the field with goups visiting our area. The Protected Marine Area participates in regional and national events and fairs dedicated to the conservation of the environemnt.
A taste of Wine and authentic Olive Oil.
Alghero’s countryside is one of the oldest wine-growing, –producing and olive-growing areas of the whole island. There is a history of families that from generation to generation have handed down the knowledge and the passion for the land and its cultivations
Valuable oils and wines are produced on this land that overlooks the sea and for many years the most ancient oil and wine traditions have been preserved.
We would like you to discover the colours, fragrances and flavours of the different varieties of our extra virgin olive oils and of our wines, guaranteed by the Origin denomination brands
An authentic wine for every occasion
In Alghero, good wine is the norm. Here, the art of making wine – historical brands on new realities – creates high quality wines whose flavours are a combination of tradition, taste and passion.
The “Alghero’ wine area spreads across planes and hills and right down to the sea. In this area the heterogeneous ground, the generosity of the sun and the sea breeze enable one to cultivate vines with many different qualities. From the more characteristic flavours of Sardinia, the Cannonau and Vermentino, to the Monica and Cagnulari, the latter an ancient vine exclusively produced in a restricted area in north-east Sardinia. The Cagnulari red wine has found in Alghero its ideal home, giving its best in this area and creating the “DOC Alghero Cagnulari’. And the Torbato whose aroma captures a fragment of Catalan history. It first arrived in Spain thanks to the Phoenician merchants and later was brought to Alghero by the Catalans in the XIV century. The white grape variety, once cultivated in many parts of the Mediterranean basin, was abandoned in time by all, with the exception of Alghero.
The Alghero Extra Virgin Olive Oil
From the hills, across the planes and down towards the sea, the olive tree is a constant in the landscape of Alghero. Here, the cultivation of olive trees is a tradition
The olive oil industry of this area is one of the most important of the entire island, an activity that was able to respect and enhance the value of the heritage of its past. The most common cultivar is the “bosana’, typical of Sardinian. The resulting oil has a great organoleptic value and is characterised by a strong green and yellow colour that chromatically varies in time and also by its fruity smell and flavour that also contains traces of bitterness and spiciness.