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In the citadel’s web of narrow streets, washing hangs beneath the shuttered windows of tall, tightly packed houses and peeling stucco reveal the ancient stone of buildings inhabited for 800 years. Street names are in Italian and Catalan, a dialect that has been spoken here since the 13th century.
Bars and restaurants spill out onto cobbled streets and little piazzas, their tables shaded by stylish cream umbrellas. They line the great ramparts, too, affording grand views and cooling sea breezes.
The real magic of Alghero comes with the sunset. To stroll along the walls, or sit at a bar and watch the old city’s buildings glow a peachy-apricot colour as the sun sets in a ball of orange fire behind the headland across the bay is one of life’s special pleasures. Get an outdoor table at one of the rampart restaurants, to dine by flickering candlelight, and the romance is complete.