Alghero, in north-western Sardinia, is one of the island’s most seductive towns. It was ruled by the Spanish between 1400 and 1700 and this influence is writ large in the old quarter, called Barcelonetta, or Little Barcelona. The cobbled streets here still have a distinctive Catalan character and, to this day, the locals speak a Catalan dialect. The new town spreads out on the other side of the 16th-century walls, and offers easy access to a royal flush of white, sandy beaches.
A roll call of beaches
Just north of Alghero’s marina is the Lido, also known as San Giovanni Beach. It’s a 1.5-kilometre ribbon of sand and a great spot for sun-worshippers. For something even more spectacular, just 5 minutes away by car is Maria Pia Beach, a long stretch of ice-white sand fringed by fragrant pine forests. The Mediterranean is warm, crystalline, and child-friendly. Or head to nearby Bombarde Beach, which has a lively line-up of beach bars with DJs spinning the decks.
The old quarter
Barcelonetta is Alghero’s well-heeled old quarter and the heartbeat of the town. Spread among its tangle of cool alleyways and grandiose piazzas is a varied choice of trattorias, plus some of the best ice-cream parlours in Sardinia. History buffs can goggle at Alghero Cathedral, built in Catalan Gothic style, and the lavish Palazzo d’Albis. And if you follow the seafront fortifications, you’ll arrive at the marina, which is filled with an armada of luxury yachts.
Close to Capo Caccia
A 25-minute drive away is Capo Caccia, whose dramatic limestone cliffs are undercut by natural caves. Neptune’s Grotto, containing stalactites and stalagmites dating back 65 million years, is the most visited tourist attraction in the area. But there are underwater caves, too, that divers and snorkelers can access. Nereo’s Grotto, with its network of tunnels and archways, is the pick of the lot.
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Online savings - Refers to an online discount of 9% on September holidays (10% from 5th September) and 9% on holidays in October. Applies to the basic adult cost before supplements. Available on package holidays booked online departing between 1st May 2014 and 31st October 2014 Online discount only applies to package holidays booked on firstchoice.co.uk and does not apply to flight only, accommodation only and tailor made flight+hotel bookings. Online discount is not combinable with free Child Places.
Save up to £400 per couple on September & October holidays – Saving offer applies to new bookings only on selected Thomson package holidays booked on thomson.co.uk. Offer applies to holidays departing between 01 September & 31 October 2014 and is subject to limited availability. Savings is against brochure price. Excludes flight only, accommodation only, cruise, Thomson Ski and any other bookings. Additional supplements may apply. Saving is based on a minimum of 2 adults travelling. Thomson reserves the right to withdraw or change this offer at any time. We reserve the right to change or withdraw the offers at any time.
Free child places - Free kids offer applies to new bookings only, on selected summer 2014 holidays, subject to limited availability. Only 1 free kids place is available in each selected hotel room or selected apartment type or villa with 2 full paying adults. Other children must pay the full brochure price. Available on First Choice holidays only. Free child places may not be combinable with other discounts.