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Trekking Alghero: Nature Trails

Walking is a school of life: during a hike, as in life, there are many climbs, few plains, and the seemingly easy descents often appear much harder than the much-feared climbs

Walking trails and routes surrounded by nature, that’s what trekking is for us. Sardinia is a huge land with thousands of trails where you can admire nature in all its features and uniqueness. From the Gennargentu trails via mining trails, exploring flora and fauna from inland to the coast. Trekking in Alghero is spectacular, and there are indeed many paths that can be taken, either independently or with the help of an experienced guide.

In the Porto Conte Regional Park you will have the opportunity to discover the Mediterranean flora and fauna in different areas such as the Oasi delle Prigionette, Punta Giglio, I tre Monti, the Capo Caccia coast, and the Calich pond. You will discover even more if there is a guide with you to tell you about the area, history, legends and special features. In this article we want to tell you about our trek from Alghero, a path immersed in the wild, unexplored nature and showing splendid viewpoints: Capo Marrargiu.


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It is in this area that one of the most majestic bird species lives: the griffon vulture. The Capo Marrargiu trek (we’ll take you from Alghero to the starting point) is one of the most beautiful, yet little-known walks along a jagged stretch of coastline among volcanic rocks, coves, ravines and crystal clear water. We will be immersed in the Mediterranean bush among myrtle, mastic trees and a landscape totally different from the neighboring area. Here we will also have a chance to see the Griffon Vulture, a species that we will describe to you in all sauces, from its nature to the threat of extinction a few years ago. Besides trekking we have other wonderful excursions from Alghero, take a look
on this page.

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Caves of Neptune Alghero: What to Know

Welcome to the Antro, the Cave where Neptune or Poseidon, god of the sea, has always taken refuge.

The Caves of Neptune in Alghero are absolutely a MUST to see and admire if you plan to spend your vacation in the area. Located 24 km from the beautiful city of Alghero (check out our post about the Red Coral) the cave is a huge karst cavity formed about 2.5 million years ago and named after the god of the sea, Neptune. Every year it is visited by about 150 thousand people and is by far the most important economic income in terms of tourism in Alghero. What is there to know? Read the post carefully, with you will be prepared for your visit.


We begin in the best way possible by analyzing its geological history, that is, when and how Alghero’s Neptune Cave was formed. At the natural level, the caves are located within the Capo Caccia promontory characterized by limestone rocks (with calcium carbonate). About 2.5 million years ago, a fairly recent geological time, a long, slow process began in which water from rainfall, and probable rivers on the surface, began to dissolve the components of the rocks that form today’s Capo Caccia, But in what way? The formation of the Alghero caves is caused by the aggression and thus by the erosion of limestone rocks by percolating waters. Going into detail, they seep from the surface to the subsurface through fractures in the rock itself by dissolving the calcium carbonate with which the rock is formed. This image gives the idea.

This chemical process initially creates vertical channels downward, but the channels also widen horizontally due to the collapses that occur when the support of the already eroded parts of rock is lost. The water then continues to move, erode and completely enlarge the cave not only through the chemical process just mentioned but also through a mechanical process in which the power of the water and the debris it carries erodes the rock even more.

At this point as erosion proceeds, I remind you that we are talking on the order of thousands and millions of years, the cavities increase in size until they join neighboring cavities creating both horizontal and vertical development. Not only that, the caves have real “halls,” with underground lakes, small beaches, fascinating concretions hanging from the ceiling of the caves called stalactites and concretions rising from the floor called stalagmites.

The last two just mentioned, at the tourist level, create fascination and curiosity during the visit. Analyzing them scientifically, we can say that a stalactite inside the Neptune Caves of Alghero is formed as a result of the continuous and prolonged deposits of minerals (especially calcium bicarbonate) from percolating waters in the cave, which subsequently settles forming the stalactite. Its formation takes a very long time, on the order of even thousands of years. Stalagmites, on the other hand, develop on the floor of the cave where the drop falls off the ceiling. Finally, the columns form by downward extension of the stalactites and upward growth of the stalagmites until they join. Take a look at this image below.


