The central location of Hotel Il Gabbiano is such that in just a few minutes – strolling along the relaxing promenade – you can reach Alghero’s tourist harbour and its stunning old town, which is renowned right around the world for its wealth of unique cultural and architectural treasures.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Cloister of San Francesco, the Civic Theatre, the former Town Hall, the University and the new Piazza della Jhuaria – these are just some of the essential stop-offs on any tour of “Old Alghero”, which is one of the most ancient and best-preserved historical centres to be found anywhere in Sardinia. If you prefer not to walk, you can take the quaint “Cocchio” (carriage) or the delightful “Trenino Catalano” (Catalan-style tourist train).
As you enjoy a relaxing walk through the heart of the old town, surrounded by the time-honoured palazzos and the bastions, you may decide to indulge in some retail therapy at the boutiques and workshops selling traditional Sardinian craft products, including coral, or you may want to dine at one of the restaurants serving the typical dishes of Algherese cuisine, including the famous “Aragosta alla Catalana” (Catalan-style lobster), where you can also sample the wines produced by the most celebrated Sardinian wineries.
Known as Sardinia’s “Little Barcelona”, Alghero was founded in 1102 by the Doria family of Genoa, before being conquered in 1354 by Catalan-Aragonese forces, which through their presence imbued the city with a typically Catalan style of architecture. Their buildings have survived the ravages of time and are still very much visible today. Alghero also retains traces of the Catalan period through its language, customs, gastronomy, folk traditions and maritime resources – it all adds up to a set of unusual features that make the city unique and highly evocative.