Alghero © Italian Tourist Board
The flourishing fishing port of Alghero, situated on the northwest coast, is Sardinia's tourist centre and attracts thousands of holidaymakers each year. It consists of a picturesque and well-preserved old town enclosed in a stout girdle of walls, outside of which the new town sports a grid of parallel streets filled with hotels and restaurants. A favoured package tour destination, Alghero offers beautiful beaches and year-round holiday amenities together with numerous places of interest to visit. The town is very Spanish in flavour, having been invaded by Pedro IV of Aragon in 1354. The narrow cobbled streets of the old town are lined with flamboyant churches and wrought-iron balconies, boutiques and cafes, as well as the workshops of craftsmen working the famed coral of Alghero. The local cuisine hints of Spain too, and the town is renowned for its excellent seafood. Authentic Spanish paellas, lobster alla Catalana and tasty fish soups abound, with delicious sea urchins on sale from stallholders in the port. Around the town the coast offers many secluded bays, small inlets bordered by pine forests and high, jagged cliffs washed by the sea. Inland, luxuriant vineyards produce some of the most aromatic wines on the island. Nightlife is sedate, tending more toward sipping cocktails at a sidewalk café and watching the sunset from the seafront than frenetic nightclubbing.