Isla de Tabarca
The Island of Tabarca is as beautiful as it is quaint.
Tabarca is a tiny island connected to the Spanish mainland by the ferries that travel regularly from Alicante, Santa Pola and Torrevieja. If you are staying in the Alicante province it is well worth a day trip, but remember to take your snorkel with you.
Glass-bottomed boats leave the main marina in Alicante, Santa Pola and Torrevieja every day for the trip to Tabarca. If you are lucky you might see dolphins as the boat takes you past the fish farms just off the coast. It’s a pleasant journey as you watch the Costa Blanca coastline disappear and is one of the attractions of visiting this pretty little island.
The low lying outcrop was once a prison island for pirates before becoming home to a small community of local fishermen and their families. Today it is a marine reserve and a swim in the warm clean waters will prove what a success this has been for the marine life – it is like swimming in an aquarium! It’s takes 2hours to sail to the island from Alicante or just half an hour in a motor boat. Many small boats anchor up to enjoy the crystal Clear Waters around Tabarca. You will want get the swimming gear on and maybe enjoy some paella made with the local catch of the day in one of the beach side restaurants ashore.
There are many restaurants here that are set up to cater for vast numbers and quickly. Provided you sit down earlier than the Spanish usually do (around 2 – 3pm) then you shouldn’t have a problem finding somewhere to eat.
As you might expect from an island in the Mediterranean sea, the restaurants have a wide selection of fish dishes and if you enjoy seafood you can’t go far wrong. Whether you explore before or after you’ve eaten, it can only take an hour or so to walk all the way round the island. Even in the summer months you’ll find many coves away from the main port area that aren’t busy and where you can swim and sunbathe in relative seclusion.
Wherever you choose to put down your towel, the water is incredibly clear. This is one of the main attractions of the island that brings people back again and again. It’s a marine reserve and has played host to different endangered species in the past. It’s perfect for snorkelling and makes you feel that you are somewhere far more exotic than holidaying in Europe.
There isn’t much in the way of buildings to see on your walk around the island. More or less, with the exception of a lighthouse and a cemetery, the only habitation is around the main port. The rest of the island consists of paths across the dry terrain but you won’t get lost as wherever you are you can see the coast line.
To fully enjoy the islands we recommend a charter with Costa Blanca Sailing, fully equipped with everything we need to make life of board as comfortable as home, but with the added benefit of true outdoor living!
Finally, it is worth having a wander round the little town itself. There isn’t much here in the way of normal services and business. It’s reckoned that only around 70 people live on the island full time and, as you would expect, most of the shops are aimed at tourists.
However, there are buildings dating back to the 18th century including the church of St Peter and St Paul and the Governor’s House that is currently a hotel. It used to be a more heavily populated place with fishing being the main industry but now, it’s tourism that brings in the money.
One feature that is striking is that there are no cars. Cars are forbidden on the island and, of course, are hardly needed. Even when the island is packed with people, the absence of vehicles means that it still feels like some kind of a retreat. The buildings are old and you might want to let your mind wander and consider what it might be like to live in a place such as this.
Most of the visitors to Tabarca are day trippers but there are some little hostels and hotels where you could stay if you wanted to extend your visit. It’s a pretty place and an enjoyable day out and if you’ve never been snorkelling before, why not give it a try?
User Review of a Day trip to Tabarca.
The boat trip from Santa Pola took about 30 minutes to reach the island, and cost only €10 per person for the return journey.
Arriving nearby the shore, the boat took a 5 minute pause to allow passengers to go beneath deck and look at the hundreds of………. fish. This was a fantastic addition to an already enjoyable crossing to the island. On deck you can step outside to enjoy these sights from above, with the lapping waves and fresh salty air.
Once docked, we departed the boat and took a short walk to the reasonable sized beach where there are sun loungers and umbrellas available to rent, but if you want to save your money you are free to take your own parasol and deck chairs. I would advise against simply taking beach towels, as this is a pebble beach.
Once we paid to reserve our sunloungers, we couldn’t wait to explore the tiny island. My expectations were not disappointed. The greeny blue tint of the clear waters are so inviting. Along the coast there are many people snorkelling, laying on the large boulder-rocks, soaking up both the sun and the atmosphere. In the short distance, there are several private boats anchored, with passengers enjoying the glorious shallow waters and stunning sights that snorkelling here can bring.
There are lots of fantastic places to visit by boat on the Costa Blanca, and of course you have the privilege of arriving by sea and enjoying a unique view of your surroundings!
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Apartment in Torrevieja for Holiday Rental