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Alghero lies on the North-west coast of Sardinia and even though it might not be as well known as Cagliari or the Costa Smeralda, it is well worth a visit in it's own right. Founded in the early 12th century, Alghero was ruled for 250 years by a dynasty from Genoa until they had to surrender it to the rulers of Aragon. At this point the first Catalan settlers arrived and to this day there is a strong connection to Spain, with people speaking a Catalan dialect and street names being bi-lingual. The old town is very reminiscent of the Gothic quarter in Barcelona, but with an Italian twist. Even in November you'll find flower filled piazzas and shops unique to the town. The craft shops in particular took my fancy, with their pottery and jewellery made with local red corals.The city walls towards the sea are still standing and you can take a nice stroll along the sea front towards the harbour and watch the fishing boats and yachts.

Alghero is also famous for its Grotta di Nettuno, a stalactite cavern on Capo Caccia which can be reached either by boat or a rather steep climb down a stairs in the rocks. The only problem with going to Alghero off season is that the number of hotels, especailly budget hotels, that are open is a bit limited. From the beginning of November until the middle of December, Sardinia celebrates Settimana del Novella, a celebration of the new local red wine and many restaurants have a special 'Menu del Novello' which consists of a set menu (3 or 4 courses) and a bottle of Novello. Coffee and the local speciality Mirto, a herb liquor, is usually included as well.  

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