(updated 23 Sept 2022)
It’s a tough choice between Cagliari but if I have to choose, I’m going with Alghero. (Sorry to some of Sardinian friends.) There is something about this town that I just love: the centro storico, the strolls, the water, and the fact that it seems a bit removed from the rest of the island and tourist destinations. And I must admit, the cross-cultural aspect with Spain is really quite cool in this lovely town!
If you ask me, there is only one place to stay in Alghero: the Villa Las Tronas (http://www.hotelvillalastronas.com/). I first stayed here years ago, and then again 10 years ago, all before they received their 5 star rating and since then, they have only improved. Set on a private outcrop away from the hustle and bustle of the city behind it, this stunning property offers old-world charm and privacy like few others. The hotel doesn’t brim with modern design elements – if you’re looking for glass and steel, look elsewhere – but everything you need is here, along with the highest level of professionalism. It’s gotten more expensive over the years, but I still think it is worth every penny for the tranquility alone. (And this is an adults only property.
I can’t vouch for either of the following, but over the years, I have gazed in awe at the Villa Mosca Charming House (https://www.villamosca.it/) whose placement along the coast and views nearly rivals that of the Villa Las Tronas. And new to the hotel scene is the Hotel Carlos V & Spa, set near the Villa Las Tronas with views over the ocean and a more modern vibe and architecture than either of the hotels mentioned.
I don’t usually choose a pizzeria as my “if I only had one night” restaurant but hands down, the Pizzeria Al Vecchio Mulino (no website but they are on FB) in the centro storico was a stunner! It was so good that we actually changed plans during our stay and returned on a whim to try two more pizzas and everything was just as outstanding as the first night. Reservations are imperative, especially on weekends as we constantly saw people being turned away when they had no rezzie.
A very close second for me was Trattoria Lo Romani (https://loromani.unomenu.it/). They didn’t have a lot of options for vegetarians but the pasta dishes were divine. They weren’t overcomplicated, but just good ingredients, with amazingly made pasta, in a lovely atmosphere full of locals and tourists alike. Again, reservations are imperative here.
The centro storico is a lovely place to stroll in the morning and at night. During the day, most everything is closed and, remember, it’s hotter than hades in the summer so who wants to be shopping any way. Unlike other places in Sardegna, Alghero offers the requisit tourist shops but also “regular” shops should you forget something.
The churches in Alghero are some of my favourite on the island. Please remember to be respectful when you’re in the church: some of them are still run by nuns who you will see in prayer when you enter. They don’t mind you enjoying the beauty of the church, just be quiet and dress appropriately.
The towers of Alghero, along with the fortified wall, are all pretty cool to see but you won’t need to go out of your way to see them: you can’t enter, so you’ll just see them during one of your inevitable passeggiata.
I hope that the above gives you a bit of insite in to the wonderful city of Alghero. It’s such an amazing and lovely place, just like all of Sardegna, so go, wonder, and take in the various smells, sights, and even sounds of Alghero!