Alghero is a medieval city on the autonomous Italian island of Sardinia. Its wonderfully preserved old town is one of the most beautiful in Europe – in Alghero, you’ll find quaint piazzas filled with restaurants and cafes, winding cobbled streets, sandy beaches and yacht-filled marinas overlooked by the remnants of the old fortified towers.
You’ll find us at a number of locations throughout Sardinia but our Alghero branch is conveniently located at the airport, ideal whether you’re spending a few days in the city or heading to other destinations on this beautiful island.
And when you book with us, you’ll enjoy a great range of benefits including the ability to cancel or amend your booking without incurring additional charges, and a loyalty scheme which allows you to add drivers at no extra cost. You’ll also enjoy peace of mind, thanks to our 24-hour helpline .
Sardinia is a magnificent place to drive around, with scenic mountain roads and sweeping coastal motorways. Some of the island’s interior roads are unpaved, and many of those which lead to and pass through the smaller Sardinian villages are narrow and cobbled – keep an eye out for these roads and take an alternative route if you’d prefer a more comfortable drive.
Alghero is connected to Sassari, Sardinia’s second largest city, by the SS291 motorway. This is also the road which leads to the airport, located ten kilometers to the north of the city.
If you’re planning on exploring the rest of the island, there’s a good chance your travel plans will include the SS131 (the Carlo Felice). This main arterial road runs from the south to the north of Sardinia – from Cagliari to Porto Torres – and is about a four-hour drive, depending on the route you take.
On your travels, you should look out for signs which bear the words “zona a traffico limitato.” These ZTL areas are reduced traffic zones and are off-limits to all but a few authorized vehicles. If you enter one without authorization you risk being fined. Certain other parts of Alghero are off-limits to other traffic during certain hours, but information relating to these rules is clearly displayed on signs.
Drivers in Sardinia drive on the right and your headlights must be switched on at all times on expressways. The laws relating to driving in Alghero are the same as those throughout the rest of the country. For more information, visit the AA guide to driving in Italy.
With both Italian and Catalonian influences present on the island, Alghero’s long history has turned it into Sardinia’s most fascinating place to visit. Famous for the food, beautiful buildings and gorgeous beaches, Alghero proves to be an great destination for tourists whether they’ve stopping over from mainland Italy, or much further.
Alghero was a tiny fishing village until 1323 when it was taken over by members of the House of Aragon. Spanish colonists dubbed the place Barceloneta, meaning “Little Barcelona,” and it being the closest point to mainland Spain would see Alghero develop into a bustling port city over the next few decades. The powerful northern Italian Savoy family brought it back under Italian control in 1720 following the country’s reunification – but to this day, the city retains much of its former Catalan culture.
The cathedral here is known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria - this Roman Catholic church was the seat of the Bishop of Alghero from 1503 to 1986. It comprises a number of different styles including elements of Catalan-Gothic, a nave created in a late Renaissance style and parts of the entrance hall that are neo-classical. Head to the top of the bell tower for magnificent views over the city – its sandstone features are visible for miles around. Another historic building is the Teatro Civico, whose interior is constructed almost entirely from wood – a unique style of build which you simply can’t miss.
With an area roughly the same size as West Virginia, Sardinia packs in a lot of natural beauty and historical sites in its urban and rural settings. Sassari is Sardinia’s second largest city; 37 kilometers away from Alghero it’s more sprawling and industrial, but explore the city and you'll find beautiful churches and quaint town squares. Lazzaretto and Bombarde beaches, near the town of Fertilia, provide ideal conditions for windsurfing and kayaking while nearby Porto Ferro beach is overlooked by three Spanish lookout towers keeping watch over the clear blue waters.
Much of the Sardinian landscape is farming country – stark, rolling hills uncluttered by human habitation. Look out for the stone structures scattered throughout these areas. Known as nuraghe, little is known about these UNESCO-listed standing stone monuments, but it’s believed that they date back to 730 BC and there are various theories relating to their function. Some have it that these stone symbols are the remains of temples, while others claim they were used to mark property boundaries.
One of the city’s best-known features, the food in Alghero is a delicious mix of Italian and Catalan Spanish cuisine. Seafood is especially popular, with lobster and paella as two of the most common dishes served, freshly caught and brought in from the port. A traditional dessert which you’ll find on most menus is seadas – honey-covered, fried dough balls filled with pecorino cheese. A huge range of produce is grown on the island, including artichokes, chestnuts, olives, and saffron, tantalizing the taste buds of many a hungry tourist.
On the island of Sardinia, it’s a true pleasure to escape the busier, bustling areas of mainland Italy – these cultural differences are exemplified in the beautiful town of Alghero, so rent a car and find out for yourself just what its stunning surroundings have to offer. Ready to book your trip? Click here.