Head up north for the island's best beaches, including Valledoria's sand dunes – you'll find them sandwiched between the sea and a river. For classic Sardinian scenes, the sugary-white coastline of Badesi Mare fits the bill nicely, while sleepy Isola Rossa's the prime place to try and catch some rays.
If long walks on the sand tickle your fancy, nine-kilometre Le Saline beach will be just your thing. In between coves on Sardinia’s north coast, this pine tree-backed shore gets its name from the old salt mines nearby. It's a bit on the blowy side and a big hit with windsurfers.
Drive half an hour north of Alghero and you’ll reach Porto Ferro. This hidden gem's a chilled-out escape from the usual noise and chatter – picture a bay enclosed by two rocky headlands. Gentle green hills in the background make it a proper rural retreat.
For cheap eats, make like the locals and get yourself over to the sweet-smelling food stands on Via Corsica. On Wednesdays, market stalls set up shop and create a bargain-lover's paradise in Viale Sardegna. They're packed with everything from fabrics to Sicilian ceramics.
The area behind the marina's the go-to spot to pick up artisanal-style foods such as pickled veg, alongside some fancy local liqueurs. Piazza Civica's full of postage-stamp-sized boutiques selling all kinds of local treats that can fit in your luggage.
If you're in the market for a statement piece, look out for Alghero’s iconic red coral jewellery. These sustainably sourced gems are known locally as 'red gold', and they're often found in swish shops around the old town.
For a mellow evening, pop into one of the bars on the Spiaggi di San Giovanni promenade – it hosts a cool night market in the summer, too. It's a great place to sip a cocktail while soaking up the beachfront ambience.
Aside from a handful of bars south of Alghero, there aren't many places that stay open late. If you're after some drinks, try a beachside cocktail bar on Via Lido.
This potato gnocchi-like pasta started as a special occasion dish, but nowadays people tuck in to it whenever they can. Find it in casual trattorias, drenched in bacon-and-olive tomato sauce.
Seafood's the go-to in this fishing port – sliced, fried or grilled whole. Spaghetti bottarga's a local classic – Sardinia's take on caviar gets grated on top of a tangle of pasta, then drizzled with olive oil.
A deep-fried pastry stuffed with ricotta or lemon-soaked pecorino cheese, seadas get drizzled with honey and topped with a citrus twist. Sweet, tangy, crunchy and smooth – this is prime snacking.
The Sardinian highlands have been home to shepherds and their woolly herds for generations. Mainland Italians come here to stock up on huge wheels of locally produced pecorino sardo, a distinctively sharp-tasting ewe's milk cheese.
Alghero's got its own vanilla-tasting version of grappa – 'barricata'. Most restaurants keep it stocked, so don't be afraid to ask. Topping off a meal, Sardinian-style, means whipping out some cheese and a shot of the stuff.
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