This scenic seaside town and working port has a wonderful Cathedral & surrounded by numerous gorgeous beaches
Situated in the wide sweeping Gulf of Asinara, in the northern part of Sardinia, lies the bustling port town of Porto Torres. As well as being a major working port, this fascinating town offers a rich and varied history thanks to its Roman and Medieval past.
Ancient ruins, archaeological sights, an impressive museum as well as one of the most important Romanesque churches in Sardinia make this a great destination for culture lovers. A walk along the seafront promenade reveals breath taking views, romantic little piazzas, pure white sandy beaches and crystalline sea. So, for the perfect combination of beach, culture and real Italian life, Porto Torres will not disappoint.
What to do
First head to the impressive Bascilica di San Gavino, Sardinia's largest Romanesque church. Built between 1030 and 1080 on an ancient pagan burial site, the church is dedicated to a great Sardinian saint, Gavino. Inside the majestic 16th century crypt are relics of the city's three patron saints.
Further out in the port area is the fascinating archaeological museum housing the remains of the ancient Roman port on which the city stands. The museum displays finds from the surrounding area. Outside you can see the remains of an ancient bathing complex, a mosaic decorated house as well as an impressive roman bridge.
Also in the port area stands the impressive Aragonese tower. Standing 14 metres high and 13 metres wide it is built in a distinctive octagonal shape and dates back the to the 14th century.
A popular trip from the town is the beautiful national park of Asinara. This uninhabited island is home to several endangered species as well as the popular albino white donkey, introduced to the island from Egypt in the 19th century. There are two ferries a day from Porto Torres. It is worth noting that only guided tours are allowed on the island due to its protected status.
Cool off at the beautiful town beach, Spiaggia da Balai. A lovely little beach of white sand and crystal-clear water, perfect for snorkelling. Another popular past time is jumping in off the surrounding granite rocks on either side of the beach, very popular with the kids. You'll find water sport equipment for hire on the beach and a little café just up the road.
Where to eat
For local fare head to San Gavino. Situated in a leafy corner near the Basilica do San Gavino. This welcoming restaurant offers fabulous and fresh regional food. Enjoy a great selection of antipasto and cured meats as well as delicious wood fired pizzas.
For delicious fresh seafood cooked to perfection as well as hearty local dishes, head to Il Mare. This little gem offers friendly service, reasonable prices and a charming outdoor terrace.
For a great setting and great pizzas head to Ristorante Pizzeria San Gavino. Located right next to the Bascilica this bustling restaurant offers quick efficient service and reasonable prices. There is a particularly pretty outdoor seating area amongst the town's ancient walls.
For the perfect spot for a relaxing drink with a view try the highly recommended Lido Bar. Situated on the water's edge by a small beach this bar offers fantastic views out to sea from its outdoor seating area. As well as drinks they serve a selection of seafood cooked to perfection, fantastic calamari and delicious seafood linguine. Very friendly service and an informal atmosphere.
How to get there
The nearest airports are located at Alghero (25km) and Olbia (95km). There are a couple of direct buses a day from Alghero into Porto Torro (approx. 40 mins). There is a train station in town with connections to Olbia as well as Cagliari and Sassari.
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