Alghero dates back to the 11th century. The city was founded by a powerful family from Genoa, Italy, with the family name of Doria. They turned Alghero into a fishing town where it grew in importance because of its location as a port for trading. The Genovese protected the developing city over the ages as they began to depend more and more on it for trade purposes.

1353 saw the first major change as the Genovese were finally overtaken by Catalan-Aragonese troupes. Peter IV of Aragon then came in and reinforced Catalan as the major culture, language, and population. The Aragon rule lasted up until Spanish domination, which in turn changed the official language from Catalan to Spanish. The Spanish ruled until the early 1700s when they were taken over by yet another region, this time, Italian. 

Because of the years of Catalan-Aragonese rule, Alghero is sometimes known as the Barcelona of Italy. Many locals still understand the dialect of their ancestors, an Arogonese influenced Catalan.

It was not until the 1950s that tourism really began to sprout in the city as hotels began going up and the more adventurous travelers made it a destination point. Although it does not compete against many other Italian cities as far as tourism in numbers, its historical sights and weather make it an ideal place to visit.