The ceramic dome of the San Michele church is pretty amazing!
I will have to let you in on one of my not so secret favourite travel destinations in Europe: Sardinia! Just promise me one thing, don't you all start buying tickets straight away. It's amazing because of the peace and quiet.
This time I will show you around Alghero and a few things in the immediate surroundings.
Alghero is located in northwestern Sardinia, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is not a typical Italian city, due to heavy Catalan influence. Around the middle ages, Alghero was conquered by Catalonia. Nowadays, there are still people in Alghero speaking a Catalan dialect, besides Italian.
The harbour city is protected by an impressive defensive wall, forts and towers. They remind you so much of the Catalan past that you almost feel like you are in Spain more than being in Italy. You can find a wooden catapult on top of the seawall. I didn't see any pirates, but it makes you feel very safe ;)
Torre di Sulis
Torre di San Giacomo
I love walking around this city. The streets almost feel like a labyrinth, there are a huge amount of fun boutiques (check out the red coral jewellery!).
Old town walls are more present than in other cities. There are a few passageways to get to the harbour & walkway. And everywhere you look you see the old walls popping up. There must have been a lot of fighting going on in this area!
Bastione la Maddalena
But enough of Alghero. I also wanted to visit Neptune's Grotto. You can visit this by car, but I decided to join a boat tour departing of the Alghero harbour.
Capo Caccia Lighthouse on top of the cliffs
Are these boats so small or is this rock that huge?
Neptune's Grotto is a stalactite cave with the entrance close to sea level. The boat dropped us off right at the entrance and I soon found out that this cave was MASSIVE!
There is room for about 200 people at once, which shows the spaciousness of this cave. Everyone will follow a well-lit path through the cave (with many stairs) bringing you all around. You will finish where you started so no need to worry that you might get lost.
All I could do was wonder how the building on top of this rock was still standing. There was so much room, it was scary! No claustrophobic issues here ;)
After the boat brought us back, it was time to check my guide and see what else there was to do in Alghero.
Necropolis & Nuraghe
I read that there are many pre-historic sites in Sardinia and there are also a few close to Alghero. So I found myself a rental scooter (again) to go explore. (Note to self: check for petrol stations in the area BEFORE you leave if you don't have internet with you...)
Next to the road (you would miss it if you didn't exactly know where it is), you can find the Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju. It was a very weird experience not seeing this turned into a huge touristic attraction. I was the only visitor at that time. There was a woman in a small wooden shed selling a ticket and opening the gate for me. And off I went...
It looks like a flat field with holes in the ground. But these holes are actually caved out graves dating back to pre-historic times (3200-2800 BC). You don't get a lot of interesting background stories, so it makes sense to do some research in advance. On the site itself, you will get mostly technical information.
The next stop was Nuraghe Palmavera. Nuraghi are ancient structures only found in Sardinia. It is not very well-known but has become the symbol of Sardinia. Some might say that they are remains of what once was Atlantis ;)
The meeting hut
This Nuraghe is a pretty large site with multiple elements of a village that somehow really works for your imagination. It was built in multiple phases during the bronze and iron age (ranging from 1500-800 BC). There are a few towers and small huts. You can also find the remains of a meetings hut, which gave a bit of a weird vibe. Are we sure there were no human offerings here?
Inside one tower
Torre del Buru overlooking Porto Conte
Alghero offers a lot of unique highlights that you can only see in this part of the world. But I do have to mention that Sardinia, in general, is breathtakingly gorgeous. I was there during spring when a lot of flowers were in bloom. It was part of a larger trip on the island and I was surprised to almost everywhere I went, I was able to see the sea. So if you go to Alghero, make sure you do some random driving around as well. And enjoy the views!
Again Capo Caccia Lighthouse, now from the road
Did I mention the flowers?
Also in this series:
- Somewhere in Europe #1: San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #2: Bilbao, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #3: Algarve, Portugal
My Ireland series:
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #1: Aran Islands
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #2: Cliffs of Moher
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #3: Gap of Dunloe & Lakes of Killarney
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #4: County Donegal
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #5: Dingle Peninsula
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #6: Howth Cliff Walk
- Ireland & the back arse of nowhere #7: Connemara
My California series: