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The beautiful town of Alghero offers a special mix of Italian, Spanish and Moroccan influences, as well as fabulous sea views. Explore the winding lanes, enjoy people-watching over coffee on one of its piazzas and lounge on the beaches on the nearby coast.
Having been under the rule of the House of Aragon for around 400 years before the Italian Savoy family gained control, Alghero still retains a Catalonian feel, which is particularly evident in the restaurants here. Wander the town and try to spot Spanish motifs adorning the historic buildings.
To get a good sense of the historic cityscape, follow the pedestrianized path on the Sea Walls, which were built by the Aragonese in the 16th century. Begin the walk at Torre di Sulis, a sturdy-looking tower with 19-foot (6-meter) thick walls. Continue north and pass other towers such as Torre di San Giacomo, Torre della Polveriera and Torre di Sant'Elmo.
Amble along the characterful streets of the historic core and marvel at the honey-colored stone buildings. Several notable churches can be found here, including Chiesa di San Francesco, which contains an unusual wooden sculpture of a gaunt Christ tied to a column. The Chiesa di San Michele is known for its eye-catching majolica tile-covered dome. Climb the steps to the top of the 16th-century Campanile bell tower for fabulous views over the walled old town.
For a break from sightseeing, pull up a chair at a café on Piazza Civica, where the who’s who of Alghero’s political and social scenes would have once met and socialized. Among the most scenic cafés is Caffè Costantino, which is housed inside the Gothic Palazzo d'Albis.
Alghero makes a great base for exploring the Riviera del Corallo on Sardinia’s northwest coast, where several beautiful white-sand beaches can be found. Or, simply walk to Alghero’s Lido San Giovanni, a small sandy strip near the town center.
To reach Alghero, fly into the town’s airport or ride intercity busses from Sassari, Porto Torres or Bosa. Alghero itself can be easily navigated on foot. Local buses run routes to nearby beaches.