Even today it is not known with certainty who discovered the Grottoes of Neptune in Alghero but several sources also present in the municipal library claim that it was Ferrandino, un local fisherman in the late 1700s. Other sources claim it was that i Romans, who settled in Porto Conte around the 1st century AD, had already discovered this wonder of nature. Taking a look at the nearby Green Cave, we can certainly count the latter hypothesis since remains of civilizations dating back to ancient times have been found. One thing is certain, the cave is the Antro, or the place where Neptune, the god of the sea, has always taken refuge.

Initially and for about 150 years after its discovery, visits to Alghero’s Neptune Caves were entrusted to a local committee that organized summer events with a mode of reaching the caves exclusively by sea. It would leave from the port of Alghero in small boats and around midnight, with the journey to the caves taking several hours (as opposed to the 40 minutes by boat that it takes now) and this was seen as an event full of fascination and excitement. Arriving more or less at dawn, the sailors would first enter the cave to place hundreds of candles at strategic points in order to illuminate the cave. In fact, many parts of black rock can currently be seen, a discoloration caused by the candles that were placed many years ago to illuminate the cave. Finally, the presence of a small boat inside the cave allowed visitors to be ferried to the internal lake until they reached a small beach where, on the occasion of some special events, it was allowed to dance in the presence of an orchestra

A particularly important date is 1954, when the Escala del Cabirol (roe deer staircase in Catalan) opened, a full 400 meters long on the spectacular and incredibly sheer 119-meter-high wall. This is the time when Neptune’s Cave became a real tourist attraction since it could also be visited by a land route starting from the end of Capo Caccia and descending to sea level 0, the opening point of Neptune’s Caves. In 1999 However, the big breakthrough: the geonaturalistic importance of the area where the cave is present was sealed with the birth of the Porto Conte Regional Natural Park, an exceptional heritage of biodiversity to which in the 2002 was added the Marine Protected Area of Capo Caccia and Isola Piana For the protection of Mediterranean species.


Neptune’s caves, as anticipated, are accessible by sea with a journey of about 30 minutes from Alghero or by taking a scenic flight of 654 steps from the ticket office located at Capo Caccia. The moment you arrive at the cave entrance there will be a guide waiting for you to begin the guided tour (included in the price). The first room in front of you is the one that houses Lake La Marmora, with clear salt water about 9 meters deep and 90 meters long, and because of these measurements it is considered one of the largest salt lakes in Europe. Why is it salty? Because it is connected to the sea by an underground tunnel that passes under the cave entrance.

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Take a break and check out our tour of Alghero

It is easy to notice the spectacular and impressive stalagmite concretion rising from the lake: this is the stoup. This stalagmite is characterized by dripping and also has several small pools on its top where little fresh water collects, a valuable source of watering for the various species of birds that nest in the marine protected area.

Next you pass through the Hall of Ruins and again the Palace Hall, it is here that the nature and enchantment of this site will leave you speechless. The lake’s clear waters reflect the spectacular columns that rise nine meters to the ceiling. The large stalagmite formation called the Christmas Tree also stands out on the bottom of the lake, while Lake La Marmora ends with a small sandy beach called the Pebble Beach; in fact, at one time there were small pebbles that have now disappeared perhaps due to erosion.

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After the palace, we move on to the Smith Hall with the Great Organ at its center, the largest and most spectacular column in the cave with castings resembling precisely the pipes of an organ. Imprinted in the Great Organ is a plaque commemorating Victor Emmanuel’s visit.

We continue the visit by reaching the Dome, a rather unusual stalagmite formation given the perfectly smooth walls, which joins the ceiling, stimulating the visitor’s imagination as he or she remembers it as a cathedral dome. A natural workshop among reliefs, lacework, and carvings that can be admired in the Hall of Trine and Lace until you reach the Music Tribune, a magnificent balcony that offers everyone a view of the cave from above. It was here that the orchestra played while people danced on the beach below.


