Sassari, Alghero, Castelsardo and Porto Torres

North-west Sardinia, Italy                                                                 All photos by Hetty

We stayed 5 nights in SASSARI, 14th to 18th September 2019, in the historic centre, but near the bus and train stations and a large supermarket.

My interactive map of Sassari

We spent our first afternoon exploring the town and finding the bus station and ticket office

The Fountain of the Rosello, built 1603-6 over an ancient spring, symbolises the four seasons (corner statues) and 12 months (mouths)

San Gavino on top of the fountain

St Mary of Bethlehem – We passed this church with its huge dome on the way to the buses

We explored more of Sassari on our last evening

The cathedral

There are some grand buildings in Sassari

Palazzo Ducale

This one has a shop called Posh


Piazza Castello

Piazza d’Italia

Statue of Victor Emanuel II – King of Sardinia then of Italy

Palazzo Giordano



The Public Garden in Sassari


Porto Torres – a Roman town 15th September 2019                   My interactive map of Porto Torres

We caught the bus from Sassari (9.30) to Porto Torres (10.00)

This bridge was built by the Romans and was in use until the 1980s

The tarmac was just above the Roman road

The archaeology park covers a large area where you can see remains of the Roman city. (The museum was closed for refurbishment when we were there)

Roman baths




We watched these kittens chasing each others’ tails

The other side of the railway line are more Roman buildings

A sailing ship contrasts with the ferry

The Aragonese Tower 1326, built by the Spanish

The marina

The tiny church of Balai on a rocky shelf above the sea

Beach of Balai

In the town centre is the Basilica di San Gavino, the largest and oldest Romanesque church on the island, built between 1030 and 1080


They reused Roman capitals on the columns, so they are all different

In the 17th-century they made a crypt under the Basilica

We saw lots of palm trees all over Sardinia

The bus back to Sassari was at 4.10pm


Alghero – Catalan town 15th September 2019

16th and 17th September 2019

We went to Alghero twice (on the 8.15 bus – 45 minute journey).

The first time we went by boat, across the bay to Neptune’s Cave and then later looked around Alghero

The second time we took the hop-on-hop-off bus to the cliffs above Neptune’s Cave, calling at Palmavera on the way, and walking from the museum to Cala Barca on the way back.

The historic mediaeval centre of Alghero, built by the Spanish, has massive sea-walls.

Views from the boat

Neptune’s Cave

There is a lake in the cave

We were pleased that we took the boat and didn’t go down and up the 654 steps on the Goat’s Staircase – it was 30 degrees! Lots of people did though

On the boat back to Alghero

On the left is the island we will see tomorrow

Back in Alghero

Piazza Civica

Cathedral entrance

Lovely views from the sea walls – you can walk on top all the way round

They have several old war machines

St Michael’s church

The second visit to Alghero:

Just outside the historic centre

View across the bay from the hop-on-hop-off bus (18 Euro each)


Palmavera is an ancient Nuragic village – 1500 to 600 BC

We spent an hour here, then got back on the bus

This is a plan of the village

The Bronze Age people left a model of the tower

Looking up inside the tower

We were surprised how much remains from the Bronze Age

Next stop was on the cliffs at Capo Caccia, above Neptune Cave

Yes it was a good idea to take the boat to the cave instead of taking the Goat’s Staircase

There wasn’t anywhere to walk, so we took the bus back to the museum of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Conte and asked where we could walk. They gave us the gate-code so that we could walk through the forest to the other side of the peninsula.

It was a flat walk starting at sea-level, so we were surprised when we suddenly reached the coast at Cala Barca and found ourselves on top of the cliffs, with another stunning view

Back by the museum (the whole area used to be a penal colony)

Back in Alghero we had another wander while waiting for the 18.35 bus


Castelsardo 18th September 2019, our last day.

This citadel is perched on a rocky promontory and was originally a Genoese city in the 12th century, but was taken over by the Spanish in the 14th century.

View of Castelsardo from the bus (10am from Sassari, an hour’s journey)

Piazza del Novecentenario

Steps up to the castle

In the castle

Battering ram, with a ram’s head!

In the castle is a museum of basket weaving

Panoramic view from the top of the castle – the new town and harbour

Church – Santa Maria delle Grazie


The old town faces the sea and is a maze of narrow alleys


and steps

The bus ride back to Sassari (15.10) was interesting as we passed several towns/villages on cliffs

19th September 2019

Our superb holiday came to an end and we had to go to the railway station in Sassari for the 10.23 train to Olbia

In Olbia (12.02) we caught the 12.37 bus to the airport, for the flight home to Bristol at 14.25

We were pleased that we were able to visit some of the ‘best’ places in Sardinia, all by public transport:

Emerald Coast, Cagliari,  Nora, Alghero, Neptune’s Cave, Castelsardo

but other places are great as well and we had such a varied time (and it was sunny the whole time! Hot too)

Back to introduction to Sardinia

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