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Sardinia offers visitors a great choice of beautiful ports but Alghero has to sit at the top of the list of them. Lying just as close to Menorca and Barcelona as it does to Italy, it’s no surprise that the port is a mixed bag when it comes to history and culture, as there’s a strong Catalan undercurrent running through the architecture, speech and cuisine in this part of the island.
Get a true feel for Sardinian life – see how the region’s famous cheese is made, wander the ancient streets of the city’s historic district, or even just relax on a quiet, sun-kissed beach. Fans of jewellery shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see the Coral Museum, which gives visitors great insights into Sardinia’s history of harvesting local red coral.
Chiesa di San Francesco
With a beautiful gilded chapel, stunning period marble and an altar filled with statues, visitors won’t regret a peek inside this modestly-sized church and its vaulted tower and marble balustrades are great examples of the Catalan Gothic style. The church sits in the centre of Alghero’s Old Town district, where many of the town’s Easter processions begin.
Despite Alghero’s small size it boasts a long tradition of cheese making, which has been a culinary cornerstone of the island for millennia. Visitors may have the chance to take an excursion inland to a local farm, where they’ll be able to see the region’s famous pecorino cheese being produced – as well as having the chance to taste some and wash it down with a glass of locally produced wine.
A few short miles north of the city lies Spiaggia Mugoni, a stunning beach with unspoiled views of the surrounding bay and hillsides, and water as clear as glass. The beach draws much smaller crowds than some others in the Mediterranean, and with this comes a calm, quiet and relaxed atmosphere – made even more enjoyable with a relaxing drink at one of the bars nearby.
Alghero’s narrow streets and ancient buildings hide a wealth of gift shops and jewellery stores and most can be found on the city’s main shopping thoroughfares of Via Roma and Via Carlo Alberto. Visitors looking for beautiful jewellery should look out for red coral and silver, the trademarks of the island – red coral having been collected in the waters around Sardinia and parts of Italy for thousands of years. Shoppers around Alghero won’t struggle to find clothes or good Mediterranean food and drink either, and designer sunglasses are practically an essential purchase.
For an authentic taste of Sardinia there’s no shortage of beautiful cafes and restaurants. The area is known for the quality of its meat dishes, but many places also cater to vegetarians with some delicious alternatives. Bars on the seafront are by far the best places to enjoy the island’s breathtaking sunsets, and some have great reputations for very good, very affordable cocktails. Again, just be sure to get a table outside!
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