Sardinia – Alghero to Capo Caccia

By - April 9, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Sardinia, Italy.
Sunset over Alghero

Sunset over Alghero

I am a huge fan of spur of the moment travel. While it’s great to tick destinations off the ‘Life List’ of travel, visiting somewhere you never considered travelling to can offer some wonderful surprises. My trip to Sardinia last weekend was one such surprise.

The trip was instigated by a friend and fellow photographer. “Want to go somewhere warm for Easter where we can photograph and escape Belgium?” Yes please! Our criteria were simple – affordable, sunny, and picturesque.

So, long before the sun came up, on Thursday morning, we found ourselves waiting for our Ryanair flight to Alghero.

The terrace at B&B Castiglias

The terrace at B&B Castiglias

We landed in Sardinia with a full day ahead of us. We picked up our tiny little car, a Mitsubishi Colt, and set off to find our B&B. Our directions led us a bit astray, but eventually we found B&B Castiglias and dropped off our bags. We decided to check out the city that would be our base for five days and headed in to the old centre of Alghero.

Alghero is a fortified city on the north-western coast of Sardinia. It has been settled since pre-historic times and conquered by countless civilizations. There is a strong Catalan influence here and a minority of the citizens of Alghero speaks a Catalan dialect.

The cliffs of Capo Caccia

The cliffs of Capo Caccia

The old center is small and juts into the sea. The narrow roads are lined with restaurants and shops selling local pottery, baskets and coral jewelry. (Not to mention the ever present t-shirts and souvenirs.) Beside the fortification is a marina and beyond that lies the beach.

We decided a good way to get our bearings would be from the sea, so we set off on a boat trip of the surrounding area. Our boat took us as far as the staggeringly tall (110m) cliffs of Capo Caccia and the Grotta di Nettuno (or Neptune’s Cave). Normally you can visit the grotto but unfortunately the winter weather had damaged some of the 656 steps down to the cave and it wasn’t open during our visit. Instead, our boat cruised around the beaches and towns of Porto Conte and Fertilia before depositing us back at Alghero.

Grotta di Nettuno

Grotta di Nettuno

We were tired after all of the sea air (and mainly because of our 3am start) so we bought some provisions and headed back to the B&B.

The accommodation at B&B Castiglias was basic but very affordable. The location is excellent – very near the airport and city centre but still in a rural setting with a lovely view of the marsh. Breakfasts consisted of bread, ham and cheese, yoghurt, juice and coffee. The water in the shower never actually achieved the level of ‘hot’ which in the summer I’m sure isn’t an issue but was a bit chilly for us. The pool was also still closed for the season but I can picture having an afternoon swim there to escape the summer heat.

That evening, we enjoyed a picnic of fresh bread, wild boar salami and delicious local cheeses on the terrace and took in the lovely view. We were early to bed so we could rise with the sun for another full day of photos and exploration.

To be continued…

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 2 days ago


  1. Comment by parisimperfect

    parisimperfect April 9, 2010 at 11:19

    Sounds wonderful, Alison! Now I’m dreaming of Sardinia!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 9, 2010 at 11:58

      Definitely worth a visit! More to come… 🙂

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  3. Comment by Christine

    Christine April 9, 2010 at 17:59

    I’m moving to Nice, France in a few weeks and I was thinking about trying to visit Sardinia sometime while I’m there. Your photos just convinced me 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 9, 2010 at 18:41

      Oh Nice is lovely. I’m jealous 🙂 You can take a boat from Sardinia to France which I think could be really fun but either way it’s worth the trip!

  4. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler April 10, 2010 at 03:27

    Oh wow, it’s looking more and more like a great place to visit. I think I need to add it onto my wish list… Great photos. Despite those cold showers, your photos of that awesome blue in my mind make up for it! Can’t wait for more.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 10, 2010 at 11:21

      It was definitely worth a chilly shower in the morning 🙂 The Mediterranean blue is such a magical colour. Much nicer than the grey of everything up here in Belgium!

  5. Comment by Dave and Deb

    Dave and Deb April 10, 2010 at 09:52

    My mouth is watering reading about your picnic. We are heading to France next month and I can’t wait for the food:)
    I have to say, I am envious of everyone living in Europe. You can take off on these awesome spur of the moment getaways and end up in a completely different culture, landscape and environment. I have to figure out a way to live there:) My sister lives in Germany and I am always jealous of her weekend escapes:) Sardinia looks beautiful. Another place to add to my growing list.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 10, 2010 at 11:24

      The meat and cheese there was fantastic and if we weren’t flying with Ryanair we would have brought a lot more home with us. I’ll know better for next time!

      The ability to travel in Europe is without question my favourite thing about living here. As you said, you can drive or fly for just a few hours and be someplace totally different – food, language, architecture, culture – everything!

      I hope you guys enjoy Paris; It is definitely a magical city so try to sit back and absorb some of the culture if you can. If you need any trips, don’t hesitate to drop me an email!

  6. Comment by Nomadic Chick

    Nomadic Chick April 11, 2010 at 02:06

    Mmmm… sounds lazy, sensual, and indulgent. Sardinia is climbing up the bucket list.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 12, 2010 at 13:26

      I definitely could be lazy but it sure wasn’t for us! Next time I think I’ll reserve at least a day for book reading on the beach 🙂

  7. Comment by Unexpected Traveller

    Unexpected Traveller April 11, 2010 at 10:13

    Sardinia has been on my list for donkey’s years … didn’t realise there were Ryanair flights from Belgium. Perhaps I will surprise the Soul Soother one weekend …

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 12, 2010 at 13:25

      They fly from Charleroi to Alghero and Cagliari several times a week. Ryanair is getting to be such a hassle however, if I go back again I think I’d try and choose a normal airline.

  8. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe April 12, 2010 at 12:21

    What a great trip! It reminded me of a holiday I took there ages ago. We did make it down the 656 steps into the cave, but thanks to my claustrophobic tendencies, I hyperventilated all the way there and back!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 12, 2010 at 13:24

      Haha! You sound like me! I’ve climbed to the top of the Sagrada Famillia all 3 times I’ve been to Barcelona and every time I end up having a panic attack from the height and enclosed space. You’d think I would learn but the camera makes me do it 🙂

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  11. Comment by Angela

    Angela April 13, 2010 at 19:16

    Alghero is lovely, I wouldn’t mind living there. Due to its position it was colonised a bit by everybody, but the Catalan presence was the most effective, they even kept the language! Good for the people, they have very little problems when they go to Spain 😉

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 14, 2010 at 09:13

      It is a really pretty little city and the location on the coast seems great. Plus it’s close to the airport for easy escape to other places if you need a travel fix! What part are you from originally?

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