Daytrip to Tabarca

tabarca02It’s lovely waking up in our own holiday cottage La Ruina at Willem and Richard’s place, Eco lodge and Bed & Breakfast Refugio Marnes. First a nice breakfast in the sun on the terrace. With the rental car we drive down the mountain to Alicante in about half an hour. As we park the car in the parkin at the famous Esplanade near the port of Alicante. What a great yachts are berthed here! We are just in time to board the ferry. Next to us a group of German boys and girls on a schooltrip. They are obviously enjoying the boattrip. It is an hour away on the calm Mediterrenean. Near the rocky coast of Tabarca we stop for a moment and see huge rays beyond the boat gliding through the water! What a beautiful sight! We had already read that on Tabarca you can snorkel, dive or swim.

tabarca01Arriving at Tabarca, you notice first that it is indeed a very small island, and next the long history of this place. We wander around some, have a great salad outside on the terrace, visit the church and circle the island. Then we decide to rest on the beach and Evelien goes for a swim in the warm sea. I am just relaxing and enjoying the view and the flocks of sparrows that rest on the beach too, a funny sight.

In the evening we take the last ferry back to Alicante. The sun still shines lovely at our back and it seems that most people working at the restaurants and ice cream carts, also use this ferry to the mainland.

This is a highly recommended daytrip from La Ruina. After an hour’s drive on the A7 we are back on our lovely private terrace in the quiet of Refugio Marnes.


Tabarca is a small island located off the Spanish coast, just a few kilometers from the town of Santa Pola. The island is part of the province of Alicante. It is 1800 meters long and has a maximum width of 400 meters. The maximum height is 15 meters. In the immediate area there are a number of smaller, uninhabited islands and cliffs.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Map)


The island has long been a paradise for pirates. The Spanish king Charles III, however, populated the island with 300 Genoese former prisoner of war, who were detained on the Tunisian island Tabarka. Then in 1768, the island was renamed Nueva Tabarca. Formerly it was also called Isla Plana (Flat Island).

The island was used as a fortress against the Berbers in North Africa. The village to be populated by the Genoese, was built according to a grid system, in accordance with the ideas of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. It was surrounded by defensive walls, which can still be admired, including the two gates. The building materials were recovered at the Islote La Cantera, an uninhabited island near the village. The church Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo was restored in 2007. The keep of San José was built in 1789. This is the most striking building outside the town. In the 19th century it was used as a state prison. Escaping was difficult, especially because the building was surrounded by a hedgerow of cacti, some of which is still intact. Further east is the lighthouse from 1854. At the eastern end of the island is the cemetery. Around 1850 the island lost its military significance. In time the population shrank to 50 souls in the winter. The main activity of the local population is fishing. The history and culture of the island are presented in the Museo Nueva Tabarca.


The island is low and since it is often windy, the flora adapted to these extreme conditions. On land the ecosystem is simple. The island is composed of volcanic material, in which cavities were formed by the waves. One can easily visit the whole island on foot. The clear waters surrounding the island makes it an ideal breeding ground for many species of sea-life and is also a marine reserve.

Getting there

There is a ferry from the island to Alicante and also from the somewhat closer Santa Pola. From Benidorm and El Campello you can also travel to Tabarca.

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