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Sardinian holidays: discovering Riviera del Corallo
Sardinian holidays: discovering Riviera del Corallo
Alghero is where tourism began in Sardinia, during the ’50 and ’60 years. The Riviera del Corallo (Coral Shore) was the first known Sardinian tourist destination and continues to be an attractive city with a cute historic center and many local attractions.
During the last years, tourism has increased in Alghero area due to low cost flights that lead many Irish people to buy houses in Alghero area, as they have the ideal weather only a couple of hours of flight from their homes.
The name Riviera del Corallo is due to the fact that for many years the coral extraction and manufacturing was the main economic activity in Alghero region.
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL AT ALGHERO AND GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE CITY
Arrival at Alghero-Fertilia airport called Riviera del Corallo. Pick the car you have booked and head to the city center.
While waiting for the hotel check-in time, visit one of the beautiful beaches of Alghero, as the traditional Le Bombarde or Maria Pia. Crystal blue water and white sand for a refreshing welcome in Sardinia sea bath.
If you feel hungry but don’t want to eat in a restaurant, there are the famous Milese focacce. In this traditional place Signora Maria prepare delicious focacce with different stuffing, even if the most traditional one is made of one layer of fresh tomato, a layer of tuna, scrambled hard boiled eggs, some anchovy fillets, arugula, onions and bacon. All dressed with the special sauce prepared by Signora Maria that keeps it secret. It is in via Garibaldi, in front of the marina.
Then it’s time to take a walk to see the Porta Terra, the old entrance of the city. The Torre dello Sperone (also called Torre Sulcis) is 22 m high and it is the most imposing tower of the whole wall belt.
Time to check in at the hotel. Time for a refreshing shower and go out to have dinner in the town, eating one of the typical dishes: Aragosta alla catalane (Catalan Lobster) that you just can’t miss while visiting Alghero.
DAY 2 – THE NETTUNO GROTTO
Wake up slowly in Sardinia. Have breakfast and go to the port to take a tour and visit Nettuno grotto. But don’t hurry up. If you feel like sleeping more you can always take the afternoon tour.
The Nettuno grotto are the biggest (and most known) grotto in Sardinia. It is about 4 km long, even if it is not all open to public visit. You can reach them by sea or by land.
To reach it by foot you need to be a little bit athletic as it is necessary to pass through the Escala del Cabriol, with its 650 steps down and up to come back. The panorama is breathtaking, but this path is not for everybody.
It is worthy visiting Capo Caccia only for the panorama, even if you don’t go downstairs. The view is really fantastic.
If you take the boat tour, you’re going to spend about three hours for the whole trip. You can do it during the morning or during the afternoon. You can also chose a longer tour, visiting other places, all part of Area Marina Protetta di Capo Caccia (Capo Caccia Marine Reserve).
For lunch, you can try another local specialty, the agliata sauce. Prepared with garlic, dried tomatoes and vinegar and used to dress seafood.
In the afternoon take the road SP9 that leads to Bosa. 45 km of sinuous road that is considered one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in Sardinia.
There are many interesting things to see in Bosa (maybe next time), and considering you will return to Alghero, choose to walk along the river Temo, the only navigable river in Sardinia; or to visit the Serravalle castle. This castle was built in by the old Tuscan family Malaspina and after it was built, the inhabitants of the so called Bosa Vetus (located close to San Pietro church) moved to the area under the castle as it was safer from the pirates incursions along the river.
Returng to Alghero, it is time for another usual habit in this cute city: the aperitif drink. Park the car and look for a bar along Bastioni San Marco.
There are many bars with the chairs outside to allow people to admire the panorama. One of these bars is called Mos and serve tapas, the Spanish appetizers. It is owned by Andreini, a starred chef now working in Moscow.
After the drink take a walk in the center that is always very live with its shops and the boutique of the Sardinian stylist Antonio Marras that leaded Kenzo Maison for 8 years.
DAY 3 – NATURE, FRESH FISH AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Breakfast at the hotel and wear comfortable shoes to visit the Regional Park of Porto Conte. 1200 Hectares with different panoramas from the cliffs to little hills and small forests.
In the park it is possible to find different animal species, especially if you arrive early in the morning or in the late evening and do not make noise. You can see the Sardinian wild rabbit, weasels, partridges and so many other birds. In this area many quite extinguished species were brought to nature again, such as deers, Sardinian little donkeys, Sardinian Giara little horses, wild goats and the boar, being the griffon the most interesting one.
Returning to Alghero, stop at the Mercato Civico in via Cagliari. You can buy fresh fish but the best experience is to eat the fish there. This typical small restaurant prepares only fresh fish (even if the owner can cook meat from another vendor if someone doesn’t eat fish).
After lunch the only problem is to choose if visit another beach such as Lazzaretto, Mugoni, Cala Dragunara, Speranza beach or the port beach…or visit the Anghelu Ruju Necropolis, the biggest one of the pre-nuragic Sardinia. It is 9 km from Alghero and it was discovered by chance in 1903 during works for building a farmhouse (in that occasion they found a skull and a tripod vase).
There are many attractions in Alghero that available time is often not enough. There are also 2 famous cantina to visit and taste wine – Sella & Mosca and Santa Maria La Palma.
DAY 4 – CULTURE…OR SEA?
Wake up and have a relaxing breakfast at the hotel. Pack and check out feeling you were already following Alghero rhythms. Depending on the flight schedule, it is the last occasion for another sea bath, otherwise there is always something yet to see in Alghero.
You can visit the Coral Museum, inside a Liberty building in XX Settembre road. From there you can visit Alghero churches such as San Francesco one, San Michele with its many-coloured cupola and the Misericordia church that guards the precious Santcristus, simulacrum that originates from Spain.
Time to leave to the airport. The Sardinian wind greets you and expects to see you back soon…
Ana Maria Vasconcellos