Visiting Alghero, Sardinia in 24 hours
When making our Sardinia itinerary, we decided to spend the little tip we had in the northern part of the island. One city that stood out was Alghero. It is a bit different than other cities as it has influences from Barcelona – they even speak Catalan. IT was a bit of a logistical nightmare to make it work for this trip but ultimately the stars aligned and we were able to visit Alghero.
While we could have spent all our Sardinia trip in Palau, we decided to see another part of the island before departing. This took a bit of effort to arrange since there was no way to drive the Vespa – the only return for the vehicle was at the office it was rented. So we would return the scooter to Olbia and take a few modes of public transit to make our way to Alghero. There really is no good public transit to get far on the island – it is certainly not as well connected as mainland Italy is with the trains. I was hopeful that it would be worth the effort since another beach day in Palau sounded quite nice – we really loved this area!
We set out on our long drive from Palau to Olbia – about an hour ride – and Kevin did great. The entire time on the Vespa Kevin did fantastic. I navigated from the back seat, shouting directions into his ears, tapping his left or right arm to validate turns, and we got it down. We stopped to fill up the gas tank and we returned the scooter with no issues. The rental company returned us to the airport where we got a taxi to the Olbia train station. While we could have taken a bus, I was not confident in the timeline so to guarantee we didn’t miss the train, we paid the premium 20 euro for the convenience.
It was nice to have a relaxing two hour train ride from Oblia to Sassari. We took line 5273. Once at Sarssari, we had to do a bit of a run to find the bus to Alghero looking for line 9323. Somehow, there were three different places to catch a bus at this one station and the last place we checked was where the bus was and we boarded with minutes to spare. Then we had a bit of a conundrum. Our scooter rental was at the airport. The closest stop to the airport on this bus line was on the other side of the airport and an hour walk around it but it was a remote spot that getting a taxi felt impossible. The next town Fertilla had more promise as well as another bus that ran directly to the airport so this felt like a viable option as opposed to going another twenty minutes directly to Alghero just to backtrack to the airport.
So we got off at Fertilla and each of the three buses waiting there denied they went to the airport. We found that hard to believe as the schedule indicated one was waiting there. With all the buses gone, we walked to the main area of town and not one taxi was to be found. We contemplated hitchhiking of sorts but instead, waited an hour for the next bus to the airport to arrive. We read that public transit in Sardinia did not quite match the efficiency of most European cities so while we saw it in real time, we packed our patience.
Finally at the airport, we grabbed our scooter from SR Noleggi and made our way to Agriturismo Alghero Resort Casale degli Ulivi. We were instantly wow’ed by the property – gorgeous grounds with vines and orchards and a pool overlooking it all. We had planned on going straight to the old town center of Alghero but we jumped right in the pool after checking in instead. This was wonderful and definitely the right decision – I already wished we were staying longer to enjoy everything.
After rinsing off, we were ready to head out for the rest of the day. We were given a crappy scooter – did not reach max speed, headlight out, etc – so we were able to swap it out for a much better one. We were now on our way to Alghero!
The drive was an easy twenty minutes but after ten of those, the landscape changed into a beachside dream. Umbrellas lined the coastline with many different colors and shapes. So many people were enjoying the beach and crystal clear blue water. It was clear one overnight here would not be enough!
We made our way to the old city center and our first priority was some food. We had gone all day without it and we had a big dinner ahead so we opted for a snack – gelato. Close proximity was Gelateria Artigianale 9 3/4 which I thought was an odd name but did not think it would actually be Harry Potter themed. Low and behold, full press harry potter fandom. The decor in here was just intense dedication with even some of the flavors giving a nod to the franchise. And the gelato was delicious – such a fun find!
Walking around the old city was like stepping back in time. The walled city seemed like it did ok back in the day with defense, even displaying some of those defenses around the perimeter of the city.
After wandering through the streets, we found Parrocchia Cattedrale to visit. Kevin asked for 0.50 euro as it turned on the lights for two minutes. I almost did not believe him until magically the lights came on. We have not seen this as a tactic in European churches yet and had to share.
We had at least another hour to spend before heading to dinner and strangely, most of the apertivio spots opened later at 1900 but just right outside of the church was SardOa – perfect! We ordered some wine and enjoyed the view – including a train that takes visitors through the city.
One our way back to the scooter, we passed Trattoria Lo Romani. I called to try and book dinner here and the only response I got was that they were booked for the summer. I could hardly believe it but when we passed by, they also had a sign on the door indicating they were fully booked. Kevin waited outside until an employee met his gaze and greeted him – somehow he got us in for lunch tomorrow. Working those blue eyes! What a great surprise to look forward to tomorrow.
We made our way to dinner in the countryside at another agriturismo from a traditional Sardinian dinner not far from where we were staying. As soon as we stepped onto the property, Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra had something special.
Read the full dining review for Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra here!
Completely stuffed, we made the short drive back guided by the light of a large full moon.
While we were leaving Alghero today, we had quite a bit that we wanted to accomplish before our flight in the evening. We checked out of the agriturismo and stored our bags there while we did some exploring.
Our first stop was Neptune’s Grotto on Cape Caccia which is a famous attraction in Alghero. The drive out to the cape was gorgeous – Vespa views for days.
Read about our journey to Nepturne’s Grotto and see all the incredible photots here!
Since Kevin was a charmer able to get us into the fully booked Trattoria Lo Romani, we drove back to Alghero for lunch. While we never said we would be hungry again after last night’s dinner at Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra, we managed. I was definitely in the mood for a fresh handmade pasta with seafood which is one of their specialties.
We ordered a half liter of white wine along with the bread service. Due to our enormous meal last night, we kept it simple to just pasta. We decided to share the Maccarrones de busa allo scoglio (Fresh handmade bucatini pasta with mussels, clams, scampi, prawns, squid and cherry tomatoes) as it required a two person minimum.
Worth the hype? Absolutely. It was one of our best dishes in Sardinia. The sauce was unbelievably good – we can’t even describe it! It was the perfect combination of seafood flavors in the sauce and wow the amount of seafood was really excellent. Having bucatini was also a treat and we actually really liked the choice of a heartier pasta to go with the seafood.
We returned to where we were staying to check out as well as grab our bags. This place is really wonderful and I definitely wish we had more time to enjoy it.
Our final stop before departing Sardinia was a wine tour at Sella and Mosca.
Read about the Sardinian wine region as well as our tour of Sella and Mosca here!
We returned the scooter as it was time to say goodbye to Sardinia. We made our way through the Alghero airport and readied ourselves to head back to mainland Italy. Our Vespa trip continued in Florence as we planned on driving to Tuscany for the ultimate Vespa road trip – read about that experience here!
Continue reading about our trip to Sardinia here!
Continue reading about the second half of our trip in Tuscany here!