Alghero is a popular city on the northwestern Sardinian coast whose population of about 42,000 souls tends to double during the summer months. The area dates back to ancient and even prehistoric times. More than 100 nuraghe remains are spread throughout Alghero proper and the immediately surrounding suburbs. The historic town center dates to Medieval times and is still surrounded by the sea walls that have protected its people for centuries.
There is a lot of Spanish influence here because Spain controlled the city until the early 1700s. Nearly a quarter of the local residents still learn Algherese Catalan as their first language, and you can regularly hear the dialect spoken along the city streets.
Allied warplanes did a good bit of damage to the historic sites in Alghero during World War II. Rebuilding efforts have focused not on reconstruction but on improving the city's infrastructure for tourism. Demand is so high for hotel rooms that the city becomes fully booked every July and August, and most reservations are made months in advance.
The best way to tour Alghero is not to visit a specific church or monument, but instead simply to walk around. The historic town walls are now dotted with restaurants, bars, and shops, making for an unparalleled experience in modern shopping with a historic ambience. You also will see a good bit of Romanesque and Gothic architecture as you walk along the historic town's main streets, and you can gaze up at the remaining defensive towers to get a good idea of what life might have been like in the days of seagoing raiders.