This month we want to tell you about our first ever trip to the Island of Tabarca or Nueva Tabarca as it is officially known. Measuring 1.800m long by 300m wide, Tabarca has been on our “places to visit” list for many years and in June we finally decided to cross it off.
In 1760 King Carlos III of Spain ordered that Tabarca be fortified and a town built to protect the inhabitants from the Berber Pirates. These days the population is around 50, making it the smallest permanently inhabited Island in Spain. The fortification has been officially declared as a Historical and Artistic Site and Asset of Cultural Interest and although it is a traditional fishing island, the most important source of income is from tourism. In 1986 the waters around Tabarca were the first in Spain to be declared a Marine Reserve due to the excellent quality and biodiversity of their flora and fauna.
Not really knowing what to expect, we got ready for a day at the beach and caught a catamaran from Santa Pola. You can also get there by water taxi which is quicker and cheaper but we wanted to see the fish from the glass viewing windows in the bottom of the boat. (Boats also run from Alicante, Torrevieja and Benidorm). After boarding and filled with excitement we saw lots of fishing boats and the breakwater lighthouse as we departed Santa Pola harbour. It was really amazing to see Santa Pola and the coast in both directions from the sea during our 25 minute crossing and as we got closer to the Island, we admired the large shoals of fish through the viewing windows.
Stepping onto the island, we first wanted to explore the various buildings and lighthouse that we had seen en route. The landscape was beautiful and peaceful, however, wearing flip flops wasn’t the best idea as the pathways were a little rough and our feet were beginning to suffer, so we took a few pictures and walked back towards the town, past the museum, which was unfortunately closed, and grabbed a refreshing slush.
Crossing through an archway in the fortification to the town itself, we discovered lots of little shops, a large square with some restaurants and a park. Some of the quaint houses we passed were available for rent, and we even found a couple of hotels. From the other end of the town, it was a novelty to see a distant Santa Pola through the other arched entrance.
We walked back and headed to one of the numerous restaurants near the harbour and beach, which serve traditional food and the local dish “caldero” which is a fish stew. Once full, the beach was calling and Ashlee and Miriam didn’t waste any time running into the sea. There were lots and lots of fish around us and these as well as the reef and shipwrecks, can be viewed on organised snorkelling/diving trips.
Enjoying an ice cream, we walked back to the harbour and boarded our return catamaran to Santa Pola. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and will be going back again but this time with some comfy shoes/trainers as well as flip flops!!! So, don’t keep saying “I’ve always wanted to go but still haven’t”, take a trip and explore this beautiful little island for yourselves, you won’t regret it.
Joins us next month for some more fun “Out and About”.
Bye for now,
Star and Ashlee xxxx