Alghero, Italy Travel Guide: Spectacular Sardinian Beaches + Historical Sites

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Kim Chwalek

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I'm a 25-year old girl based in Denver, Colorado. Kim Collective is a space where I share about beauty, faith, food & home, style, travel, well-being, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, I'm Kim


Over the summer, I had the opportunity to spend three days on the island of Sardinia, a province of Italy and the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Alghero is located on the North-West coast of Sardinia and contains incredible historical remnants of the Catalan-Aragonese conquests in the 16th century.

Alghero quickly became one of my favorite travel destinations. This ancient fishing town has it all–friendly locals, beautiful historical sites, delicious seafood, and scooter-accessible beaches. The colorful streets and seascape make the city a perfect place to relax and explore for three days. Keep reading to learn more about my trip to Alghero, including the camping site I booked, the best local beaches I visited, my favorite sites in Old Town, and my top-picks for local Italian cuisine.

If you want to read more about my favorite destination in Italy, check out Pompeii, Italy: Exploring the Ancient Ruins of the Lost Roman City. If you’re interested in learning more about Venice, Rome, or Florence, check out Venice, Italy: Traveling Through the “Floating City,” Rome, Italy: Visiting the Colosseum, and Florence, Italy: 3 Days in the “City of Art and Culture.”

Villagio Nurral.

Villagio Nurral.

Porto Ferro Beach.

Porto Ferro Beach.

How to Get Around: Rent a Scooter!

Renting a scooter was by far my favorite memory from Sardinia. It was also one of my most reckless decisions I made because 1) my boyfriend and I had never ridden a scooter, 2) we were rejected by two separate rental companies, 3) we may have over-exaggerated our riding experience to the third rental company, and 4) the managers of the scooter company ran after us when they realized two inexperienced riders were accelerating into a busy street.

Although we had a rough start (my heart was pounding as we rode away from the shop and wove around the first few cars), riding the scooter became a breeze. Five minutes later, we were swerving around roundabouts, yelling “lean left” and “lean right,” and going full-throttle down the road to Porto Ferro, a beach 12 miles outside of Alghero. Along the way, we zoomed past vineyards, farms, and vast open fields, swerved around potholes, and waved at passing cars. I remember watching the speedometer approach 70km per hour and leaning my head to the left to watch the sunset saturate the land in a golden-reddish hue. We arrived at Porto Ferro in time to watch the sun disappear into the Mediterranean Sea.

Where I Stayed: Villagio Camping Nurral

The site was hot, dry, and shrubby – pine needles covered the ground next to my white stucco house and the temperature climbed to 98 degrees during the day. Out of all the hostels I crashed in throughout my summer backpacking trip, Villagio Nurral was one of my favorites. The campsite was simple, smack dab in the middle of a forest, and conveniently located to a bus stop. In the morning, I threw on a bikini and relaxed in the sun, and at night I played pool, drank at the main house with the locals, and fell asleep to the sound of crickets chirping and frogs croaking in the brushwood.

Alghero’s Beaches: Three Places to Relax, Tan, and Swim

The photo below was taken after a sleepless night of travel from Frankfurt, Germany to Alghero, Sardinia. Tristan and I landed at 6am and were unable to check into our hostel, Villagio Nurral, until noon. Instead of catching up on sleep at the tiny airport, we decided to call a taxi directly to the beach, one mile away from our hostel. Sweaty and tired, we dumped off our backpacks at the beach and spent hours tanning and swimming.

Three of my favorite beaches were Spiaggia di Maria Pia, Stabilimento Balneare Rosanna, and Porto Ferro Beach. While Spiaggia di Maria Pia and Stabilimento Balneare Rosanna were less than 2 miles from my campsite and easily accessible by the A.F. bus line, Porto Ferro was 12 miles North of Alghero and only accessible by scooter. If you have the chance to visit one of these three beaches, bring some loose cash to purchase a towel or blanket from a local vendor.




The Main Sites in Old Town

Sardinia’s historical center was tiny yet incredibly beautiful. Each narrow cobblestone street featured tiny hanging lanterns, live music, and a few shops and restaurants. Each morning, I took the A.F. line from Fertilia to Alghero to Ospedale Marino to walk by the harbor area and into the Catalan city center. Here, you can spend an hour or two peeking into shops, admiring the Cathedrals, and walking along the Sea Walls that border the ocean.


Forte della Maddalena (Front).

Forte della Maddalena (Front).

The main sites I recommend seeing in Alghero’s historical center are the Sea Walls, Campanile, and Forte della Maddalena, Torre di Sulis, and the Torre Porta a Terra. Constructed in the 16th-century, the campanile is Alghero’s most iconic landmark and embodies the beauty of Alghero’s Catalan-Gothic architecture. As for the Northern part of the city, the Forte della Maddalena was one of three forts built at the end of the 16th century to protect the city. Today, the fort is dedicated to Mary Magdalene and is used as a venue for local events and concerts. In the Southern part of the city, the Torre di Sulis was named after Vincenzo Sulis, a 19th-century Sardinian revolutionary who was imprisoned for 22 years within the tower.

Forte della Maddalena (Back).

Forte della Maddalena (Back).

Torre di Sulis.

Torre di Sulis.


Historical Center Cathedrals

A few of Alghero’s most famous churches include the Chiesa di San Francesco, Piazza Civica, Chiesa di San Michele, Cattedrale di Santa Maria. These churches are concentrated in Alghero’s city center and are open to the public during the day or night.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria.

Inside the Cattedrale di Santa Maria.

Inside the Cattedrale di Santa Maria.



What I Ate: Plenty of Pasta & Gelato

When in Alghero, you cannot pass up on the Italian food – fresh fish and seafood, delicious pasta dishes, and local meats and cheeses. At nearly every restaurant you visit, carta di musica (music paper) is served on the dinner table. A few restaurants I recommend visiting are La Botteghina, Il Pesce d’Oro, and Trattoria Lo Romanì. For dessert, buy a few scoops of gelato from a nearby shop – Alghero Gelateria “Oops!” is a local favorite.

Caffe Costantino – Spaghetti with Clams.

Caffe Costantino – Spaghetti with Clams.

My trip to Alghero, Sardinia was one I’ll always remember. From riding a scooter down the highway at 70km per hour to swimming and tanning at the local beaches, Alghero was one of my all-time favorite destinations. If you have any comments or questions about my trip to Alghero, leave them in the comments section below!

XO, Kim


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