The first thing to do if you want to visit Alghero’s Neptune’s Cave is to take a look at the weather forecast and figure out how to get there. The weather forecast is important because given the particular location of the cave’s access opening, the visit is only allowed if weather and sea conditions permit. To get to Neptune’s Cave and Capo Caccia you have only two options:

  1. By Sea: It leaves from the Port of Alghero or the dock of Cala Dragunara in Porto Conte. The excursion by sea is really scenic and offers a chance to observe a magnificent stretch of coastline, including beaches, cliffs and small caves. There are 2 different companies operating to transport passengers to the caves: The service of Caves and Navisarda Line, both active daily from April 1 to October 31 with a cost of € 15.00 for adults and €7.00 for children aged 5 to 10. Excluded within the ticket cost, however, is the ticket to visit Neptune’s caves.
  2. By Land: The first and easiest solution is to arrive at the cave ticket office, located at the Capo Caccia promontory, by car. The distance from Alghero is about 25 km, and again you will admire a coastal spectacle that will leave you breathless. After purchasing tickets you can walk up the 654 steps to the entrance of the caves. If you want to make a “sustainable” choice instead, rent a bicycle from Alghero and occupy the entire day exploring not only Neptune’s Caves, but both the coastal and inland paradise of the Porto Conte area.

More information regarding cost and booking in this link.


Neptune’s Cave is open all year round and every day except Christmas and some other days. Guided tours usually start every hour and last 30 minutes, in case you want to visit the cave by land our advice is to report to the ticket office at least 40 minutes before the scheduled tour time.

The entrance fee costs €14. 00 for adults and €10.00 for the over-65s and children aged 7 to 14.


  1. Since their discovery, the cave has been visited by famous people such as kings, princes and princesses, Italian and foreign scholars. These included Charles Albert Prince of Carignano, future King of Sardinia, who visited them three times, his son Victor Emmanuel, future King of Italy. But also the scholar Alberto La Marmora (he named the lake after him), British Capt. William Henry Smith (he named the Smith Room after him) who was the first to make a plan of the cave, and an English traveler named John Warre Tyndale, who told her in his The Island of Sardinia.
  2. The part usable by visitors is only 250 meters, in fact the Neptune Caves of Alghero are characterized by numerous tunnels, caverns and underground lakes (example the semi-lunar lake about 50 meters deep) that only speleologists can visit, admire and study for scientific purposes.
  3. At one time the cave was the perfect habitat for the Monk Seal. Unfortunately, it has not been present in these places since the early 1900s, probably due to the continuous hunting activities of the late 1800s.
  4. In 1978 Neptune’s Cave was the set of the film The Island of Fish Men, inspired by the fanciful tales of Jules Verne.
  5. Just think that 1 cubic centimeter of stalagmite is formed in about 200 years, while 1 cubic centimeter of stalactite takes 100 years to form. How hard did Mother Nature work to create a geological paradise like Neptune’s Caves?

If you are also interested in Alghero and red coral, we have a perfect tour for you: Costs and availability in this link.


Inside the cave it is forbidden to: use flash, touch or lean on all karst formations, smoke and abandon any kind of waste. We also recommend that you put on a pair of comfortable shoes since many areas are slippery, carry at least 1.5 liters of water per person especially if you plan to visit by land.


The Caves of Neptune in Alghero are positioned in a luxury location from the perspective of nature. Nearby you can find beaches, coves, natural oases, lakes and more. You can also visit Alghero’s attractions independently thanks to the excellent tailor-made itinerary service offered by Travel Planner Family. The team can create a detailed itinerary for you on what to see, what to do and where to eat in the area based on your needs and requirements.
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for more information about this.

If you would like to visit the Alghero area with a local guide, all you have to do is contact us or visit our special section regarding the guided excursions in Alghero. We are at your disposal to make your vacation memorable.