9. From Cagliari: Full-Day Alghero Tour Experience
Departing from Cagliari, drive for 2.5-hours in a minivan through the amazing Sardinian countryside towards the northwest of the island. Explore one of Sardinia's most beautiful medieval cities on a tour of Alghero, the island's main resort town in the northwest. Discover its unique character and proud, independent spirit. The historic center is an animated place to hang out, with many excellent restaurants and bars. It's an ideal base for exploring the beaches and beauty spots of the nearby Riviera del Corallo. The main focus of attention will be the picturesque centro storico (historic center), one of the best preserved in Sardinia. Enclosed by robust, honey-colored sea walls, it's a tightly knit enclave of shady, cobbled lanes, Gothic palazzi (palaces) and piazzas lined with cafes. Discover the historical center with an expert local guide on a stroll through the city center.
Discover Capo Caccia and the Neptune Caves, one of the most fascinating natural jewels in the entire Mediterranean basin, the grotto is a veritable geological wonder that attracts over 150,000 visitors per year. It is accessible by sea leaving the tourist port every day, or on foot via Escala del Cabirol (billy goat stairs), a set of 660 steps cut into the cliff side. The tour will begin at the great room holding the transparent waters of Lago Lamarmora (Lake Lamarmora), one of the largest saltwater lakes in all of Europe. It is there that Acquasantiera stands (the baptismal font), a monumental stalagmite that is approximately 2 meters high; its peaks have formed vats, where rainwater collects, thereby forming a precious drinking fountain for birds nesting in the Capo Caccia area.
After a brief descent, you will reach the Sala delle Rovine (Room of Ruins) and after this, the Majestic Reggia, the most evocative area of the grotto. Impressive and overwhelming columns arise in this room, almost holding up the ceiling. Among the large flowstone and "scallop" formations, the distinctive stalagmite formation known as the Albero di Natale (Christmas Tree) stands out. The lake comes to end at a sandy beach called the Spiaggia dei Ciottolini (Pebble Beach) because at one time it was made up of tiny stones. After the Reggia, you will find Sala Smith (Smith Room), where the Grande Organo (Great Organ) can be found, the largest column in the entire grotto. This room is named after the English captain who in the early 1800s had been one of the first to explore the grotto. After having taken in the small columns that adorn the Sala delle Trine e dei Merletti (The Lace Room), the route will come to an end with a view of Tribuna della Musica (The Music Gallery), an evocative balcony from which you can enjoy the view from above the Reggia area and Lake Lamarmora.