If you close your eyes and imagine an Italian seaside port replete with winding cobble stone streets, fishing boats moored in the harbor, muted light
playing across red and yellow centuries old buildings, and perfect al dente pasta, that’s Alghero. It’s quintessential Italy. Our flight scooped us up in Bratislava depositing us at Alghero a bit under two hours later. Alghero, along with the neighboring area, is a perfect snack sized weekend destination.
The Alghero old town is a 900 year old fortified port village poking into the Mediterranean. Old town is large enough to be interesting and small enough to tackle in a day of exploring. The smattering of family run restaurants are adequate to provide diversity over a long weekend. The sprawling environs of new Alghero is the unfortunate partnership of recently found money and over zealous development. Staying in Old Town proved the best decision.
Our first day I relaxed at the harbor edge while Pat investigated the best picture angles. As I sat on the bench gazing at the rocky faced hills across the harbor, an Italian fisherman jumped down from his boat and strolled past. His nutty brown skin indicated a life on the sea, his complete lack of self consciousness as he sang an aria so very Italian. As I considered the robin’s egg blue sky, bobbing boats, and ancient Italian town, I lapsed into a fantasy of the simple Italian village life. Give me a week here, and I’m quite sure I’d sing along.
Later, we strolled thru the old churches of the historic core: Chiesa di San Francesco, the Alghero Cathedral, and the Chiesa San Michele. The churches are unadorned, the simple churches of a poor fishing village. I like these types of churches- built solely as a religious sanctuary for the towns people with no more boisterous intent. As the sun sets, boats were silhouetted on the horizon and young and old couples held hands while sitting on the old town wall. It was a moment frozen in time as we all awaited the last rays of light to disappear below the horizon.
The next day, we road the bus along the winding seaside highway to Bosa. It’s an easy day trip. Bosa is a similar old city to Alghero with a tightly wound pedestrian area and
ancient core. Unlike Alghero, a castle ruin perches on the hill top above the village. Also, unlike Alghero, it has yet to be discovered by hoards of tourists or rich Romans looking for a waterside second home. We discovered a restaurant on the narrowest of old streets and lazed thru a two hour lunch; perfect pasta, fish, and local wine. Bosa was a treat.Generally, a third day would be spent on a boat, perhaps exploring the caves of Neptune. We opted for a stroll and another leisurely lunch. Our final meal was perhaps the most memorable as we chatted with a young couple in a postage stamp size restaurant. The food was, as advertised, local and immaculately prepared, the tiramisu the best in memory. We dashed through town to catch the airport bus and hop back home. tired and complete sated with our Sardinian get away.
Make it happen:
Hotel San Franceso: We agonized over where to stay and ultimately picked this old town, and fairly famous hotel. The location
and ambiance can not be beat. However, be forewarned, the beds are very firm – too firm. I am a sound sleeper. If you are not, I would select another hotel. But I would stay in the old city.
Ristorante Al Vecchio Mulino (Via Dom Deroma, 3)
The hotel staff recommended this more local restaurant choice. The fish was good and the pasta amazing. My favorite pasta was the very simple ravioli with a simple marinara. The staff could not have been more helpful and accommodating. This was our choice two of our three nights in Alghero..
We stopped for lunch at this tiny restaurant. The clams linguine was very good, the pasta cooked to perfection. The tiramisu was the best I’ve eaten. A couple mentioned the pizzas are outstanding, but they are cooked only at dinner.
Ristorante Borgo Sant’Ignazio (Old town Bosa)
We stumbled upon this restaurant in the unbelievably tight network of old town Bosa streets. There are signs thru the old city directing you here. The fish was exceptional as was the local white wine. We ate outside on a private pedestrian street. Should we have stayed in Bosa, we would have eaten here every night.
Categories: Western Europe